Top 10 Best Kenya Safari Lodges

The best safari lodges in Kenya

There are few places more synonymous with the African safari than Kenya, a country of lakes, rivers, sweeping savannahs and mountain highlands. Kenya’s national parks and wildlife reserves – including Tsavo, Amboseli and the world-famous Masai Mara – provide habitat for a prodigious number of iconic African species, including hippos, cheetahs, giraffes, zebra, wildebeest and of course the Big Five.

Kenya’s rich wildlife, stunning landscapes and captivating cultures have drawn safari-goers here for over a century, and today the country offers a plethora of accommodation options for those wishing to write their own page in this storied history. While the best camp or lodge for you is the one that best suits your needs on safari, there are undoubtedly a number of standout getaways to choose from in Kenya; we’ve asked our Africa experts to outline the cream of the crop, which you can see below.

Rekero Camp

Situated in the centre of the Masai Mara National Reserve, this traditionally styled tented camp is perfectly placed for those looking to witness the incredible natural spectacle that is the Great Migration. Each of the eight spacious tents at Rekero has a view over the Talek River, and with luck you may even be able to see herds of wildebeest crossing this waterway, as they make their way to their seasonal feeding and calving grounds. The mighty Mara River is also just a short game drive away. Along with its unbeatable riverside location, Rekero’s charming rustic décor and friendly staff make this a much sought-after oasis.

Angama Mara

Roughly translated into Swahili as “suspended in mid-air”, Angama Mara is perched 300 metres above the plains of the Masai Mara, offering breathtaking views of the landscape below. There are in fact two camps here on the hilltop, each with 15 tented suites whose floor-to-ceiling windows make best use of Angama Mara’s enviable vantage point. Either camp would be ideal for the traveller looking for a little extra indulgence during their stay in the Mara – in addition to the views, guests can make use of a gym, library, swimming pool and dining room, all finished in a modern style with splashes of Maasai red.

Nay Palad Bird Nest

An utterly unique safari concept, this timber rotunda rises 20 feet above the Laikipia plains and comes complete with a fully equipped bathroom, solar-powered running water, living room with circular double bed, beautiful interior decorations, and a rooftop deck from which guests can marvel at the natural panorama presented to them beyond the “nest”. Designed by award-winning architect Daniel Pouzet, Nay Palad Bird Nest is a one-of-a-kind lodge that can act as a romantic getaway for two or a small family’s holiday home – providing the kids are happy to camp out at the top of the nest, underneath a blanket of stars. Make sure to get a bird’s-eye view of wildlife flocking to the nearby river as the sun comes up.

Giraffe Manor

Perhaps the best-known entry on this list – and certainly one of the most sought after – is this boutique hotel set within private land and gardens in Nairobi. The long-necked residents from whom Giraffe Manor gets its name are of course the star attractions; where else on earth can you share breakfast with a 16 ft tall animal? There’s no roughing it in the stables either, as the giraffes quite happily poke their heads through the manor windows, making for eye-catching photo opportunities. Aside from the pleasures of the stately hotel itself, you’ll also be able to wander through 57 hectares of indigenous forest where the endangered Rothschild’s giraffes roam free.

Lewa Safari Camp

This luxury tented camp is the best way to experience the 62,000-acre Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, home to the world’s largest population of Grevy’s zebra and over 150 black rhinos. The 12 large Meru-style tents sit on raised wooden platforms, are shaded by thatched grass roofs and come furnished with everything you’d expect from a high-end African safari camp. The main building at Lewa Safari Camp once served as the headquarters of the local rhino sanctuary, and today provides as a comfortable base from which to embark on game drives into the wildlife-rich conservancy. The surroundings are so stunning that Prince William proposed to the future Duchess of Cambridge here!

Cottar’s Camp

The timeless 1920s décor is just the beginning of this camp’s multitude of pleasures. Situated within a private conservancy of the Masai Mara, you’ll be well placed for game-viewing activities on the Kenyan side of the border and can even see the sprawling plains of the Serengeti from the comfort of your camp. 10 luxurious and well-appointed marquee tents lend a real Out of Africa experience to proceedings, while the two main mess tent areas are perfect for a spot of socialising or fine dining. Cottar’s Camp prides itself on its ecological credentials (it was awarded Global Ecosphere Retreat status in 2014) and its Gold-standard guides.

Ngare Serian

In a remote corner of Kenya’s Mara North Conservancy, cross a narrow rope bridge built across the Mara River and you’ll find yourself at Ngare Serian, one of the standout offerings from Alex Walker’s Serian brand of luxury safari camps. There are just four tents here, each with four-poster beds set on hardwood decking and bathtubs built into your own private veranda, from which you can take in views of the picturesque Oloololo Escarpment. Guests here can enjoy the tranquillity that comes with 1,500 acres of private conservancy, and dine in style on the communal outdoor deck with pods of hippos wallowing below.

Mara Plains Camp

There are just five camps in the 35,000-acre Olare Motorogi Conservancy, and the accomplished Mara Plains is without a doubt the pick of the bunch. Nestled in verdant forest alongside the Ntiakitiak River, the camp evokes the grandeur and romance of old Africa by combining rich leathers, copper and brass with native woods, traditional Maasai hues of deep red and purple, and doors shipped in from Lamu Island on the Kenyan coast. All tents are en-suite with lavish bathrooms and even come with a complimentary Canon 7D camera, a matching set of lenses, and a pair of Swarovski 42x10 HD binoculars for use during your stay.

Ol Donyo Lodge

The Chyulu Hills provide the setting for one of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World, Ol Donyo. To the east is Tsavo National Park; to the west, Amboseli; and to the south lies Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro. As locations go, it’s hard to beat, and the lodge itself isn’t half bad either. There are six palatial suites here (plus a two-bedroom family unit), each with their own plunge pool and roof terrace where star beds can be set up for an intimate stargazing experience. Keep an eye out for “big tusker” elephants taking a drink from the lodge’s own watering hole.

Loisaba Lodge

If you’re looking for a Kenyan safari with a difference, the Loisaba Conservancy in the country’s heartland offers a luxury wilderness experience away from the crowds of Kenya’s more popular reserves. Here you’ll find lions, leopards, cheetahs, kudu, reticulated giraffes and even the endangered painted dog, as well as Loisaba Lodge, with its unimpeded views of Mount Kenya and 12 stylish tents. Here you can recline on a star bed, look out upon the landscape from your floor-to-ceiling windows, peek over the expansive veranda to see the visitors at the watering hole, and partake in a spot of camel trekking.


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