This country is a great place to experience with friends. Whether you want to check out safari super size, in the form of the Great Migration, or opt for something smaller yet no less thrilling, we guarantee you will have a terrific time!
The Maasai Mara National Reserve is the area for watching those huge herds, racing across the Mara River. Alternatively, head to the centre of Kenya, specifically the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, for great game viewing plus opportunities to get involved in conservation programmes! And the Samburu National Reserve boasts stunning scenery and animals in abundance, as well as one of the most interesting cultures in Africa. You really are spoilt for choice here!
The MMNR is not all about the Great Migration – an abundance of animals is in residence throughout the year! The first property that is good for private groups in this Reserve is Little Governors’ Camp. Positioned on the banks of an old oxbow lake close to the Mara River, this camp brings you all the majesty of the Maasai Mara. Each of the 17 tents is situated tucked into trees along the lake, which is now a marsh attracting loads of wildlife! The guest accommodation is spacious and comfortable – it includes a private veranda, from which you can admire the views. Little Governors’ manager discusses the next day’s itinerary with you every evening, to ensure you do exactly what you want to do! Activities consist of game drives in the Musiara region of the Reserve, tours of the nearby Maasai homestead, and awesome hot air balloon safaris – the Camp is located very close to the launch site! You can also head out to the beautiful Island of Mfangano, for a change of scenery.
Another excellent offering within the MMNR is Naibor Wilderness. This camp is booked on an exclusive basis for a private group of up to six persons. It is an eco-camp, taken down and rebuilt every year so the site’s flora and fauna can regenerate. There are three classic safari-style tents, which include a veranda for taking in amazing views! Game drives take place during early morning and late afternoon – or you can enjoy a full day in the Reserve, complete with delicious picnic lunch! The same driver is on hand throughout your stay, so you can easily keep track of all the wildlife you have seen. And hot air balloon safaris are available here too – this is the perfect way to see hectares upon hectares of the Reserve! Rising at dawn, you drift over the sprawling plains and witness all the resident predators and herbivores, before descending to a champagne breakfast. This activity is highly recommended by YZ!
Leaving the Mara, we travel into the centre of Kenya for the very special Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in June 2013. Covering over 250 sq. km, Lewa includes rippling grasses, verdant wetlands, and the Ngare Ndare Forest. The Conservancy is home to all Big Five, in addition to the Northern Speciality Species of Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, Somali ostrich, Beisa oryx, and gerenuk. And the birdlife is nothing short of brilliant!
Our pick of the properties in Lewa is Lewa Safari Camp, one of only four camps in the entire Conservancy! Formerly a cattle ranch, today the Camp provides homely and eco-friendly accommodation. There are 11 tents in total, all featuring a private veranda from which to marvel at superb views. Activities consist of game drives, guided walks, camel riding, and horse riding too. You can also take a trip to the Ngare Ndare Forest. And village visits are available as well, always popular with travellers who like to experience a little culture while on holiday!
The Samburu National Reserve is another dream destination when it comes to cultural activities. The herders that first came to the region, attracted by its reliable water sources, remain here today – and it is a privilege to observe their ways of life. The Reserve is choc-a-bloc with animals too, all quenching their thirst with the meltwater that runs off Mount Kenya into rushing rivers and streams. Groves of doum palm and acacia forests yield ample cooling shade. Species in residence include not only three of the Big Five – lion, leopard, elephant – but also the Northern Speciality Species! And the birdlife deserves a mention too, as there are over 350 types, from bee-eaters to eagles.
As far as accommodation is concerned, we recommend Elephant Watch Camp. The name of this property provides a pretty big clue as to the main thing to do here! This is a fabulous little eco-camp in the heart of the Reserve, on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River. It is owned by the Douglas-Hamilton family, who are well known for their efforts to conserve the gentle giants! The Camp contains just six quite unusual guest tents, with cotton drapes and gnarled beams. As well as elephant watching, you can view all manner of wildlife, during guided walks and game drives. If you are feeling energetic, you can take a hike up Mount Ololokwe! Culture fans will love visiting a Samburu village, to milk goats, throw spears, make jewellery, and much more besides. And a real highlight of any stay here is a trip to the Save the Elephants visitor centre.
These are just a few examples of camps in Kenya that are well suited to private group safaris. If you would like to find out more, just give us a call!