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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The grounds at Sweetwaters are beautiful. The architecture blends beautifully with the surroundings.
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.
Once you go indoors the lounge area is well appointed and if you fancy a drink you can always stop by the 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.
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.
The camp offers magnificent views of Mt. Kenya, not once did I regret my choice to wake up early.
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.
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).