Central & Northern Regions
Journey deep into Northern Kenya, to the southern tip of the Mathews Range, far off the beaten track and you’ll arrive at the incomparable Sarara Camp. Set on a rocky outcrop with just 6 tents and an idyllic pool that surely has one of the best views in Africa, guests here can bask in glorious isolation without compromising on comfort.
Sarara is unique in many ways, but what makes it exceptional is that it is a fabulous example of a successful tourism initiative that is 100% owned by the community it serves. During your stay, you’ll have the privilege of living alongside the native, semi-nomadic Samburu who are totally involved in the day-to-day running of the Camp and wholeheartedly welcome guests into their lives. The Namunyak Wildlife Conservation Trust in partnership with Sarara has become widely recognised as one of the most successful community and wildlife conservation programmes in Africa. Today several thousand elephants live and breed in the area, alongside other wildlife such as buffalo, lion, leopard, cheetah, African wild dog, reticulated giraffe, dik dik and impala. Wild animals, including elephant, come to the camp waterhole to drink offering guests the chance to get up close to these majestic creatures.
Facilities & Activities
Game-drives guided by colourful Samburu wildlife experts allow you to explore the bush landscape. Sarara has established itself as one of the ‘hot spots’ for quality leopard-viewing in Africa and equally for close-up sightings of the extremely shy lesser kudu antelope. Nature or bird walks and more strenuous mountain hikes can be arranged, as well as fly-camping excursions, camel-trekking, scenic flights and cultural visits to the local Samburu village. You can also enjoy a horse-riding safari on one of Sarara’s bush ponies.
During the dry season, you may be lucky enough to visit the Singing Wells to witness Samburu families watering cattle from manmade wells as they meet and exchange news. Each family group uses their own song to summon their herds to drink from the family well in a truly magical ritual.
However you choose to spend your time, the pool beckons – the temptation to remain, submerged in water as you gaze over the elephants, impala and waterhogs drinking from the waterhole below might just make you late for afternoon tea!
Finally, make sure you include a visit to the nearby Retiti Elephant Orphanage to learn more about wildlife conservation and watch the orphaned babies being bottle fed.
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Meals revolve around the central, open plan mess area and deck overlooking the pool. Tea, coffee or juice is brought to your room at a time of your choosing. Breakfast can be arranged around your morning game-drive or activities – expect eggs any style, a full English breakfast, toast and fruit.
Lunch is often set up under a tree, or, in the mess if it is hot. The buffet-style lunch includes fresh salads and is followed by a cheese platter. Afternoon tea, complete with cake or homemade biscuits made by the chef that day, is at 16:30, before the evening safari. Drinks and dinner might be set up on the terrace overlooking the pool or somewhere a little more wild!
Sarara has 6 luxury tents on platforms, each positioned to make the most of the stunning views of the Mathews Range and the watering hole. Preserving the romance of the tented camp, tents are spacious with high ceilings and a real highlight is the outdoor bathroom, with superb views from the shower! There’s also a toilet and sink inside. Each tent has its own private terrace with table and chairs – the perfect spot to enjoy your morning coffee and tea which are delivered to you.
Loimugie House, which comprises two tents under one roof, is perfect for families.
The Treehouses, located an hour’s walk from Sarara, is a separate camp with 8 en-suite tents on stilts connected by elevated walkways, with a mess tent and pool – it’s entirely community owned.
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A single bed can easily be added to a double room/tent, as the tents are so spacious. Sarara recommend that children 8 years + share their own tent with siblings.
Loimugie House, located within the main camp, is perfect for families or larger groups. It has two large en-suite bedrooms connected by a shared sitting/dining area with a small, private pool. Families can enjoy meals in the main mess area or at Loimugie house. Otherwise, early evening meals can be arranged for children, and if parents would like to enjoy a child-free dinner in the main camp, staff are happy to listen out for wakeful little ones.
Children’s activities include nature walks, bush-craft with the local Samburu, pony-riding (for children with riding experience), swimming in the beautiful, rock-hewn eternity pool and of course, the seasonal rock water slide is not to be missed.
In 1997 the owners of Sarara Camp made a partnership with the local Samburu people to bring forward the idea that sustainable tourism could bring positives to the local area and wildlife. It aimed to preserve traditional culture and build economic strength in these communities.
In 2016 the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary was founded, they take in abandoned elephant calves, nurture them to health and release them back into wild herds. The camp also runs a large-scale anti-poaching campaign to ensure the wildlife is safe and protected.
Sarara Camp runs many more conservation and sustainability projects though their foundation which you can read more about on their website.
Sarara Camp is located within the lesser visited wilderness of the 850,000 acre Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy area, which is wrapped around the southern tip of the mountainous Mathews Range in Northern Kenya.
Air transfers of around 45 minutes can be arranged from Nanyuki to Sarara’s own air strip. By road it is 3 hours along the tarmacked Great North Road, with the final 40 minutes off-road on dirt tracks.