There is a huge choice of accommodation in Kenya. Each property is different and, with so much choice, it is easy to get it wrong. Here is a rough guide to the options on offer:
Mobile Bush Camps
As the name suggests, these are small mobile camps that are set up for a finite number of nights. Usually an overnight bush experience offered by permanent lodges, they can also be part of a longer walking safari. These fully serviced camps are set up for you and have simple dome tents, a small camp bed and a mattress, with bedding provided. Simple, but delicious meals are prepared for you and hot water is brought on demand to wash. There is a long-drop toilet (hole in the ground) in a separate small tent, although some of the larger tents have their own bucket showers at the back.
Permanent Tented Camps
These are classic, East African camps, with only a handful of spacious, stylish, tented rooms. They feature comfortable beds and fine linen, small dressers, soft furnishings and private en-suite facilities. Usually, there is a patio or decking area outside the tent. These camps are typified by great service levels, shared safari vehicles and communal dining in the evening, with drinks (including alcohol) often included in the cost. They are great fun and very flexible.
Fine dining, silver service and spa treatments feature heavily, whilst some properties offer private vehicles for game drives. Properties can be a mixture of canvas and permanent structure, but always with elegant and eclectic designs. There are exceptional levels of service, with an emphasis on personal touches and attention to detail.
These are usually family homesteads or working ranches that have been converted into luxury accommodation. They offer some of the warmest welcomes in Africa, given the families themselves usually manage the properties and live on site. Again, only a handful of rooms, with a warmth and hospitality you would only find in someone’s home.
There is usually a wide range of activities on offer, given the surrounding land is owned by the lodge. Therefore, they are very flexible for large groups or families, although individuals and couples are also welcome.
Private Houses and Villas
Perfect for families and large groups who want the privacy and flexibility of enjoying their holiday exactly as they like it. Fully staffed, with private guides and vehicles, these properties can manage wildlife activities and meal times around the group, to ensure everyone is happy. They can be found in both the wildlife areas and along the coast.
The best places to stay are the small, boutique-style retreats. Often featuring cool Swahili designs, they provide shade from the sun, overlooking palm fringed beaches. Many have pools, which helps when the tide is out. Again, some are better suited for families with a range of activities on offer, whilst others are perfect for a quiet retreat or honeymoon.