This blog post is month’s late, life keeps getting in the way. I am sure you’re all familiar with the struggle where you have to take up a job to support your passion and then the job ends up taking all of your time. I kept meaning to write but I never got round to it until now. I have so much content to share and I’m hoping that I will be able to get more time. Anyway, enough about my struggles, let’s get to it.
October last year I was fortunate to take a week tour of Laikipia County. Loisaba Tented Camp was one of the several places I visited and it also happened to be my favorite.
Perched on the edge of an escarpment, with unparalleled views over the Laikipia landscape, the Loisaba tented camp is a secluded and exclusive retreat set in a 56 000 acre private concession that is the Loisaba conservancy.
Laikipia County in northern Kenya is unfathomably varied and scenic, but the roads are something else. The roads were rough and rutted resulting into one slow and bone-jarring journey. It would not be advisable to go with anything other than a 4 wheel drive vehicle especially during the rainy season. The road, if it could really be called that, deteriorated as we proceeded further. We thought we had encountered the worst of the road only to run into a gulley which had been haphazardly filled with huge rocks. Our wonderful driver George had to employ his expertise time and again to get us through. From that point it was uphill all the way.
On reaching the Camp I was immediately wowed by the commanding views over the plains stretching as far as the eye can see. The grueling ride was worth it!
The reception area included a large open dining area, separate lounge and bar, a large decking area for outside dining allowing you to savor the tantalizing views of the Laikipia plains.
We were welcomed by the manager who sat us down in the dining area and gave us a quick briefing.
We were then ushered to our rooms. I have never in my life experienced such a luxurious camp. The room was spacious and airy with canvas sides and zip-down fronts that can be left open to catch the tantalizing vistas below or let in a gentle breeze. The tents were simple yet stylish. Contemporary African styled eco-chic design with high ceilings, top quality linens, floor-to-ceiling doors, and polished wooden floors adorned with exquisite wooden furnishings. A decked area at the front boasts two elegant loungers, perfect for soaking up both rays and views. Calling this a tented camp is an understatement, Loisaba incorporates many of the creature comforts and amenities of luxury hotels and nestles them tidily within the confines of the canvas walls of a tent.
It is no surprise that the moment I got to my room I was excitedly showing off the room on social media as well as sharing with my friends. There was also complementary sherry in the room. I had never had some and I definitely enjoyed it more than I thought I would.
There’s nothing more relaxing than a nice long hot shower or bath after a long drive. The modern bathroom fixtures, lavish and over the top and would put any luxury hotel to shame. I was not prepared for the amazing rainfall shower, the illusion of natural cascading water through a series of nozzles, was a moment of pure bliss! Leaving my mind, body and soul thoroughly invigorated.
The camp’s real draw is its strategic location, offering an experience and panorama like no other. Perched on the edge on what I believe is arguably the most picturesque infinity pool, the camp capitalizes on unhindered views across the plains to Mount Kenya that are uninterrupted save for the wildlife that roams the area.
There is a lovely waterhole below, which is often frequented by elephants, giraffes and zebras where one can enjoy ample sightings from the comfort of their veranda. I spent a good chunk of the afternoon chilling in the pool content in watching the Elephants come and go.
The camp has hardly any phone network save for the parking area. A reliable Wi-Fi connection is however available throughout. You are also issued with a radio in case you need to get in touch with the staff.
There are only 12 tents (so the camp feels very exclusive) and 2 pools. Tents 10, 11 and 12 can be booked as group with access to the 2nd pool. The camp is fully fenced with an electric fence so it is completely safe to walk around the camp day or night. In addition to the radio you are also issued with a flashlight if you need to take a late night/ early morning walk.
The camp offers a wide variety of activities from meandering game drives to guided bush walks. Laikipia hosts one of the largest population of elephant in Kenya, with Loisaba serving as a key migration corridor. The region boasts Kenya’s most stable lion population, as well as the seldom seen Greater Kudu and Wild Dog, and endemic northern Kenya species such as the gerenuk and Grevy’s Zebra, alongside a wealth of other wildlife.
Loisaba is also a birder’s paradise offering a fine habitat for several bird species, including sunbirds, barbets, woodpeckers, weavers, hornbills, flycatchers and many others.
Other activities include horse-riding, camel-trekking, fishing, mountain biking, cultural visits to Samburu villages, helicopter rides to Mount Kenya and visits to the resident sniffer dogs who help with anti-poaching efforts in the region. Unfortunately due to the short stay (one night only) we could not take part in any of the activities offered by the camp.
This review would not be complete if I didn’t talk about the food.
Food was first-class matched by an exemplary, attentive and friendly service, with keen attention to detail and use of fresh homegrown ingredients. Kudos to Chef Christine and her team. Menus can be tailored to fit any dietary requirement (with vegetarian and gluten free options).
Leave plenty of room for their deserts as they are to die for!
Other than enjoying the luxury, I also appreciate the effort the camp has taken with its green initiative. Loisaba is a prime example of sustainable eco-tourism. The tents are elegant, but very much blend with the local environment. A lot of effort has been taken to operate the lodge in an environmentally conscious manner with initiatives such as using a grey water biobox, an entirely powered off-the-grid solar system that includes solar hot water and the tiles in the pool are dark rather than the traditional white or blue ensuring the pool is not only naturally heated but retains heat from the sun.
The camp part of the Loisaba Conservancy, a functioning ranch, is a prime example of successful collaboration between conservation, local communities, ranching and tourism. The camp is part of a program that promotes wildlife conservation and at the same time sustainably working with the local pastoralist communities by offering economic opportunities from tourism while they continue with their traditional way of life.
Perhaps my one regret was that we weren’t staying longer, I wish I had more time to explore everything that this extraordinary place had to offer.
Loisaba shares many of the luxuries of you would get in a hotel but offer so much more for those wishing to get close to nature. While it does not come cheap, one would probably have to ‘rob a bank’ to afford an extended stay, I would definitely love to go back and would highly recommend the place for anyone booking a family safari, honeymoon safari or just heading to the bush.
Update: You can check rates for the Loisaba Tented Camp here.