Top 5 places to spend the night in Kenya
Rusinga Island Lodge is a private retreat with seven spacious cottages looking out over Lake Victoria. It’s got a special vibe that’s hard to describe. You cannot just NOT get relaxed here. It’s a pure and serene atmosphere. The staff is extremely welcoming and friendly.
There’s a lot you can do at the Lodge – there’s a spa, you can go fishing, water skiing, hiking – but actually, just soaking in the sound of nature and the beautiful surroundings is an activity all by itself.
When we arrived and had dropped off our bags in our cottages, we were invited to have an abundant lunch just by the lake. The home grown and cooked cuisine was amazing.
Afterwards, a local guide took us for a short nature walk and then to an orphan school a little further. We had made sure to take along some balloons and pens, to hand out to the children. It was an unforgettable experience. When we arrived at the school, all the children came running towards us to welcome us. They started singing and dancing and asked us to join them – one by one. Afterwards, the head of the school showed us around the class rooms, explaining us how the school was being run. After we handed out our gifts, our guide took us to the island’s fishing village. The children weren’t ready yet to say goodbye, so they joined us. They were trying to hold our hands the whole time. It also seemed like they were checking out the “whiteness” of our skin, by rubbing their fingers along our hands. We were so moved by the whole experience, that we gave a little extra to the guide to donate to the school.
We would have liked to stay another night, but unfortunately that wasn’t an option, taking into account our busy itinerary.
This was one that we were really looking forward to. I mean, come on – if you see the pictures – what’s not to like? As the rooms are built on poles, the wildlife can just move underneath. As there’s a waterhole just in front of the lodge, there’s always something to see.
The rooms are small, but have everything you need. You don’t want to sit in your room here anyway, right? They have a roomy terrace at the bar that offers amazing views of the surrounding area. With a cocktail or nice sweet white wine, we were entertained by a baboon looking up at us and a northern red-billed hornbill (Zazu from the Lion King) interested in some nuts that we were eating.
There’s also an underground tunnel taking you up to the other end of waterhole. At the end, there’s a room with windows just sticking out of the surface, so you can see the wildlife from up close. Neat.
After the one night we were there – again, would have been nice to stay longer – before we left, there were 2 male waterbuck fighting. We could very clearly here the rather loud noise of their horns banging.
Mara Serena Lodge, Masai Mara
Voyager Ziwani Camp is a luxury safari camp, located in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tsavo West National Park. It has 25 spacious en-suite tents with bathroom, toilet and shower as well as a private veranda facing the Asante River. As the Tsavo river passes through the northern Tsavo West, it’s attracting a bunch of wildlife. As to numbers of species, the Tsavo National Park is comparable to Masai Mara.
Known as The Jewel of the Tsavo National Park, the camp sits on a 30.000 acre farm, offering the visitor’s a peaceful environment with turtles, crocodiles and hippos inhabiting the Sante River. The camp serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, in the veranda overlooking the riverbanks and a bonfire area, which makes the nights extra-idyllic. The dishes are homemade and delicious.
Activities you can embark on include night game drives, ranch tour of Gicheha farm, trips to lakes Chala and Jipe, tours of World War II battlefields, guided game walks with an experienced naturalist, traditional dancing, horse trails and boating the Ziwa Dam to name a few.
After arriving and enjoying an amazing lunch, we went for an escorted game walk. Really interesting to discover new facts about how elephants live in families and how hippos and crocodile interact.
As we hadn’t done a night drive before, that’s what we signed up for in the evening. A totally different atmosphere. It gave us the opportunity to see the nocturnal game – for the first time we saw a bush cat (which really just looks like a bigger cat)!
Located at the border of Lake Nakuru National Park, Flamingo Hill Camp, is an amazing setting. Each year, one to two million flamingos arrive at the lake to feed on the algae.
The camp offers 25 guest tents in a homely setting making you very comfortable when visiting Lake Nakuru. The tents reflect a classical safari experience with a traditional hut-style shaded structure. The common areas are welcoming, cosy and just ideal to relax and enjoy great food. The chefs preparing our food were super friendly, as was the staff in general. A swimming pool with comfortable chairs in the garden overlooking the savannah just top it all off.