Serena Sweetwaters Camp lies at the centre of the 110,000-acre Ol Pejeta Conservancy, in the Laikipia plains 17 kilometres from Nanyuki and 217 kilometres from Nairobi. Ol Pejeta is a private conservancy with a higher wildlife-to-area ratio than any of Kenya’s national parks, which makes it one of the best conservancies to visit in Kenya.

Sweetwaters Serena camp_Standard tent

 

During my stay at Ol Pejeta I stayed at Sweetwaters Serena. We (group of bloggers +photographer) arrived at Sweetwaters on Friday night after a long journey from Nairobi. We were warmly received by the staff and presented with a glass of cold juice and some hot towels.

After relaxing for a bit we were led to our tents.

Sweetwaters Serena Camp_Reception

 

All the tents have canvas interiors, solid floors and separate thatched roofs. Electricity is provided by 24 hour generators. They also have hot and cold running water, 24-hour hot showers and flushing WCs.

Sweetwaters Serena Camp_tent

 

Sweetwaters Serena Camp_Tent (2)

 

There is a tea station which is perfect for the chilly Nanyuki weather. One thing to keep in mind is that the temperatures in Nanyuki are very low at night so it is advisable to carry appropriate nightwear. On the first night after dinner I found that there were hot water bottles in both beds. I was so cold that I slept with both in my bed.

Apart from the water bottles the staff also leave you a flash light lest you feel the need to wander around in the night.

Sweetwaters Serena Camp_Tea stationThe Tea Station

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Sweetwaters Serena Camp_bathroomThe Bathrooms

 

We arrived late so we did not get to see much of the camp that evening. After unpacking I was off to dinner. I must have been really preoccupied because I only managed to take a picture of this one meal.

Sweetwaters Serena Camp_Food1

 

The food was the standard fare that you will find at most Serena properties. As usual there was a wide variety and a large spread at breakfast. The one thing I was disappointed about happened at breakfast on Sunday. I was serving my breakfast when I saw a new item on the menu – Plantains. Now Plantain always gets me excited so I was quick to serve myself some. However the minute I took a bite, it tasted nothing like plantain. Apparently it wasn’t plantain but matoke (fruit of a variety of starchy banana). Other than that I quite enjoyed my meals.

Sweetwaters Serena Camp_Food2

 

Sweetwaters Serena Camp_salads

 

The next day (Saturday) I was up bright and early to catch the sunrise but I stayed right outside my tent waiting for Morris (fellow blogger) so that we could go for breakfast together so I missed it.

We came back for lunch so immediately after my meal I was finally able to get some time to walk around and explore the grounds.

There is a watering hole right at the area in front of the reception. Not to worry though there is a trench and fence between the watering holes so no creatures will creep into your tent in the night.

Sweetwaters Serena Camp_Watering hole

 

The grounds at Sweetwaters are beautiful. The architecture blends beautifully with the surroundings.

Sweetwaters Serena Camp_Entrance

 

Sweetwaters Serena Camp_Sign

 

Sweetwaters Serena Camp_exterior

 

Sweetwaters Serena Camp_Exterior1

 

Sweetwaters Serena Camp_Entrance1

 

Sweetwaters Serena Camp_Bench

 

The lawns are neatly manicured. There is also a small swimming pool on the way to the tents. Unfortunately I was kept quite occupied so did not get to swim.

Sweetwaters Serena Camp_Pool

 

Once you go indoors the lounge area is well appointed and if you fancy a drink you can always stop by the bar.

Sweetwaters Serena Camp_LoungeThe Lounge

 

Sweetwaters Serena Camp_BarThe Bar

 

My tent did not have a view of the waterhole, so if you’re staying there I’d advise you to request for a tent that does. Not only will you have beautiful views all day, you will also be closer to the reception and dining area.

Sweetwaters Serena Camp_TentsOutside view of the Tents

 

One thing to keep in mind that closing your room simply means zipping your tent so if you’re worried about your valuables then you should leave them at the reception.

 

On Sunday (my last day) I woke up re-energized (the nine+ hours of sleep really helped). Once again we had an early morning so I got ready and walked to the reception where we were all meeting before the game drive. The sight that greeted me was breathtaking.

Sweetwaters Serena Camp_Sunrise

 

Sweetwaters Serena Camp_Sunrise (2)

 

Sweetwaters Serena Camp_Sunrise reflection

 

Sweetwaters Serena Camp_Reflection of sunrise 2

 

Sweetwaters Serena Camp_Reflection of sunrise

 

The camp offers magnificent views of Mt. Kenya, not once did I regret my choice to wake up early.

Sweetwaters Serena Camp_Mt Kenya

 

I then went in to meet the rest of the group. There is a tea station in the reception area; I had a cup of hot chocolate which went a long way in warming me up in the freezing weather.

After the game drive we had to make a stop at Ol Pejeta house to drop off part of our team. Ol Pejeta house is another Serena property and belonged to the former owner of the ranch. I was able to take a few photos. It is a beautiful property and if I ever visit Ol Pejeta again I would love to stay there.

Ol Pejeta House_Back

 

Ol Pejeta House_Back1

 

Ol Pejeta House_Backyard

 

Ol Pejeta House_couch

 

Ol Pejeta House_Dining room

 

As usual there was Wi-Fi available throughout the grounds. That is one thing that I can never complain about when it comes to Serena properties.

Staying at Sweetwaters made me realize that I don’t love camping that much. I know that a luxury tented camp is as far from camping as one can get but I do not know how else to describe it. I really did not enjoy the experience of staying in a tent. I know it looks quite cosy in the picture but to me it felt very gloomy.

Would I go back? Not a yes but definitely a maybe. I did fall in love with Ol Pejeta and if I have no option but to stay at Sweetwaters again then I would.

How to get there

By road: transfers by road from Nairobi take approximately 3-4 hours.

By air: Nanyuki airstrip is 17 km from the camp, and a ‘meet and greet’ and transfer service can be provided(Please let us know your arrival time in advance).

 

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10 Comments

  1. August 1, 2015 at 7:34 pm — Reply

    Amazing property! Your sunrise shots are great.
    Ruth recently posted…LA Street Food Fest in PhotosMy Profile

  2. August 2, 2015 at 7:18 am — Reply

    Hi Rachael, The sunset that greeted you on your last morning is so beautiful. I would love to stay here and a good tip about getting a tent with view of the waterhole.
    budget jan recently posted…Budget Travel TipsMy Profile

  3. August 3, 2015 at 9:49 pm — Reply

    Wow! It’s absolutely gorgeous there! The tents look kind of interesting, but l think l would prefer a room. You got me all excited when l saw plantain :-), but the joy faded pretty quickly just like yours must have..hah hah! That was how l felt in Puerto Rico, as theirs is hard and crunchy..not sweet at all.. Great pictures as usual, and the sunsets are just fabulous .
    Kemkem recently posted…Mercado Barranco – Great foodie experience in SevilleMy Profile

  4. August 4, 2015 at 8:30 am — Reply

    I’m not much of a tent camping person myself, but these Sweetwaters tents look much, much nicer than any tent I’ve ever stayed in. The sunrises and sunsets are rather spectacular, especially the one reflected in the watering hole. This look like a nice place to stay with wonderful surrounding wildlife and scenery. Great addition to #WkendTravelInspiration.

  5. August 5, 2015 at 11:17 pm — Reply

    Such stunning sunsets Rachael! I have to admit, although I’m not normally a tent person, we stayed in a luxury safari tent in Tanzania when I went on honeymoon and it was absolutely stunning, en suite and romantic. At the time it was not Serena though I believe they later took over the management. Shame about the plantains as I too love eating it wherever I come across it!
    Shikha (whywasteannualleave) recently posted…A Slice of Seychelles Luxury at Constance Lemuria ResortMy Profile

  6. August 6, 2015 at 10:00 am — Reply

    This is my kind of tent, running water, electricity, and a floor. Absolutely beautiful location and I much appreciate the tip of requesting a view room. Looks like a wonderful press trip, and a great place to stay should I ever be in your part of the world.
    Rhonda Albom recently posted…Research, National Geographic and Saving Big Cats – IWSGMy Profile

  7. August 10, 2015 at 3:18 am — Reply

    I’m surprised you didn’t like the tent experience because as I read this I kept thinking about how wonderful your “tent” looks. I’d love to have an experience like this. Your early morning photos are gorgeous.
    Dana Carmel @ Time Travel Plans recently posted…Where to Stay in NOLA: French Market InnMy Profile

    • September 28, 2015 at 7:02 pm — Reply

      I just don’t know how to describe how I felt about it. There was nothing wrong with the tent but I didn’t love it.

  8. September 19, 2015 at 11:48 am — Reply

    […] few minutes after we had left the camp, we went to pick up our colleagues at Ol Pejeta house and on our way there we ran onto a driver who told us about a pair of lions mating. The game […]

  9. May 31, 2016 at 8:57 am — Reply

    Wow! Thats a fantabulous sunset.

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