The Maasai Mara is synonymous with the classic safari experience. However, for the more curious traveller, Kenya offers numerous options for a revitalised and slightly different bush holiday. Check out some of our favourite picks available for booking across all budgets!
Poised on a rocky kopje, the 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 enjoy the most memorable 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.
There are also several activities to try during your stay. Perhaps try a camel safari, cycling or horse rides in the bush under the spectacular backdrop of Loisaba’s gold skies. Fishing is also available depending on the season.
Image by Mario Moreno
Guests are also welcome to learn more about Loisaba Conservancy’s dedicated anti-poaching unit. The team is comprised of four sniffer dogs – Warrior, Machine, Memusi and Nanyokie – and their human handler team.
Ol Pejeta Bush Camp is a relaxed tented camp set along the narrow Ewaso Ngiro River. The main mess tent overlooks the Ol Pejeta plains on the other side of the river. Sip your morning coffee while watching weaver birds flutter around the fever trees outside and spend evenings with a glass of wine by the fireplace.
All tents come complete with warm blankets for the winter mornings, re-chargeable solar lights and en suite bathroom with safari bucket showers and flushing toilets. The private veranda with safari chairs offers the perfect place to while away an afternoon. The mess tent is cool and breezy and offers diners impressive views of the wildlife at the salt lick on the opposite bank.
The campfire is where guests can gather to share stories and get to know one another after the afternoon game drive. Tucked up in bed later at night, listen out for the conservancy’s lions roaring to each other.
Ol Pejeta is also a special destination in that it is home to the last two remaining white rhinos in the world. Najin and Fatu live in a 700-acre enclosure protected by 24-hour armed security. Take the opportunity to visit and learn from the keepers about the efforts being taken to preserve the last of this highly endangered species, as well as view Grévy’s zebra and Jackson’s hartebeest in a private and intimate setting.
Captured by Martin Mwarangu
Arijiju certainly comes to mind when we think high luxury. Carved into the bedrock, the property blends so discreetly into the landscape that it’s hard to spot, even from the air. Determined to make the house as unobtrusive as possible, the exact position of the house, anchored by views of Mount Kenya, was chosen so that each of the bedrooms gets an elaborate, equatorial lightshow at sunrise.
The house was built using local timber and stone to tread as lightly as possible. At once contemporary and ancient, elemental and artisanal, its design was partly inspired by the monasteries of neighbouring Ethiopia. The living roof and roughhewn stone walls conceal five expansive suites, a cinema room, study, living room and dining room.
To the north and east of Arijiju lie snow-capped mountains, dense forests and sprawling deserts, while to the south looms Mount Kenya. Whichever way you face, it is towards adventure. You can choose from a myriad of curated experiences to colour your stay. Trek on horseback and arrive at a lavish breakfast of nut loaf and pressed juices in the dappled shade of towering hardwoods, heli-drop to fly-fish the lakes of Mount Kenya, explore the dunes at Suguta Valley or traverse the rocks at Kenya’s Northern Frontier.
Sieku combines the wholesome, back-to-earth feeling of camping with high-quality, well thought-out and special touches that you might expect to find in an upmarket safari lodge. Prioritising simple luxuries; unique accommodation and comfortable, rustic living, it offers proper middle ground alternative to mainstream accommodation options in Kenya.
With only five tents, and two primary living spaces, Sieku Glamping is purposefully small and personal. They can sleep a maximum of 20 guests and are perfect for families and exclusive, intimate gatherings. Each spacious, canvas bell-tent and tipi – which is imported from the UK – is romantically furnished with double beds and feather duvets, luxury mats and carpets, bespoke furniture and freshly cut flowers. Each tent has a beautiful, shaded porch with deck chairs, sofas and day pillows, as well as burners that allow you to enjoy the enormous night skies in full privacy and warmth by your own tent and living area.
The wildlife around Sieku Glamping is rich and varied. Nearby are the Big 5, and often elephant, buffalo, giraffe and other plain game can be seen from the camp . Cheetahs have recently been seen on the drive into Sieku Glamping and lions can often be heard moaning on the plains below at night. The bird life is also highly varied – with several birds of prey and many other species.
Located within Loisaba Conservancy, Elewana Loisaba Lodo Springs offers an ultra-private experience with eight individual, spacious tented rooms with impressive views that reach across the magical landscape of northern Kenya stretching out to Mount Kenya.
Service is paramount, with each room assigned an Elewana Guest Ambassador to serve and cater to guests’ every need, as well as a dedicated safari vehicle and a highly qualified Elewana field guide who will accompany guests for the duration of their stay. As the property sits on a vital Elephant Corridor connecting the famous Laikipia Plateau, it plays a key role in supporting one of Kenya’s largest and most stable lion populations. The Conservancy is also home to several critically endangered large mammals, including Grevy’s zebra, wild dog, leopard and cheetah.
Eight generously spacious and airy en-suite rooms are custom-designed and bathed in natural light with large floor-to-ceiling doors and windows, polished wood floors, stylish up-cycled antique and vintage furniture in warm hues recalling the surrounding landscape and wide verandas offering breath taking views overlooking the Laikipia plains below.
Rooms include a comfortable lounge area with inviting chairs and writing desk. Bathrooms are luxurious with solar-heated hot water cascading from a rainfall shower to deliver a revitalizing cleanse after an action-packed day along with double-basin vanity and flush toilets. Curl up with a book or relax and take in the view of Loisaba from one of the plush double sunbeds located on the outside veranda.