The Best Places to Go Stargazing in Kenya
If stargazing from an outdoor shower or luxurious rooftop bed is your idea of heaven, look no further. Kenya’s close proximity to the equator means that, if you stay up long enough, you’ll get to see both the northern and southern constellations in one night’s sky. Now that’s one for the bucket list! Here are the most romantic and downright mesmerizing places to spend the night in Kenya and enjoy the stars.
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.
Live a childhood fantasy and spend the night in the treetops. Deep in the Ngare Ndare forest, just north of Mount Kenya, a tree platform and a suspended canopy walkway allow adventurous souls to camp out high among the branches. As darkness sets in, you can walk along the canopy until the trees give way to a million stars overhead. Standing there in midair with the giant Milky Way looming above is an experience that’s difficult to top. There are no facilities at the campsite, so you’ll want to bring all your food and water, as well as a flashlight or two to guide your nighttime walk. (Also note that a decent 4x4 is needed to reach the campsite once you leave the main road leading from Nairobi to Nanyuki.)
Kalama Community Conservancy, Kenya
Architects clearly had fun designing Saruni Samburu, an eco-lodge tucked away in the private Kalama Conservancy in central Kenya. Set on a giant outcropping of volcanic rock, stone serves as furniture and structure in the six spacious villas—jutting out of walls, punctuating the outdoor decking, and transformed into shower stalls with some clever pipework. Creative decor aside, the family-friendly resort enjoys spectacular views over billowing golden rangelands, a scene best appreciated from one of the two infinity pools on site, or with a gin and tonic in hand from the decked patio area. Just be sure to call it an early night: Guests are assigned their own jeeps and guides for daily safari excursions to spot elephants, giraffes, and endangered Grevy’s zebras.
Chyulu Hills, Kenya
Nestled in a stunning but lesser-visited part of Kenya known as the Chuylu Hills is Ol Dunyo, a luxurious lodge with a big focus on sustainable tourism. Here, eight of the ten private cottages have their own swimming pool, and all enjoy roof terraces where intimate and romantic Star Beds can be set up for a night spent sleeping in style under a canopy of endless stars.
Accomplished horse-riders who also have a love for the universe, this is the activity for you. Olepangi Farm, a beautiful lodge and horse ranch in central-northern Kenya, offer 5 day horse riding safari’s through the beautiful, wild landscape of the Lolldaigas. From horse-back you’ll be able to get up close to wildlife in the daylight - from herds of elephant to towering giraffes - and by night you’ll be situated in the best place in Kenya to see the stars: right on the equator with both the southern and northern hemisphere in one night’s sky.
Central Island National Park is set in northern Kenya in the middle of Lake Turkana - a jade-blue inland sea that is filled with crocodiles. The park itself is made up of three active volcanoes that puff and smoke their way from day to day. Here, on the rim of one of the craters, is a campsite where visitors can see the stars glittering over the black lava beach, while the volcanoes steam away in the background.