Kenya is on the up again, it still remains one of the best luxury safari destinations in the world with more cultural variety than any other country, and better game viewing than many of them. The freedom to explore here is also unrivalled and the vast expanses of wilderness cannot fail to enchant any safari goer. There are still vast areas of remote private community land with one or two lodges and camps within them – often meaning no people and amazing game viewing. Kenya boasts everything from wild rolling hills, open plains, rivers, lakes, white sandy beaches and mountains. Here are our top ten Kenya safari camps and lodges which should be on your list for 2016:
1 Richard’s River Camp – Masai Mara, Southern Kenya
This luxury tented camp is based in a remote and wild area of the Masai Mara so can boast game drives with abundant wildlife and very few other vehicles. The camp itself is quirky and luxurious with a unique style which is both spoiling and very relaxing. The camp atmosphere is homely and one of great fun – never will you laugh as much as you will with the experienced team at Richard’s.
2 Sirikoi – Lewa, Northern Kenya
Sirikoi is family owned and run and is set in an unspoilt location in the world famous Lewa Wildlife Conservancy – the area is famous for it’s fantastic rhino conservation. Sirikoi is set overlooking a marsh and waterhole which is visited by elephants on an almost daily basis. The rooms are spread out and feel exclusive and luxurious. The swimming pool and dining area are tranquil and peaceful.
3 Saruni Samburu – Samburu, Northern Kenya
This lodge is unlike any other in Africa – built onto a hot Samburu rock it boasts vast views across the whole of the Kalama Conservancy – the game in Samburu National Reserve is amazing but the real magic happens at the lodge. The exceptional Samburu guides and staff are always on hand and the vast suites that make up this exclusive slice of Kenya are so spoiling you’ll never want to leave.
4 Sarara – Mathew’s Range, Northern Kenya
Sarara is also family owned and run and is located in one of the most breathtakingly beautiful locations one could hope to find anywhere in the world. The camp is famous for it’s walking, amazing leopard sightings and generally extraordinary location. A highlight here is the star-camps which allow guests to sleep out on the dry riverbeds and admire the thousands of twinkling stars visible from here. A visit to the famous singing wells is also a must.
5 Shompole Wilderness Camp – Lake Natron, Southern Kenya
This unknown new property is worth a look for those wanting to get off the beaten track, it is located in an area which is so wild you will feel like you’re at the ends of the earth, but has fantastic game viewing all year round. Lake Natron also provides a heavenly insight into the flamingo filled lakes of the Great Rift Valley.
6 Desert Rose – Northern Samburu, Northern Kenya
Desert Rose is also one of the most remote lodges in all of Africa. It is perfectly located as a retreat to get away from it all, within easy access by helicopter of Lake Turkana. Desert Rose is quirky and unique and again the scenery here will take your breath away. Walking here is a highlight and the sense of wilderness here is unrivalled.
7 Mara Plains Camp – Masai Mara, Southern Kenya
Mara Plains Camp is unrivalled in terms of luxury tented camps – it is very grand but remains relaxed and informal. Their location in the Mara North Conservancy again allows for premium game viewing with no other vehicles around and everything about this place just oozes finery and glamour.
8 Angama Mara – Masai Mara, Southern Kenya
Angama is the newest property to hit the Masai Mara but unlike many other tented camps that pop up there this lodge is truly in a league of it’s own. Built overlooking the plains of the Mara triangle, wedged into the Great Rift Valley Escarpment, this lodge is quirky, modern and extremely luxurious.
9 Offbeat Mara – Masai Mara, Southern Kenya
Offbeat Mara is a more rustic option for those not wanting to break the bank, but offers a truly authentic and thrilling safari option. The resident pride of lion is often nearby and the emphasis here is on freedom in the Mara with walking, night drives and much more being a highlight here. The tents are spacious and very comfortable and game viewing is often best from the verandah of your tent.
10 Mobile Safaris – all over Kenya
Kenya is still the market leader when it comes to mobile safaris – these luxury or more rustic options are booked on an exclusive use basis and give clients the option to get into the most remote areas possible with a private expert guide and a completely private camp. These can be as luxurious or rustic as the budget allows but always offer a magical safari experience unlike any other.