Family run and family focused, El Karama is a private working ranch located in the heart of the Laikipia eco-system. Its name, which is Arabic, translates as ‘answer to prayer’ or ‘treasured possession’ and was bestowed upon the lodge by its owners, Murray and Sophie Grant, who live on the ranch with their children. El Karama Lodge is a superb choice for travellers hoping to see a lot of wildlife in this beautiful part of the world!
ACCESS & LOCATION:
The ranch is approximately 42 kilometres north-west of Nanyuki, with the Lodge standing at the end of a sand-and-stone track.
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES AT EL KARAMA LODGE:
Most of the communal facilities are housed within a very attractive stone, timber, and thatch structure that merges seamlessly with the landscape. There are comfy cushioned chairs and sofas, some set up next to a cosy fireplace. A long table, surrounded by upright chairs, invites guests to come together at mealtimes, and the well-stocked bar is positioned nearby. A few more chairs have been placed at the front of the structure, so you can sit and relax while enjoying views across the ranch and towards the Ewaso Nyiro River. It is not uncommon for visitors to spot big game from camp, including giraffes, elephants, and antelopes! El Karama also has an eco-smart swimming pool that is kept clean by means of a deionising unit. This is the perfect place to cool off – it is popular with birds and tortoises too!
Guest accommodation on the ranch consists of four twin or double bandas, two cottages, and two river cottages known together as Little River Camp. Like the main building, these are built from stone, thatch, and timber, with plenty of aesthetic appeal! The bandas are slightly downstream from the central structure, while the cottages are positioned on the opposite side. The camp is located on the riverbank close to the communal lodge. All bandas have lovely views of the river from a private veranda with comfy seats. Inside, there is a double bed or twin beds, covered in mosquito nets to keep the biters at bay. There is also ample storage space, a lounge area including a small table for writing, and en-suite facilities featuring a generously proportioned stone bath and overhead shower. If you are travelling in a group or as a family, we recommend the Rondavel cottage, which has a large double bed, two single beds, a sofa, and a separate bathroom just a step away.
The Hobbit House, the second cottage, is particularly well suited to families, with its master bedroom, two treehouse floors for single beds, spacious living area, and large bathroom. The upper floors are accessed via staircases made out of twisted deadwood, which lends a lot of character! One of the smaller bedrooms boasts a round glass window, wonderful for viewing game. And the cottages comprising Little River Camp, which can be booked on an exclusive basis, are ideal for small groups or honeymooners. Each bedroom is configured as a double, twin, or triple, and has large windows that let in a lot of light. The en-suite facilities are very well appointed, featuring twin washbasins, shower, and bathtub – one cottage has an outdoor bathtub, constructed using river stones! Also including a lounge and dining area with cosy fireplace, Little River Camp is a charming retreat for guests seeking a little extra privacy.
Children of all ages are welcome and the Lodge is an excellent option for families. However, big game does wander through camp at times, so supervision is essential – staff will brief parents and guardians about this. There is a nanny on site and babysitting may be arranged.
ACTIVITIES AT EL KARAMA LODGE:
- El Karama offers classic safari activities in addition to farm tours, day trips, and things to do for the youngsters. The vehicle used most often for game drives has a collapsible windscreen, fantastic for photographers!
- The land that makes up the ranch is home to four of the Big Five – lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo – as well as many other predators and herbivores. Cheetah, giraffe, hyena, zebra, jackal, eland, rare wild dog… in all, there are over 80 mammal species here!
- The bird count is very impressive too.
- Walking safaris enable you to get a little closer to the action, with a guide always on hand to keep you safe.
- Guests may also enjoy a tour of the ranch, watching the cows being milked, being inspected, and even calving! This is a very interesting activity, showcasing the ranch’s work.
- If you would like to travel farther afield, staff can arrange day trips for you – from camel walks to rhino retreats, there is something to suit everyone.
- This intimate eco-lodge is fabulous for young children, as it provides things to do for all ages. Activities from its ‘Bush School’ programme include sculpture making with the use of termite clay, animal tracking, fishing with hand lines, cooking, painting, and farm visits.
*This property is unfenced and located in a wildlife area, so large and potentially dangerous animals do pass through. If you opt to stay here, always be alert when walking around the camp and request for a member of staff to escort you if you have any concerns. Any guest is escorted after dark as a matter of course.