Owner built, run and guided, award winning and located on the Masaai Kuku ranch, in the Chyulu Hills, between Amboseli and Tsavo West, Campi ya Kanzi is a truly great eco-luxury lodge.
A volcanic stone, canvas, sustainable wood and thatch build, situated overlooking the plains and a not so distant Kilimanjaro, and built in partnership with the local Masaai community, Campi ya Kanzi consists of a main lodge and 8 sleeping rooms. Characterised by stone flooring, exposed brickwork, plenty of light and cavernous ceilings, the main lodge – Tembo House – includes a lounge, dining area, bar, small library and veranda. Wi-Fi is available in communal areas.
Beautifully designed, its found-wood furniture, Masaai-Italianesque art and slumber seating all marks of a shared area as comfortable as it looks, Campi ya Kanzi’s cosy worldliness is wonderfully complimented first by owners Luca Belpietro and Antonella Bonomi, authors of its look, cuisine and conservationist philosophy, and also by a service so fine as to suggest that for everyone – from kitchen to room care to ranger – work here is more than just a job.
Food & service
The cuisine, Italian, wider European and African, is delicious. Food (breakfast, lunch, tea and supper) is either grown in the lodge’s kitchen garden or locally sourced, while meal venues are the typically Italian restaurant, outside on the veranda or at select locations away from the lodge – a volcanic cave, for example.
The accommodation at Campi ya Kanzi is divided into 6 cottages and 2 tented suites. Four of the cottages come with twin beds, while the remaining two – plus the suites – come with a double bed. Each room includes seating, an en-suite bathroom, a private balcony and plenty of storage.
In keeping with the lodge’s environmentally conscious approach, the bed frames, the tables, chairs and fittings are all fallen wood, while the lighting and water heating is solar powered, and every effort has been made to either ethically source or recycle fittings and features. Comfortable and possessing the most beautiful of views, the rooms, cottage or suite, are an exceptional stay.
Activities include wildlife drives, guided walks and cultural visits. Please be advised that a Campi ya Kanzi safari is unashamedly slow-paced, the experience as far from the mini-bus circuit as you can possibly get.
Campi ya Kanzi has received the highest possible rating from the Five Leaf System for eco-friendly practices. Moreover the camp has also been awarded the Butterfly Mark by Positive Luxury for its commitment to, but not limited to, buying local food from trusted and reputable sources, protecting the environment and its biodiversity and solely relying on renewable sources to supply energy to the camp. The Butterfly Mark offers wordless reassurance that Campi ya Kanzi is a brand to trust.
Moreover the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust (MWCT) and Campi ya Kanzi work closely together in order for conservation efforts to be maximised. At their core they share the same mission: preserving the Maasai wilderness of the Greater Kilimanjaro Ecosystem.
Campi ya Kanzi has a staff of 65 Kenyans, 90% of which are local Maasai. All guides, trackers, maids and waiters are Maasai from the community.
Conservation in the 21st century should consider people, so the first point for ecotourism should be how a tourist facility relates to the local communities. Campi ya Kanzi is a community lodge, in community land, employing locally, paying tourism revenues locally, supporting a community Trust.
The main goal of Campi ya Kanzi is to protect the land of the Maasai; 283,000 acres of Kuku Group Ranch, to enable the Maasai community to keep living according to their traditions, if they so wish. Moreover the camp partners with Pack for a Purpose a non-profit organisation that encourages travellers to support the communities they encounter on vacation.