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April 4, 2019updated Apr 12, 2019

A Week at Saruni Samburu in Kenya

By Emma Reynolds

You’d be remiss to mention Africa’s exceptional wildlife, game reserves and breathtaking views without thinking of Kenya’s Saruni Samburu property  —  a luxury lodge comprised of six eco-villas overlooking the Kalama Conservancy and Mount Kenya. This intimate lodge, the only lodge set within 200,000 acres of pristine, untouched land and is known as one of the best stays in Kenya for a luxe safari. 

For your weeklong adventure hosted by The Explorations Company, fly into Jomo Kenyatta International Airport before boarding another flight to a private airstrip operated by the Kalama Wildlife Conservancy headquarters before being transported to the luxury lodge. The hotel is situated at the top of a hill and heralds panoramic views  it feels as though you’re one of a few people on Earth when you finally look out onto the vast land before you.

Once you arrive, get settled in the largest of the six villas, Villa Six. It’s located furthest from the main Kudu House and closest to the infinity pool so you can enjoy complete privacy. It’s built into its natural, rocky surroundings and is covered in neutral hues and local materials. The open-plan space has an indoor-outdoor design, each room has a roll-down canvas frontage that completely open so you feel one with the expansive land around you during the day and feel closed in by night. The sunsets are some of the most magical you’ll ever see.

A gorgeous villa at Saruni Samburu

Once you’ve settled into your week-long home, head to the Kudu House, the main community space that also has the dining area. Menus feature Italian dishes (think smoked salmon salad and mushroom pasta) for all three meals  prepare for your activities with hearty, gourmet meals that delight all the senses. Saruni Samburu also features two swimming pools, a boutique and Samburu Wellbeing Space for massages and spa treatments.

Though your trips are entirely curated by you, you have plenty of activities to choose from. Your first day, embark on a morning game drive to Samburu National Reserve. During game drives, you’ll be able to see all of the magnificent creatures.

See zebras on a game drive

During this excursion, stop by hideaways and watering holes to see elephant, reticulated giraffes, zebras, oryxes and leopards. Bush dinners, star gazing and cultural visits, such as going to the local Samburu village with a guide, are musts when exploring the area.

Saruni Samburu boutique

Traditions are incredibly important to the local Samburu tribes – the day-long Warrior Program is set up exclusively for you and your group when you book far in advance. The Warriors Academy, perfect for families with young children, teaches you about what it’s like to be a Samburu warrior in the 21st century focusing on the semi-nomadic Samburu and Maasai tribes. You will get to meet with ‘Moran’ warriors for an immersive cultural experience and learn about the history of the land and the traditions they’ve held for more than 1,000 years. First, you’ll spend the morning learning about animal tracks and how the tribe avoids danger along their journey from village to village. Additionally, they will teach you about the medicinal uses of trees and plants, the various types of footprints and a party with singing and dancing. The Samburu women will teach you about their beadwork while the warriors demonstrate how to throw spears and use a bow and arrow. The day ends with a night game drive to see nocturnal species like bush babies, white-tailed mongoose, genets and perhaps even a leopard.

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Other activities during your stay include hiking to the Sacred Mountain, just a 30-minute drive from the lodge. If you thought the views from your villa were great, just wait until you arrive at the summit. If it’s relaxation you seek after days of activities, enjoy the sun while you swim in the pool or indulge in a massage.

From $7,100 per person for seven days (includes accommodation, beverages, meals, night drives, flying doctors and conservation fees). Contact Nicola Shepherd, founder of The Explorations Company, n.shepherd@explorationscompany.com, +1 855 216 5040, explorationscompany.com 

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