Sarara Camp: The Experience

Located in Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya

With thousands of acres of lowland plains and wooded hills to explore, plus the greater expanse of the Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy virtually at your doorstep, an array of adventures await at Sarara. Upon arrival, guests are assigned a dedicated guide in order to ensure a personalized experience. Many of the activities here take place on foot, bringing visitors beyond the standard “big five” safari to discover this remote wilderness from an intimate perspective. Morning and evening game drives are available, with elephants, giraffes, and wild dogs commonly spotted. The area also boasts some of the best leopard viewing in Africa. Sarara has developed a unique partnership with the Samburu people, and experiencing their culture is a highlight of any visit. Go on bush walks with Samburu guides, spend time beading with local women and learning their craft, and visit a nearby village to gain insight into tribal life.

See our sample itinerary describing how you would experience this lodge during a 4-day stay.

Things To Do

The following experiences are included in the cost of your stay.

Nature Walks

Walk freely in the bush with Samburu guides and learn about the plants, birds, and animals of northern Kenya, where the Samburu have resided for centuries. Set off on an early morning walk to experience the diverse flora and fauna surrounding the camp, and learn about the Samburu’s traditional culture and pastoral way of life. If you wish, enjoy a picnic breakfast out in the bush.

Game Drives

You may also explore the surrounding plains in an open-air safari vehicle. On early morning and late afternoon/evening game drives, observe the local wildlife when it is most active, watching for elephants, leopards, reticulated giraffes, lesser and greater kudus, and hyenas. More elusive species include aardvarks, honey badgers, and cheetahs.

Birding

The Samburu guides at Sarara are expert birders and are delighted to share their knowledge during birding walks through the bush. The Mathews Range area is home to some 500 bird species, including five types of hornbill, 11 types of starling, Narina trogons, and breeding pairs of pygmy falcon.

The Hide

Overlooking the camp watering hole, a log-pile hide offers guests an opportunity to safely observe wildlife from mere steps away. Enjoy an extraordinary, up-close view of elephants, baboons, and warthogs—to name just a few of the camp’s regular visitors—as they linger at the water’s edge.

Hiking

Those looking for more rigorous activity may opt for a hike in the nearby Mathews Range. You’ll experience dramatic changes in the flora and fauna as the dry land turns into tropical forest. A day-long trek to the top of sacred Mount Ololokwe—which towers more than 6,000 feet above the scrub-dotted plains—can also be arranged.

Singing Wells (dry season only, January to March and July to October)

During the dry season when the Sarara River isn’t flowing, Samburu families water their livestock by digging wells in the riverbed. Guests at Sarara are invited to witness this fascinating ritual, in which naked Samburu warriors descend into the wells—which can be up to 30 feet deep—and chant songs as they pass water up a human chain. This is a rare opportunity to witness a tribal tradition that has remained unchanged for centuries and has never been photographed.

Fly Camping

If you are staying at Sarara for several nights, you may choose to spend one of those evenings sleeping beneath the stars in your own mosquito-net tent in a dry riverbed near camp. Enjoy cocktails and a candlelit dinner around a roaring fire, and fall asleep to the sounds of the wild.

Star Camp

A two-and-a-half hour journey from the main camp, Sarara Star Camp offers a full immersion in the beauty and serenity of the wilderness—and getting there is all part of the experience. Camels carry the equipment, led by their Samburu keepers so guests can observe the unique species of the area, including rare colobus and De Brazza’s monkeys and prehistoric Cyad palms. The Star Camp is nestled on a rocky plateau in a forested area with stunning mountain views, which can be enjoyed from a natural rock pool. Amenities include mosquito-net tents, lounge chairs, hot bucket showers, and long drop loos.

Optional Activities and Experiences

The following experiences are offered at an additional cost.

Samburu Village Visit

Join one of the camp’s guides on a visit to a Samburu village, where you’ll have a chance to observe and take part in daily rituals, speak with the villagers, and experience this intriguing culture firsthand. Out of respect for the local community, photography is not permitted in the villages. All proceeds from village visits revert to the community.

Beading and Blacksmith Workshops

Guests may also participate in beading and blacksmith workshops with the Samburu—a chance to experience colorful handicraft traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation. All proceeds from workshops revert to the community.

Horseback Riding

Discover the wilderness from a different perspective on a guided horseback safari. Ride a sturdy bush pony into the mountains along elephant pathways, or venture to a scenic spot for a sundowner you won’t soon forget.

Flight-seeing

Soar above the diverse landscapes of Kenya, taking in sweeping views of plains, forests, lakes, and mountains. Private scenic flights and helicopter rides can be arranged to Mount Kenya, Mount Ololokwe, and Lake Turkana.

Wildlife Conservation Excursions

The lodge can also arrange for a number of conservation-focused activities, including a visit to a rhino sanctuary via a private scenic flight, an elephant tracking excursion, and a helicopter tour of the Northern Rangelands Trust conservancies and conservation initiatives across northern Kenya.

Private Massages

After an active day in the bush, indulge in a soothing massage in the privacy of your own tent. Sessions are tailored to individual needs.

Yoga

Connect with your serene surroundings while practicing yoga outdoors in a group or with a personal instructor. Yoga mats are available for guest use.

Food and Drink

Sarara serves three meals a day in addition to afternoon tea, incorporating fresh, local ingredients, many of which are grown in the lodge’s own garden. In the morning, wake up to tea, coffee, or juice on your private veranda. A full English breakfast is served in the central dining area throughout the morning to accommodate those coming back from an early safari or those just getting up. Afternoon tea with freshly baked biscuits and cake is served at four-thirty before the evening game drive. Inspired dining experiences are a hallmark of Sarara, with a buffet-style lunch set up beneath a tree on a cooler day, for example, or sundowners savored on the terrace overlooking the watering hole. You might compliment your morning game drive with a picnic breakfast in the wild; or, for dinner, sit down to cocktails and an elegant meal served in the lugga, the dry riverbed near camp.

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