This post was most recently updated on June 7th, 2018
Kenya has some uber luxury lodges which travelers can enjoy the best comforts and an adventure out in the wild at the same time. So here’s to having your cake and eating it.
Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp
Described by Tatler Magazine as ‘one of the best tented camps in the world,’ Cottar’s has been delivering a mix of comfort for almost 100 years. Spanning five generations of the Cottar family, 1920s Safari Camp has treated royals, Hollywood celebrities, and discerning travelers on its private 6,000-acre conservancy within the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem.
Only ten camps in the world are Global Ecosphere Retreats, and Cottars is one of them. This camp earns this distinction by keeping watch over land that is crucial for conversation. For their efforts to conserve the natural habitats, Cottars enjoys a gold rating from the Ecotourism Society of Kenya.
The camp sits on Maasai land and makes investments in education, healthcare, water, and emergency services for the local people. The Maasai community participate by sharing their land, and some of them work at the camp. It is an ideal place for families, hosting each party in private, separate accommodations.
Tortili’s Safari Camp
There are 15 boutique camps, famed for their outstanding accommodations and unique locations, known as the Elewana Collection. Tortilli’s Safari Camp is one of them. Tortili’s was built in Amboseli National Park, the home of a 1,500 strong elephant population.
Named after the Acacia Tortili’s tree, the camp offers spacious tents fitted with king size beds, verandas, and elegant bathrooms. The lounge and bar are constructed using local materials, fitting perfectly into the landscape. One of the perks is an unobstructed view of Mt. Kilimanjaro, which is not too far away
Tortilis is the pioneer Safari camp to use open vehicles for game drives, creating a more unique viewing experience. Its unique location on the Western side of the Amboseli ensures that visitors enjoy a more private experience. Visitors can enjoy the spa, swimming pool, or walking safaris.
This luxury lodge was built on a prime piece of real estate. It is adjacent to a salt lick, where large herds of wild animals come to partake of essential nutrients. Some of the highlights are the large private decks, hot tubs, a heavily stocked wine cellar, and butlers.
There are only 12 tented suites here, each offering guests an unobstructed view of the wildlife below. Each tent is named after an animal. Family tents feature two double bedrooms, and every bedroom has a lounge. Guests who are planning to visit with their children who are under 7 should put in a request for extra beds.
The wine cellar is one of the most striking features of the Mara Bushtops camp. Hidden below the restaurant, it boasts an extensive wine collection. African wines from Kenya and South Africa sit alongside wines from Switzerland, France, Canada, Austria, and America, among other sources.
Campi ya Kanzi
This is one of the most eco-friendly lodges in Africa. Campi ya Kanzi runs entirely on solar power and recycled rainwater. Visitors will experience solitude and exclusion here. Prepare to be alone with only, the wilderness, the zebra, lion, elephant, giraffe, and of course the Maasai warriors who roam the Chyulu Hills and the plains below.
Safaris here are all tailor-made according to visitor preferences, the time of the year, and the length of the visit. Explore the wilderness with an experienced Maasai tracker who will teach you cool stuff like how to identify animal footprints.
Campi ya Kanzi offers game drives in open land rovers for a more intimate experience, walking safaris in forests and savannas, birdwatching, photography, visiting Maasai homesteads, horseback riding, cave and bush dining, flights up Kilimanjaro, as well as yoga and meditation.
Samburu is not like the other tourist areas in Kenya. It is much hotter and almost always dry. In this seemingly barren land, a surprising variety of wildlife thrive. Some of them are unique to Samburu.
The activities here include camel rides, stargazing under clear African skies, game drives, spa treatments, and bird watching among others. Spend hours walking beside the mighty Ewaso Nyiro river, the lifeline of this otherwise dry landscape. The expert Samburu guides have possessed a deep understanding of the local landscape and people, as well as mastery of the English language.
A blend of Swahili and Moroccan culture is apparent in the interior design of the rooms. The cottages at once protect visitors from the hot African sun and expose them to unobstructed views of the wilderness. They are fitted with large open-air bathrooms and private plunge pools. Fly camping is available for those visitors who are interested in outdoor camping.
Ol Donyo Lodge
Like Campi ya Kanzi, Ol Donyo Lodge is located in the Chyulu Hills of Southern Kenya. You will find it sitting on somewhere in between Tsavo East and Amboseli. They offer more than your typical game drive in the back of a Toyota Land Cruiser. Of course, they have that too.
Here, visitors can climb the hills, explore subterranean lava tunnels, ride a horse across the plains, or fly camp under the African sky. Evenings are spent sipping sundowner cocktails in the moonlight, or taking a game drive to observe nocturnal animals out and about. Guests can choose how they want to explore the wilderness. Walking in the bush, biking, outdoor yoga, and flying over Kilimanjaro are all on the menu.
The rooms here are designed to unify the indoors and outdoors. Maximizing the ability of guests to enjoy views of the surrounding landscape. Set high in the trees with rooftop terraces and private plunge pools, each room is decorated in Maasai style and adorned with African art pieces.
Loisaba Tented Camp
From your room in the Loisaba Tented camp, you have a breathtaking view of snow-capped Mount Kenya. The luxury camp is right at the edge of an escarpment. Below is a watering hole where all the animals visit to drink. So visitors are surrounded by pleasant sights whether they look up or down.
There are only twelve tents in the camp, which is in a 54,000-acre private conservancy in Laikipia. Three of the tents are family tents. A common area provides dining facilities, infinity pool, and changing rooms.
There are always animals visiting Loisaba because of the two rivers and the permanent springs that provide abundant water. Wildlife researchers frequently work here at Loisaba. An important elephant corridor moves through Loisaba.
Lewa Safari Camp
Also part of the Elewana collection, Lewa Safari Camp is in Kenya’s Laikipia County and 11 safari tents, all ensuite. Three of which can accommodate children younger than 16. In each tent, you will find a bedroom connected to a verandah and a bathroom. Visitors choose between twin beds and a double bed.
Professional safari guides from the local Maasai community take visitors on wildlife excursions. Embark on a game drive in a Toyota Landcruiser that has been customized to provide a comfortable game viewing experience and ease in taking photographs. Six people sit in each vehicle, and there are no crowds here because Lewa is one of the few fenced parks in Kenya. It was fenced to protect endangered the rhino population.
Other activities offered here include swimming, guided walking safaris, bush dining, spas, horseback riding, as well as honeymoon and destination weddings. Get to know the Samburu people by visiting a Samburu homestead, and buying some of their traditional ornaments.
Ol Pejeta House
Guests at Ol Pejeta House inside Ol Pejeta Conservancy will appreciate the refreshingly cool weather of the Mount Kenya region. It was once the private residence of notorious billionaire Adnan Khashoggi, who hosted many notable personalities here during his heyday. It has a cottage, two standard rooms, and two superior rooms.
The standard rooms have a double bed, a toilet, and bathroom, as well as a terrace. The superior rooms have the added benefit of a dressing area, and the cottage has two deluxe rooms equipped with everything and a fireplace for added comfort.
The Sweetwaters Tented Camp is close by, and visitors can enjoy the activities there while staying at Ol Pejeta. As the home of an extravagant 80s billionaire, everything is supersized and extravagant.
Just like Ol Pejeta House, Mahali Mzuri is associated with a billionaire. Only this time, the billionaire in question is UK businessman Sir Richard Branson who founded the Virgin empire. downs the camp.
Mahali Mzuri is one of the best places to go for a front row seat to the annual wildebeest migration. It is on a private reservation, so no crowds. Missing the migration doesn’t spell the end of the world. Visitors still get two game drives daily, to see lions, giraffes, elephants, and cheetahs. One of the things you will notice immediately is the unique design of the tents.
There are only 12 tents in the camp, which means that visitors enjoy lots of privacy. Besides game drives, guests can visit Maasai homesteads, swim in the pool, go to the spa, or enjoy the fireplace in the lounge during the evenings.
& Beyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp
& Beyond Kichwa Tembo is in a private ranch adjacent to the Maasai Mara. Access to the luxury lodge is through one of the two daily flights that land in the private airstrip a mere thirty minutes drive away.
Visitors can enjoy game drives both during the day and in the evenings. Local guides lead walking tours following the Oloololo escarpment. A hot air balloon excursion is available daily for those visitors who are interested. Bird watching and photography available. It has an ideal vantage point for viewing the wildebeest migration.
There are 40 tents here, all equipped with wifi. All the tents are designed using inspiration from the local Maasai tribe. are entitled to a massage and a rim-flow pool with great views of the Mara plains. Three of the tents are family tents, suitable for couples traveling with children.
Finch Hattons Luxury Camp
Finch Hatton was a member of the British aristocracy who went on his first safari in 1911 and was spell-bound. He spent the rest of his life working to conserve wildlife and hosting the British elite in safaris in Africa.
The luxury tents at Finch Hattons are designed to evoke a sense of rustic luxury. From each tent emanates a raised deck overlooking the hippo pools and a watering hole where different animals come to drink. Each room has an outdoor and indoor shower, the two bedroomed suites have two bedrooms as well as a lounge, and the Finch Hatton’s suite includes a lounge, a heated plunge pool, a nanny room, butler, and a private chef too.
Finch Hattons is in Tsavo West, southern Kenya. It is populated by elephants, small grazers, lions, hippos, and crocodiles. Hundreds of bird species live there too.
Governor’s Il Moran Camp
With only 10 tents, Governor’s Camp is one of the most exclusive. It is built along the Mara River, under the fiver of a riverine forest and inside the Maasai Mara game reserve. Every tent has king size hardwood beds and Victorian baths. The camp is recommended for couples on honeymoon.
Governor’s Camp sits on the most prime area for game viewing within the Maasai Mara. Every morning before dawn, a multicolored hot air balloon rises to the air, carrying guests who are here to enjoy a game drive. People who prefer a more down to earth experience can opt for a walking safari in a savanna dotted with acacia trees.
Visits to a nearby Maasai village are available. Visitors can see traditional Maasai manyattas, buy souvenirs, and learn about the Maasai culture and way of life.
Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club
Unlike the typical safari lodge, the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club is not small. It has 120 rooms and overlooks extensive, well-tended gardens, measuring at least 100 acres. From the resort, you can enjoy a view of snow-capped Mount Kenya. Some notable past members of the club include Winston Churchill and Bing Crosby.
The resort is equipped with numerous activities, including croquet, horseback riding, tennis, golf, swimming, an animal orphanage, and bowling. The pool is heated, which makes swimming comfortable. For some outdoor exercise, ask for a bicycle or just take a walk or run in the gardens. The founder of the club was William Holden, a film star.
Since the rooms are spread over so wide an area, guests enjoy privacy. People who are traveling with dogs will enjoy exploring the gardens, and the maze in particular.
Lake Elementaita Serena Camp
Built near Lake Elementaita in the Rift Valley, this small safari camp is close to Nairobi and to Lake Nakuru National Park. It is in the Soysambu Conservancy. The tents are decorated in a colonial fashion.
Each tent has a large bed, two vanities in the bathroom, wifi and a private veranda. Elementaita comes highly recommended for couples on their honeymoon and people who love bird watching. Dining takes place in the bush, or in the dining room. Guests can participate in game drives, horse riding, bird watching, spa treatments, hiking, and bird walking.
Visitors can take day trips to Lake Bogoria or Lake Nakuru, which are both close enough. The cliff along the shoreline of Lake Elementaita is used for sipping sundowners in the early evenings.
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