Kenya is endowed with a rich assortment of camping sites and boutique safari camps that never stop at anything to make sure your stay with them is one you will treasure for years to come so choosing to feature these 5 boutique Kenyan camps was our hardest task yet. Anyway, we did, so go try them out and tell us if we made the right choice.
Robert’s Camp, Lake Baringo
Accommodation: Four double thatched bandas
Price Guide: USD 3-6/person/night
Robert’s Camp is widely considered the best campsite in East Africa. The camp, which is spread over 5 acres of a beautiful green garden leading down to the lakeshore, combines a spectacular lakeside setting, with plenty of wildlife and great facilities such as ablution and barbecue areas. In addition, there is an excellent a la carte restaurant called The Thirsty Goat. The camp also offers accommodation in bandas and family cottages.
Take bird walks, nature walks, boat rides, picnic lunches & breakfasts, and cultural visits. A visit to Lake Bogoria & Tugen can be particularly memorable.
Elephant Pepper Camp, Maasai Mara
Accommodation: An old-style traditional camp with 8 tents
Price Guide: USD 440-650/person/night
Elephant Pepper is located in the Koiyaki group ranch within the Mara Conservation Areas hence you can expect some reasonable levels of quietness here. Generally, the game is less concentrated but it is still good, although apparently shyer of vehicles. It is possible to walk around the Elephant Pepper – even do some game driving at night.
Elsa’s House, Meru National Park
Accommodation: exclusive 2 bedroom bush lodge with great views
Price Guide: USD 360-660/person/night
The Private House at Elsa’s gives added exclusivity to a private group or a family while also providing proximity to the main lodge for one to enjoy the facilities or socialise if the mood takes you. Meals can be taken either in the private house or the main dining room.
Being here should please seasoned safari-goers and first-timers alike because it gives access to a park that is relatively unvisited, yet increasingly becoming a good location for wild game. It also gives visitors a sense of pride especially when they learn that the park fees they pay help realize this miracle of conservation which was dragged back from a state of near decimation due to poaching in the early nineties.
Elsa’s Kopje is named after the lion cared for by the Adamsons and made famous in the film Born Free. The stories of George and Joy, and their lions, and indeed of the making of the film which became inextricably linked with Meru too, provide a fascinating context for the camp, and the walls are full of photographs from this time. You can even go and see the graves of Elsa and Pippa (their cheetah) in the park.
Accommodation: 4 simple reed bandas in a camp that’s all soul
Price Guide: USD 185-750/person/night
Kalacha Camp is one of those places that no amount of description, even here on Safiri Kenya, can quite capture the magic of this community initiative located on an oasis in the inhospitable Chalbi Desert, in a remote part of the northern frontier district of Kenya. Built out of palm matting and other natural materials and accessible only by private charter, Kalacha is a true gem of Kenya’s north.
The Chalbi is a desolate area, wind-blown and infertile, where the Gabbra people live off of their livestock. Kalacha is where they come to water their cattle and camels from a fresh spring and this alone provides an awesome spectacle, as do the Ethiopian biblical paintings in the small Catholic Church in Kalacha town. This is not a place you go to for your traditional wildlife experience, but for sheer wilderness, surprise value and stunning views, this is absolutely the right place to come to.
There is also sand grouse shooting in February and March and between July and the end of October if you fancy this type of thing.
Accommodation: small stylish and personal camp with 7 tents
Price Guide: USD 370-595/person/night
Size, they say, matters in the bush. Richard’s camp has only seven double tents tucked away in a patch of woodland close to the Mara River, and this is what makes it special. Being so small means guests get truly individual attention and it is how you would like your home to feel if you lived in the Mara.
Evenings by the fireplace with meals on your lap, or at the big table just outside can be very entertaining. It is set in a great game area in the Mara Conservation Area, and particularly in the dry season from March to October, you can expect to catch a glimpse of Elephants wandering around while you take your dinner.
Being part of the Mara in the Ol Choro conservation area means that Richard’s Camp is in a Maasai group ranch lent over primarily to wildlife and tourism. Grass at the camp is kept short since Maasai cattle are allowed to graze here.
This tends to attract a lot of game to the area especially in the dry season from March to August because normally herd animals do not like long grass as it hides predators – and anyway, long grass is not nutritious to eat.
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