Earlier this year, I was leafing through the pages of my journals which inspired a post based on my thoughts in said journals. One of the nuggets that stood out was that feeling of finding acres of diamonds in your own backyard. There are always hidden gems to be found on your own doorstep, and we often go searching for adventure in faraway lands, overlooking and pretty much taking for granted what is available to us in places that we call home! In my post, I penned:
“I have begun to appreciate my homeland a lot more these last few years. The adventures had in places like Finch Hattons, Lentorre, Solio and Segera have only whet my appetite for more. To think that in a couple of hours you can be sat on a deck listening to chirping birds, or by your own private plunge pool in the wilderness overlooking a waterhole or sat in vicinity of gentle giants like rhino and elephants is something that until recently, I took for granted. In my attempt at living a more present and mindful life, I intend to explore Kenya a lot more!”
I am pleased to say that Wanderlustmate M and I have already set Footsteps in two gorgeous places in Kenya in the last month and are planning a couple more trips in the coming months. It is quite apt therefore, that this month’s #travellinkup theme is all about staycations and local gems. Here’s a snapshot of what I think are some of Kenya’s most luxurious and wanderlust inducing properties, scattered around various parts of the country.
1. Finch Hattons Luxury Tented Camp, Tsavo
Those of you familiar with the love story of Karen Blixen and Denys Finch Hatton in the famous movie “Out of Africa” may be nodding in agreement, when I say that Africa gets under your skin and is almost addictive. Once you have been bitten by the safari bug, you will be happily infected for life. Spending time at Finch Hattons will certainly transport you back to the aristocratic era in which the movie is set and give you a taste of what it was like to live in that time albeit experiencing modern day luxury. Once you have revelled in the excitement of a dusty safari, where better to reminisce about your experience than the cosy annals of a luxurious property in the middle of nowhere? The uber-chic tented camp situated in the heart of the Tsavo National Park in Kenya: Finch Hattons fits this bill perfectly.
The camp is built with the discerning chic safari traveller in mind. Every little detail has been thought of and the décor is quirky yet elegant: from the chandelier made entirely out of recycled coca cola bottles, to the memorabilia that has been strategically placed about which gives the camp that feeling of a lived-in home away from home, with these little touches lending a cosy yet sophisticated ambience, and making Finch stand out from any other tented camp that I have visited in Africa.
Finch Hattons is set amidst a lush, green ecosystem, its structures being strategically built around naturally occurring springs. One of my personal favourite places to relax in is the main lounge area which faces the biggest pond, inhabited by some of the largest crocodiles you will ever see! They certainly send a shiver down your spine as they navigate the water but you are safe in the knowledge that you are on the bank, far away from any danger. This is especially consoling at night when you can see their eyes all lit up like lamps, gliding along the still waters: but you are all enveloped in the cosy warmth of the large bonfire, perfectly safe underneath a twinkling night sky!
You can read more about my experiences at this fabulous tented camp in my posts: Footsteps in Kenya…Postcards from Finch Hattons and Footsteps in Kenya…Bitten By The Safari Bug in The Tsavo.
2. Solio Lodge, by The Safari Collection
Solio is one of the four bespoke properties owned by The Safari Collection of Giraffe Manor fame. Set in its own conservancy in the plains of Laikipia in Central Kenya, this intimate lodge is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of Nairobi to re-charge for a few days amidst the cool mountain air of Mt. Kenya. From the gorgeous rooms with floor to ceiling glass windows that overlook the slopes of the mountain, to the patio areas and cosy sitting areas where you can lose yourself in a good book: Solio is a place I would come to recharge my weary soul. Throw in game drives in the conservancy where you are guaranteed to see lions, buffalo and rhino, and the piece de resistance: bush breakfast in the midst of a crush of white rhino: and you have to pinch yourself to believe that you aren’t dreaming!
You can read more about Solio in my post:Footsteps in Laikipia…Postcards From Solio here.
3. Sasaab Lodge, by The Safari Collection
Wanderlustmate M and I set Footsteps in Sasaab in Samburu about a week ago and I find myself feeling incredibly nostalgic as I think about this trip. A sister property to Solio, it has the same bespoke and intimate feel with only 9 rooms, all overlooking the Ewaso Nyiro River and each with their own unique plunge pool. With the 36-degree arid heat, the cooling waters of the plunge pools are a welcome respite from the heat! The Samburu Game Reserve in North Central Kenya is one of my favourites as it is a park where my parents would take us quite frequently as children on school holidays: my Dad loved this area and I can see why. Home to very unique species of animals only found in this part of the country, Samburu with its arid, rugged edges is a place where you do leave a piece of your heart. Being at Sasaab brought back fond memories of my childhood, and with my Dad’s Anniversary coming up, I found that it was a befitting tribute to his memory being in a place that he loved so much.
Out in the Southern Rift Valley where borders seem to dissipate into nothingness lies a hidden gem: something I would describe as the last truly wild oasis left in Kenya. Set in the heart of the Olkiramatian Conservancy, Lentorre is certainly a place for Wanderlusters that want an experience that is out of the ordinary: it isn’t your everyday lodge or accommodation and fits into my category of a “next level get-away”. Throw in scrumptious home cooked meals, endless high-end drinks, panoramic views of stunning vistas, game drives and an opportunity to interact with the Maasai community in the area giving it that cultural touch and you have a pretty delectable escape from the humdrum of ordinary life. And all this is literally just scratching the surface of what Lentorre has to offer. Being the only luxury lodge in the Olkirimatian conservancy with a mere 6 villas, each with their own plunge pool gives it unrivalled privacy and that makes it feel like you are in your own little utopia in wild and untouched Africa!
Read more about my Footsteps in Lentorre here: Footsteps in Lentorre…The Last Wild Oasis in Kenya.
5. Segera Ranch
I am so guilty of procrastination when it comes to clicking publish on my post on this fabulous property in the heart of Laikipia, Central Kenya. Everything about Segera is magical: especially the acres of botanical gardens that it is situated in. Segera is the kind of property where you would expect to find celebrities jetting in on their helicopters, spending a few days in paradise in complete and utter privacy, having the perfect African experience of bespoke luxury, fine dining game drives and safaris and then jetting out again, with the hoi polloi being none the wiser. I promise that I’ll click publish for next week. Really. I promise. Watch this space…
6. Elsa’s Kopje, Meru National Park
Elsa’s Kopje is a lodge that I was super excited to have set Footsteps in. As a young girl, I always dreamed of staying at the bespoke and luxurious properties owned by the then popular group known as Cheli & Peacock. Elsa’s is one of the lodges in what was that brand, now owned by The Elewana Collection. Set out in Meru National Park, Elsa’s is associated with the lioness Elsa of Born Free, the movie made famous by Joy and George Adamson. Indeed, Elsa’s is sculpted into the Mughwango Hill, above the original site where George Adamson raised orphaned lions and released them into the wild. The lodge exudes elegance from every facet and definitely fits into the category of one of Kenya’s bespoke properties, in a park where the diversity of wildlife and birdlife are in plenty.
7. The Majlis Resort, Lamu
A post on Kenya’s wanderlust inducing gems would be incomplete without including a snippet about a property at the coast! The Majlis Resort, a gorgeous boutique hotel set amongst the mangrove swamps on Manda Island in the Lamu archipelago is a place where I felt like I had been whisked away to another world. I felt like I could easily have been in the Seychelles because everything is surrounded by the gorgeous blue waters of the Indian Ocean with bits of green thrown in for good measure. The Majlis is a chic beach resort with cosy villas spread out on a sandy beach, fringed with palm trees and what is quite unusual for the coastal region, acacia trees. The perfect place to lounge under the African Sun, sip cocktails by the salt water pool whilst listening to the ebb and flow of the waves in the Indian Ocean and soaking in the view!
Catch up on my musings on The Majlis Resort here:Footsteps in Lamu…Postcards from The Majlis
I hope you have enjoyed these snippets and that they have induced wanderlust in you to come and visit and experience some of these properties for yourselves! Until next time, Happy Wanderlusting! xoxo
This month we would love to hear about your staycations and local gems – where have you loved closer to home? As ever, push the topic out as far as you like – we love to see what you share!
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Just pop your post up over the first week of the month (the 1st – 7th May 2019), add it to the link up widget found on Silverspoon London, Adventures of a London Kiwi and Binny’s Food and Travel Diaries, or on the blog of our lovely co-host Summers Holiyay.
There are no rules – all we ask is that you check out some of the other cool bloggers that are involved in that months travel link up; make a few comments here and there and tweet a few of the posts out to your followers that you think they will love. It’s a great way to meet some new travel bloggers and share some blogging joy!