Part of being in Kenya which is so unusual and different to other parts of Africa is the fact that the properties are often owner run, or have managers in who have lived there for many years and see the camp or lodge as home. This adds a certain charm to the properties which is unrivalled anywhere else and can often mean you leave your luxury safari with a new set of friends, and do not feel like a tourist. Here we run through our favourite family owned and run properties in Kenya.
Ol Malo has been in the Francombe family for years with Colin and Rocky heading it up, and creating one of the most famous luxury lodges in Africa. Now Andrew and Chyulu also run the show and here you really do feel part of the furniture as soon as you arrive. The lodge has some of the most dramatic and mind blowing views in all of Laikipia (Northern Kenya) and offers an authentic cultural experience with the local Samburu (who have worked alongside Colin and Rocky for many years conserving the area).
Sarara is far up in Northern Kenya in the Mathews Range and was pioneered by Piers Bastard, whose two sons Joffy and Jeremy have now taken over from. This camp is very special due to is amazing location which is as wild as it gets. Nights spent out in the star camp are a must and literally everything you see or experience here will be extraordinary.
Sirikoi is the long term home of the Roberts family, and even when they’re not there they always have relations or members of the family into manage it so it’s certainly a family affair. Sirikoi is extremely comfortable and manages to be very homely but extremely luxurious. It sits facing a waterhole which is often frequented by elephants and lots of other game species and evenings round the fire are relaxed and informal.
Cottars has a very rich history when it comes to generations of Cottars living in Kenya and offering the first really luxurious safaris – the camp itself is reminiscent of the great camps they would often create for royalty and other celebrities back when safaris first became popular and you really do feel as if you’re stepping back in time. The family stories here are sensational and you won’t be disappointed.
Ol Donyo Lodge
Although Ol Donyo is not run so much as a family home anymore – it is the home of Richard Bonham who is one of the most famous first safari pioneers, this area is remote and wild and untouched and one can understand easily why he settled here. Ol Donyo is now an extremely exclusive and luxurious lodge but still manages to maintain that feeling of homeliness and friendliness. Here you can ride, walk, take day and night game drives and meet the local Masai who have also worked alongside Richard for years. Although you might not get to meet Richard himself this spot was born out of his love for this area and it certainly shows.