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Intimate Safari Lodges in Kenya

Welcome to Magical Kenya, our country is your greatest opportunity for an up-close unparalleled wildlife experience in the East African frontier.  It is not only offering phenomenal wildlife experiences but also has a myriad of world-class accommodations to match everyone’s expectations. We’ve compiled a list of what we know are some of the most intimate places to stay for the perfect Kenya safari holiday. If you’re planning your dream safari, Kenya is that perfect place for intimate safari getaways or beach escapes walking along the beach hand-in-hand as the sunsets.

1. Giraffe Manor – Nairobi, Kenya

An elegant, classic east African experience

Set in 12 acres of private land within 140 acres of indigenous forest, Giraffe Manor is an elegant, personally hosted, small and exclusive hotel in a quiet area of Nairobi. One of its most famous traits is the resident herd of Rothschild giraffe who sometimes inquisitively poke their long necks through the windows of the restaurant in the hope of a treat, before gracefully walking back to their forest sanctuary. A very welcoming accommodation with highly trained and friendly staff and boasts one of Nairobi’s finest kitchens. There are 12 stunning rooms, each with its own distinct and individual personality, elegant furnishings, and art deco features. With its stately facade, elegant interior, verdant green gardens, sunny terraces, and delightful courtyards. Giraffe Manor has extraordinary appeal, that harks back to the 1930s when European visitors first flocked to East Africa to enjoy safaris. It is like walking into the film ‘Out of Africa’.

2. Cottars 1920’s Safari Camp – Masai Mara National Reserve

Vintage romance in the heart of the Masai Mara.

Winners of numerous accolades, including ‘Best Tented Safari Camp in the World’ – Cottars 1920’s Safari Camp in the Masai Mara offers a unique safari experience with a guarantee of privacy and the highest standards of professional guiding all combined with the enriching essence of the original ‘safari’ and wilderness experience in a luxurious, authentic and wildlife-rich environment.

This amazing safari outfit is owned and managed by the oldest established and continuing safari families in Africa. The camp retains an era of the luxury safari and exudes quality, providing the romance of safari under cream canvas tents, the style of the bygone era of the twenties all whilst supplying the amenities required by today’s discerning travelers.

Make sure you take advantage of the stunning bush baths – unwind with a glass of bubbly in your hand as you soak up the atmosphere of the African wilderness around you.

3. Angama Mara – Masai Mara National Reserve

A high-design lodge inspired by the Swahili word for ‘suspended in mid-air’.

Glass-fronted tented suites overlook the magnificent rolling plains of the Masai Mara. Angama has views that will take your breath away and direct access to the exclusive Mara Triangle for safari activities. The safari camp’s architecture is filled with drama, the red brickwork inspired by local Masai techniques, and a minimalist modern style is combined with bright African colorful textiles, making this lodge ultra-special, unique and romantic. With a private airfield and solar-heated infinity pool, you can relax in exclusive comfort and style on your East Africa Intimate safari.

Angama Mara has fantastic wildlife viewing opportunities with excellent sunrise, morning, and afternoon game drives, with the Mara triangle ideally located at the bottom of the hill. Guests can also enjoy walking safaris as long or short as they like. This area is home to the Angama lion pride, and from your veranda you have front row seats to the route of the great migration spectacle, giving you National Geographic-style moments on nearly a daily basis.

4. Mahali Mzuri – Masai Mara National Reserve

Mahali Mzuri, meaning a ‘beautiful place’ in Swahili Language

Voted the #1 Hotel in the World – Travel + Leisure Awards 2021! & #1 Safari Lodge in the 2021 Awards.

Sir Richard Branson’s Kenyan Safari Camp is located in the world-famous Masai Mara ecosystem and nestled into the ridge of a secluded valley. This exceptionally chic and innovative lodge prides itself on its extreme comfort and well-serviced accommodation. And of course, it offers front row seats to one of the most amazing wildlife spectacles and landscapes on earth.

Comprising of twelve luxurious, individual spaced, and elegantly decorated tents based around the main lodge with each providing some of the most sought-after views in the world. All tents have sat areas and a private terrace. From bush BBQs and champagne picnics to sundowners, the team at Mahali Mzuri will treat you to a wide selection of African and international cuisines.

Activities include twice-daily game drives night drives, guided bush walks, local village tours, and market visits. Or you may simply wish to stay close to the lodge, relax by the infinity pool and spa whilst looking out over the valley. For a totally unique perspective of the wild savannahs and their inhabitants, book a dawn hot air balloon ride with a champagne breakfast. There is also the chance to do some serious star gazing with the on-site telescope that is free for guests to use.

5. Elsa’s Kopje – Meru National Park

Elsa’s Kopje is regarded as being one of the best lodges in Kenya. Luxuriant and stylish in the spectacular and expansive Meru National Park. Quite simply beautifully styled, incredibly luxurious, and intimate, with six charming stone and thatch-roof cottages. Each cottage is crafted around the rocks, with a large bedroom, open sitting room, veranda, and spacious bathroom. The lodge also has three additional larger honeymoon suites and a private house with two bedrooms, separate dining, lounge, and private pool facilities. Wherever you are around the camp, you will experience great views over the vast savannah plains below. Elsa’s Kopje is renowned for its delicious cuisine, using great local fresh produce.

The vast expanse of Meru National Park boasts 870km of authentic African landscape taking you through enormous diversity of habitat and wildlife, through forests, past giant baobab trees, through clear spring-fed streams lined with palms. The rugged and remote Meru National Park has been rescued from oblivion thanks to Elsa’s Kopje, an environmentally award-winning, boutique lodge. Sculpted into Mughwango Hill, above the site of George Adamson’s original camp where he raised and released orphan lions, long before conservation became fashionable. Meru is a lion and elephant spot, but also has many rare species some of which are endemic to only a few select regions of Kenya. The guides will endeavor to catch up with the over 60 black and white rhinos in the huge (84km2) Rhino sanctuary. The area is so large that finding the rhino can still be a game-driving challenge. Other activities include guided walks, river fishing, spa treatments, and cultural visits.

6. Lewa Wilderness LodgeLewa Conservancy

A colorfully lush and tranquil oasis

On arrival, you will be immediately struck by the peace and tranquility of Lewa Wilderness Camp, in Lewa Conservancy – a lush oasis teeming with colorful bougainvillea.

Situated near the base of Mt. Kenya – Africa’s second tallest mountain and overlooking Lewa’s Eastern Marania Valley. Lewa Wilderness is one of Kenya’s major private conservation successes as one of the very few ranches in the world where guests can see a remarkable variety of wildlife, including many endangered animals such as both black and white Rhino species, Grevy’s Zebra, and Sitatunga.

Six authentic stone cottages blend into the bush perfectly. The rooms are enormous, beautifully decorated and each has an en-suite bathroom as well as cozy sitting areas. The Garden Rooms are the original rooms and are perfect for families as they are located close to the swimming pool and the camp’s other main facilities. The Hillside Rooms benefit from private verandas with wonderful views across the valley.

Lewa Wilderness Camp has been owned by the Craig family and has been passed down from one generation to the next a distinct passion for wildlife, conservation, and tourism. Proudly, they continue to run Lewa Wilderness lodge. By staying at Lewa Wilderness, guests are automatically supporting the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and all the conservation and community development efforts.

7. SaruniSamburu National Reserve

One of Kenya’s most spectacular luxury lodges and for many good reasons...

Phenomenal lofty views and superb safari options make Saruni Samburu one of the best places to stay in the country. With six luxurious, open, and spacious villas carved into the rocks, commanding wonderful panoramas over Kalama Conservancy and towards Mount Kenya. The villa interiors are nothing short of exquisite and very comfortable filled with bespoke furniture. Each villa has its own private deck allowing views stretching as far as the eye can see over the Kenyan plains.

Kudu house, the central lodge, is very similar in style with two infinity pools and an incredible restaurant decking – all created to take advantage of the views. Dining is a splendid experience using local flavors and often an Italian twist. Guests are treated to picnic bush breakfasts by the Ewaso Niro River, as well as bush dinners in a dry riverbed surrounded by firelight and Samburu dancers. Private dining can also be arranged on your villa deck, perfect for that special occasion.

Saruni Samburu is the only lodge in over 200,000 acres of unspoiled wilderness in Samburu National Park, teeming with wildlife leaving you to explore with your Samburu warrior guide to explore with exclusive intimacy. The Saruni team is also behind nearby Saruni Rhino – a pioneering rhino tracking experience in Northern Kenya. Operating from nearby Sera Conservancy (a couple of hours from Saruni Samburu), a limited number of Rhino Tracking permits are available daily allowing guests to join a team of expert walking rangers, and track black rhino in the bush. It is the first and only experience of its kind in East Africa.

8. Loisaba Tented CampLaikipia Conservancy

A stunning tented camp with the added romance of their famous Starbeds

Set on top of a prominent hill, Loisaba Tented Camp is considered to be the best on the 250 km² Loisaba Conservancy located in Laikipia. A beautiful, tented camp features elegant, spacious, and airy accommodation. And of course, the unique Star beds, handcrafted four-poster beds which sit on wheels, are rolled out onto raised wooden platforms so that guests can sleep under the endless African night sky.

Importantly, Loisaba serves as a keystone property in the landscape bringing community conservancies and privately managed lands together. By providing both a physical and institutional connection, Loisaba increases the potential for greater stability and resilience in the entire socio-ecological Ewaso ecosystem.

The tented camp features six very pleasant tented suites; spacious and airy with custom-designed with large floor-to-ceiling doors and windows, polished wood floors, en-suite facilities, and wide verandas. Loisaba Tented Camp has a main lounge for guests to unwind at their leisure, a dining room with a bar, and a stunning infinity pool. The Loisaba Camp is located among a kopje of rocks in one of the Eastern Valleys, overlooking the Kiboko Waterhole which is home to a resident hippo family, and the main water source for passing game in the area, meaning you’re never far from wildlife.

Activities include morning and afternoon vehicle safari, walking safari, camel safari, horse-back safari and mountain bike safari, fishing and cultural visits to the local Samburu people, as well visits to anti-poaching units with their sniffer dogs.

Importantly, Loisaba serves as a keystone property in the landscape bringing community conservancies and privately managed lands together. By providing both a physical and institutional connection, Loisaba increases the potential for greater stability and resilience in the entire socio-ecological Ewaso ecosystem.

9. Finch HattonsTsavo West National Park

A stylish safari experience deep in the heart of Tsavo West National Park.

Discover the safari of a bygone era. At Finch Hattons, they have preserved the ideals lived by Denys Finch Hatton, think Out of Africa. Dedicated to elegance with a passionate love of the Kenyan wilderness and a long-forgotten way of life.

Finch Hattons, in Tsavo West National Park, offers the experience of an African Intimate safari without negating the opulence afforded by contemporary comforts and luxuries of any modern 5-star boutique hotel. With just 17 tented suites, surrounding the hippo pools fed by the freshwater springs of Mt Kilimanjaro and the Chyulu Hills, the camp is the ideal combination of adventure and intimacy.

The tented suites are much more than a luxury safari tent. They’re resplendent. Surrounding hippo pools, where elephants frequently venture to drink, and a myriad of beautiful birdlife. Huge king beds, copper baths outside showers, and private verandas to relax during the heat of the day.

Finch Hattons prides itself on fusing modern design with rustic charm, excellent attention to detail with an attentive, welcoming team who’s passion and pride for their safari lodges shines through in everything they do.

10. Manda Bay, Lamu

Simplistic beauty on the stunning Kenyan Coastline

Simplistic beauty in palm thatched cottages and open living spaces, Manda Bay Lodge is located on the North-western tip of Manda Island, Lamu Archipelago, on the Kenya Coast. Manda is less than a 20-minute boat ride of the ancient Arab town of Lamu, which is now a World Heritage Site and is one of oldest continually inhabited towns in East Africa.

Whilst Manda Bay is unpretentious and perfect for those looking for a quiet getaway. You will find peaceful, safe waters, no one else on the beach, exceptional water sports and hosting There are twenty-two cottages, eleven of which are right on the beachfront. The cottages are spacious, comfortable and are specially sited to catch the cooling sea breezes and all have their own verandas. Manda Bay has a stunning infinity pool surrounded with numerous loungers and hammocks.

For those looking to be more active, there is an impressive variety of water sports available. From big game fishing, and salt-water fly-fishing to water skiing, wake board and knee boarding. Sail, windsurf or take a snorkel to explore the coral reefs surrounding the bay. This is perfect for those looking for an intimate, romantic island break.

11. Peponi Hotel, Lamu

Charming and relaxed intimacy on the exotic island of Lamu

Peponi is only reached by boat and there is only one car on the island. Life moves at a very relaxed pace on this beautiful Indian Ocean Island.

Peponi is a charming, small hotel on a headland of the exotic island of Lamu, situated just off the coast of Kenya, the very root of Swahili culture.

The island is a real getaway; there is only one car on the island and the narrow streets of the old town are very much as they always were. Peponi hotel celebrates its 50th year and is still run by the original family, giving it that personal character and touch.

All of Peponi’s 24 rooms all enjoy ocean views. No two rooms are alike, five of the rooms are built right on the beach, with private veranda areas overlooking the sea.

Activities at Peponi Hotel include fishing, scuba diving, snorkelling, water-sports including water skiing, knee-boarding, tubing, scuba diving, full moon dhow cruises which are not to be missed.

12. Msambweni Beach House, Mombasa

An intimate paradise on the Kenyan Coast

A real jewel on the Kenya’s southern coastline looking out over a remote and pristine beach, lapped by azure blue waters, this beautiful, boutique hotel, is an intimate paradise, ideal for a ‘get away’. A quiet, unique setting on a stretch of completely unspoilt sandy beach surrounded by 28 acres of natural land ideally located close to Mombasa.

Over 700 feet of private beach along a four mile stretch of coastline with palm trees offering peace and tranquillity where guests can enjoy a luxury, yet discreet, stay with attentive service in beautiful surroundings.

Msambweni House is luxury uncompromised. A stay at Msambweni Beach House has an emphasis on attention to detail and great service for an unforgettable stay. Dine by the pool under the African sky and candlelight while listening to the whispers of the breeze from the Indian Ocean.

Famed for its range of sumptuous meals from fresh seafood, Swahili, Belgian and French cuisine and, if you need a more intimate location, dining can be arranged by the pool or, for lunch, out on the sandbank!

If peace, privacy and a total break home away from home is what you need, then this is the place to be and the perfect end to a Kenyan safari.

13. Kinondo Kwetu, Diani Beach

A perfect place to end your luxury safari in Kenya.

Kinondo Kwetu is often described as a ‘home away from home’ – a paradise for those wanting a more personal experience on the Kenyan coast. Located on a tranquil private Galu beach on the south coast of Kenya. An all-inclusive boutique hotel – with room for no more than 38 guests, you will always find your own private spot at Kinondo Kwetu, which makes it a very special hideaway for honeymooners. It is also the perfect place to gather family or friends for a private celebration or wedding. In addition to relaxing in the sun and swimming in the Indian Ocean, Kinondo Kwetu offers an impressive selection of exciting activities – ranging from watersports such as Kite Surfing, Kayaking, Deep Sea fishing and Scuba Diving, to land activities such as Game Drives, Horse Riding and Yoga weeks.

14. Alfajiri Cliff Villa, Diani Beach

Invites you for a secret and exclusive escape on Kenya’s tropical coastline.

This private-use villa is located on a secluded part of Diani Beach – a stretch of shoreline that spans 10 miles and boasts dazzling blue warm waters. Alfajiri is close enough to the small town of Diani for shopping or dining out but removed enough to offer a haven of peace and tranquility. A large barrier reef keeps the ocean calm and clear: perfect for boating and kite surfing.

Split over three levels, Alfajiri Cliff Villa is a luxurious seaside castle fit for royalty (several A-list celebrities have reputedly enjoyed under-the-radar stays here), and has four different suites that make it perfect for a family of up to eight. Take your pick of beautiful white armchairs and day beds and enjoy elevated views over the Indian Ocean, white sand beaches, tropical forest and rustling palm trees. A dedicated staff are on hand to ensure you have everything you need, and all meals are tailored to your preferences. The team includes a private masseuse for daily massages, chef, butler and the owner who will host you and arrange all of your activities.

The villa opens out onto an expansive lawn that is ideal for children (and adults) to enjoy impromptu games of garden cricket, touch rugby or football and there is also a large sun-splashed swimming pool just feet away. One of the loveliest swimming pools on the Kenyan coast, it looks out over the ocean and a ‘giraffe-patterned’ bottom.

Alfajiri Cliff Villa is owner-managed and you can expect welcoming Mediterranean hospitality where nothing is too much trouble and the emphasis is very much on having a great time in Kenya.

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