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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Ol Donyo - Chyulu Hills

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Set in the Chyulu Hills, to the west of Tsavo, Ol Donya Wuas has long featured in Kenyan safari itineraries as a stunning location and lodge. However, as with plenty of Kenyan lodges they started to trade on their name rather than the overall experience provided and so really dropped off the map for us. With their joining of the Great Plains Conservation Group in 2008, the lodge has now had a full re-fit and is very much back to its best. The private concession that stretches as far as the eye can see is the ultimate place to spend a few days horse riding or game viewing…or even relaxing!
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    Cost: $1,199
    Ol lentille - Laikipia

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    The concept behind Ol Lentille is a truly admirable one and the lodge follows in the footsteps of other Kenyan lodges who have tried to incorporate local communities into conservation rather than excluding them. The lodge itself is cleverly thought out with a range of differing options open for couples through to larger families. The idea is to have a private house which is fully catered for, while also having the amenities of a larger lodge. Everything has been arranged to a very high spec and this is certainly one of the best choices in the Laikipia area.
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    Cost: $850
    Ol Malo Lodge - Laikipia

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    It has been a true labour of love for the owners Colin, Rocky and their son Andrew, and they have succeeded in creating some thing very special. With 7 rooms in the lodge and 4 in the house ranging from the crocodile room and its crocodile bath, to the hippo rooms and their over head beds, each room has a certain character of its own. The house itself is vast and shares the views of Ol Malo which is about 20 minutes away. With features such as a rooftop sun deck, a large barbeque area and a luxury infinity pool.
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    Cost: $950
    Ol Seki - Greater Mara

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    Ol Seki is set in the Naboisho conservancy which is located to the East of Olare Motogori North East of the Mara National Reserve. It is a stunning camp in its own right, each of the rooms is perched atop a small escarpment and so has fantastic views down to the grassland plain below and the Loita Hills in the distance. The camp is absolutely beautiful and recently Naboisho has become renowned to be a great area for game viewing. Although in previous years it lacked the density of the Mara, with successful conservation efforts, this is now home to some of the highest lion densities in the Mara eco-system.
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    Cost: $660
    Ololo - Nairobi

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    Given the horrendous traffic situation in Nairobi it is often quicker to spend a night in Nairobi National Park rather than a main hotel.  Ololo fits this bill and is roughly the same price as one of the horrid Nairobi hotels, and you get game to boot!
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    Cost: $260
    Peponi Lodge - Lamu
    the place to stay ! - amazing food and cocktails and 8 kms of private beach just round the corner  - l. James
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    Cost: $225
    Rekero - Masai Mara Reserve
    Great Tented camp. Obviously not as luxurious as Joys, but excellent position in Mara. Guides excellent.

    - A Jones
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    Cost: $1,072
    Richards Camp - Greater Mara

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    Richard and the Roberts’ family have long been synonymous with the Mara…as has Richard’s Camp, formerly Willie’s camp and also formerly the family home. The great thing about the lodge is that it has retained its air of being a family home and so, while not really offering the views of some of the other camps in the Mara, it feels totally comfortable and relaxed. This camp is ideal for a family or group booking, but also superb for a couple. Definitely a top choice!
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    Cost: $1,050
    Sabuk - Laikipia

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    Set in a hidden corner of the Laikipia plateau, Sabuk overlooks the Ewaso Nyiro River as it flows through the valley, providing fantastic views from all of the rooms. Owned and managed by Verity Williams, the lodge has a fantastic feeling of being amongst nature and, with activities such as walking safaris, fly camping, camel rides and game driving, it offers something for just about everyone. A very good spot to relax after a few days in the much busier Mara.
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    Cost: $602
    Sala's Camp - Masai Mara Reserve

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    Overlooking the confluence of the Sand and Keekorok rivers, Sala’s Camp is situated right in the heart of the game rich Masai Mara. Not only is the camp brilliantly located but each of the pristine tents has its own private plunge pool, a real luxury that sets this camp apart from the rest. 
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    Cost: $1,365
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