Exploring Vipingo Ridge: Coastal chic estate and championship golf course

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At midnight there is a long hazy band of stars, gas and dust in the night sky – the Milky Way has never looked so clear. Floating in my rooftop plunge pool, I let the waters gently caress my body and rock-away the tightness in my muscles. The warm moist ocean breeze tickles my skin. My mind drifts into a distant tranquil state, seduced by the charms of a Kenyan ridge paradise.

The terms “hidden gem” and “paradise” are used a lot when talking about resorts, holiday destinations and especially golf courses. But in the case of Vipingo Ridge, it’s more. A whole lot more.

Vipingo Ridge, 18-hole championship golf course located about 30 kms North of Mombasa, is a David Jones design that weaves its way over and around the Indian Ocean, set atop a ridge and nestled next to a mango forest.

The golf course is the focal point of a 2,500 acre gated community where homeowners enjoy breathtaking views, an enchanting lifestyle of the essence of coastal luxury, a secure community and a golf experience currently unrivalled by other courses in Kenya.

GOLF CLUB EXPERIENCE

With only about 20% of the residents at Vipingo Ridge being actual golfers, it’s clear that the real estate development offers more than just golf, but rather an experience – one secured by Kenya’s longest patrolled wall, which measures approximately 28 km.

Moorish inspired architecture and touches of Moroccan influences are visible throughout the airy clubhouse, which sits on a hill looking over the 18th hole and nestled next to the tee box for hole No. 1.

Towering wooden doors hand-carved by Kenyan artisans adds presence to the entrance of the clubhouse, which opens into a courtyard anchored by a carved table of the epic scene of a herd of elephants gathering at a waterhole. A staircase leads to the rooftop where incredible views of the real estate development, golf course and the ocean serve as the perfect accompaniment to delicious sundowners.

The restaurant carries similar design elements and exudes quiet luxury with a strong connection to the coastal landscape. The food is simple, refreshing and nourishing. Service is attentive and not suffocating.

The gorgeous hanging plates, traditional Moroccan polished plaster wall finishes, understated floral displays and high ceilings all add to Vipingo Ridge’s character.

Horse-riding is also available, and plans for tennis courts and a community pool are already in effect. With the new conference center nearing completion, homeowners and visitors will soon enjoy a state-of-the-art facility equipped with intelligent lighting and sound systems.

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THE GREENS

Arguably Kenya’s best golf course, Vipingo Ridge hopes to host a European Tour event in 2015. The 18-hole championship golf course is currently undergoing a huge renovation project where all of the putting surfaces will be replanted to Paspalum, resulting in a quicker and more consistent playing surface.

“Every golf course should be consistent,” explains Damon Kirk, Head Green Keeper of Vipingo Ridge, who brings his extensive experiences from two European tour courses, Turkey, Ireland, Australia and USA to Kenya.

The previous hybrid Bermuda grass experienced spots of mutation growth in putting surfaces and could only be cut-down to a maximum of 4.5 mm – all contributing factors to a slower playing surface. Paspalum can be cut-down to 2 mm and is known to require somewhat less irrigation water than hybrid Bermudas – ensuring the conservation of water is increased from Vipingo Ridge’s current efforts of collecting rain water.

The renovation project is expected to take 12-16 weeks, which the Green Keeping Team will be fine-tuning the surfaces in-time for Vipingo Ridge’s first international golf tournament slated for 2015.

VERDICT

Coastal chic styling, beautiful and plush, Vipingo Ridge is perfect for discerning guests who want to experience a golfing lifestyle without compromising on luxury. Whether you’re looking for a getaway or an opportunity to invest in real estate or searching for a secure gated-community to settle your family in, Vipingo Ridge offers all the exclusive club-member perks on the coast of Kenya.

I highly recommend a visit to Vipingo Ridge, if not only to experience one of the area’s finest sunset vantage points. And, just in case you’re thinking about applying for a club membership: “Membership is only through ownership,” reminds Alastair Cavenagh, Chairman of Vipingo Ridge Real Estate Development.

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SUSAN WONG

Susan Wong is the Editor of Capital Lifestyle, a resident photographer, an award-winning journalist, radio presenter, full-time adventurer, long-time admirer of anything edible, and a spicy food athlete at Capital FM.

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