El Karama is a charming, authentic and welcoming small wildlife lodge set beside the Ewaso Nyiro river in the heart of Laikipia. Guests have access to 14,000 acres of private bush and ranch land with a huge variety and quantity of birds, mammals, trees and plants. The latest attraction at El Karama is The Little River Camp which comprises two luxurious new riverside cottages along with private living and dining accommodation.
Ideal for two couples travelling together, a family with older children or honeymooners looking to have a complete retreat in peace and comfort, the Little River Camp is just a short walk from the main lodge. Guests have access to all the facilities of the lodge including swimming pool, and can choose to be entirely private and independent or as involved in camp life as they wish. For larger parties, some guests may choose to stay at the new camp and others in the six other cottages and bandas at the main lodge.
Tranquil, secluded and stylish, the new cottages have large windows stretching the length of the walls and high ceilings for extra space and light. Each has the option of a double or twin beds, both have a large writing desk and plenty of atmospheric lighting. Bathrooms are spacious and beautifully-finished, with “his” and “hers” basins and a choice of bath or shower. One cottage also has a stunning outdoor bathtub made from river stones and cool grey cement. Outside are roomy verandas looking out onto the river and the surrounding bush.
Between the two cottages there is a private dining room and living room with bar which is perfect for quiet evenings away from the heart of the main lodge. A private kitchen here means meals can be prepared, cooked and served on-site. The cottages, like the rest of the lodge, have been designed with real love and attention – decorative details include hand-painted soft furnishings in recycled cotton, linen and velvet. The wooden fireplace at one end of the dining room is made from a fallen fever tree found on the property – here there are large candle lanterns, cosy sofas and views out onto the salt lick.
El Karama is owner–operated and was built and created by Murray and Sophie Grant, who live nearby with their two children and other animals. Guests are hosted and guided by a charming, competent and experienced team, many of whom were involved in building the lodge, and a management couple who share a history and strong connection to the region of Laikipia.
At the lodge there is outstanding game viewing and bird watching on foot, by vehicle – or even from your veranda. Guests can see over 80 mammal species including four of the ‘Big Five’ and over 424 identified bird species. This stunning and picturesque habitat boasts unusual mammals such as the Grevy Zebra, Gerenuk, Laikipia Hartebeest and African Wild Dogs – as well as Leopard, Lion, Cheetah, Elephant, Buffalo, Hippo and Reticulated Giraffe. Knowledgeable guides are always on hand to ensure that guests make the most of their stay.
‘Plains Game’ abounds and guided bush walks take guests close to herds of Burchill’s Zebra and Grant’s Gazelle and through gorgeous landscapes with views of Mount Kenya, the Aberdares and the Lolldaigas. With six dams and waterholes on the property, guests can sit quietly bird-watching, wait patiently for predators or photograph elephant families at play. Night drives, bush meals, sundowners and other safari activities are all available.
The lodge has a strong commitment to eco-friendly practices, conservation and sustainable tourism, with the aim of preserving its unique habitat for the wildlife and people of Laikipia. Guests can stay at El Karama safe in the knowledge that the lodge has been designed holistically to balance the comfort of guests with a minimal footprint on the natural environment.
The lodge also aims to be as family-friendly as possible, with all kinds of fun activities available for children – from game tracking to fishing to sculpting with termite clay – and there is even a special arts and crafts gallery just for kids.
All the food at El Karama is homemade – 90% is home-grown in the organic garden and most of the meat is locally sourced. All meals are hearty and clean, prepared with fresh herbs, fresh vegetables and salads and lots of flavour. Guests can expect a full cooked breakfast, buffet lunches, afternoon tea and a three-course meal in the evening – nobody ever goes hungry at El Karama!
Using charcoal ovens, the chef produces freshly-baked rosemary breads, shortbread cookies and cakes for tea. Guests are welcome to visit the kitchen and to learn about bush cooking styles. There is a fully-stocked bar with beer, wine, spirits and soft drinks. Ask for a ‘dawa’ or two to keep you warm on the cooler evenings. There is also a choice of fresh juices and tisanes straight from the organic herb garden.
- A charming new addition to El Karama Lodge “the hidden gem of Laikipia”
- Private, luxurious and secluded accommodation for small groups
- Access to all the facilities at the lodge including swimming pool
- Rates include game drives, bush walks and other safari activities
- Delicious, healthy and generous full-board menu
- From Ksh 25,000 per resident adult per night
- Eco swimming pool – 14 x 7 metres
- Adjacent children’s pool
- Thatched poolside pavilions
- Fully-stocked bar
- Gift shop and art gallery
- Driver and ayah accommodation and meal plans available
- Laundry services (done by hand – no delicate items)
- Electrical items can be charged in cottages and gallery
- Hot water powered by solar or by burning harvested fallen wood
- Solar generated electricity in all accommodation
- Mosquito nets
- Clean drinking water provided
- No mobile phone signal at the lodge – but available nearby
- Wifi internet available at the lodge office by special request
- No credit card facilities
- 14,000 acres to explore
- Guided bush walks
- Guided game drives
- Open game viewing vehicles
- Bird watching
- El Karama has received ‘Important Bird Area’ status
- Night Drives
- Children’s activities
- Farm and shamba visits
- Fly camping – please ask for further information and rates
- Day trips available to nearby ranches, conservancies & other attractions
Situated to the North West of Mount Kenya, the Laikipia plateau is one of Africa’s most exciting and exclusive wilderness safari destinations – combining abundant wildlife, spectacular scenery, extraordinary cultural and bio-diversity, some of East Africa’s most successful nature and game conservancies – and a complete absence of package tourism.
The ‘Laikipia experience’ comes largely free of the constraints that often apply in Kenya’s national parks and reserves. Activities such as night game drives, nature walks, bike tours, horse-riding and camel treks – prohibited in most parks – are just some the exhilarating pursuits on hand in the extensive private reserves and game conservancies that make up much of the region.
Laikipia hosts a wealth and diversity of wildlife – second only to the Masai Mara in Kenya. It has significant populations of predators and also the “Big Five”, with over 50% of Kenya’s black and white rhinos, thousands of elephants, about 25% of the world’s Grevy Zebras, and an increasing population of rare Wild Dogs. The region is home to more endangered species than anywhere else in East Africa.
From Nanyuki and its environs there are numerous excursions , game drives and cultural visits that can be organised to neighbouring reserves, safari lodges and private ranches – such as Lolldaiga Hills Ranch, Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Solio Ranch and Mount Kenya National Park. Riding, climbing, trekking, flying, white-water rafting, fly-fishing, polo, golf, mountaineering and many other sports and activities are also available close by. For more information on the flora and fauna and conservation of the region please visit the website of the Laikipia Wildlife Forum www.laikipia.org.
The gateway to Laikipia and Kenya’s northern territories, the busy market town of Nanyuki was founded in 1907 and still retains a distinctly old-fashioned charm. Dominated by the peaks of Mount Kenya, Nanyuki sits at 1,950 metres above sea level – making it one of the 15 highest towns in Africa – and the Equator runs across the main road just to the South of the town.
These days Nanyuki is home to the Kenyan Air Force and to the British Army in Kenya, and there are several good places to visit, shop and eat in the town – including the Lily Pond Arts Centre, Le Rustique and Cape Chestnut. At Nanyuki Airport you will find the popular Barney’s restaurant and just across the road One Stop Nanyuki has a café and excellent delicatessen. In the centre of town you will find a branch of Nakumatt , a Dormans Café and a Blue Rhino gift shop.
How to get there
Driving distance from Nairobi to Nanyuki is 120 miles (195 kilometres) on the main A2 road via Thika and Karatina – the road is good and the journey should take 3-4 hours.
El Karama is 25 miles (42km) northwest of Nanyuki by road – the drive should take around 1 hour via the main Nanyuki-Rumuruti road and we can supply guests with detailed directions to the lodge.
A 4-wheel drive vehicle is recommended.
Nanyuki’s airport sits just to the south of town and there are daily scheduled flights to and from Nairobi on the following airlines –
- Air Kenya (from Wilson Airport) www.airkenya.com
- Safarilink (from Wilson Airport) www.flysafarilink.com
Flights from Nanyuki also connect with the Maasai Mara, Samburu National Park, Lewa Downs and other safari destinations in northern Kenya – please check with the airline for details.
- Resident Adult – Ksh 25,000
- Resident Teenager (13-17) – Ksh 18,750
- Resident Child (4-12) – Ksh 12,500
- Resident infant (0-3) – Free
Rates are per guest per night sharing a room. Single supplement – ksh 7,000 per night.
Rates are on a full-board basis including meals and soft drinks and include shared use of a safari vehicle with driver/guide for night and day game drives and other activities. Also included are accompanied game walks, shared swimming pool, farm and boma visits, use of jogging track and yoga equipment, bush school, all children’s activities and El Karama Airstrip transfers.
Minimum stay – 2 nights.
Minimum stay over Christmas, New Year and Easter – 3 nights.
Exclusive use of safari vehicle with driver/guide – up to 6 pax – ksh 20,000 per day (advance request required)
Accommodation and meals for ayahs/drivers – Ksh 7,000 per night.
- Resident Adult – Ksh 2,320
- Resident Teenager – Ksh 1,740
- Resident Child – Ksh 1,160
- Resident infant (0-3) – Free
Conservancy fee rates are per 24-hour period
For non-resident rates – together with full details, terms and conditions and optional extra costs please contact us
These rates, terms and conditions are valid for stays up until 31st December 2022
Please contact us to make a booking
Please familiarise yourself with all our terms & conditions when making a booking