Located in the heart of Laikipia, one of Kenya’s largest stretches of wilderness, El Karama Lodge is an owner-operated lodge defined by its attention to detail, and by its child-friendly approach to all things safari.
Specialising in hosting small groups and families, the lodge’s ideal position – nestled within a 14,000 acre private conservatory – lends itself to a truly immersive, wildlife focused, experience. Run by the third generation of the Grant family, the camp is comprised of eight cottages, made from a mixture of wood, thatch, stone and canvas. Either side of the chemical-free pool lie two beautifully appointed thatched houses. The larger house acts as the lodge’s dining room, while the smaller building, filled with card games, books, and lanterns, is designed to be a place of relaxation.
Service and food
The healthy, French-inspired cuisine is prepared in the Bush Kitchen, which guests are invited to visit and, if they wish, assist with the preparation of meals. It’s little touches such as this – guests can even knead the dough for daily loaves – that really embody the personal nature of the lodge. Expect a hot cooked breakfast, buffet lunches and a three course meal in the evening, complemented by fruit smoothies and snacks across the day. Guests with special dietary requirements are aptly catered for, and the kitchen even has its own children’s menu – don’t forget to ask for the delicious breakfast banana rolls! The lodge also has a fully stocked bar, and its own signature El Karama cocktail menu.
The cottages are split into three types – six Bandas, The Rondavel and The Hobbit House – each built using hand crafted materials. The Bandas all have their own verandas (ideal for reading during the day and staring at the stars at night) while The Rondavel and The Hobbit House are designed with groups and families in mind. Every cottage has 24-hour electricity, flushing toilets, hot water and baths/showers.
This is a lodge very much in tune with the wildlife that surrounds it, and activities are therefore designed for guests to absorb as many sightings as possible during their visit. Wildlife drives are, unsurprisingly, a must: the region supports a staggering 430 bird species alongside Vulterine Guinea Fowl, Gerenuk and Grevy’s Zebra. Tracking on foot is popular, and we also recommend the rhino scouting day trips. In addition, guests are encouraged to visit the camp’s organic farm.
The camp kitchen uses eco-charcoal ovens, and an impressive 90% of the food is home-grown in the camp’s organic garden. Furthermore, local trout is the only fish available at the lodge, and power is fully generated using solar energy.
In keeping with the camp’s family focus, El Karama has Kenya’s first Bush School for children – a fantastic way for younger guests to learn about sustainable safaris.
Meat cooked at the lodge is locally sourced or delivered from within a 60km radius.
El Karama Lodge encourages local schools to visit free of charge and runs a fully funded, six week internship for two local students each year.