Introduction to the Best Safari Lodges in Kenya
Best Safari Lodges in Kenya is a country known for its diverse landscapes, incredible national parks, and abundant wildlife. With so many safari lodges to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide where to stay. That’s why we’ve curated a list of the best safari lodges in Kenya, based on our decades of experience and client feedback. From the Maasai Mara to Amboseli and Chyulu Hills, each lodge offers a unique experience that will make your safari unforgettable.
The Maasai Mara: Where Luxury Meets Wildlife: The Best Safari Lodges in Kenya
Mara Nyika: A Treehouse-Under-Canvas Experience
Mara Nyika is an intimate camp located on the western edge of the Naboisho Conservancy. The camp’s unique design, with tents perched on stilts and raised platforms, gives it a treehouse-under-canvas vibe. The five tents are situated on raised platforms, minimizing the impact on the landscape. Guests can enjoy luxurious amenities like copper clawfoot tubs, Swarovski binoculars, and gourmet picnic lunches on the savannah. But the real highlight is the wildlife encounters. In the Maasai Mara and Naboisho Conservancy, guests can spot elephants, leopards, zebras, and lions on twice-daily game drives. Every stay at Mara Nyika supports the conservation efforts of the Maasai community and helps protect this vital ecosystem.
Richard’s River Camp: A Cozy Retreat with a Conservation Legacy
Richard’s River Camp is a cozy retreat nestled against the Njageteck River in the Mara North Conservancy. Originally built as a private family home, the camp offers a warm and intimate atmosphere. Guests can learn about conservation efforts at the Mara Elephant Project, founded by the late Richard Roberts and his wife Liz Fusco. The camp’s seven tents, complete with hot water outdoor showers, offer privacy and comfort. Daily game drives, birding, and visits to a nearby Maasai village provide opportunities to immerse yourself in the local culture and wildlife.
Kicheche Mara: A Family-Friendly Safari Experience
Kicheche Mara is a classic tented bush camp located within the private Mara North Conservancy. The camp’s nine tents offer breathtaking views of the plains and the Olare Orok Stream. Families will appreciate the newer Family Suite, which features two separate bedrooms connected by a private lounge. Kicheche Mara is known for its top-notch game viewing, especially during the Great Wildebeest Migration. The camp’s high-caliber guides have a knack for photography, making it a great choice for wildlife enthusiasts. Sustainability and social responsibility are at the heart of Kicheche’s ethos, with carbon-neutral game drives and support for local communities.
Ngare Serian: A Darling Offshoot of Serian ‘The Original’
Ngare Serian, meaning “by the river” in Maasai, is a small camp located on the Mara River. Accessible only via a narrow rope footbridge, the camp offers total privacy and exclusivity. Each of the four tents overlooks the river and the Olooloo Escarpment, providing stunning views. Guests can enjoy game drives in their own exclusive 4WD vehicle, guided by a private spotter and guide. The camp also offers unique experiences like sleeping in The Nest, a tree house overlooking the river, and night game drives. Owned and operated by fourth-generation Kenyan Alex Walker, Ngare Serian is a testament to his passion for conservation and authentic safari experiences.
Meru National Park: Where Romance and Conservation Collide
Elsa’s Kopje: A Swoon-Worthy Vision of Luxury
Elsa’s Kopje is an award-winning eco-lodge located in the heart of Meru National Park. The lodge, named after the lioness Elsa from the “Born Free” book and film, played a crucial role in the park’s revitalization. The cottages, perched on Mughwango Hill, offer panoramic views of the park and feature luxurious amenities like freestanding Victorian bathtubs and private verandas. Sumptuous dinners are served al fresco at various locations, adding to the romantic atmosphere. Guests can embark on game drives to spot cheetahs, leopards, elephants, and a wide variety of bird species. Elsa’s Kopje is a testament to the power of conservation and the enduring legacy of George and Joy Adamson.
Samburu: Where Culture and Wildlife Converge
Saruni Samburu: Spectacular Views and Immersive Experiences
Saruni Samburu is a luxury lodge perched on the arid plains of northern Kenya. Guests are treated to spectacular views of the Kalama Conservancy and Mount Kenya. The lodge offers six luxurious villas, each with textured accents, minimalist bathrooms, and private verandas. Guests can enjoy game drives in both the Kalama Conservancy and Samburu National Reserve, guided by passionate Samburu warriors. Other experiences include visits to Reteti Elephant Sanctuary, beading workshops with local women, and cultural visits to Samburu villages. Saruni Samburu is committed to conservation and community development, making it a great choice for responsible travelers.
Elephant Watch Camp: Eco-Enterprises and Up-Close Encounters
Elephant Watch Camp offers a unique and eco-friendly safari experience in Samburu. The camp’s rustic tent suites are built from fallen trees and solar-hardened earth plaster. Guests can enjoy the Afro-Italian bush gourmet cuisine and learn about the camp’s connection to the Save the Elephants conservation charity. Activities include game drives, visits to a Samburu village, and guided bush walks. For the adventurous, there’s the option to hike Ol Donyo Sapache or embark on a camel overland walk. Elephant Watch Camp immerses guests in the beauty of Samburu and promotes sustainable practices.
Matthews Range: A Leafy Departure from the Savanna
Sarara Camp: Beyond Game Drives
Sarara Camp offers a unique safari experience in the Matthews Range. The camp’s six ensuite tents are situated beneath the leafy canopy, providing a peaceful and intimate setting. Guests can explore the area on bush walks, fly camping, and village visits. One of the highlights is the Singing Wells, where Samburu warriors chant while watering their livestock. Sarara Camp also offers visits to Reteti Elephant Sanctuary and beading workshops with the local community. With its focus on community engagement and immersive experiences, Sarara Camp is a great choice for those looking to go beyond traditional game drives.
Kitich Forest Camp: A Hiker’s Paradise
Kitich Forest Camp offers a unique experience in the forested Lenkiyio Hills. The camp’s six canvas tents are tucked beneath the leafy canopy, offering a peaceful and secluded setting. Guests can enjoy hikes through the wild and unfamiliar environment, where they can spot giant cycads, wild orchids, and elusive leopards. The camp also offers the option of a three-day walking safari, complete with fly camping and camel rides. Kitich Forest Camp is a haven for nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts looking for an off-the-beaten-path experience.
Laikipia: Where Luxury Meets Conservation
Segera Retreat: Luxury and Conservation in Harmony
Segera Retreat is a luxurious property nestled on the Laikipia Plateau. The retreat offers five homes and five villas, each designed with contemporary elegance and Maasai influences. Guests can enjoy game drives, helicopter sightseeing, and visits to the onsite art gallery. The property’s commitment to conservation is evident in its sustainable practices and support for local communities. Segera Retreat offers a truly luxurious and immersive safari experience.
Ol Lentille: Seclusion and Serenity
Ol Lentille is a secluded and serene retreat located on a private conservancy in Laikipia. With just four villas, the retreat offers privacy and exclusivity. The Carissa Suite, perched on a rocky outcrop, offers breathtaking views of the Matthews Range. Guests can enjoy activities like game drives, bush walks, and visits to local Maasai villages. Ol Lentille’s commitment to sustainability and community engagement make it a great choice for responsible travelers.
Ol Malo Lodge & House: Adventure Awaits
Ol Malo Lodge & House offers a unique blend of luxury and adventure in Laikipia. The lodge, owned and operated by the Francombe family, offers a warm and intimate atmosphere. Guests can enjoy game drives, horseback riding, and camel safaris. The lodge also offers unique experiences like high-altitude fishing and visits to local communities. Ol Malo is a great choice for those looking to immerse themselves in the beauty of Laikipia and embark on thrilling adventures.
Lengishu: Luxury and Conservation on the Laikipia Plateau
Lengishu is a stunning property located on the Laikipia Plateau. Owned by the McHale family, the property offers a luxurious and intimate experience. With six gorgeous bedrooms, Lengishu combines contemporary design with natural materials, creating an organic and elegant aesthetic. Guests can enjoy game drives, mountain biking, and helicopter sightseeing. Lengishu’s commitment to conservation and community development make it a truly special place to stay.
Amboseli & Chyulu Hills: Where Wildlife Meets Majestic Landscapes
Ol Donyo Lodge: A Horseback Safari Experience
Ol Donyo Lodge offers a unique safari experience in the Chyulu Hills. With its 18 horses, guests can embark on thrilling horseback safaris alongside giraffes and wildebeest. The lodge’s six suites and family tent offer stunning views of Mount Kilimanjaro and private plunge pools. Ol Donyo Lodge is a perfect blend of luxury, adventure, and conservation.
Tortilis Camp: Privacy and Wildlife in Amboseli
Tortilis Camp offers a private and exclusive safari experience in Amboseli National Park. Located on the western side of the park, the camp provides guests with relative privacy. The camp’s 16 tents offer spacious accommodations and stunning views of the plains and Mount Kilimanjaro. Guests can enjoy game drives, guided walks, and visits to a local Maasai homestead. Tortilis Camp is the perfect choice for those seeking privacy and wildlife encounters.
Lewa Wilderness Lodge: Wildlife Conservation at its Finest
Lewa Wilderness Lodge is one of Kenya’s original safari lodges, offering a unique blend of luxury and wildlife conservation. Located in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, the lodge is home to a thriving population of rhinos, elephants, and other wildlife. Guests can enjoy game drives, guided walks, and helicopter sightseeing. The lodge’s warm and intimate atmosphere, combined with its commitment to conservation, make it a truly special place to stay.
Sirikoi: Kenya’s Most Luxurious Lodge
Sirikoi is a luxurious lodge located in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. With its four luxury tents, two-room cottage, and three-bedroom private house, Sirikoi offers privacy and exclusivity. Guests can enjoy game drives, bush walks, and visits to local communities. The lodge’s commitment to luxury, conservation, and personalized service make it one of Kenya’s most sought-after safari lodges.