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El Karama

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

Highlights

- Swimming Pool
- Reasonable Value
- Beautiful Landscape
- Family Ranch

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Overview

El Karama Eco Lodge is a family owned lodge on a traditional ranch with a real authentic feel. The lodge is located in the heart of Laikipia on El Karama Ranch, a 14,000acre cattle ranch with stunning landscapes and abundant wildlife and birds. Guests can enjoy direct views of Mt Kenya, the Aberdares and the Lolldaiga hills. Rates are very reasonable for a lodge of this quality.

El Karama is only 42km from Nanyuki town, and with its lovely swimming pool area, works well as a relaxing counterpoint to more adventurous activities in the region. Two or three nights at El Karama is the perfect end to a Mount Kenya trek. It combines similarly well for families who want some time relaxing around a pool before an adventure at Laikipia Wilderness Camp or after a walking safari with Karissia Walking Safaris. El Karama is a 4 hour drive from Nairobi. Flights are also available from Nanyuki to / from Nairobi and the Masai Mara.

El Karama comprises six family/group friendly stone, thatch and canvas cottages or “bandas”, a beautiful central mess with large fireplace, bar and cosy reading areas and a lovely new swimming pool area. The lodge is run by a friendly local team of staff and overseen by the Grant family who live there. It is worth noting that unlike many of the other options in the Laikipia area, this is not a fully hosted lodge, so expect a lighter touch from a service perspective. Guests can enjoy accompanied bush walks, game drives, night drives, sundowners, bush meals and farm visits. There are over 75 mammal species including lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant, buffalo, hippo, reticulated giraffe, common and Grevy’s zebra, gerenuk, eland, oryx and much more. The landscape is stunning and viewing the wildlife with the backdrop of Mount Kenya really adds to the experience.

For Families: El Karama is a great option for families. There is a magnificent family cottage sleeping up to a family of six in a tree house style building. The double / twin bandas can each take an extra bed. Obviously the pool area is a big plus for families, but there are a number of activities available specifically for children including tracking, making casts of footprints, ranch visits and informal painting / drawing / sculpture sessions (the owners, the Grant family are very artistic).

Nearby Alternatives

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Ol Malo

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Sabuk

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Treetops

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Ekorian's Mugie Camp

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Saruni Samburu Camp

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Elsa's Kopje

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Offbeat Meru

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Suggested Itineraries for El Karama

Our itineraries are carefully designed by our experienced travel designers based on years of experience and customer feedback. For a custom itinerary tailored to you, please enquire giving as much detail as possible on your brief.

Extended safari in Kenya including the wetland habitat of the Great Rift Valley, the open plains of the Masai Mara & wilderness bush of the Laikipia Plateau. Superb camps throughout.

Tailor-made Luxury 9 days

Adults from $5,755 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $974 per person economy class from London

What customers are saying after travelling with Tourdust

Average Rating

based on 494 reviews

(4.96/5)

  • The trip was amazing everything was better than we could have imagined.
    There was a moment climbing the mount Kenya where my wife accused me of tricking her into doing this (half kidding) as some of the nights got pretty cold, but we were dressed well and the sunrise at the peak was astonishing.
    Safari was spectacular, Ben who was our main guide and driver was awesome! We saw everything excepts rhinos which were more of a hope than a reality. We also were able to watch a rock python eat a Thompson gazel live. It was one of the most interesting and unsettling things I have ever seen.
    Just overall, so many moments that make you think wow or I can't believe I am here. Thank you for your help in getting everything set up. I don't believe I could have booked the trip without your help and guidance. It was an amazing way to start our marriage and truly the trip of a lifetime!

    MissingWilliam K reviewing 11 Day Mount Kenya Trek and Masai Mara Safari Combined on 29 October 2018

  • We both suffered but enjoyed it immensely. Just how it should be!!!!
    Our route up the mountain, the Burguret trail is very arduous and certainly should not be used for people who are not very fit and experienced trekkers. It mainly followers animal trails through the forests and bog lands around the mountain. The Chogoria route down was great. The guide and porters were great. Wild camping means just that, really just what I wanted, but I have lived in Kenya.

    MissingJonathan B reviewing Mount Kenya: Burguret Chogoria Traverse on 24 September 2018

  • Speke's camp was absolutely ideal - small and personal, with great hosts. We'd definitely recommend the "tented safari" experience to others. The kid's didn't miss having a pool (too interested in Safari). Speke's camp give you your own landrover and driver/guide, which gave us great flexibility (much better I suspect than what is offered by some of the larger camps). Our guide was brilliant. See below for the review we just posted on rip Advisor.

    I think the only negative of the trip was getting through Nairobi airport (multiple security checks, and they ask you to "board" two hours in advance, which in fact means going into crowded transit lounge with no facilities), but there's not anything anyone can do about that

    It's also worth saying that Peponi really is a unique experience. It's a proper East African institution, with all the locals dropping into the bar. It's the perfect antidote to anyone wanting to get away from the soulless all inclusive resorts which could be absolutely anywhere in the world (which seem to be a bit of a feature of Zanzibar). Lamu is still amazingly undeveloped.

    We stayed at Speke's camp for 4 nights in August 2018 - a family of two adults and two children. For us it was the perfect location to experience the Mara. The camp is only a short drive outside the main Mara reserve and is in an amazingly picturesque location, set by a small river in the shade of trees. Wildlife roams near (and sometimes through!) the camp. You get to feel very close to nature when you have a buffalo rooting up grass just outside your tent in the middle of the night!

    The camp itself is small and has a very personal feel to it. There are only eight or so guest tents, so you get to meet everyone passing through. One of the great pleasures was getting to chat to other guests over the evening meal or round the camp fire, swapping stories of the day's sightings. If you do want a little more privacy, then it's absolutely fine to eat in your own group.

    Whilst you do sleep and eat under canvas, it is an extremely civilised experience: the beds are comfy (with hot water bottles provided to ward off the chill of the evenings); there are bucket showers which sound much more primitive than they really are; the communal area is very elegantly laid out; tea is brought to the tent before setting out on early morning game drives, and the food was fantastic.

    What really makes the experience however are the wonderful hosts. Both Adrian and Veronique made a real effort to get to know us and ensure we were well looked after; and it's certainly worth picking Adrian's brains on the history of the region (it's not called Speke's camp for nothing)

    The final word must go to our wonderful guide/driver Ambrose and our Masai spotter Marco. It was a real privilege to have our own land-rover and to be shown the reserve by such knowledgeable and charming individuals. Ambrose is a proper naturalist, can identify a lilac breasted roller at 200 yards, and knows where to see the best wildlife without simply following other trucks. On our final afternoon, with 30 minutes before we had to leave the Mara Triangle, we had seen every animal and bird that was on our wish list (including a live Cheetah kill), but had not seen a rhino. Marco saw a speck on the horizon, Ambrose drove like the clappers and as a parting gift we were able to see this most elusive animal up close. Notwithstanding all the awe-inspiring nature, I think my wife's personal highlight was driving the land rover back to amp along the dirt track through herds of zebra and ambling giraffe. A truly amazing experience all round.

    MissingJonathan I reviewing Laikipia & Masai Mara Safari on 24 August 2018

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