Kenya — Nairobi and Beyond

Few travel specialists know Kenya as well as Katie Cadar of the TravelStore. Here she shares some of her favorite destinations, from shopping in the Karen neighborhood of Nairobi to the country’s many safari options. Katie can create a Kenya itinerary suited to your particular interests. Contact her to arrange a bespoke trip at katie.cadar@afar.com

Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Why we love it: A secluded safari camp offering Old World luxury and connections to the local community

The Highlights:
- An ideal location for witnessing the Big Five and Kenya’s famous wildebeest migrations
- Classic safari style that recalls Out of Africa
- Access to bush walks, hot air balloon safaris, community excursions, and other unique activities

The Review:
Romantic and luxurious, this tented camp transports guests to the Kenyan safaris of the 1920s and 30s. On the edge of the gorgeous Masai Mara, the secluded property was completely renovated in 2018 and now comprises two camps, each with nine tented suites featuring polished wooden floors, en-suite bathrooms with indoor and outdoor showers, and copper bathtubs with views of the night sky. Classically elegant, the tents also come with private wooden verandas overlooking the vast, game-filled plains; personal butlers who attend to every whim; and thoughtful details like handcrafted artifacts, map-inspired wallpaper, yoga mats, and a butler hatch for delivering morning coffee or tea.

Elsewhere on site are two swimming pools; a common sitting area outfitted with leather Chesterfield sofas and fine antiques; a state-of-the-art gym with views of the Mara; a massage room; a gift shop stocked with local handicrafts; and a stylish bar for Kenyan coffee and top-shelf gin. Of course, guests are really here to see the Mara’s magnificent wildlife, and while they can spot several animals on site, they also enjoy twice-daily game drives, as well as night excursions and bush walks (permitted because the lodge is on a private concession). Additionally, guests have access to breakfast and sundowners in the bush, Maasai talks and fireside dances (much of the staff is from the local Maasai tribe), the educational WILDChild program for kids, and visits to nearby schools or villages for an authentic look at life in the African bush.
Laikipia County, Kenya
What if you could spend the night in the middle of hundreds of acres of wild scrubland—where large herds of elephant graze, gazelles bound, and elusive leopards patrol—with nothing between you and the canopy of stars but a thin black mosquito net? The Star Beds at Loisaba Conservancy in northern Kenya offer a quirky and spectacular place to wonder at the universe all night long. The camp’s comfortable beds are rolled out onto a private open deck in the evening, allowing guests to watch the darkness set in and the glittering wonder of the galaxy awaken overhead.
KWS Central Workshop Gate, Off Magadi Rd, Nairobi, Kenya
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust rescues orphaned baby elephants from the wild, nurturing and raising them through the grief of losing their families, and then eases them back into their natural habitat when they are old and strong enough. The animals are not forced to return to the wild—at around four years old, they are moved from the Nairobi nursery to a new home near Tsavo National Park to help them gain the independence to move on. The baby elephants can be visited every day at 11 a.m., where you’ll see them playing in the mud and guzzling gallons of milk. Guests who choose to adopt an orphan can return at 5 p.m. to watch the babies enjoy an evening snack of leaves before being put to bed.
Gogo Falls Road, Nairobi, Kenya
Families would be hard-pressed to find a more memorable place to stay than Giraffe Manor. Located in the leafy suburb of Langata, about a 30-minute drive from central Nairobi, the 1932 family home of a former candy baron was modeled on a Scottish hunting lodge before becoming a sanctuary for endangered Rothschild’s giraffes, for which the boutique hotel gets its name. The ivy-clad brick mansion features 12 light-filled guest rooms, many with gauzy canopy beds and understated furnishings, but the real draw is the airy breakfast room, where you can feed the exceedingly friendly animals as they crane their necks through windows and doors in search of snacks. Afterward, complimentary chauffeured vehicles are on hand to take you to the area’s most popular attractions: at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the residents being fed are orphaned baby elephants.
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