Kenya is the original safari destination, and as such there is a fantastic array of lodges catering for every type of traveller, and every budget. Starting from the bottom are the “drive in” cheaper safari lodges. We generally only work with the “fly in” camps, as we believe these offer a much higher quality safari experience. If you visit a “fly in” camp, you use the vehicles and guides from the lodges, and as such your guide is a real expert in the area and is primarily a guide, and only secondly a driver. When people do “driving tours” their guide is usually primarily a “driver” and will not know the specific areas you will be exploring. Also, we believe it is important to get to a destination quickly, so you can enjoy it fully, without having most of your trip being focussed on getting from A -B which can minimise your time at sightings.
Kenya lodges can be separated into a few categories. Across the board Kenya lodges are fairly classic and old school in their style, with an “out of Africa” atmosphere to them all. So you don’t get modern and luxurious, as you do in say Tanzania. Most of the camps in the Masai Mara tend to be tented, replicating the style of safari when it all began. You then get the more rustic yet permanent lodges in the Laikipia area. Then at the top end of luxury in Kenya, you get the authentic brick style permanent lodges, which offer an exceptional and unbeatable experience, if this is your style! It is not a country for the latest cutting edge architecture and all the mod cons, but it is brilliant at taking you back in time to where it all began.

The best tented camps in Kenya


The most basic of the “fly in” lodges are not really that basic, but more a glamping experience with big solid beds, en-suite “safari showers” and all in all, a very comfortable experience. This style of camp is typical for East Africa, and is particularly popular in Tanzania’s Serengeti, as the camps up sticks every few months to follow the Great Migration’s path around the Serengeti. In both Kenya and Tanzania these can get exceptionally luxurious, so there is a huge range of prices for this style of lodging.

The brilliant thing about Kenya is that it is quite a bit cheaper than the slightly more exclusive Serengeti. It has largely based itself on a high volume approach to tourism, which means the rates for even some exceptional lodges is relatively low. Starting at the bottom end of the tented camps is the unbelievable Kichwa Tembo which is only $450 per person per night in a standard tent. Then, you get the more luxurious tented options such as Mara Plains at $1,900 per person per night… Showing you don’t have to be in a permanent structure to get all the luxury in the world!

The best permanent lodges in Kenya


In the Laikipia region, which is made of of “ranches” of sorts, and offer a huge amount of activities because of their private concessions, there are a number of old school permanent safari lodges. Places like Borana have not changed much over the years – perfectly comfortable, rustic yet luxurious in their own charming way, to stay somewhere like this you would be looking at $700 per person per night… Bargain! Especially when you consider riding safaris are also included in the cost. Moving up a notch is the smarter barefoot-luxury option such as Ol Donyo in the Chyulu Hills at around $1,360 per person per night, and up again to the most luxurious options Kenya has to offer is the likes of Angama Mara which is $1,250 per person per night. 
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Kichwa Tembo - Greater Mara

Our View

 
This is the bigger &Beyond property that lies just next to the infamous Bateleur Tented Camp. Where Bateleur is aimed at the very top end of the market, Kichwa is aimed at less of an expensive price bracket. Featuring a good standard of rooms, the camp is located not far from the entrance to the Mara Reserve. This is without doubt one of the best value options in the whole of East Africa, offering the full andBeyond experience at a fraction of the typical cost.
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    Cost: $530
    Kinondo Kwetu - Indian Ocean Mainland

    Our View

    Located on the quiet beach at Galu, Kinondo Kwetu is ideally located on the southern coastline of Kenya. The concept behind the lodge is one of tradition meets seclusion, and it is also one of the most versatile of the beach lodges on this coastline with family rooms and suites offered. A stunning little lodge that offers something a bit different with the spa, horse riding and nearby ruins in a relaxed and beautiful location.
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    Cost: $550
    Kitich Camp - Laikipia

    Our View

    Since it has recently changed hands, Kitich Camp has moved away from the once very rustic experience it was with Guilio. There is still no compromising on the experience, but with electricity throughout the night it is has a slightly softer feel. The onus is still, however, very much on getting out into this stunning region with walking a particular recommendation. If you are looking for a touch of utter wilderness and a great place to relax….the only drawback is getting there!
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    Cost: $440
    Kiwayu - Lamu

    Our View

    If you have been looking on this web site for which of the beach lodges we think is the best….you may have just found it! With its relaxed feel and spacious rooms, Kiwayu is definitely up there with the best beach lodges in Africa. This region is such an untouched paradise that the World Wildlife Fund has a post here to study the turtle that are to be frequently found flapping their way up the beaches at night (best season being April to September and December to February).
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    Cost: $480
    Kizingo - Lamu

    Our View

    With its conservation credentials such as using solar paneling to heat water, the lodge ticks quite a few boxes in our view. Mary Jo and Louis are charming hosts and regale many an interesting tale about their years spent in Africa and the areas they have seen. With rooms larger than plenty of London flats, the feel inside is of an airy and calm space and are perfect to relax and forget about the rest of the world. The main issue that they have is a lack of pool, but, with good swimming year round in either the sea or the nearby channel this is not a huge issue. At the price it is offered, this really is a bargain and, as such, will be difficult to get into. A perfect combination with a stay in the nearby Shela village.
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    Cost: $225

    Our View

    Kizingoni Kabanas offer complete tranquility and seclusion, whose ethos is barefoot luxury. The kabanas are very accomodating and comfortable, but maybe lack the finnesse of some other possible luxury Indian Ocean retreats. Saying that though, it is still luxurious - not due to it's decor and flamboyant additions, but due to it's amazing beach and complete privacy. 
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    Cost: $300

    Our View

    The houses are a relatively new addition to the Lamu coastline but offer a great alternative to private houses of Lamu and Shela. Each of the houses has been built to a very high standard and, with the luxury of having staff to pick up groceries from Lamu and, if you are not in the mood for cooking, to cook, a stay in one of the houses is fantastic.The only drawback that we can mention is that the plot they have, while benefitting from being around the point, is not in as good a location as the nearby Kizingo.
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    Cost: $225
    Laragai - Laikipia

    Our View

    Laragai is the private home of the Stephenson family and can be rented while they are away. The house is vast with all of the amenities that you would expect for a comfortable country house with a superb main area and a spread of rooms, all different in style and decoration.
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    Cost: $727
    Lewa House - Lewa Downs

    Our View

    This is a perfect retreat for any large group or family and offers utter seclusion in what is, after all, a relatively small wildlife conservancy. The cottages all feature good sized rooms with en-suite bathrooms and have good sized windows through which to gaze in the morning. With the indigenous trees casting shadows on the manicured gardens and the park on your doorstep this is a perfect place from which to explore for a few days.
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    Cost: $950
    Lewa Wilderness Trails - Lewa Downs

    Our View

    Lewa Wilderness is probably our pick of the lodges in the Lewa Conservancy as it combines a whole spread of both activities and privacy. Each of the cottages is very spacious and gives you the feeling of total privacy while not feeling cut off from the lodge itself. As an actual home, the communal areas feel welcoming and comfortable with the swimming pool area and bar being particular favourites! The conservancy itself offers a wide spread, catering to pretty much any taste with walks with rhino, horse riding and some truly fantastic safari with the opportunity to view some of Africa’s rarest animals. It is true that the conservancy is a fenced in area, but, in comparison with most of Kenya’s other major safari areas, this region and camp are definitely in the running.
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    Cost: $947
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