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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Sarara - Mathews Range
Sarara is in the middle of the wilderness, yet the accommodation are amazingly comfortable, the staff are incredible and the meals were delicious and elegantly served. Not as much game in this part of Kenya but great views of the waterhole from the camp we here all sorts of animals including elephant and hyena coming down to drink!

- K. Winterton
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    Cost: $975
    Saruni - Greater Mara

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    Saruni is a great little lodge, set up in the hills that overlook the Mara Plains and is the perfect escape from the heat and bustle of the Reserve. Each of the rooms is an eclectic mix of Italian and African styling, each with fantastic views to the plains below. The main benefit of the camp is that it is set all on its own and so, if you need to get away from it all, then the walking and game driving in the area is great….but it is not the in Mara and access to the park is limited, but possible.
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    Cost: $936
    Sasaab - Samburu
    Really lovely camp, enjoyed the lack of people and sense of isolation. Reminded us a little of camps in Namibia. Had great leopard sightings, including a kill, but just generally really enjoyed the camp. It was really beautiful, camp was gorgeous, facilities excellent.

    - S. Goatley
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    Cost: $1,078
    Serian Camp - Greater Mara
    Serian in the Mara was great. The entire staff was as helpful as possible. Guides were knowledgeable. I liked that Serian Mara is secluded and away from most of the crowds. The staff was great, as everyone went out of their way to make our adventure special. The guides were very knowledgeable. The camp is located just above the river and I liked that we could hear the sounds of hippos all night long. The wildlife in the Mara is exceptional. Lions are everywhere. Plus we saw leopards, cheetahs, elephants, hyenas, zebras, crocs, and thousands of wildebeest. The river crossing is truly a special event. The living areas  at Serian are spacious with a deck that connects to the bath area. They are not mobile tents but permanent structures. Beds were very comfortable and there was plenty of hot water. I highly recommend Serian to any one who is traveling to the Mara.

    - S Knowles
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    Cost: $876
    Serian Ngare - Greater Mara
    Serian in the Mara was great. The entire staff was as helpful as possible. Guides were knowledgeable. I liked that Serian Mara is secluded and away from most of the crowds. The staff was great, as everyone went out of their way to make our adventure special. 
    - D Neuerman
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    Cost: $1,095
    Serian Nkorombo - Greater Mara

    Our View

    Once an ever moving mobile camp, Nkorombo found such an amazing spot on the Mara River in the Masai Mara reserve that it has taken up permanent residence. It has maintained the intimate and luxurious feel of a mobile camp but boasts year round amazing numbers of black rhino, leopard and lion as well as being perfectly placed for the river crossings of the great migration. 
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    Cost: $970
    Solio - Aberdares
    Spectacular place to arrive in Kenya - a simply unique environment rich in white and black rhinos. Our guide (Jonathan) was first class (in fact, he's applying to be one of only 30 gold rated guides in the whole of the country). He is extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of flora and fauna and very happy to answer all of our questions. Within 10 mins of arriving at the property we came across a pride of 16 lions lazing around a buffalo carcass. They have over 100 rhinos in the conservancy and it's an amazing opportunity to see rhinos up close - in other parks you only see them through the binoculars. The lodge itself is also incredible - beautiful, spacious rooms and the best food we had anywhere on safari. The "Bush Breakfast" is a must do!
    - S Swaminathan
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    Cost: $1,030
    Spekes Camp - Masai Mara Reserve

    Our View

    Speke’s Camp is situated on the edge of the Maasai Mara Reserve, surrounded by fabulous indigenous trees overhanging the Olare Orok River. Small, intimate and very reasonably priced this is a no frills camp that really delivers well and is fantastic value for money.
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    Cost: $490
    The Maji - Indian Ocean Mainland

    Our View

    The Maji is friendly and luxurious small botique hotel on Diani Beach. As well as being in a fantastic area of powdery beaches and turquoise waters, Maji has a lot going for it inside its walls with its fantastically appointed and varied villas. 
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    Cost: $300
    The Palacina - Nairobi
    The Palacina was a wonderful entrance to the beginning of this magical adventure. The service was beyond words. We purchased some larger items while we were there. Brought them back to Palacina with us and they stored them for us. When we returned from Stone Town, one of their employees was at the airport with these items so we could check them home. That is service.
    - J Cole
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    Cost: $182
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