Laikipia has a magic about it which is unrivalled in Kenya – we’re not sure whether it’s the vast open spaces with views of the jagged and much romanticised Mount Kenya, or the abundant game, or maybe the fact that in Laikipia you feel like you’re in ‘real Africa’, with a freedom and an informality which is now hard to find in other luxury safari locations. We presume this is why the luxury lodges in Laikipia often outweigh those in other parts of Kenya, in both luxury, charm and comfort. Taking a luxury safari in Laikipia is all about being out in the wilds, it is not necessarily about chic décor and plush furnishings but about actually feeling like you live in Africa, being enveloped into someone’s home and feeling like you belong – this is why Laikipia draws many back time after time. Here are our top five luxury Laikipia lodges.
Now we know we bang on about Sirikoi all the time, but that’s because it is actually quite special – it’s location on a marsh, with views of the plains and a water hole in front of camp is one of the most tranquil in all of Africa. Elephant families feed happily all day amongst the long grass and one can literally while away hours watching the game come to and from the water hole. Our MD recently watched two male waterbuck fight until one ran into the water, a sign of giving up, while the other one was chased off by an angry elephant who resented his midday drink being disturbed. Leopard live in the pristine forest which surrounds the back of the camp and grevy zebra graze on the lawn all day. The camp is home to Willie and Sue Roberts, two famous safari operators who have made this camp what it is – that combined with a wonderfully warm and friendly management team make this a unique and charming stay (there are luxury tents, a cottage and a house for those wanting more privacy).
Enasoit is booked on exclusive use only and boasts one of the best water holes in all of Africa for attracting game. There are four small dams in front of this amazing camp and all day you will see hundreds and hundreds of zebra, eland, impala, elephant, buffalo and other game species. At night lions and jackal prowl the plains around camp. Enasoit is very relaxed and offers a true Laikipia homestead experience – the camp is informal and home to Pete and Karen Glover who make the warm heart of the lodge – they will look after you brilliantly and it is heaven to have your own slice of Africa as you do here. With easy access to the stunning Loldaigas and horses for riding safaris this is a place one can truly relax, whilst exploring some of the more remote areas.
Segera is for a very certain type of client, this luxury Laikipia lodge oozes glamour and is very much a luxury retreat in the bush – the spa and gym are second to none and the food is straight from a top London restaurant. Game here is not as dense as at Sirikoi or Lewa but the experience is rich in other things. The landscape here is flat and it boasts rolling plains, rivers and waterfalls. Segera’s owner does a huge amount for the local community and conservation through his own Zeitz Foundation. The private house is something to be admired, with an old Bentley and Landrover in the sitting room and dining room respectively and the infinity pool looks out across the plains. The staff here are all incredibly friendly, with efficient and professional attitudes to their work and real charm.