10 Best Kenya Safari Tour Camps

One thing we love about road trips is the chance to travel through nature: feel the breeze, admire the landscape, and discover gems. That’s what the best Kenya safari tour camps are like: nothing short of enthralling and exciting. These best safaris in Kenya allow you to observe the most magnificent animals up close, immerse yourself in the cultural beauties of Kenya, glare at breathtaking views, and be part of preserving the animal’s natural habitat. Furthermore, there’s no single best safari in Kenya; there are various safaris spread across the country, from the central region to the dry northern province. So keep reading as we review ten of the best Kenya safari tours. 

Things to Know about Kenyan Safaris

best Kenya safari tours

If you’re planning a safari in Kenya, there are a few things to remember:

  1. There’s no “best time for safari in Kenya ”since there are safaris all year round. Yes, it’s a fact that the best time to visit Kenya safari is peak season, from July to mid-October, because of the great wildebeest migration. However, during peak season, also expect packed accommodation, dozens of tourists, and hiked prices. 
  2. Dress in removable layers. Regardless of whether it’s a hot or cold season, most safaris happen very early in the morning (6 am) or later in the evening(4 pm to 7 pm). You should be able to easily dress up or down depending on the weather. 
  3. Carry a comfort pad for your seat. The safaris happen on rocky dirt paths that are bumpy regardless of which transport vehicle you choose. So to evade what the locals call “a free Kenyan massage,” carry something for the bumpy ride.
  4. Expect exotic accommodation. Most accommodation designs near the safari locations are tented camps with thick canvas walls.
  5. Safaris are diverse. The most common mode of transportation in safari is a Landcruiser or just a 4×4 vehicle. But there are also balloon safaris in Maasai Mara, Horseback safaris in northern Kenya, and Quad biking safari in Lewa Conservancy.
  6. Safaris are a partial-day activity. Safaris last two to three hours then you’re free to indulge in other things such as village and sanctuary visits, spa care, bird watching, and photography.
  7. There are no stops during a game drive. Being amongst animals is unpredictable which means no unnecessary stops unless it’s an emergency.

10 Best Kenya Safari Tour Camps

The best safari in Kenya should offer you the best of everything: the best accommodation, the best game viewings, the best food, and the best overall experience. Below, we’ve compiled up to ten of the best safaris tours in Kenya that will have you planning your next trip immediately. You’ll notice that we’ve reviewed lodges and camps rather than just mentioning the tours. This is because the lodge, tour, and the corresponding national park go hand in hand. 

In this review, we’ll also give additional information to aid your travel such as family friendliness, available food choices, and safety precautions. Finally, we also discuss the best time to go on these safaris for an optimal experience. Let’s get started!

1. Angama Mara

Befitting its name Angama, meaning suspended in mid-air, the Angama Mara lodge is located at a cliff above the escarpment of the Great Rift Valley. It’s a beautiful and luxurious lodge complemented by the Angama Safari Camp situated deep in the Maasai Mara Triangle. From Angama Mara, you get to enjoy at least two game drives a day at the abundant Maasai Mara Game Reserve, plus all-year-round wildlife watching from the Mara Triangle. 

Angama Mara is one of the best safari lodges in Kenya because it’s located at the Oloololo escarpment, which offers 180-degree captivating views of the Mara plains, Great Rift Valley, and mega herds of wildebeest during the migration season. The lodge provides a comfortable stay in tented camps with a glass façade to ensure inhibited views. Plus, the decor of fresh khaki, copper, brass, and splashes of Maasai red ensures the lodge remains rooted in its culture.  

If you’re looking for flexibility, this is the best safari in Kenya because you can tailor your safari days and decide whether it’s a road, hot air balloon, or guided walking safari. Once you determine when you’re going out for the game drives, you can spend the remaining time swimming in the infinity pool at the central pavilion or visiting the nearby Maasai shop, studio, library, or villages. As for their food, you enjoy full board meals as soon as you touchdown at their airfield. They offer an international menu with a selection of fine South African wines served on deck, beneath the trees, in the forest, or in the privacy of your tent.

2.  Sarara Camp, Samburu

In the northern frontier of Kenya, you’ll find Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy: a remote land of unparalleled beauty. It’s located in the heart of Samburu amid 850,000 acres of pristine wilderness in the Mathews Range. Amid those acres, you’ll also find three secluded lodges: Sarara Camp, Sarara Treehouse, and Reteti Elephant Sanctuary. 

The Sarara Camp is the perfect hideaway to explore a wilderness Kenyan safari and enjoy views inside the home of the largest herd of endangered Reticulated Giraffes. Other animals you’ll see while on the best Kenya safari tours include over 5000 elephants, wild dogs, migratory and predatory birds, kudu, leopards, and Grévy’s Zebras. From the camp, you’ll enjoy unrestricted game drives, guided walking safaris, and fly camping under the stars. 

As for accommodation, the camp has a romantic vibe with each intimate tent strategically positioned with stunning views of the Mathews Range and the waterhole that attracts a variety of wildlife throughout the day. The spacious tents come with private terraces, indoor and outdoor bathrooms with excellent hill views, and a roughly-hewn rock pool for relaxation. The camp serves hearty Kenyan meals buffet-style or in a romantic bush setting under the skies. Lastly, you can venture out of the camp for nature walks, horseback riding, mountain hikes, or a visit to the Samburu Singing Wells.

3. Kicheche Valley Camp, Maasai Mara

Located in the quiet confines of Olare Motorogi Conservancy, bordering the Maasai Mara National Reserve, game-watching on these Kenya safaris is very intimate. Why so? Well, the tented camp is partially owned by renowned photographer Paul Goldstein who steered the way to having the camp focus on photography: the reason amateurs, professionals, and guest photographers flock here. Moreover, the guides offer to take great photographs or hire lenses for wide angles.

As an ecosystem of three lodges: Kicheche Bush Camp, Kicheche Mara Camp, and Kicheche Valley Camp, they offer the best safaris in Kenya, exclusive to the big cat: lion, leopard, and cheetah. That said, as the perfect hideaway for big cats, you can also spot other wild animals or watch the wildebeest migration at the Mara. 

Because the camp expects fewer guests, they only have six spacious tents dotted through the bush. Meals are homemade to add to the homey vibes and as for their child policy, they only allow children aged eight years and above. Finally, as for activities, there are game drives in safari, customized 4WD vehicles, wildlife watching and photography, guided walking safaris, fly camping, birdwatching, cultural excursions, and hot air ballooning.

4. Asilia Rekero Camp, Maasai Mara

With epic views of the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Asilia Rekero Camp is a family-friendly leisure camp that sits adjacent to the main crossing point of the wildebeest during its annual migration. This camp offers the best safari in Kenya as guests can watch herds of animals crossing perilously without leaving the tents or either of the two communal decks. Moreover, because the Rekero Camp sits overlooking the Talek River, it’s a prime position to sight other wildlife as they make their way to the River Bank. 

The best time for safari in Kenya, precisely to the Rekero Camp is from June through March. From July to October expect the herd migration, plus loads of other wildlife sightings. In November, you’ll be able to spot migratory birds as they arrive with the short rains, then the transition to January and February, which is off-peak season but still loads to see like the occasional black rhino, elephants, big cats, and giraffes. The months of March through June are the lowest season as there are long rains that aren’t conducive for game drives. 

Regarding accommodation, Rekero Camp has nine beautifully spaced tents, two of which are family tents that allow children aged five years and above. Each of these classic tents is fitted and furnished with the necessary amenities for a comfortable stay, plus a daybed set on the private veranda for added relaxation. Most meals are enjoyed together as they serve a continental buffet spread for breakfast and three-course meals for lunch and dinner. You could also enjoy the occasional tea or ask for something special per your dietary requirements.

5. Elephant Bedroom Camp

From the banks of the Talek River to the Ewaso Ng’iro river, the Elephant Bedroom Camp is a classic safari camp that serves elegance, style, and luxury in one wholesome package. The camp is one of the best safari lodges in Kenya sited within the Doum palms and green belt of riverine forest in Samburu National Reserve. The Camp is easily accessible all year round and boasts of short game drives en route from airstrips to the property. 

While on one the best Kenya safari tour camps, expect professional safari guides to take you on tour using 4WD open-sided safari vehicles, many cultural visits and lectures about the Samburu heritage, entertainment from Samburu warriors, and guided bush walks. You’ll spot many regular wild animals like impalas, leopards, lions, monkeys, and elephants.

The camp has 14 tented rooms decorated in African tones with a gorgeous backdrop of majestic mountains like Mt Kenya. From the private deck, you also have an exemplary view of Samburu’s dry plains and the meandering Ewaso Nyiro River. During your stay, you’ll enjoy bush breakfast, picnic lunches, and sundowners with the additional comfort of a plunge pool on the deck.

6. Lewa House, Lewa Conservancy

best Kenya safari tours

In Northern Kenya, precisely Laikipia, you’ll find a prime Kenyan safari destination: 45,000 acres of the Lewa Conservancy. In the conservancy, the infamous Lewa House, home of Sophie and Calum MacFarlane sits atop a hill, north of Mt Kenya and South of the rugged Mathews Range in Samburu, offering eye-catching views all around. The house comprises the main house that acts as the dining/communal area with seven cottages open to guests.

Guests at Lewa House enjoy exclusive access to the conservancy alongside game drives and walking Kenyan safaris to spot various wildlife. Such animals include black rhinos, zebras, giraffes, elephants, buffalos, cheetahs, and lions. For a more memorable safari experience, you could also horseback ride, head out for picnics, or swim in the nearby streams.

7. Asilia Ol Pejeta Bush Camp, Ol Pejeta Conservancy

Located in central Kenya’s Laikipia County, the Ol Pejeta Conservancy is one of the richest reserves in both flora and wildlife. The 36,420 hectares of land, once a cattle ranch, now blooms with grassy savannas, marshlands, yellow-green fever trees, and thick acacias. What’s more, the Ol Pejeta Conservancy reigns as one of the best safaris in Kenya since you’ll interact with endangered wildlife like the last two northern white rhinos alive on the planet. 

Amongst the dense wildlife population are black rhinos, southern white rhinos, over 300 species of birds, Grevy’s zebra, wild dog, Jackson’s hartebeest, and the big 5. Unlike the best Kenya safari tours we’ve talked about, this one’s a little different in that, while the animals are free to wander around, they’re protected within a 283 hectares enclosure. This is to protect the endangered species from predation and poaching that could lead to extinction. 

On the bright side, staying at the Ol Pejeta Bush Camp allows you to contribute to this wildlife conservation. For example, there’s canine training, recording lion sightings for the research team, ecological monitoring to spot predators or wildlife-livestock integration to balance the ecosystem. Finally, there are seven spacious tents positioned along the Ewaso Nyiro River: great for family stays with homemade communal meals made using produce from a local women’s co-op or other regional farmers.

8. Campi ya Kanzi

Camp ya Kanzi is one of the best safari lodges in Kenya. In fact, it’s an award-winning camp and the only luxury, boutique eco-lodge set on a Maasai-owned reserve. Located in Southern Kenya, precisely Chyulu Hills, the camp is set on the “Green Hills of Africa”. The land is covered in rich green forests with entirely different kinds of trees, flowers, birds, insects, and mammals. 

On one of the best Kenya safari tour camps, expect to spot numerous apex predators like big cats, giraffes, antelopes, zebras, and much more biodiversity. Plus, with over 375,000 acres of pristine wilderness to explore, guests enjoy air safaris that make adventure limitless. During the air safaris, guests soar over the Okavango Delta, veer past Victoria Falls and through the Skeleton Coast, and in peak season, watch the herd migration in bird’s eye view for an incredible experience.

As for your stay at camp, they have cottages and suites with incredible views of the Chyulu Hills, Tsavo Hills, and Mount Kilimanjaro. You can relax on the private verandas, and take guided tours or game drives to the nearby Tsavo National Park and Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust. For their meals, they serve a delicious combination of European and Kenyan cuisine with tasty Italian foods like risotto and gelato. You also enjoy cozy dining options with fine wines from Italy and South Africa.

9. Saruni Rhino, Samburu

If you’re looking for something unique, tempting, and scintillating, this is the best safari in Kenya for you. We’re talking about the thrill of a lifetime experience where you get to track a black rhino on foot, accompanied by expert guides and highly trained Sera Conservancy rangers. Yes, in the northern region of Kenya, at the Sera Conservancy, they have the first black rhino tracking experience in East Africa. You actively walk the safari as you track and observe the rhinos’ movements within the 25,650 acres large rhino sanctuary.

For more adventure, Saruni Rhino offers game drives in the vast Samburu landscape, where you can spot buffalos, antelopes, reticulated giraffes, hyenas, ostriches, elephants, oryx, gerenuks, and birds. This spot is available all year round, so there’s no best time to visit Kenya for a safari, especially in Samburu. 

As for accommodation, it’s limited as they only have two open stone cottages also known as bandas/Kaoru Guest Houses, which sleep four to six guests, and another cottage for dining and relaxing. Plus, they only allow children 16 years and above. While you’re looking for the best time to visit Kenya safari, this is also a place to pick!

10. Lake Nakuru National Park

best Kenya safari tours

Last but not least, we have Lake Nakuru National Park which brings the focus back to central Kenya. It’s in the prime location of the Great River Valley floor, where it’s surrounded by bushy grasslands and woodlands, and plays habitat to many wild animals. Like the other Kenya safaris, the park has numerous game drives where you’ll see endangered black and white rhinos, impalas, lions, Rothschild’s giraffes, waterbucks, and buffalos.

The park also has a soda lake that’s home to over 400 bird species like flamingos, red-capped larks, shining sunbirds, long-tailed widowbirds, fish eagles, and slender-billed greenbul. The park offers many activities beyond a usual Kenyan safari, to entertain you and your families such as picnicking, hiking, and bird watching. As for where to stay, the park is in a less remote area, so expect numerous accommodation options from 4 and 5-star hotels, lodges, campsites, hostels, and guesthouses.

Wrapping up the 10 best Kenya safari tour camps

After reading this review, you know there’s no single best safari in Kenya. All these tours have something unique to offer their guests. From black rhino tracking in Samburu to air safaris in the Chyulu Hills to pristine wildlife photography at Kicheche. The beauties of Kenya are widespread in the south, north, and central Kenya leaving you torn on which safari to take. But one thing’s for sure, the best safaris in Kenya are the ones you travel to experience and not just read on blogs. Let us know if you have been to any Kenyan safari and if so, what was your experience. Don’t miss out on our other Kenyan articles, such as the best things to do in Nairobi and the best hotels in the capital.

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