When you think about luxury travel, what comes to mind? Gold plated planes with the world’s most beautiful air hostesses, serving you caviar on silver platters? Well, the caviar, the silver platters and the air hostesses can stay. The gold plated plane is a bit much, though.
The truth is, luxurious travel really depends on the traveller. Some of us find luxury in the simplest of things. Others, however, have to be surrounded by silver and gold before they can rate anything as ‘luxurious’. Whatever your definition of luxurious travel, there are some destinations in Kenya that will just…mesmerize you! To say the least, here are 20 of the most luxurious things you can do in Kenya.
1. Fly to Space at Mahali Mzuri Kenya Safari Camp
This amazingly unique camp site is owned by Sir Richard Branson, the prodigious entrepreneur and the founder of Virgin Group. That alone should tell you that there is nothing ordinary about this place. It has 12 spaceship shaped tents that are set in the breathtaking backdrop of the one and only, Masai Mara. This is the camp site you go to when you want to bring your modern world into the wilderness. There is complementary laundry services, Wi-Fi in every tent and even iPads are available for guests to use. Visit:
2. Experience Nature with Riding Safari – ‘Ride Kenya’ at Ol Donyo Lodge
If your idea of luxury is experiencing life in its most natural and easy going form, then this is for you. Ride Kenya is no doubt one of the most adventurous and luxurious things to do in Kenya. The riding safari offers boundless access to one of the largest regions of Africa, from dry lakebeds of Amboseli in the east to the grand Chyulu Hills in the west, with Mount Kilimanjaro overlooking the breathtaking range of ecosystems. Guests are offered a chance to enjoy bush walks, game drives and ride on well-schooled horses during the riding safari, plus they get to have a safe and close encounters with the wildlife during the mobile safari.
Now, let’s talk about a luxury trip in its most basic definition. Beautiful surroundings with absolute exclusivity and a team of caterers that has nothing else to do but cater to your every need. These are the kinds of places that will have you spending an obscene amount of money in a frighteningly short amount of time. But for those who know what they want and deserve, there is no other way to live. Visit:
3. Pamper Yourself at Alfajiri Villas – Diani
These are some of the most exclusive villas in the Kenyan cost. Every villa has absolute privacy and enjoys an elevated view of the beautiful Indian Ocean. These villas are serviced by some of the best chefs in the coast and the support staff is very highly trained. Here, you will be treated as royalty. Visit:
4. Sample the Best of the Best at Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa – Diani
This is the hands-down favourite of many luxury travellers who visit Diani Beach. Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa is set on 35 acres of nothing but paradise. A private beach, 143 luxurious rooms that have everything you can reasonably dream of and excursion packages that make your visit to Kenya one to remember. Visit:
5. Get the Best Out of Africa at Bateleur Camp in Kichwa Tembo – Masai Mara
Have you ever seen ‘Out of Africa’? If not, try and watch it. It is a wonderful movie that will show you just how beautiful Kenya is. You must be wondering what this has to do with the camp site. Well, most of it was shot here. This place will take your breath away and never give it back. Oh, did we mention you get a private butler?
6. Feed the Rothschild Giraffe at Giraffe Manor – Nairobi
Giraffe Manor resonates the ancient British aristocracy. It’s a 140 acres conservancy that it is built on is as lush as it is breathtaking. Most mornings and evenings you will have some unusual visitors (the 8 Rothschild Giraffe) that reside on this conservancy. They come to see what the visitors are up to and to find out if you are willing to share some of your snacks. It is an all-round, wonderful experience in a very exclusive location. Visit:
7. Distinguish Yourself at Fairmont The Norfolk – Nairobi
This is by far one of the most prestigious and well respected establishments in the city of Nairobi. Fairmont The Norfolk is a luxury hotel with modern touch, Kenyan charm and and a distinctive personality. The Norfolk has been a staple for Kenya’s elite society for over a hundred years now. Kenyan luxury safaris begin here! Visit:
8. Experience Exclusivity at Loisaba Luxury Safari Camp – Rift Valley
This is an outstandingly beautiful luxury safari camp located in private wilderness ranch in Nanyuki, Rift Valley . You can choose to either stay at the house, the lodge or the cottage. All of their accommodation is authentically African and reeks of pure luxury. They have an on sight spa that will wash and massage all you worries away. You will get a chance to sleep under the undisturbed Kenyan skies in one of their beautiful star-beds. Visit:
9. Pay Tribute to Elsa The Lioness at Elsa’s Kopje – Meru National Park
Elsa’s Kopje is renowned as one of the most outstandingly elegant lodges in all of Africa. Each one of the 8 suites blends in perfectly with the hilly surroundings and has an exclusive view of the rocky hillside that they are built on. This is where Elsa the Lioness, from ‘Born Free’ lived. Visit:
10. Get Specific at Cottar’s 1920’s Camp – Masai Mara
Remember when we spoke of ‘gold plated planes’? Well, the Cottar’s 1920’s Camp has more ‘gold’ than that plane. The camp has 3 Gold Level Guides (qualified by the Kenya Professional Safari Guide Association). It has also been awarded the Gold standard by the Kenya Ecotourism Society. But, all that aside, the camp provides bespoke safaris. This means everything is tailored to your every desire and sprinkled with a healthy helping of luxury dust on top. Visit:
11. Be Uncompromising at The Msambweni Beach House – Mombasa
Picture this, if you will; 700 feet of private, white sandy beach, a lush garden, a view of the turquoise blue Indian Ocean from a 40 feet high cliff and an infinity pool that will make you sea sick (in a good way). This is what you will get at the Msambweni Beach House. With 28 acres of natural tropical land and private transfers, this is where luxury comes to get away from compromise. Visit:
12. Get an undefined luxury at the Tribe Hotel – Gigiri, Nairobi
Do not let the title fool you; there is nothing tribal about the Tribe Hotel. That is, unless you come from the 1% tribe. The Tribe Hotel is luxury redefined. Located in Gigiri, which is one of the most upscale living districts in Kenya, The Tribe Hotel offers nothing but the best. It is just next to The Village Market, which is East Africa’s Premier shopping mall. The rooms here are impossibly beautiful and only serve up rarefied….everything! Visit: Tribe Hotels
13. Get a Taste of Dubai in Nairobi’s Caramel Restaurant & Lounge – ABC Place
Dubai is perhaps the epitome of luxurious living in this planet. And with good reason! The UAE, as a region, has an obscene amount of money. This is exactly the kind of luxury that the Caramel Restaurant & Lounge brings to Nairobi. This luxurious restaurant is located at ABC place, Waiyaki Way, Westlands. If you want to know just how exclusive this place is, there is a bottle of Remy Martin Louis VIII there that goes for over 1.2 million Ksh. (well over $ 13,000). Here, you can enjoy foods and drinks that will drive your pallet wild. Visit: Caramel Restaurant and Lounge
14. Get Homely at Palacina The Residence & The Suites – Nairobi
This is one establishment that combines a 5 star status with a homely feel. This is not your regular hotel. The Palacina, is family owned and run in the same manner. Here the luxury accorded to you is punctuated with a homely and loving touch from both the staff and owners. You can choose to stay at the suites, for short visits or at the residence for those staying for a period longer than a month. Visit: Palacina, The Residence & The Suites
15. Party like A Kenyan Celebrity at Galileo Lounge- Westlands, Nairobi
Galileo Lounge is one of the most popular night clubs in Nairobi. This is where the who’s who of Kenya come to unwind. It has a wonderful atmosphere and several VIP lounges. Most nights, the VIP lounges are difficult to get into because many politicians, TV and radio personalities lay claim to them. There is a huge variety of drinks and tasty delicacies to enjoy.
16. Live Like Royalty at The Majlis Hotel – Lamu
There aren’t enough words to describe this hotel. Idyllic, unique, stylish, luxurious, exclusive….all these pale in comparison to what Majlis has to offer. The hotel has the perfect view of Lamu and the Indian Ocean that acts as its front yard. This is a destination hat has the perfect blend of Swahili culture, Western amenities and pure luxury. Visit:
17. Get The Palatial Experience at Ol Donyo Lodge – Chyulu Hills
Ol Donyo Lodge is a luxury safari lodge located in Chyulu Hills National Park, Makueni County. If you are going to go all natural, then you want to do it at Ol Donyo Wuas. Any one of their ten luxurious suites will give you an unparalleled view of the expansive plains by its door step and the majestic Mt. Kilimanjaro. Ol Donyo Lodge has managed to blend princely living with an authentic bush experience that you will be hard pressed to find anywhere else. Visit:
18. Visit The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille – Nanyuki
The snow-caped peaks of Mt. Kenya; Ol Olokwe, the sacred mountain of the Samburu people; Karisa hills; and the breath taking Matthew Ranges. These are just some the things that make up your view when you visit The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille. This is not even luxury anymore. It is decadence. The four houses within this sanctuary are heart-stopping luxurious with privacy and lush surroundings being the order of the day. The international in-house chef will serve you anything you want, any time you want. If that is not good living, then we do not know the meaning of the phrase. Visit: The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille
19. See Nairobi from The Rooftop Lounge and Cocktails – Sankara, Westlands
Sankara, Nairobi is one of the best, and newest, hotels in the city. Just by looking at it, you know that Sankara is in a class of its own. From the neatly dressed and exceptionally polite valets, to the professional wait and hotel staff, the Sankara will give you all that you deserve. If one of the things you deserve happens to be a beautiful view of Nairobi’s skyline and impeccably prepared cocktails, then there is nowhere better than the Rooftop Lounge that just so happens to be a poolside bar. Visit:
20. Sit Back at The Crystal Bar – Panari Hotel, Nairobi
As we mentioned earlier, sometime the most luxurious things are the simplest of them all. Although, The Crystal Bar is located at one of Kenya’s premier hotels, Panari, the bar itself tries to be as simple as can be. Shinny glasses, expertly prepared cocktails, Wi-Fi and an outstanding view of the Nairobi National Park. This is where you come to just…chill! Visit:
Depending on your definition of luxury, there is a host of things and places that you could visit within this magnificent country. The best part is that, wherever you go, you will find some of the friendliest people you will ever meet. People who are easy to smile and more than willing to help you learn Swahili! It is about time you gave yourself a treat, have the best vacation by enjoying the luxurious things Kenya has to offer.
Have you enjoyed the luxurious things to do in Kenya? Share your experience with us in the comment below:
How to Take Children on an African Safari
Despite all the warnings, a trip to Tanzania with a toddler and an 8-year-old turned out to be a dream vacation for the whole family
A LITTLE AFTER dawn, our safari guide headed to the less-explored eastern part of Serengeti National Park. He slowed the Toyota Land Cruiser at a patch of green that interrupted the straw-colored Tanzanian landscape, so barren that it made our mouths feel dry.
“There’s a hyena under that tree,” he said.
My husband, Nitin, and I stood up in the vehicle and instinctively shushed our groggy children, Naya and Riya, then ages 8 and 1. Looking through binoculars at the tree, we saw only a blur.
“Hey!” the baby shouted. “Hello? Hello?” “Shhhhhh!” we scolded.
And suddenly, there was the hyena—headed straight for us. Creatures like these see young animals (including humans) as easy prey; once you get over the creepy factor, this can make for a cool wildlife-viewing experience—at least from the relative safety of a getaway car.
Months earlier, when we’d told friends that we planned to take our children to Africa, they mostly admonished us. The water’s not safe. The bugs are vicious. The kids will get bored on long drives. They won’t remember any of it.
Their doubts only emboldened us. We’d lived in India through my eldest daughter’s toddler years and considered ourselves seasoned travelers. The three of us horsebacked across Kashmir, rode elephants into the grasslands of Assam, took a palanquin into the caves of Ajanta. Then, in 2008, we moved back to the U.S. We bought a house. We had a second child. Vacations became three-day weekends in the Catskills or Berkshires, beach rentals up and down the Eastern Seaboard. Our Facebook photos started to look like everyone else’s.
I missed adventure and wanted to expose my children to more. Tanzania felt like a logical destination. Its pleasant dry season runs from June through October, overlapping with the kids’ summer holiday. My college roommate lives in Dar es Salaam, so we had an in-country contact in case of an emergency.
African safaris are attracting a lot more families these days, including some with very young children, according to tour operators. When planning our trip, which included stops in Istanbul and Zanzibar, I requested safari quarters where little ones would be welcome (many lodges bar children under 12). To our surprise, we were offered high chairs, baby cots and special kid-friendly meals as we made our way around Tanzania.
We started in Tanzania’s most populous city, Dar es Salaam, took a day to acclimate and continued to Kilimanjaro, where we embarked on six days of safari. The Serengeti ecosystem, which straddles Tanzania and Kenya, is known for the largest migration of mammals in the world, but they were on the Kenyan side by the time we arrived. We stuck mostly to the central Serengeti to catch better views of lions; we saw plenty of zebras and wildebeest in the lesser-known Tarangire National Park in northern Tanzania. Ngorongoro Crater, an immense inactive volcano caldera, gave us a chance to see all these animals in one place. Feeling cramped from days of driving, we also took a memorable hike around its rim.
Safaris, it turns out, are a dream vacation with and for kids. There is nothing like the amazement on a child’s face when giraffes and zebras are so close that you can smell them. Teachable moments abound—about nature and evolution, power and the world order. And though safari travel tends to be luxurious and sheltered from reality, having children along facilitates interaction with locals. Everywhere we went, Tanzanians wanted to hold our baby, pinch her cheeks, make her laugh. They gave our older child candy and pats on the head and encouraged her attempts to speak Swahili.
THE LOWDOWN: SAFARI WITH KIDS IN TANZANIA’S SERENGETI
Getting There: Dar es Salaam and Nairobi are the most common entry points for visitors to the Serengeti. From there, you can take shorter flights to Arusha, Kilimanjaro or Seronera to get closer to the parks. Visas can be purchased for cash upon arrival ($100) but if you want to avoid lines, do it in the U.S.
Staying There: Tour operators generally book safari lodging, and Duma Explorer planned our trip (dumaexplorer.com). In Arusha, Arumeru River Lodge is a serviceable first or last stop, with great food and views (from about $270 a night, arumerulodge.com). Its restaurant has high chairs and will accommodate children’s whims. Rhino Lodge near Ngorongoro Crater is bare-bones, but animals wander right onto the property in the morning and evening (from about $270 a night, including meals, ngorongoro.cc). Tarangire Safari Lodge, inside Tarangire National Park, recently added a spa, with a massage table that overlooks the river (from about $400 a night, including meals, tarangiresafarilodge.com). Duma Explorer’s tented Chaka Camp in the Serengeti offers king-size beds, hot showers and private porches (from about $690 a night, including meals, chakacamp.com).
Eating There: In tent lodges, cooks whip up whatever is freshest. You can request special meals for children, such as pasta or rice. Maasai-raised beef is not to be missed. Pack nonperishable snacks for long car rides; tour operators provide bottled water.
Spending There: Tanzania is largely a cash economy, so bring at least $1,000 for tips, souvenirs and incidentals, or plan to stop at ATMs outside the park entrances.
Taking Children Along: Consult your pediatrician about vaccinations and medications. The Sit ‘n’ Stroll, a car seat that turns into a stroller, is a good investment for any globe-trotting family ($330, lillygold.com).
During a hike through a village outside Arusha, the largest city in northern Tanzania, the baby delighted in all the attention. “Mtoto, mtoto,” children chanted, using the Swahili word for baby as they ran after us and colobus monkeys swung over our heads. Our eldest grew silent when the children begged for her sunglasses and stroked her skin as if to determine if it was different from theirs. Later, at dinner, we reminded her that the poverty she had witnessed was much more the norm than the Tanzania we saw on safari.
Guidebooks warned of something else I might have to discuss with the children: Mating, notably among the lions. We didn’t see any mating, but in July, the landscape of short brown grass exposes other primal behaviors. One day in the Serengeti, we came upon a pride of lions, and watched them for nearly an hour. My youngest stared at the lioness, just steps from her car seat. The eldest fiddled with the binoculars.
When the lioness started walking differently, Ebeneezer Emanuel, the same guide who showed us the hyena, warned that we might be about to see a kill. He gestured at the children as if to ask, “Is that OK?” We nodded.
The lioness crept up behind a pack of dancing gazelles and waited. We waited. I prayed my children would stay quiet. And she pounced. A baby gazelle was dragged under a tree to be eaten.
“So the female lions are stronger?” my daughter asked Ebeneezer.
“Yes,” he said. “They are much better hunters.”
“That is so cool.”
Seeing the kill inspired more serious dinnertime conversation. “How can the gazelles dance around so much knowing a lion might eat them at anytime?” my daughter wondered.
“Perhaps that is precisely why they let themselves be so happy,” I said.
Between game drives, we returned to our lodge or tent and let the girls run around and get out their own wild sides. I had packed an iPad loaded with kids’ videos in case they grew restless, but we never needed it; the children were much happier watching natural dramas unfold before them.
Also unnecessary were the dozens of packets of instant macaroni and cheese we’d brought. As my daughters devoured roast chicken and cassava stew, I felt sheepish for brushing off our friends’ skepticism when I’d clearly had a healthy dose of it myself.
Kenya Wildlife Safari National Parks
Africa’s famous “Big Five”
Kenya is home to Africa’s famous “Big Five” (Lion, Elephant, Rhino, Leopard and Buffalo) Kenya is the best place in the entire continent to see these Five magnificent species in their natural environment. Furthermore, Kenya has an incredible range of wild habitats, each one with its own unique range of species. Open savannah, deep forest, soda and freshwater lakes, alpine meadows, coral reefs, caves, beaches, river deltas and even more.
Finest Natural Attractions
Kenya also offers some of the finest natural attractions in the world including the seventh natural wonder of the world, the wildebeest migration that starts from July of every year combined with an excellent network of hotels and game lodges that give visitors value for business and pleasure.
Kenya Wildlife Service Parks and Reserves
With her national parks, game reserves, marine parks, biosphere reserves, archaeological sites, pearly beaches and flora fauna, Kenya is a natural tourism magnet and renown for her Safaris. The most popular attractions are wildlife at national parks. Please find the list below of the National Parks and Reserves.
| » Aberdare National Park» Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve
» Chyulu Hills National Park
» Kakamega Forest National Reserve
» Kisumu Impala Sanctuary
» Kora National Park
» Malindi Marine National Park
» Marsabit National Park & Reserve
» Mombasa Marine National Park
» Mount Elgon National Park
» Mt. Longonot National Park
» Nairobi National Park
» Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park
» Saiwa Swamp National Park
» Sibiloi National Park
» Tsavo East National Park
» Watamu Marine National Reserve
| » Amboseli National Park» Central Island National Park
» Hells Gate National Park
» Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park
» Kiunga National Marine Reserve
» Lake Nakuru National Park
» Malka Mari National Park
» Meru National Park
» Mombasa Marine Reserve
» Mt. Kenya National Park
» Mwea National Reserve
» Ndere Island National Park
» Ruma National Park
» Shimba Hills National Reserve
» Tana River Primate Reserve
» Tsavo West National Park
When you take a picture, light reflecting from the subject hits the camera’s sensor and is recorded. If the shutter opens and closes very quickly, there’s no time for light from moving portions of your image to “˜smear’ across the pixels of your sensor. However, as shutter speed slows, the “˜smear’ of light increases. Many photographers use this to make fantastic images.
With moving subjects, shooting slow exposures from a tripod can emphasise the movement of your subject relative to its background. The subject in motion is blurred while all around it is pin sharp. Think of those shots you may have seen of ghost-like waterfalls and rivers.
Pan with your subjects
Another simple technique is to pan with or follow your subjects. This means that, relative to your camera, the subject in motion is steady and the background is moving. Consequently, the subject in motion is sharp while the background is completely blurred. Think of wildlife photographers shooting moving animals or herds, or motoring journalists trying to emphasise the speed of a car. Ironically many of the motion shots used in car adverts are shot using very slow exposures while pushing the car by hand.
The amount of blur is dependent on four factors:
- The angle of motion relative to the camera: subjects moving perpendicular to the lens blur more than subjects moving towards the lens.
- Speed of the subject: the faster the subject, the more it blurs.
- Magnification of the lens: the bigger the focal length of the lens, the more the subject will blur.
- Distance from the lens: the closer a subject is to the lens, the more it blurs.
Do it yourself
Firstly, find a suitable subject; cars passing on a road in the early evening work well. Set your camera to aperture priority and select a high f-stop (a small aperture – try f11 and above) that results in slow shutter speed. See below for the shutter speeds at which certain subjects will begin to blur.
Try both techniques. With your camera on a tripod, shoot scenes of passing cars and watch how they blur and the lights streak. Next take your camera off your tripod and pan evenly with your subject as it passes, snapping shots as you go.
Guideline shutter speeds
Approximate shutter speeds for a short zoom lens – 55 to 90 mm – that will begin to blur on a subject moving at the following speeds approximately 30 metres away.
60 km/h 1/125th
120 km/h 1/250th
Don't see the perfect trip on the list? No worries! We'd be happy to make a custom itinerary for you, so you can get exactly what you want out of your African adventure. Just give us a call!
East Africa: +255.784.737.413 - USA: +1.315.675.4325 - Australia: +61.28.006.8085