When you think of a traditional safari, you probably think of Kenya. This East African country is after all one of the most popular choices for first-time safari goers. And while Kenya is mostly known for wildlife and iconic national parks, there is so much more on offer. With a beautiful coastline, mesmerizing sunsets, and lodges in faraway corners of the country, there are endless options on offer. So, what are you waiting for? These are our top picks for the best luxury lodges in Kenya to help you start planning your stay!
The 15 best luxury lodges in Kenya
1. Arijiju Retreat
Not only is Arijiju one of the best luxury lodges in Kenya, but it is also one of the best exclusive-use properties in all of Africa. This private-use retreat sits in the rolling hills of the Borana Conservancy and sleeps up to 10 guests. As the lodge is exclusively booked on a nightly basis, you can ensure you will enjoy complete privacy with your group of guests only. Especially in the face of our new normal ways to travel, this is a great choice for privacy and seclusion.
The retreat has a strong health and wellness focus, with the additions of yoga mats, abundantly healthy dining options, and the ability for guests to embark on picnic lunches to immerse themselves in nature. There is a gym, clay tennis court, infinity pool, spa, and hammam available for guests to embrace their own wellness escape. All in all, there could be no better place to relax and unwind!
2. Loisaba Star Beds
If sleeping under the stars is your idea of an escape, then look no further than the Loisaba Star Beds. Although it has a little more rustic feel, this lodge completely allows you to immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and smells of the bush. Each room features an open plan living and the bed itself is completely exposed! With sweeping views over the valley below, this is a great addition to any adventure through Kenya. To make the most of the magic, we recommend combining your stay with a few other lodges in East Africa.
3. Elsa’s Kopje
For a romance overload, look no further than the ethereal Elsa’s Kopje in Meru National Park. This lodge is unapologetically popular amongst honeymoon couples as it is one of the most romantic lodges in Kenya. Each of the cottages on site is crafted into the rocks, combined with sweeping views over a conservation site as old as time. Meru National Park is also one of the best opportunities to see an abundance of wildlife and has been recognized for its diversity. You can expect to see large elephant herds, hippo, lion, and birdlife in abundance.
Read more: A complete destination guide to Kenya
4. Cottar’s 1920 Safari Camp
If a vintage safari sounds like it would be more your style, then look no further than Cottar’s 1920 Safari Camp. This camp is located just outside of the Maasai Mara and feels like you have completely stepped back in time. It is so idyllic that even Angelina Jolie counts it as one of her favorite lodges in East Africa, after renting out the entire property. The lodge certainly lives up to its reputation and is a popular choice for those travelers wishing to feel transported to another time and place.
5. Bird Nest Nay Palad
The ethereal Bird Nest Nay Palad treehouse offers 360-degree views over the bush, making it one of the most unique lodges in Kenya. To reach the treehouse, guests can either experience a wildlife walk or take a drive in a safari vehicle to the treehouse. Once there, you can expect complete privacy and seclusion, plus a large dose of romance while the sun sets in the background.
6. andBeyond Bateleur Camp
You might have seen the whimsical andBeyond Bateleur Camp pop up on our Instagram page once or twice. For those who have done their research, you will see why we love it so much! There’s just something so surreal about being in the depths of East Africa and Bateleur Camp really encapsulates this feeling. Here, you are set in the perfect location for a bucket list safari experience. The lodge has been recently refurbished, giving it an old-world feeling, but with all the modern additions to make for a comfortable stay. You can expect to see plentiful wildlife in the Maasai Mara, plus you’ll be welcomed like family by the andBeyond team.
7. Angama Mara, Kenya
If you’re looking for a lodge with a view, then it doesn’t get much better than Angama Mara. This luxurious lodge overlooks the Maasai Mara and plays host to some of the most incredible sunsets. The lodge takes its name from Swahili and translates to “suspended in mid-air”, which is how you will feel atop the viewpoint overlooking the Mara from above. The lodge is set high up on the escarpment so you can sometimes see the herds of the Great Migration far below you, looking like ants at such a distance! And let’s not forget, sundowner stops at Angama Mara take place in scenic spots where Out of Africa was filmed.
Read more: A complete destination guide to Kenya
8. Tortilis Camp
With an epic view of Mount Kilimanjaro in the distance, Tortilis Camp is a sure bet if you want to see massive herds of elephants up close. There are an impressive 1500+ elephants in the eco-system of this park, making it a great spot for wildlife viewing. The lodge also offers a large private house for complete seclusion, or you can opt for one of the rooms at the main lodge where comfort is key. A seat beside this lovely pool, a glass of wine in-hand, sounds like the perfect place to close out a day in the bush.
9. Lengishu House
If you are traveling as part of a larger group or a family, Lengishu House is a great option for an exclusive-use villa. This lodge is the ultimate in luxury accommodations and has everything you could ever need for an African getaway. The house sits quietly within 32,000 acres in the Borana Conservancy, one of Kenya’s most successful rhino sanctuaries. The house can host up to 12 guests and has a strong focus on sustainable tourism.
10. Finch Hattons
Perhaps you are already familiar with the name Denys Finch Hatton, the inspiration behind the camp Finch Hattons. For fans of Out of Africa, you will of course know this to be the lover of Baroness Karen Blixen, a Danish noblewoman who wrote about him in her autobiographical book. The camp encapsulates his love for the African wilderness and has a real earthy feeling to it. If you’re looking for a traditional safari camp that gives you the feeling of stepping back in time, this is a great choice.
With just eight suites, Sasaab is a great choice for couples looking for romance. The lodge has a warm and inviting feel to it, with incredible views of the riverbank below. Each room features its own private pool, oversize balcony, and contemporary North African design. You won’t be sorry you stayed at this stunning safari lodge!
12. Ol Donyo Lodge
Located on a private 275,000-acre Mbirikani Group Ranch in south-eastern Kenya, Ol Donyo Lodge is the epitome of safari luxury. Activities include game drives, guided bush walks, bush breakfasts and dinners, night drives, hiking, horse riding (for all guests, novice to professional), mountain biking, tracking, conservation, and community outreach programs, wildlife viewing in an open-air hide and sleep outs on private “star beds”. Need we say more?
13. Bush Villa at Cottar’s
Nestled on the boundary of the Maasai Mara with incredible views of the park below, African Villa is the ‘Cottar’s 1920 Safari Camp’ answer to an exclusive-use lodge. The villa offers room for up to 12 guests and comes with its own 25-meter swimming pool. But it is perhaps the sweeping views that really make this one of the most incredible accommodation offerings in Kenya. If you’re looking for a large villa with all the comforts of home right here in the heart of Africa, this is your best bet.
14. Little Governors Camp
As the name suggests, this camp is small and intimate but bursting with personality. There are 17 luxury tented suites on offer, tucked around a watering hole that allows for close encounters with wildlife. Located on the edge of the Maasai Mara reserve, there is an abundance of wildlife to view both up close and at a distance, so be sure to pack your adventure gear for action-packed game drives.
15. Saruni Samburu
If you are looking for a romantic lodge with absolute privacy, you might picture yourself on the open deck of a suite at Saruni Samburu. This lodge boasts just six luxury villas, each with its own unique design. And while the interiors are different, the open-plan living and airy atmosphere are the same throughout the rooms. This makes for the perfect choice to feel completely immersed in the bush around you, from the comfort of your hilltop suite.