While Laikipia is now for its exclusive conservancies and the luxury camps and lodges within them, there are various budget options for anyone looking to explore without breaking the bank. Tamara Britten rounds up these six.
1. Sieku Glamping
Sieku has taken the concept of glamping – or glamorous camping – and made it Kenyan. These bell tents have snug beds with quilted duvets, fluffy rugs and views over the distant valley. With an enticing mess tent and a selection of places to chill out and stare at the view, there are plenty of places to while away your day. We particularly enjoyed the outdoor bathrooms and loos-with- a-view!
Rates: 5,500 Ksh per double tent
2. Colobus Cottages
On the banks of the Burguret River, these rustic cottages overlook woodlands filled with an abundance of birdlife. They have two and three bedrooms, their own kitchen and deck, and are fully furnished complete with bed linen, towels and eco-charcoal. The cottages are equipped for self-catering or – with prior arrangement – meals can be served. Fun things to do here include fishing for rainbow trout, bird watching and relacing to the sounds of nature.
Rates: 3,500 Ksh per person self catering, Plus 900 Ksh for a full English breakfast, and 1,500 for a two-course dinner.
3. Rangeland Hotel And Campsite
Known best for its delicious nyama choma, this attractive garden restaurant also has comfortable cottages and rooms. This spacious and friendly place just outside Isiolo has a campsite, conference centre and playground. It is bustling with bickering weaverbirds and rock hyracks. The garden is filled with trees whose produce supplies the restaurant with fresh fruit, and rabbits and geese stroll around the grounds. Stop here to eat or sleep – or hang out at the buzzing bar.
Rates: 4,000 Ksh per person B&B.
4. Naro Moru River Lodge
Known by many as a base for climbing Mt Kenya, this appealing lodge is much more than that. On the banks of the Naro Moru River, the lodge has rooms, cottages and country houses, as well as a conference centre, a couple of restaurants and bars with views of the mountain. With a swimming pool, tennis courts, table tennis, squash court and sauna, there’s plenty to do within the grounds. Alternaively, venture further afield for bird watching, hiking or cycling.
Rates: From 7,100 Ksh per person per night B&B, From 8,400 Ksh per person per night half board, From 9,700 Ksh per person per night full board.
5. Rift Valley Adventures
With a host of conservation, eco and downright fun activities, this is the place to send your kids for an all-round introduction to the Kenyan bush. Working alongside the rangers of Ol Pejeta, jumping into the gorges of Ngare Ndare Forest, climbing Mt Kenya, learning about traditional Maasai medicine and mountain biking across the bush are just some of the activities on offer here. The tents are comfortable and the mess tent accommodating too.
Rates: From 7,000 Ksh per person, Minimum group size: five people.
6. Kongoni Camp
This friendly staple on the outskirts of Nanyuki has rooms and rondavels as well as a popular bar: come for pizzas fresh from the wood-fired oven, tasty steaks, fresh salads and an extensive selection of cocktails and shots. The camp also offers a spa, restaurant, gift shop and a bunch of places to hang out around the spacious gardens. Start your climb of Mt Kenya here, or just stay and enjoy the views. There is even a pool for guests staying at the camp.
Rates start from 5,600 Ksh per single and 10,000 Ksh per double.