Hidden Gems In Kenya
TUSITIRI DHOW - Lamu Kenya.
A dhow is a traditional wooden sailing boat originally built for carrying exotic spices and goods along the Indian Ocean trade routes.
Tusitiri was hand crafted as a trading vessel over 50 years ago. She has since been meticulously restored and converted by her current owners, and today she is a majestic and luxurious vessel offering dhow safaris in the Lamu archipelago in Kenya.
Tusitiri is ideal for families or a group of friends wanting a unique and private experience amongst the beautiful and historic islands of the north Kenyan coast.
Tusitiri can be chartered on an exclusive use basis for multi-night dhow safaris for up to 10 guests, and is also available for day trips from Lamu for up to 25 guests.
Life on-board is relaxed and centered on Tusitiri’s broad deck, with sumptuous cushioned seating areas and a dining area arranged around the wooden mast.
Meals are prepared in the open-air galley kitchen at the bow, and served in the shaded dining area. There are beautiful views over the ocean, quiet corners to relax, and the day-cabins below deck provide storage and changing facilities.
At night, brass lanterns light up the deck and comfortable white linen bedrolls are set up on deck. On Tusitiri, all the beds are star-beds!
Tusitiri Dhow is based in the pristine Lamu archipelago – a rare gem in the Indian Ocean. Although quiet and seemingly forgotten, the archipelago has welcomed travelers for over a thousand years and is steeped in history – Lamu Town is the oldest living town in East Africa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Long white sandy beaches are fringed with palm and acacia trees; turquoise waters teeming with marine life are curved and shaped by mangrove forests. The archipelago is unspoilt and has become known as a world-renowned fishing, cultural and historical marine ‘Mecca’.
ENASOIT CAMP - Laikipia Plateau.
Enasoit is a luxury tented camp in the wildlife rich Laikipia highlands of Kenya. The camp is an enchanting exclusive property, catering for only one group of guests at a time, and offering a uniquely private safari experience. Enasoit guests have the camp and surrounding wildlife reserve all to themselves – an ideal retreat for families and groups of friends.
As a small and intimate camp, Enasoit has unique charm. It is relaxed and welcoming, yet luxurious and beautifully appointed.
An Enasoit safari offers remarkable wildlife encounters and an array of exciting ways to experience the wilderness. One of the most distinctive features of Enasoit Camp is the extraordinary wildlife activity at the waterhole, located just in front of the main Mess Tent – the perfect viewpoint for wildlife-viewing from the comfort of an armchair.
Enasoit is located in the Laikipia highlands of Kenya - a rich and diverse natural treasure, boasting some of Kenya's most extraordinary and endangered wildlife and vast, pristine wilderness areas.
Enasoit Camp and the surrounding reserve sit within a natural wildlife corridor and the density of wildlife and biodiversity is exceptional.
Guests can explore the reserve on horseback, on foot or by vehicle always accompanied by one of our experienced guides, or they can simply watch the wildlife wander past from their verandah - enjoying both the tranquility and thrill of a safari without seeing any other visitors.
LARAGAI HOUSE - Borana Conservancy.
Laragai House lies just 27 kilometres north of the equator and 6,000 feet above sea level, on Borana Conservancy. This unique geographical location makes the 32,000 acre ranch a haven for a wide diversity of wildlife: bufallo, eland, hartebeest and herds of plains game. Reticulated giraffe are commonly seen nibbling the acacias, while the cooler forests shelter bush buck, colobus monkey, the endangered Patas monkey and elephant. Predators are also found here, but not in large numbers, including large packs of wild dog, leopard, lion and cheetah. Set o in search of wildlife in our open land rovers, on horseback, bicycle, on foot, by plane or even in a helicopter. In addition to this multitude of activities available at our house, the Conservancy oers a host of incredible trips; from exploring turquoise pools at the bottom of waterfalls, walking above a canopy of 200 year old trees, night-time y camping, cultural experiences, shing on mountain tarns as well as paragliding. The interior of the house features beautiful local furniture with luxurious carpets from Rajasthan, fabrics from London and art we have collected over the years. Our friendly and professional sta will do everything possible to ensure your stay is special and tailored to your needs. Meet the rangers and wildlife scouts that protect one of Africa’s most iconic species, the rhino and create memories that will last forever.
MANDA BAY - Lamu.
Manda Bay is a small boutique lodge located on the tip of an unspoiled, idyllic island in Lamu’s archipelago where you kick off your shoes and enjoy simplistic beauty in palm thatched cottages and open living spaces. Manda Bay is perfect for honeymooners, families and groups looking to enjoy time together.
Manda Bay combines a bush and beach experience. Whilst miles of soft white sand and coconut palms surround the lodge itself, the bush behind the lodge is dry country scattered with Doum palms, Acacia Tortilis and savannah-like scrub. A variety of birds and mammals (mongoose, civet cat, porcupine, genet cat, dik-dik, buffalo and bushbuck) can be seen on the island.
Manda Bay offers beautiful beach front accommodation, informal pampering and barefoot luxury. All the buildings are in keeping with the local landscape and are constructed using palm and driftwood and local building techniques.
Governors' Mugie House - Laikipia.
Mugie House Opened in April 2020, Governors' Mugie House is the perfect addition to the Governors' Camp Collection, expanding an already diverse array of wildlife locations and activities.
Set out around a hill in the heart of Mugie conservancy, each stone-cottage enjoys sweeping views over the Laikipia plains or the colourful gardens. The interior design brings eye catching colours and patterns to an airy and expansive landscape, creating the perfect welcoming nature retreat.
Covering almost 50'000 acres, Mugie Conservancy provides a key wildlife access route between the Laikipia plateau, the Mathews Range and the Samburu lands to the north and east. Vast acacia-dotted savannahs, scrubland and olive forests are a haven to a multitude of wildlife in plentiful numbers, including all the big cats, buffalo, elephants and endemic northern Kenyan species such as Grevy's Zebra, Jackson's Hartebeet and Reticulated Giraffe.
OL MALO - Laikipia.
Ol Malo is a privately-owned game sanctuary on the banks of the Uaso Nyiro River in Kenya's wild and beautiful North Eastern Province - 5000 acres of spectacular bush country overlooked by Mount Kenya and teeming with the elusive antelope from which the land takes its name. In this majestic setting - on a rock escarpment on the edge of the Laikipia Plateau,bordering the tribal heartlands of the nomadic Samburu people – the Francombe family and their Samburu neighbours have created a home for themselves and a dream destination for the privileged few who seek a glimpse into the true heart of Africa.They are pleased to be able to share their vision, their experience and their way of life with guests from around the world, either in the hospitality of the family home or in a large self-contained house in the grounds of one of the most stunning properties in east Africa.
To stay at Ol Malo is to live by a different rhythm – measure the day by the timeworn patterns of nature. Wake up to see the awe inspiring sunrise, framing the snow-capped peaks of Mt. Kenya. Celebrate the new day with a dawn ride into the wilderness to view the animals as they awake. Feel the night’s chill burn off with the rising of the great equatorial sun while enjoying a bush breakfast. Keep the tempo of the world by the roll of the camel’s stride. Visit the colorful Samburu nomads of the North and sink with the dying sun into the waters of the pool. At night luxuriate in the peace and comfort of Ol Malo and tune into the magical sounds of wild Africa while dining under an ancient starscape.
DESERT ROSE - Northern Kenya.
Desert Rose, a unique eco-friendly lodge located at 5,500 feet (1676 meters) above sea level on the verdant cedar forest slopes of Mt Nyiru which towers majestically above the Elbarta plains, between Karisia Mountains and Lake Turkana in North Kenya. It consists of five unique houses accommodating up to twelve people.
The remote location of the lodge, its closeness to nature, and surreality amid the wilderness creates a unique atmosphere of spirituality and attracts not only people but also wild animals, like the friendly leopard which lives nearby and can be heard from a distance in the early morning and at dusk. There is no network at the lodge. However, there is a place we normally refer to as the “Safaricom rock”, where if the weather permits, you can get some network, hence the name.
LENGISHU - Laikipia.
Lengishu is a stunning exclusive-use family home on the pioneering Borana Conservancy in Northern Kenya. For varied adventures including tracking rhino on foot – Lengishu has it all!
Perched on a ridge with views across the Laikipia plains and deep into the Northern Frontier, Lengishu is made up of a main house, pool house and four separate cottages, creating a private retreat for up to 12 people.
Guests have the freedom to choose their own itinerary and are not bound by the constraints of other safari lodges. Activities are in abundance and fully flexible, including private game drives both on land and by air, mountain biking and horse riding through the conservancy, as well as the rare opportunity to help with the conservation efforts by helping to track rhino on foot.
Both Lengishu and Borana Conservancy have sustainability at front of mind - Lengishu is built with locally sourced materials, expertly crafted by local artisans.
ALFAJIRI VILLAS - Diani Beach.
Alfajiri Villa’s are renowned as Kenya’s most exclusive beach retreat and is wildly lavish, opulent and individual. A complete one off, there is no comparable villa experience in East Africa – privacy and exclusivity on the Kenyan coast doesn’t come any better than this. Comprising of three completely unique villas which can be booked individually for honeymoons, romantic breaks or family adventures. Each villa includes your own butler and offers unrivalled exclusivity, impressive private swimming pools and stunning beach views. Villa stays offer something incredibly personal and special – no sharing, ultimate privacy and ultimate downtime
BORANA LODGE - Borana Conservancy.
Borana Conservancy lies at the foot of Mt Kenya, a few miles North of the equator at 6,500 feet (almost 2,000 meters) above sea level. This 32,000 acre private conservancy is typical of the foothills of Mount Kenya. With the mountain to the South and an arid landscape to the North, Borana is perfectly situated for wildlife.
The conservancy introduced black rhino in 2013 and the population has since thrived. In 2014, Borana Conservancy and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy to the East, took down their fences to form The Lewa-Borana Landscape, allowing the wildlife free reign on 92,000 acres of unspoilt African wilderness. The Lewa-Borana Landscape is a Key One Rhino population, one of only three in Kenya, home to over 100 black rhino and 92 white rhino: 14% of Kenya's rhino population.
Borana Lodge is at the heart of Borana Conservancy, with a fantastic view of Mount Kenya. The lodge is perched on a hillside above a dam, where herds of elephant regularly gather to bathe at lunch time. The presence of water close to the lodge attracts all kinds of characters; lion and leopard are regular nocturnal visitors and are sure to make themselves heard.
Borana Lodge has four stand-alone cottages with exceptional views. These cottages are unique, designed with the hillside in mind - not forgetting the finer details which make for true comfort. Two further cottages provide the perfect refuge for families. With a sitting room shared between a double and a twin, parents can rest assured that their children are safe in the room next door. The combination of privacy, natural beauty and an abundance of wildlife creates a unique setting for a truly memorable safari experience.
At Borana Lodge you will be guided and hosted by those who know Borana best, with a chance to explore the hills and valleys on foot, on horseback, in a car or on a mountain bike. Borana Lodge provides the ultimate location for action and relaxation.
With two strings of safari horses, game walks, mountain bikes, an abundance of birds, cross-cultural experiences and plenty of excuses for meals and nights in the bush there is never a dull moment at Borana Lodge. Topped off with an in house Safari Spa, there is something for everybody.
OL DONYO LODGE - Chyulu Hills Amboseli.
Ol Donyo Lodge is located between Amboseli and Tsavo National Parks and bordering Chyulu Hills National Park. This stunningly beautiful area is incredibly diverse, and often has spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro. No other lodge in Africa offers such a wide range of experiences, in such a private setting. As one of Kenya’s only two Relais & Chateaux properties (other being sister property Mara Plains Camp), the lodge is perched on a hillside with views of East Africa’s classic savannahs below.
The 16-bed lodge is a harmonious blend of contemporary and rustic, merging the landscape into each suite. Designed for a wide appeal, the lodge is a perfect getaway for families, honeymooners or multi-generational groups. What makes it a standout is its notable variety of activities – from cultural visits, good quality wildlife viewing, hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking – ol Donyo Lodge is a place to feel Africa, and get out from behind the wheel. Add to this the lodge’s creature comforts of fine dining, massage, infinity pool, star beds and multiple lounges, and it is a place to relax and unwind for days. Wildlife is here, but this semi-arid region does not host the volumes of the Masai Mara area, so the lodge is best paired with our sister properties there, Mara Plains and Mara Expedition Camps. Together, this combination gives guests the most well-rounded and complementary Kenya itinerary.
No two of the lodge’s eight suites is exactly the same, but what is consistent is the view to Mt. Kilimanjaro and the lodge’s famous waterhole as well as star beds atop each of the suites for sleeping under the night sky. Six of the lodge’s eight suites have private plunge pools, and two are connected for a ‘villa’ concept, with a shared common area and plunge pool, perfect for families or couples traveling together. Constructed of local thatch and gunnite, the suites blend with the environment despite their commanding design. Flashes of bright color interspersed with earthy tones, wildlife photography and local crafts punctuate the open-air layout.
The lodge’s main lounge, complete with grand stone fireplace, a small library, inviting open bar and expansive verandah are the place to rendezvous with new friends, and the local staff.
LOISABA STARBEDS - Laikipia.
Poised on a rocky kopje, the Elewana Loisaba Star Beds command sweeping views over an undulating valley and a permanent waterhole, frequented by resident wildlife.
Handcrafted four-poster wooden beds sit on raised wooden platforms jutting out from a thatched-roof accommodation and are rolled out each night for guests to sleep under the endless African sky.
Rustically designed to complement the surrounding environment, each star bed is individually built in harmony with the natural rocky features, incorporating a sitting area, and open plan bathroom with a view.
A team of traditional Samburu & Laikipiak Maasai warriors welcome and host you with their customary warm African hospitality.
Rising early to watch sunrise from your Starbed with a comforting hot beverage, the day ahead promises adventure, with a myriad of activities by which to experience Loisaba. A day of fun is rounded off with drinks by the log fire in the Starbeds lounge, sharing tall tales of the African bush, with the tale-telling continuing over a delicious shared dinner.
Elewana Loisaba Star Beds is a truly authentic and intimate African experience. "The biggest bedroom in the world, where the night sky is your ceiling and the hills in the distance are your walls".
SARARA CAMP - Samburu.
Sarara is found within the lands of the Namunyak Wildlife Conversation Trust. An area of approximately 850,000 acres which lies folded around the southern corner of the fabled Mathews Mountain Range of northern Kenya. This is home of the proud Samburu tribes people, a group of semi-nomadic pastoralists who have long shown tolerance for the wildlife that co-exists alongside their cattle.
The conservation work carried out by the Namunyak Trust to date has been hugely successful. As a result of the severe ivory poaching crisis of the 70’s and early 80’s there were no recorded elephants remaining in the Mathews Ranges by 1985. Today, several thousand elephants are living and breeding peacefully in the southern Mathews Range area. Together with a variety of other wildlife species such as buffalo, lion, leopard, cheetah, African wild dog, greater and lesser kudu, gerenuk, reticulated giraffe, impala and dik dik.
Sarara has six luxury tents, each positioned to maximise the stunning views of the Mathews Range of mountains and the animal watering hole. These tents are spacious and high ceilinged, with plenty of cupboard space, electric lighting and 24 hour hot and cold running water. Sarara has established itself as one of the 'hot spots' for quality leopard viewing in Africa and equally, for close-up sightings of the normally extremely shy lesser kudu antelope. The African wild dogs are frequently encountered in the Sarara valley too. Elephant, buffalo, giraffe, gerenuk, impala and warthogs are now regularly seen on our game drives and bush walks.
MARA NYIKA CAMP - Masai Mara.
Mara Nyika, meaning “Large Plains or Great Plains," is the newest edition to the Great Plains Conservation family of camps in Kenya. While this intimate camp of just five tents and one 2-bedroom family suite is set in a valley, straddling a small stream, the light-coloured canvas tents were designed to sit under the canopy of umbrella thorn trees while still offering guests views out over the bush. Walkways from tents to the main area evoke the feeling of a treehouse under canvas and the camp’s ethic and inspiration is one of exploration and adventure. Privacy is the key to Mara Nyika. Privacy to live, think, explore, be romantic and be pampered – all the while with one of the most spectacular backdrops Africa can provide.
Mara Nyika allows guests to explore the private and exclusive 50,000-acre Naboisho Conservancy, the second largest conservancy in the greater Maasai Mara region. “Naboisho”, means “coming together” in the Maasai’s Maa language and represents the 500 local landowners who came together to Naboisho Conservancy. The conservancy model combines the conservation of nature and cultural heritage, tourism and enhancement of livelihoods for the local communities. Each guest’s stay supports over 500 Maasai families with a sustainable livelihood and helps to ensures the conservation of this vital corner Maasai Mara eco-system. Many guests may opt to spend a few days in Mara Nyika combined with a stay at either Mara Expedition or Mara Plains Camp to get exposure to all three wildlife areas, namely the private Olare Motorogi and Naboisho Conservancies and Maasai Mara Reserve. Each wildlife experience from our camps is unique and offers a different face of the incredible Maasai Mara ecosystem.
SARUNI WILD - Masai Mara.
Saruni Wild is the private, 3-tents camp in the Masai Mara. Located on the world-famous Mara plains, in Lemek Conservancy, it is rich in wildlife and complete privacy, and is located very close to Mara North airstrip and to the border with the Masai Mara National Reserve. It has all the comforts: flushing toilets, hot and cold water, large showers, excellent cuisine and open Land Rovers. Elegantly styled, each tent has a large veranda with endless views over the vast open clearings of the ecosystem. The Maasai warriors come and dance at night around its big campfire. Saruni Wild’s new location boasts a large resident population of all the species that make the Mara the most famous wildlife reserve in the world, starting with its predators. This is true Africa and Saruni has trained their guides to the highest standard to provide a thrilling, adventurous but comfortable experience. The tented camp is an ideal base for those interested in watching the Great Migration, but also for all-year round safaris: Lemek Conservancy, with a low density of visitors and camps, is considered one of the most prolific areas of the ecosystem.
Saruni Wild is a tented camp elegantly and comfortably furnished with all the necessary luxuries of a wild yet classic safari.Surrounded by tens of thousands acres of pristine, untouched wilderness, the camp has the most classic Masai Mara setting. The wildlife thrive right next to its tents. Enjoy endless views, fire-lit meals under the vast African sky, guided game drives led by Maasai warriors.
Tortilis Camp - Amboseli.
Amboseli is best known for its unrivalled views of Kilimanjaro and its elephants, with over 1500 elephants in the parks eco-system, and featuring some of the largest in Africa.
Elewana Tortilis Camp is named after the flat-topped, umbrella thorn tree Acacia Tortilis, a sight synonymous with East Africa. It is situated in one of Amboseli's areas of Acacia Tortilis woodland, with the majestic backdrop of Africa's highest mountain, the snow-capped Kilimanjaro. Game drives, walks, sundowners and bush meals are enjoyed both inside the park, and within a private 30,000-acre game where Tortilis Camp is located.
Accommodations are designed with comfort in mind, with king or twin beds and elegant ensuite bathrooms. Exclusive accommodations are available in the luxurious Private House and Family Tent, set separately to the main camp, each enjoying access to a shared private pool and stunning views to Kilimanjaro.
Tortilis Camp has a main lounge, bar and dining area, all exquisitely built with natural materials and thatched roofs, and enjoying magnificent views of Kilimanjaro.