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Vipingo Ridge - More than just a golf course

Vipingo Ridge recently celebrated their first ten years. The celebration lasted three days, and the festivities included a huge party, a golf tournament, a rooftop dinner, a beach bar BBQ and more.

So what were they celebrating? Vipingo Ridge is the only golf course in East and Central Africa to be branded by the Professional Golfers' Association, PGA; and in both 2015 and 2017 the course was selected as Kenya's top golf course by the World's Top 100 Magazine.

But that's not all. Vipingo Ridge is a lifestyle, not a place.

Once a sisal farm, the estate now comprises villas, restaurants, bars, swimming pools, tennis courts, horse stables, conference centre, water sports, children's play area and its centrepiece: the Arabic style clubhouse.

Overwhelmed? Let's unpack that bit by bit. The Clubhouse is where it all happens – people meet to dine, drink, chat and relax. The striking pink building combines Moorish architecture with modern facilities; from its patios, visitors can look out over the golf course all the way to the Indian Ocean.

Links Villas – with two, three or four bedrooms – are for sale. You can buy a villa to live in, use as a holiday home or visit regularly and – if you'd like – the management team will rent your villa to holiday visitors, giving you some extra income while you're away. Golf Villas – also with two, three or four bedrooms – are available for rent and operate more like a hotel

– albeit much more private. The villas can have private plunge pools, or access to the large pool, and views over the gardens or the golf course. While you may enjoy the privacy of eating in your own villa, there are lots of places on the estate to dine out. Pharley's has recently taken the reigns of all the food and beverage places on site. Known originally for their esteemed Wine Club, and more recently for the café at Spinners Web in Nairobi,

Pharley's has taken the plunge and headed for the coast.

The restaurant at the Clubhouse offers fine dining and expects a formal dress code; this is the place to come for a special night out – or just to be away from the kids. The Sundowner Bar is more chilled, serving a selection of bar snacks and pizzas fresh from the pizza oven. Then there's the Beach Bar. On the award-winning Kuruwitu Marine Park, this lovely location gives you the chance to get messy with the seafood extravaganza – picture lobster, prawns, squid and fresh fish with sauces, salads and more – then plunge into the Indian Ocean. The conference centre, accredited by the International Association of Conference Centres, IACC, has banqueting halls, boardrooms and meeting rooms.But why take the known road when there are so many other options? Conferences can be held on the rooftop, on the event lawn, at the beach bar or anywhere else you fancy. The centre can organise each event to your specifications. And – of course – weddings.

'The mango forest was young when the owner cut down the trees, and they've grown back in an extraordinary way,' says Debbie Gibbs, Reservations, Golfing and Events Manager. 'Now it looks like a cathedral with arches and people love to hold their weddings there.' Weddings here have become so popular that the estate has its own wedding management team, and each one is entirely different.

Vipingo Ridge overlooks the Kuruwetu Marine Sanctuary, which was established by the community concerned about the degradation of their seas. The sanctuary aims to keep the needs of the communities and conservation in balance, and is based at Vipingo Ridge's Beach Bar. Vipingo Ridge gives a yearly stipend towards their projects, which include a 30-hectare Marine Protected Area and their estimable 'Turtles Alive' project. And the sanctuary team organises water sports, boat trips and water-based activities for all visitors.

And that's not all Vipingo is doing to help the community. Recent projects have included maintaining water delivery systems, re-roofing classrooms for Chodari Primary School and building loos for Gongoni Primary School. They also hold an annual golf tournament and shaggy dog show in aid of the Kenya Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, KSPCA. So jump on a plane with Safarilink – and you're here for a day or a lifetime!

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