One of my favorite parts of a Kenyan safari is the tented camp experience. But this is not your normal camping experience with sleeping bags and rudimentary facilities...
Oh, no, my introverted friends!
Today’s tented camps set the stage for an introverted traveler’s dream vacation! Each individual tent is separated from the others, so you have plenty of privacy and space to re-charge after a thrilling day in the bush.
You’ll find beds the rival the comfort of the big chain hotels of the world (they’ll even include a warm bottle of water under the covers to keep your feet warm!). You’ll bathe in plenty of hot water, heated by solar panels, deep soaking tubs to melt your worries away, and devour delicious international and local cuisine and drinks (usually all-inclusive -- major WOW!).
Introverted travelers should know that most dining options in tented camps (or safari lodges in general) tend to be communal, family-style experiences. Certainly not a stuffy or awkward affair, but if you sense yourself withdrawing at mealtimes, I do recommend pushing yourself a bit to connect with your fellow travelers.
But let's be honest. Sometimes it just feels right to order room service, and that's fine too.
So, when I tell my clients to give the tented camping experience a shot, I mean it. You’ll never want to check into another hotel ever again!
These are the 5 tented camps in Kenya that I can recommend with enthusiasm to any of my introverted travel-loving clients!
Sweetwaters Serena Camp is located in its own private reserve near Mount Kenya around a waterhole, which attracts all sorts of wildlife to come for a sip, day and night. In fact, for humans, there’s a drinking spot of our own, the Waterhole Bar, which offers incredible wildlife-watching while enjoying your own beverage of choice.
What I enjoy most about Sweetwaters Serena Camp is that it is one of the best places for wildlife viewing, and there is plenty of the “Big Five” (elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo, and leopard). In fact, it has a higher wildlife-to-area ration than any National Park and is one of only four private game conservancies to have been founded in Kenya.
Conservation is at the top of mind here, and they have the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa as well as Kenya’s only chimpanzee sanctuary (chimps are not actually indigenous to the region, but they need all the help they can get). Nice.
Little Governors’ Camp is nestled on the edge of the Masai Mara and requires a fun little adventure to get to, but it is well worth the effort!
Upon arrival (I recommend taking a small plane to the nearby airstrip), you’ll take a boat across the Masai River, and then a short hike through the forest, to arrive at the secluded camp. There, you’ll find 17 tents surround a watering hole. In addition to your fellow travelers, you’ll also share the camp with its resident warthogs (so ugly they’re cute!).
None of the Governors’ Camp properties have fences, so you may have to yield to the occasional elephant traversing the property. But it all combines to create one uniquely beautiful setting.
Mahali Mzuri (Swahili for beautiful place) is Sir Richard Branson’s safari camp and offers a front-row seat to the Great Migration. Located in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy, and boasts 12 tents, with ensuite bathrooms, private decks, welcoming staff, and unparalleled views of nature.
I love that the camp embodies Virgin’s core brand values, so you can expect a commitment to quality, service, and style, in Sir Branson’s own unique way.
Ashnil Samburu Camp is located in the Buffalo Springs Game Reserve, divided by the Ewaso Ng’iro River (if you see a recurring theme, many of my favorite lodges are located near bodies of water. Water = prime wildlife viewing!).
Samburu is located in the bulls-eye center of Kenya and offers a unique ecosystem that you won’t find in other parts of the country. When you think of Kenya, you may be reminded of the intricately beaded neckpieces that adorn many of the women -- that’s Samburu!
I chose to highlight Ashnil for two main reasons: service and style.
The staff at the camp embody the warmth of the Kenyan people. The service is impeccable and genuinely happy to assist; it all seems so effortless and perfect.
The design of the camp is also a bit more modern than most, seamlessly blending modern and traditional. Bright pops of color punctuate the typically-neutral decor of most Kenyan safari accommodations.
Elephant Bedroom Camp, also in Samburu is, in one word, stunning. Everything is perfect. The location, amenities, herbal toiletries. The food, service, decor, and ambiance is just right.
Located on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River, plenty of elephants and other wildlife freely roam.
The camp is perfect for introverts! In a few days there, I typically recommend a nice mix of activities scattered with plenty of downtime. Be sure to include an early morning game drive, since most of the wildlife is most active at night and in the pre-dawn hours.
Are you considering an African safari? Get in touch with me before you book! I’m always happy to chat about your various options and may be able to even help you score a complimentary upgrade or other perks you might not even know about.
It's one of the perks of using a skilled travel professional!