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Lodges For Wildlife Lovers

Spotting the Big Five—lions, leopards, elephants, Cape buffalo, and rhinos—depends on a skilled guide, not to mention a decent dose of luck. Where you stay also plays a factor.

Luckily, visitors to Kenya have ample choices when it comes not only to wildlife safaris, but enjoying a resort experience too. Whether you’re looking for luxury or rustic charm, the following properties offer close encounters of the wildlife kind.


Six Stays for the Big Five

Giraffe Manor. Rothschild giraffes are the stars of the show at this 12-acre boutique property near Nairobi National Park. These long-necked guests tend to show up around breakfast and, if you’re lucky (depending on what you think of as lucky), one might even stick his head through the window for a little scratch or tickle.

Each of the resort’s 10 rooms is evocative of the 1930s with hardwood floors, vintage chests and ivy-covered balconies.                   

Lake Naivasha Sopa Resort. You might want to catch an afternoon nap so you can stay up to see lumbering hippos come up to the lawn for a midnight snack of fresh grass. These animals are known to be aggressive so you’ll want to give them wide berth, but the resort is also home to some friendly animals, including Colobus and Vervet monkeys, waterbucks and giraffes.

Also, if you want to return home with the best fish tale ever, take a chartered boat out to fish for tilapia and black bass in the nearby lake.

Amboseli Sopa Lodge. It’s all about the views—and the elephants—at this lodge located just outside the Amboseli National Park, an area which inspired Hemingway’s The Snows of Kilimanjaro. Sit back and enjoy unparalleled views of Mount Kilimanjaro as you watch herds of migrating elephants pass by. Better still, get an aerial view with a balloon safari.

Elephant Bedroom Camp. Situated on the banks of the Samburu National Reserve’s Ewaso Nyiro River, this intimate camp puts you front and center when it comes to viewing wild elephants in their natural environment. Guests are so close to the elephants that guards are on hand 24/7 to escort guests around the property.

Governors Camp. Book a visit to this lodge in the Maasai Mara National Reserve between July and October, and you’ll have a front-row seat to one of nature’s great spectacles—the annual wildebeest migration. While not one of Mara’s top luxury lodges, it more than makes up for it with an immersive experience, where guest tents open to the plains.

Ol Pejeta Bush Camp. Get in touch with your inner bushman with a stay at this rustic bush camp. With only six tents, you’ll get to know your fellow travelers well. Very well.

The main lounge is a simple screened-in pavilion and hot water needs to be requested in advance, but what this camp doesn’t offer in creature comforts, it more than makes up for with the chance to search for the only three Northern White Rhinos left in existence.

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