Are you searching for a safari holiday that provides an African adventure complete with stays at accommodations visited by some of history’s greatest minds, intrepid explorers and royalty? Then the following luxury lodges in Kenya will make your wildest dreams come true! Read on for our five most luxurious lodges to be found in the country…
With four poster beds, airy tents, zebra-skin rugs and decadent furniture, Cottars 1920s provides an authentic safari atmosphere, and is ideal for those seeking an introduction to safari holiday in Africa. As the oldest established safari outfitters in Africa, your privacy is guaranteed with a secluded location of 20,000 acres and only 10 tents available. Started by Charles Cottar and his sons, who pioneered photographic safaris in Africa, the camp has gone from strength to strength over the decades, with Charles’ great-grandson son Calvin at the helm. Notable visitors to the camp have included clients such as the Duke and Duchess of York, and Woolworths Donahue. Though wildlife sightings can be had during game drives and bush walks, many visitors prefer the sky-high perspective of the Serengeti that a balloon safari yields, with the option of champagne being served upon touchdown.
Forget all about the outside world when you visit Ol Seki Hemingways, an opulent lodge in Kenya with incredible views. Built as a tribute to legendary author Earnest Hemmingway, the lodge aims to recreate the glamour of yesteryear safari holidays and combine it with all the refined elegance and luxury that Kenya lodges have become known for. In fact, it’s easy to understand why Hemmingway, the adventurous American writer, found inspiration for novels in the golden hued plains and fiery sunrises that turn Masai Mara’s sky into a colourful display of blood reds, pinks and oranges. Revel in the unique location by going on a bush safari, picnic, and dinner, or gain insight into the local history and culture by chatting with the local Ndorobo tracker, and visiting the ancient Ndorobo cave. Up the romance factor by going an evening game drive followed by sipping champagne on your private deck and star gazing. The friendly staff will ensure you have plenty of privacy as they do an evening turn-down service on decadent king-sized bed.
With Meru National Parks abundant beauty on its doorstep, and home to the original camp of George Adamson’s lions, which you likely know from the movie “Born Free”, Elsa’s Kopje Lodge caters to the romantics at heart, and the naturalists alike. The Rhino Sanctuary, elephant herds you can view on bush walks and game drives, and variety of diverse wildlife species in the reserve make this an ideal place to take photographs of your safari holiday. Unwind after a day of adventuring with a massage, and a swim in the circular swimming pool, or head out on a cultural excursion to the nearby Taraka village. You can even opt to spend the entire day in your open-plan cottage and watch game through binoculars from your king-sized bed.
Within the arid plains of Shaba National Reserve, you will find every comfort you seek at the oasis of Joys Camp. This luxury Kenya lodge is ideal for lovers of wildlife, as the tented homes have an ideal view over a natural spring, which serves as a local water hole to oryx, giraffe, zebra, dik diks and buffalo herds. Visit the local villages and markets, the interesting Magado Crater and keep an ear and eye out for the numerous bird species. Joys Camp is where Joy Adamson, author of “Born Free” and wife of George Adamson, spent her final years. Joy Adamson was an accomplished painter, and keeping with her tradition of documenting the people and plants of Kenya, you can purchase a mini painting safari pack, from the on-site shop, and capture the magic of the open skies and incredible wildlife.
Catering to discerning clients, Lewa Safari Camp has the distinction of being one of the top lodges in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, which is frequented by celebrities and royalty – in fact, it’s where Prince William and Kate Middleton stayed before the prince’s proposal! Some of the main draws of Lewa Safari Camp are the simple elegance, safari breakfast picnics, horse and camel safaris, locally sourced goods, and outstanding views of Northern Kenya. Wildlife you can spot includes rhino (which the conservancy breeds), hyena, lions, leopards, zebra, oryx, and jackals; as you navigate the vast wetland, forests, and savannah that the reserve encompasses. Return to your spacious tent in the afternoons to enjoy cocktails on your private deck in summer, or curl up in front of a crackling log fire in winter.
Ash Sofat is Chief Executive at Somak Holidays.