A slice of heaven in Africa

Here we have tried in layman’s terms to ask some of the more pertinent questions that have been asked of Malu Ranch. Please accept our apologies for the repetitive nature of some of the questions, however we feel that as different people approach their questions in different ways, it would be helpful if we answer them in the same manner so that we are able to get across the broadest sense of understanding.

If these FAQs generate further questions of your own, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

 What is Malu Ranch?

Malu Ranch is a stunning 1800-acre privately owned ranch in Naivasha, Kenya.  It is an easy 1 hour 15 minute drive from Nairobi on the main Nairobi – Nakuru Road.  Malu Ranch combines easy access to major transport links, shopping and city services with a natural lifestyle in exceptionally unspoilt and beautiful surroundings with wonderful views of the Great Rift Valley.

The concept behind Malu Ranch is to find like-minded investors to buy into and share a part of this magical property, by purchasing a license over a plot of approximately 10-acres upon which to build a home with a view to enjoying and conserving the natural environment. License holders will also obtain shares in the management company of the property.

The existing airstrip at Malu is being extended and there will be a small number of airstrip plots where owners can build their own hangar/house.  All residents at Malu Ranch will have access to the airstrip, which is 20 minutes flying time from Nairobi.

Yes, Malu Ranch has the most beautiful wildlife ranging from dik-dik, eland occasionally, bush buck, water buck have been seen, hyena, leopard, buffalo, zebra as well as, Leopard, several troupes of colobus monkeys, warthog, impala and a Zebra. Two local ranches have kindly offered Biazi LLP, more wildlife should Biazi LLP want it, or should the eco system be able to sustain it.

You would probably only ask this if you haven’t seen it!  Malu is the last remaining indigenous cedar and olive forest on the eastern edge of the Great Rift Valley. It is an extremely important habitat for the flora and fauna living there too.  Malu has the amazing advantages of an unspoiled environment close to a major capital city with over 40km of hiking, walking and biking trails through some of the most beautiful forests, along spring fed streams and river’s edge.

How do I buy a property at Malu Ranch?

It is easy.  Firstly you need to pay a fully refundable 1% booking fee.  This reserves your plot, (and your discount if you one of the early birds) for 60 days, after which you need to ‘top this up’ to a 10% non-refundable deposit, by paying a further 9%. This is followed by a further 45-day period by which time you need to sign the licence agreement and pay the balance in full, the remaining 90%.

It is important to pay your booking fee as soon as possible not only to lock in your ‘early bird’ special pricing but also to secure your property of choice. Early bird pricing is limited to the first 25 plots and is 25% below the regular price. Another advantage of buying early is that while the road, electricity and water contractors are on site, you may be able to negotiate preferable pricing for creating and clearing your house site and access to your plot.

You are purchasing the ability, by way of a license to build yourself a house on a stunning 10-acre parcel of land within Malu Ranch.  Under the license you will be able to enjoy that property for 99 years, after which the license will be renewed automatically, subject to some legal fees for the paperwork. Simultaneously you are acquiring shares in the Malu Property Management Company.  This means you have a say on how the property is maintained and managed.  These shares also protect your ability, along with your fellow licensees/shareholders to acquire the full title should you wish to, or should the need arise in the future.

Yes of course, along with the shares in the Management Company, they are inseparable.

A license enables us to better protect the conservation objectives for Malu Ranch. A license also ensures good secure tenure for those licensees that wish to build a home at Malu Ranch and rest assured that your neigbour is of a similar mind.

Not in our view. A license simply and effectively ensures the protection and conservation of Malu Ranch while allowing us to share that with those like-minded people that would like to live amongst some of the most beautiful scenery in Africa.  One possible disadvantage to some is that a license may not be used as security for a mortgage or a bank loan.

Yes. We think so.  Firstly, unlike a lease, the license does not attract stamp duty. There are some legal differences, which help us conserve the property and ensure the wildlife is protected.  Another important consideration is that a license is considerably easier to manage and diminishes the unnecessary bureaucracy and interference of ever changing land legislation in which at this time many experts are unable to agree. The license enables us to minimise this and have a greater say in the security and conservation of the property.

Yes but to reserve a property and secure special ‘early bird’ pricing, you need to pay a fully refundable booking fee, which is 1% of the purchase price.   We will then hold your plot for you for 60 days. You can chop and change your plot reservation within this time.  This makes it ideal if you know you would like a plot, but haven’t quite decided which one yet.

As soon as possible. The first payment is the 1% fully refundable booking fee and will lock us in to holding your preferred plot, as well as your ‘early bird’ pricing.  Within 60 days a deposit of a further 9% (the total 10% now becomes non refundable) of the license cost to Malu Ranch’s lawyers, Coulson Harney Advocates. They will hold the booking fee and in turn the deposit while the licence documentation is prepared.

You can visit as often as you like and start making plans as soon as your deposit is paid. You can start work on your property as soon as the balance has been paid in full, or until specific arrangements have been made with regards any special payment terms.

As soon as your plot is paid for you can go ahead.  Once your deposit is paid you can submit your plans for approval.  Quick buyers will be able to take advantage of the cash back ‘quick build’ scheme (see below).

By all means, get in touch with us, plan your visit and either drive or fly to Malu, fly over the land have a look around the lodge, even stay a night at a discounted rate. Meet with the lawyer acting for Malu and get all the information first hand.

Yes, there are a number of deals available: –

  1. Family and Friends discount wanting to buy properties next to one another purchased at the same time.
  2. Developer discount. This allows a payment plan for developers wishing to purchase and build houses, a minimum purchase of three plots required.
  3. ‘Early Bird’ discount for those wanting to jump in early with full deposit.
  4. Quick Build discount. This is a ‘cash back’ discount for those that buy and build and complete within one year of purchase.

Please contact the sales team for full details.

Unfortunately at this time the Kenyan banking system doesn’t offer loans against a license – however if this is a necessary part of your purchase, please speak to us.  We are working on some options for buyers to be able to get a loan or softer payment terms with a number of financial institutions and banks.

Please talk to the sales team. It is more important for us to create the perfect community and ensure the conservation of the flora and fauna than squeeze every last penny from the licensees.

No. You can buy your plot and hold on to it, either as an investment for future sale, or until you are ready to build, or just simply to have a piece of Africa that you are helping to conserve.

My property and house – what scope do I have?

The idea is that you are buying a property with a view to protecting the flora and the fauna of Malu Ranch.  To this end, building a nice cottage over some 25% (max) of the property area would be an ideal way to protect and conserve as well as to enjoy a beautiful home in the area. You can also open up some of the undergrowth so as to create some paths and recreation areas within the property.

A house the size of the Mahindu House situated on Malu Ranch would be about the maximum and sets a good benchmark. We would encourage houses to be on one level, particularly if you wanted a slightly larger house so that it can remain discreet and hidden as best as possible from other buyers. So in short a greater foot print for a single storey house over a double storey house. Its basically a question of what will fit into the environment.

If you would like to build a large significant house a larger plot might suit you better.  There are a number of plots where you could buy 20 or 30-acres together.  We would try to find a suitable plot where your house can blend in to the landscape, not obstruct any ones views or be too evident to others. Let us know what your dreams are and we will help you realise them. There are a whole range of plot sizes, elevations and landscape that are more suitable to different types and styles of house.

One main house and a small guest cottage together with staff quarters if you require. Though there are plans to build a small staff area on the property allowing you to rent a room for your staff rather than have to build your own staff quarters. There are circumstances where for use within one immediate family group you could build two small cottages, rather than one house and a small guest cottage.

You can build any style within the guidelines and subject to Malu Ranch approval. The reason for this is simple, while we want to encourage different individual designs whilst also wanting to ensure that the house of your dreams is not the house of your neighbours nightmares. Within Malu Ranch we want to create a community of like-minded people but that does not mean everyone has to have the same taste.  However, the Malu Ranch approvals process will ensure that the overall aesthetics of Malu are never compromised.

Malu Ranch has engaged the services of Planning Systems Ltd, a well-established and well-known architectural firm. They have several designs of houses that would be eminently suitable to Malu Ranch and are well aware of the design guidelines. Please contact the Malu Ranch sales team for more information.

Owning one of the airstrip properties gives you the exciting opportunity to build a house with a hanger attached.  If you are an aircraft owner you can taxi your plane right into your property. This is the ultimate ‘airpark’ concept so revered in the United States. There are only a small number of airstrip properties available.  The airstrip will be built to a standard to easily accept aircraft up to a category of a Cessna Caravan or a Pilatus PC12. The hanger should be sized to fit a light aircraft (not maintain a Boeing!)

If you wish you can arrange for the Malu Lodge to look after and care for your house while you are away and they will be more than happy to do this for you and charge a small fee relative to your particular requirements.  You may choose to allow Malu Lodge to rent out your house.  Malu Lodge will offer a number of services like supplying you with some staff or even simply stocking your fridge before you arrive, and laundering your sheets when you leave.

Malu Ranch has identified a select number of architects including Planning Systems Ltd who have a good knowledge of the property, and have a number of designs that are extremely suitable for Malu Ranch.  Some designs are ready to go or can be altered to your specific requests.

Planning Systems Ltd are happy to simply sell you a set of drawings, for a reasonable fee, or offer you a complete turn-key service, project managing to the last detail for a simple and easy life! You just need to arrive when it is done.

Alternatively a simple three bedroom ‘EHG’ house could be ready in as little as 8 weeks for something in the region of KES 4m. A more expensive but stunning and substantial log home from Finland designed and assembled by The Othaya Group could be ready in a little longer – but quite spectacular.

The overall guiding principle in the house approvals process is that houses must fit in with the lay of the land.  We do not want anything too ostentatious and certainly not an eye sore, but beautiful and in keeping with the environment.

Your license allows you to build on a ‘footprint’ on your plot and you can fence the immediate area surrounding your house or cottage if you want to secure dogs etc.

No stone/brick wall will be allowed or fencing or hedging of the entire licensed area. Malu Ranch is country living where you can secure the immediate area around your home, and the rest is shared with the wildlife.

There is of course a 10ft high electric fence surrounding the full 1800-acres of Malu Ranch and the forest.

Water will be piped to within easy reach of your property, by either the Malu Management Company or another contracted company. You will pay a connection fee and thereafter you will be charged per cubic meter on your usage. If you are one of the lucky ‘early birds’ the Malu Management Company will supply water directly to your water tank as and when you need it. You will be strongly encouraged to collect rainwater and store it.

We would encourage the use of as much renewable energy as possible – the use of solar collection is greatly encouraged. For those ‘early birds’ a generator will be made available for you during your building process and for your use until you have been able to apply for a connection with Kenya Power and Lighting.

Malu Ranch is already connected to three phase electricity and we have ample water from the stream, hot springs and river – however when the road upgrade works begin – scheduled for early Sept 2016 the water and electrical distribution will be put in place running underground alongside the main roads in the property. Licenses for 4 boreholes have been granted, and in September work will begin by drilling the boreholes and putting in place a water storage facility that will allow good pressure gravity feed to all properties. The cost of getting water to the access roads will be at Malu Ranch’s expense, the cost of the water and electrical connection from the road access points into the property will be the cost of the plot owners and must be underground.

In short, no.  The concept of Malu is to create space and harmony with nature this is best created by allowing space between houses.  This allows the natural flow of nature to take its course over as much of your ten acres as possible.  Plots on Malu Ranch cannot be ‘sub divided’ or sold as smaller lots or be developed into 10 houses. We believe that this will greatly enhance the value of your property, and Malu Ranch as the ultimate country property.

Malu Lodge has run as a successful lodge business for the last 18 years.  If you want to take advantage of Malu Lodge’s management facility, you may choose to rent your property through them.

The Legal bits – what can I do?

Coulson Harney Advocates – one of Nairobi’s leading law firms with global credentials.  Affiliated with Bowman Gifford, an Africa wide law firm, Coulson Harney is one of Nairobi’s leading firms.

Malu Ranch’s title is a ‘title absolute’.  It is a Freehold Agricultural property. The title number is L/R 425/18 and a recent title search is included in the documentation. A set of the title deeds through the GLR system is available on request from Coulson Harney.

No.  The ability to purchase a Licence is conditional upon you purchasing a share in the Malu Ranch management company – both transactions will occur simultaneously.

Malu Ranch – the property – is owned by ‘Biazi LLP’ – a Limited Liability Partnership whose majority partner is Kim McKenzie together with a lawyer at Coulson Harney Advocates as a nominee partner.

A license offers much greater protection for the property.  Unlike most developers, our primary aim is to protect the land and the natural environment.  The licence structure has many benefits for buyers too.  For example, it ensures that your neighbour does not put up a block of flats.  It means that the roads are owned and maintained by Malu Ranch, that the title deed remains Freehold and Agricultural (as would be required to be surrendered under a subdivision).  The licence ensures conservation and security of tenure, of use and of property. It means you can enjoy the full 1800-acres of Malu Ranch. We hope that the licence structure will attract like-minded buyers who will become stakeholders with a shared vision to conserve the larger 1800-acre area. The license will be renewed automatically after 99 years, with only some legal fees to settle.

The shares in the management company are extremely important. These give you a say in how the property is managed and they give you the ultimate comfort over your license area by giving you reversionary rights, through the company over the freehold title deed. The number of shares that you have will be reflected on how many acres you hold a license over.

Yes, though certain types of land have restrictions. In this instance, you are buying shares in a company that has reversionary rights over the land, and a license to build a house on a certain portion of that land. Anyone or any company can own shares in a company in Kenya, and those shares can be traded freely and anyone may be granted a license.

You will be not able to do this as the license to build and occupy the house is linked to the share in the Management Company and visa versa. If you sell your share, your license will be revoked and a new license will be given to the buyer of your share with the same terms and conditions attached.

You are encouraged, to come and have a look at the property and meet with Coulson Harney the Advocates acting for the vendor.  You can inspect all of the documentation prior to committing.  Your funds will not be released to the vendor until your shares and license are in place and your advocates can advise you.

Biazi LLP is a partnership registered in Kenya, having been converted from a Limited Liability Company.  You can see any documents that you would like, or simply arrange for your lawyer to get in touch with the Biazi LLP lawyer at Coulson Harney and ask all the questions and see all the documents that you/they would like.

It is always advisable to instruct your own lawyer to act for you.  This ensures your lawyer is working in your best interests. We have met with several leading lawyers of well-known law firms and have briefed them extensively on Malu Ranch and the concept.  We have given them access to all of our original documentation and engaged them in discussion regarding our sales and license agreements. This ensures that if you wish to use one of these ‘pre-advised’ lawyers, they are well versed and the transaction will be much smoother and simpler, and possibly cheaper for you in terms of legal fees. These lawyers are in no way engaged by us, they are engaged by you – just that we have shared our legal paperwork with them for constructive comment – many of which have led to changes in our documents so as they are more favourable to the buyer.

Its very simple – you sell your shares in the Malu Management Company, who at the same time cancel your license and issue a new license in the name of the buyer. There will be a small fee payable to the Company’s Advocates for the legal work in relation to the preparation of the new license at prevailing rates at the time. The Malu Management Company will be there to help you sell your property at any time.

You will need to seek advice from your tax advisor, but an individual will be required to pay only 5% tax on the capital gain that they have made.  However, you can take into account your input by way of the cost of building your house. If you have made Malu Ranch your main residence for the last six months there are currently some tax relief mechanisms on principal private residences.

Yes of course. You will be subject to the same 5% capital gains tax on the increase in the value but you will be able to remit your funds in the same way that you brought them in.  There are no exchange controls in Kenya.

Living at Malu Ranch – the Management Company

The Malu Management Company will manage overall property security. Licensees will be responsible for the security of their licensed area and will be able to call upon the security team of the Malu Management Company for back up or help. Malu is contained within a secure perimeter of electric fence.

The Malu Management Company will be responsible for the on going maintenance of the roads, paths and verges under instruction from the Board who are under instruction from the shareholders.

Yes there will be a service charge. How much this will be will depend very much on the depth and scope of activities that the shareholders wish the Malu Management Company to undertake. A study is undergoing to look at the various options and the costs but it is not envisaged as being very high – currently estimated at being approximately KES 15,000 per month.  The property is ‘wild and wonderful’ and not a high maintenance city or suburban property. It is likely that the Management Company will charge those for use of services as and when, but not those who are not using services, thus keeping Service Charges to a minimum.

The roads are being built to a high standard of murram with sealed water drains and some cabrio and as such the on-going maintenance will be minimal. The security and maintenance of the tracks will be done in-house.

Service Charges will not be levied until 2018 – we want to get everything ready and up to speed and running smoothly before you pay your share – though you can have a say in matters as soon as you have bought your licence.

Licensees are at liberty to enjoy the over 40km of walks, tracks, trails and bridle paths within Malu. A guide can be organised by the Malu Management Company or the Malu Lodge if you would like to be accompanied.

We encourage horse owners at Malu Ranch.  It is a wonderful place to ride.  We are looking at stabling and livery options so that individual Malu buyers do not have to build their own stables. Another option we are exploring is for Malu Lodge to extend its existing stabling.

The Malu Management Company under the direction of the shareholders (like you), and the Board of Directors and the various management teams will look after anything and everything that you wish. It is certainly envisaged that the Malu Management Company will manage the collection and disposal of rubbish and  recycling.

The security teams will be well trained to respond to any fires on the property, as well as responding with fire fighting equipment as the management may from time to time see fit to procure. Malu Ranch will be a small ‘family’ community of like-minded people with the Malu Management Company a shared ‘vehicle’ to ease the running of the property and to help you.

Without question, while property values in Kenya have increased dramatically in Kenya in the last decade they seem to have somewhat plateaued in the highest bracket areas within Nairobi (Karen, Langata etc.) recently.  However, Naivasha and other areas continue to rise sharply as demand for quality ‘country properties’ with a bit more space and further from the smog and traffic grows.

In addition to the underlying reasons for property value growth, Malu Ranch’s value will continue to climb with added gusto as a result of the investment in the Malu infrastructure, and as the Malu Ranch concept takes off. Not to mention the upcoming Championship Golf Course situated next door.

Initial plots at Malu Ranch are being sold well below their market value to ensure the project launches positively.  The lower prices also ensure that the right ‘like minded’ buyers are encouraged to buy in early. The initial pricing does not take into account investment into infrastructure at Malu Ranch of more than USD$2m.

Once this early purchase phase is complete, values will rise to reflect actual value reflecting more eagerly what other established properties in the Naivasha area are selling for.

There is no plan to market heavily once the initial 30% of properties are sold. The sale of licenses to ‘like minded individuals’ is key and is the driving principal.  We reserve the right to refuse anyone who we do not believe shares our vision of conserving and protecting the natural beauty and environment of Malu. A sale of 50% of the available properties will see all marketing and sales activity coming to an end, with further plots only being available word of mouth and to those people wanting to join with friends and family already living within Malu.

Malu Lodge has been a popular Naivasha destination for over 18-years with Kenyans and overseas visitors.  Malu Lodge will continue to develop into a high-end (but small) lodge, with greater facilities as Malu Ranch develops.  A swimming pool and tennis courts are just some of the facilities envisaged for Malu Lodge in the shorter term and these will be available to Malu Ranch residents. Malu Lodge will act as the social ‘glue’, a sort of club, for licensees.

Kenya and Naivasha

By air, it is only 20mins from Nairobi straight into the Malu airstrip or about 1½ hour by car. Flights from London are 8½-hour flight to Nairobi. There is no jet lag from Europe as Kenya is only two hours ahead of UK time in the summer months.

Naivasha has a very bright future.  A large new highway to compliment the existing Naivasha road will pass within 11km of Malu has been given the go ahead by the Kenyan Government. A high-speed standard gauge railway line linking Nairobi, Naivasha and beyond is set to be completed in the next few years making Nairobi a very viable commute.  In the Kenya Governments strategic growth and development plan, Vision 2030, Naivasha is envisaged as a resort town. Land prices continue to rise in Naivasha as the demand continues to grow for property just outside of Nairobi.

To Malu Ranch’s North there is a significantly large ranch property on which sits a vineyard producing the ‘Leleshwa’ brand of wine. To the West over the river is a large estate called Morendat, to the West is a deep ravine, some farmland and an escarpment that is the Kinangop and the base of the Aberdare Hills. To Malu Ranch’s South is a Championship Golf Course development called Aberdare Hills Golf Resort, an exciting future neighbour for the Malu Ranch.

Naivasha plays host to countless hotels and resorts and a growing number of shopping facilities – the largest being the closest at 11km from Malu Ranch – the Buffalo Mall hosting a wide variety of shops and services under a 22,500sq ft. roof.

Pembroke House Prep School is about a 25-minute drive from Malu Ranch’s back gate. The school American Rift Valley Academy (RVA) is about half an hour to 40 mins away. St Andrew’s Turi is just over an hour away. Greensteads is less than an hour away.  And of course in Nairobi there is a range of boarding and day school options at prep and secondary levels.

The area around Naivasha boasts some lovely wildlife parks and reserves such as Hell’s Gate National Park, Nakuru National Park, Aberdare’s National Park, Mt Longonot National Park, Lake Bogoria Nature Reserve and Lake Elementaita all very easily reachable for day trips as well as, Lake Baringo and the Masai Mara a little further afield.

There is a championship golf course at the Great Rift Valley Lodge and Golf resort.  There are a number of spa options in Naivasha, including the award winning Enashipai Resort and Spa.  There are numerous boating activities on the lake, as well as fishing, game and bird watching and endless walking and hiking trails.

No. The political situation in Kenya has been calm for many years and is known in the region for its safety and stability.  In early 2008, this calm was broken and we had a few troubled weeks in Kenya after a hotly contested general election. However all returned to normal very quickly.  Malu was completely unaffected by the troubles and remained a beautiful and peaceful sanctuary with its stunning views.

Nairobi is a hub for many multi-national companies and the UN Headquarters are in Nairobi.  The banking and services sector in Kenya is booming which is in part responsible for the 5% to 6% annual growth in GDP Kenya has enjoyed over the last decade.

Naivasha has a warm and temperate climate with an average year round temperature of 18 degrees c – a high of 27 degrees in the summer, 22 degrees in the winter with temperatures falling to 9 degrees on a cold night. Rainfall is at its lowest in January with about 34mm of rain and up to 119mm in the wettest month of April. (source: climate-data.org).  Kenya is equatorial, so our summer months are from October to March, with a mild cooler season from June to August.

Malu Ranch has a number of important water sources. Firstly Malu Ranch owns some 4km of river frontage to the Malewa River, a main tributary from the Aberdare’s into Lake Naivasha.  This river is permanent and has never dried up in living memory. The river has been stocked with trout in the past.  No crocodiles have been seen in the river but hippos come up occasionally.

In addition to the Malewa River, Malu has a number of streams the largest being the permanent Mahindu stream that runs past the entrance and feeds the dam on the golf course. This stream is fed by hot springs inside Malu, emerging out of the ground in various places at some 25 degrees C. Other streams are largely seasonal but another small spring fed stream can be found at the back gate. Trout can be found in the river for those lucky fishermen.

The Mahindu River is there all year round and never dries up, but it gets low and beautifully clear during the dry seasons.  The stream in the forest is fed by a ‘hot spring’ and is permanent.

Yes. Malu Ranch currently has a 650m long grass airstrip about 18m wide, however this is being extended to some 1000m and widened to some 30m. So currently this is useable by the likes of Cessna C182 and C206 aircraft and the like, but the intention is to ensure that the airstrip will be useable by aircraft as large as a Cessna C208B Caravan, a Beechcraft King Air or a Pilatus PC12.

Yes, of course. The airstrip will be available for private use by any residents/owners of Malu Ranch. This will include commercially chartered pick-ups and drop offs of residents, their guests or clients of the lodge.

The benefit of having aircraft owners on Malu Ranch is a chance of an occasional lift to Nairobi – or even further afield if one is lucky.

DISCLAIMER

Whilst with the best intentions we have set out in this document a ‘layman’s view’ of what buyers will and will not be able to do with the property, along with the legal mechanism for purchasing the licence and the shares – it is the legal documentation of the Licence and the management agreement with the Management Company that should be considered and are indeed the legally binding documents on both parties.