A charming, characterful and luxurious new boutique guest house, quietly situated in one of Nairobi’s best neighbourhoods, Karen Gables is a world away from the hubbub of central Nairobi and close to the Karen Blixen Museum, Giraffe Centre and all the other attractions of the area.
With its prominent twin gables and broad porch, this boutique property is unmistakable. Karen Gables delivers all the warmth and charm associated with its classic Cape Dutch facade – mornings on the veranda sipping coffee, delicious breakfasts with homemade breads and jams, evenings by the fire. Set in the upmarket suburb of Karen in southwest Nairobi, the hotel lies peacefully in its surrounding greenery, undisturbed by the traffic jams and chaos of other parts of the city. And there’s something of the old colonial atmosphere in the air.
There is a small but professional staff who look after your every need, from your in-house experience to your airport shuttle and adventures in Nairobi.
The gardens ramble, alive with mature trees, rolling lawns, a gentle river and offer plenty of places to enjoy tea or a quiet and restful place to enjoy that good book.
There are seven double rooms in this rambling house, each with a different vantage on the garden. All have large windows with oodles of natural light, en-suite bathrooms with walk-in showers, and an abundance of unique character. With classic features such as window seats, wood-panelled walls, skylights and French doors, they’re undeniably charming. Second-storey rooms have a balcony, while those on the ground floor lead into the garden.
Guided Walking Safaris
Your safari starts at your first mobile tented camp where you are welcomed by your guide and team of Laikipia Masai and Samburu staff and the camels. The local Laikipia Masai call these rocks Nayasura and stone chippings suggest that they have been used as a camp for millennia. We too will use the rocks starting with a refreshing lunch and short afternoon rest in our classic roomy safari tents. Once it cools off a little, you will head out on a walk looking for game and getting a feel for the country. As the sun begins to set you will find ourself at the crest of Nayasura with drinks and bitings, looking for wildlife below and watching the baboons come back to roost on the face of the rock. Back at camp after hot showers and drinks around the fire, enjoy a sit down dinner under the stars.
From Nayasura, you will head out early after breakfast to see as much game as possible on your walk north towards Nyarara Camp. Nyarara means cheetah in Masai and the camp was given this name because of a large male that has been seen in the area. You will walk across large plains as well as mixed bush looking for herds of Common and Grevy’s zebra, oryx and Grant’s gazelle, which predominate on the large plains. In the mixed bush you’ll find Dik Diks, Gerenuk, Impala and Lesser Kudu if you are lucky enough to see them. The pack camels will have taken a more direct route and they will have arrived and set up the camp before your arrival. You will arrive at camp in time for lunch and a cold drink. After lunch, relax for a while and later, walk to a chosen spot for sundowners.
Today, you will be heading down toward the Ewaso Nyiro River, which runs along the eastern edge of the Laikipia Plateau and then turns eastward toward Samburu National Reserve. Along the way you will be looking for eland, a variety of antelope and giraffe and enjoy the changing scenery. On arrival at the river you may want to enjoy a quick swim before lunch. After lunch, visit a local manyata and watch the livestock coming in for the night or head to your sundowner location. There are amazing granite outcrops that are perfect for rock climbing with top ropes and our guides can take you here if you wish. There are varying degrees of difficulty, from beginners to extreme.
Walk to Tumaren Camp for a night in large, well equipped tents looking out over an open plain with a salt lick attracting a variety of wildlife. What a wonderful place to end a trip and relax before your onward journey.
Sosian Ranch House sits on a 24,000 acre private ranch in Laikipia. The ranch house was built in the 1940s by Italian artisans and in recent years was beautifully restored to accommodate up to 14 people in the atmosphere of a private home. The 7 cottages each have their own private veranda and en-suite bathroom, and the lodge has a swimming pool, tennis court, and organic vegetable garden.
Sosian is more about the activities than a traditional safari experience. You will see game including elephants, lions and maybe wild dogs, but the area does not have the density of the Maasai Mara. Sosian Ranch is terrific for active people and activities include game drives and walks, horseback riding, camelback riding and tubing; those brave enough can even jump off a waterfall! Guests can end each day in a different, stunning sundowner spot. With so much to see and do here, the property is great for kids and offers a break from non-stop game drives.
The cottages themselves are comfortably appointed, with soft bedding, electricity and running water, all of which can offer a welcoming change in an itinerary that is full of tented camps. Comfortable accommodation and a relaxed environment make Soisan a good value for money property, suitable for everyone, and great for families.
Kicheche Bush Camp
Bush Camp is an intimate tented camp owned in partnership with photographer Paul Goldstein. As a result, there is a keen focus on wildlife viewing and photography here, making this a popular camp that safari enthusiasts flock to year after year.
The attentive staff are always around to help with drinks and requests, bending over backwards to make sure that you enjoy your stay. The engaging and approachable managers, who host meals and greet you off every drive, create a very homely and welcoming atmosphere.
The six identical tents at Kicheche Bush Camp are spread far apart, making each very private. They are vast and much more complex than your average safari tent, with rooms created by canvas walls. During the day these are opened right up to create quite an open-plan room, but at night the various areas can be separated off, enclosing you in a smaller and cosier bedroom.
The main camp is simple yet luxurious and well-furnished. There is a relaxing lounge and dining area although, wherever possible, meals are served al fresco to let you enjoy the great views over the game-filled plains.
You’ll need to tear yourself away from the lovely tents to join the activities at Kicheche Bush Camp, which focus mainly on game drives in comfortable, open-sided 4WD vehicles.
The Olare Motorogi Conservancy lends itself to excellent walking safaris which is one of the best ways to really experience its beauty ‘up close and personal’ in the company of experienced and knowledgeable bush guides.
You can include an overnight stay in a ‘Fly Camp’ which is a fully-staffed basic but comfortable mobile camp consisting of 2-man dome tents with camp cots. The walks aren’t strenuous (about 5 km) and allow you to appreciate the finer details of the African bush with all its plants, grasses, insects, animal spoors, burrows and, on occasion, close encounters with big game.
Activities offered from camp:
MAA trust visits; Game drives; Maasai Village visits (additional cost); Hot Air Ballooning (additional cost); Wild Camping; Community Trust Projects.