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Safari Lodges and Safari Camps in Kenya

 

 


 

Mara Sopa Lodge

The Mara Sopa Lodge is a fairly modern place and has a commanding view.It has been attractively designed and built

 



 

Keekorok Lodge

The Keekorok Lodge is one of the Block Hotels and is an older but well maintained lodge on a grassy plain.Keekorok is one of the two lodges which operates ballon flights

 



 

Mara Sarova Lodge

The Mara Sarova Lodge is part of the Sarova Hotel chain and is not far from the Sekenani Gate and has the works,including a swimming pool



 

Fig Tree Camp

Along the northern banks of the Talek River is the Fig Tree Camp.It is attractively designed,has a swimmingpool,and is approached across a wooden bridge from the car park on the opposite bank.It is a tented Camp with full board in the high season.This is the other lodge from which you can take a balloon safari.It is wise to book them in advance at the Nairobi office though you can also do this at the camp.Game drives,game walks and even horse safaris are available.


 


 

Mara Intrepids Club

The Mara Intrpids Club is like the Fig Tree Camp along the northern banks of the Talek River and is considerably more expensive but does include fullboard and game drives.The views over the river from the bar are excellent,as are the sunset views over the plains.



 

Mara Serena Lodge

In the centre of the reserve is the Mara Serena Lodge on a superb site overlooking the Mara River.It blends in beautifully with the surrounding countryside and was built to resemble a modern Maasai village.It is an interpretation of a traditional Masai Manyatta village of connected domed huts,located on the saddle of the hill.Views vary, however most of the 74 rooms overlook vast rolling plains,woodlands and rivers that make up the Masai Mara triangle.The dining room terrace overlooks a waterhole and the swimming pool faces the vast plains below.


 

Mara Safari Club

More expensive again is the Mara Safari Club,part of the Lonrho chain of Hotels.It is actually outside the reserve,so you do not pay the high park entry fees for just staying here.The camp is built on a bend in the Mara River,and the main building is cantilevered right out over the bank.All prices include three game drives per day.

 

Governor's Camp and Little Governor's Camp

In the northern section of the park is another group of tented camps including Governor's Camp and Little Governor's Camp,owned by the same people.These are both beautiful places little places where service is very personalised and excellent.Both places offer full board and game drives.

 

Kichwa Tembo Camp

Just outside the northern boundary of Masai Mara,is the Kichwa Tembo Camp which has spectacular savannah views.

 

Mara River Camp

Other accommodation outside the park north of Oloololo Gate includes the Mara River Camp which offers game drives and game walks.

 

Siana Springs

About 15 km from Sekenani Gate is another tented lodge,Siana Springs.The cottages are dotted around a beutiful green clearing with shady trees,sweeping lawns and flowers.There is an open bar and dining room and a roaring log fire at nightAlthough it is not actually in the reserve there is a lot of game around the camp itself.There is a baited hide nearby and you have a good chance of seeing leopards.Dawn walks and night time spotting game drives are also organised from the camp.

 

Sekenani Camp

Sekenani Camp is a small place with just 15 tents.They are offering full board and game drives.

 

Oseur Tented Camp

The Oseur Tented Camp is another in this area.Even if you cannot afford to stay in one of these camps,they are usually great places to drop in for a cleansing ale and perhaps a snack although,not surprisingly,prices are relatively high.The Mara Sarova Camp,Keekorok Lodge and Mara Serena Lodge all sell petrol and will usually part it to non guests,though prices are higher than in Narok or Nairobi

 

Oloolaimutiek Campsite

The Maasai run the Oloolaimutiek Campsite between the gate of the same name and the Mara Sopa Lodge at the eastern extremity of the park.This place is very popular with the budget safari outfits and is usually pretty lively.For a small fee the Maasai provide firewood and an askari(watchman) at night.The water supply here is very limited and if you need any water you will have to buy it from the Masai.The staff canteen of the nearby Mara Sopa Lodge is usually a lively place and you can get cheap meals and warm beer.

 

Shimba Hills Lodge

A beautiful rainforest setting provides the backdrop for Shimba Hills Lodge.Full of old world charm,the lodge is part of a tree house design perched on stilts above the floodlit watering hole.All rooms are comfortable and uniquely furnished and overlook the watering hole.Rooms have access to shared toilet and shower facilities.

 

Treetops

Perhaps Kenya's most famous hotel,Treetops was where Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II,on the death of her father GeorgeVI ,while she was staying in the original Treetops on the other side of the water hole.The original tree house was looted and burned down in 1955 by Mau Mau freedom fighters,the present ,much larger building is built on stilts among the trees.The lodge itself is tremendous fun,with growing branches of Cape chestnut twisting through the public rooms,and a dining room with trestle tables and polished benches.Intentionally like an officers' mess,it has something the creaking atmosphere of a wooden ship.Last renovated 1996,the bedrooms and shared facilities are nonetheless cramped.What you are paying for is the experience of Treetops,the opportunity to breathe the same air like the rich and famous.Photographs and letters framed on the varnished walls hark as far back as the 1930s and various royal and state visits.During daylight hours reality is never far below the surface.Through the forest,Kikuyu shambas and homesteads are visible in every direction and the main Nyeri road passes by just 3 km away.The lodge is no longer in the forest either.Down by the water hole,a large area is now virtually bare,red dust and dead wood,the result of foliage destruction by elephants.One patch has even been fenced in to protect new plant growth.The problem,as always,is balancing tourist receipts with the needs of wildlife,which themselves conflict with those of farmers on the slopes nearby.Many of the animals which come to Treetops are lured by the salt which is spread beneath the viewing platform every afternoon before the visitors arrive .This draws large herds of elephant and buffalo,but only very few rhino,and in the long term it would seem to ensure the ruination of the environment around the lodge.It certainly discourages those animals who need plenty of cover.The curious giant forest hog sometimes turns up,but leopards are rarely seen and the large bongo,that shy and elusive forest antelope has not been seen for years.

 

The Ark

The Ark is set at a higher altitude,actually in the mountain forest.Here,they do on occasion see leopards and perhaps once a year bongos.There are almost guaranteed nightly sightings of elephant,rhino and buffalo.Transport from the Aberdare Country Club leaves daily at 2.30pm and 5pm,returning at 8am .You should try to get an afternoon nap as you will be woken by buzzers through the night announcing the arrival of one of the big five.The attraction for wildlife is the muddy pool and saltlick at the prow of the hotel,under the viewing terrace and next to the ground level photographic hide.There is usually an animated scene here as the animals jostle for salt,and fights sometimes break out especially when new born calves are around.

 

The Aberdare Country Club

Situated 11 km out of Nyahururu road near Mweiga,then 3 km along a passable signposted murram road,the luxuriously rural Aberdare Country Club is the base for The Ark.The Aberdare Country Club is an exceptionally nice and atmospheric place,dating from 1938,with rooms in stone cottages,and a wealth of things to do.For non guests,there is a temporary membership fee,which includes the use of the pool,nine hole golf course,tennis courts and a visit on foot to their game sanctuary with its warthogs,reticulates giraffe,zebra,eland,waterbuck,impala and others.They also organize very reasonable Aberdare game drives,horse riding and trips to Solio Game Ranch. Despite its popularity,it remains classy,and visitors are rarely disappointed.

 

The Outspan Hotel

Two kilometres west of the clocktower on Kanisa Road,off the Kiandongoro Gate Road,The Outspan Hotel,built in 1927,is the stately base for visits to Treetops,where you check in for lunch and are driven up in the afternoon.It was here Nyeri that Lord Baden-Powell retired and it is not difficult to understand why.Set in beautiful gardens,with Mount Kenya rising behind,it offers more than enough reasons for staying here.The rooms vary in size,the larger ones being huge,with wonderful old baths,as well as more modern facilities including satellite TV in the new Chania Wing.There is a pool and some good walks along the Chania riverbank down on the fringes of the lovely gardens,though you have to go with a guard from the hotel.Adjacent to the hotel is Njeri Sports Club with a 3316 yard nine hole golf course,the second oldest in Kenya,founded in 1910.

 

Solio Game Ranch

Privately run,the Solio Game Ranch more or less single handedly saved the Kenyan rhino poulation from extinction,by breeding them here for them to be subsequently translocated into the National Parks and other Reserves.The figures speak for themselves.From an original population of 23 black rhino,there are now over 50,of the original 16 white rhino,imported from South Africa,the population stands at over 70. All of the relocated black rhinos and most of the white,at Nakurus National Park Rhino Sanctury were bred here.They have four basic Camp sites,but you will need a 4WD to get there or you need to hire a vehicle to get there.There are organized trips from the Aberdare Country Club.

 

Sangare Ranch

Near Mweiga ,you will find Kenya's possibly most charming luxury tented camp,Sangare Ranch.Access is via the Aberdare Country Club.The Sangare Ranch will pick you up in their own 4WD from the Club.Located some 5 km north of the club,the landscape and atmosphere could hardly be more different,the track winds up and down precarious forested ravines before emerging onto a fresh high plateau of scrub and meadow with a good view of Mount Kenyawhen the air is clear.There are only six tents,each with wood-heated showers and solar-powered light,sited on the east side of a small freshwater lake.The birdlife is the main draw,with black-headed herons squawking loudly in the trees over the tents,some migratory pelican,and glimpses of crowned eagle,accompanied by a fantastic chorus of frogs and toads throughout the night .

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