Did you know that safari means ‘long journey’ in Swahili? Well, you do now. A top contender on almost everyone’s bucket list – treetop lodges! elephants! – safari lodges in Kenya are an incredible experience.
With that in mind, we’ve narrowed it down to the very, very best safari lodges across the country. These are the lodges that you’ll never forget.
Best safari lodges in KenyaHow do these rankings work?
You can only hire this luxurious private safari camp in Kenya’s Laikipia plateau on an exclusive basis, so gather up your friends ASAP. Rooms include classic tents as well as cottages that overlook a watering hole.
The camp offers bespoke ‘Thinking Man’s Safaris’ – guests provide topics that interest them and the camp will source speakers, often leaders in their field, who can develop those interests over fireside chats.
Naibor, a Masai word for ‘space’, is a luxury camp deep in the heart of the Masai Mara National Reserve. Canvas tents with en-suite bathrooms are all throughout the forest.
The Mess tent and sociable fireplace area overlook the Talek River with its resident pod of hippos, with comfortable floor-cushions, rugs and sofas to sink into after a day in the bush.
Could this be the most famous lodge in all of Africa? We’re guessing it’s a firm yes. Giraffe Manor is a boutique hotel in one of Nairobi’s most iconic buildings, with classic safari-style rooms.
But the most fascinating thing about Giraffe Manor is its herd of resident Rothschild’s giraffe who visit morning and evening in the hope of treats. The hotel doubles up as a giraffe sanctuary with a breeding programme that aims to reintroduce pairs of the giraffes back into the wild.
Il Ngwesi is a fantastic community-run camp set on the Il Ngwesi group Ranch. Built into the side of a hill from locally sourced materials – wood, rock and thatching – it’s managed and hosted by a team of Maasai moran (warriors).
It’s an incredible chance to experience the African wildlife, as it’s also a rhino sanctuary. You’ll even get to dine in the village of some of the camp’s warrior staff – expect lots of dancing!
With breathtaking views over the Masai Mara, this camp is set just below the spot where Out of Africa’s famous final scene was filmed. Luxurious rooms have antiques and hand-crafted artefacts that add a vintage safari vibe.
After all your game viewing, chill out with dinner beneath the stars, followed by fireside port and cigars.
This romantic lodge is really something else. Elsa’s Kopje is in Mughwango Hill, above the site of George Adamson’s original camp where he raised and released orphan lions, long before conservation became fashionable.
Each private cottage is enormous, with views of the plains of Meru National Park. Expert guides know the territory of the Meru lions and leopards, and can also show you medicinal properties of the unusual plants, are keen birders, and the home of the tiny naked mole rat!
This amazing camp is nearby the base of Mt. Kenya – Africa’s second tallest mountain – Lewa Wilderness is one of the best safari lodges in Kenya.
There’s just nine rooms, all of which have antique and handmade furniture, giving each one rustic charm and slick views. As for activities? Go game viewing to see the rhinos, or just two minutes walk from the lodge, the Stables are home to over 30 horses and ponies.