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“2nd trip to Kenya. 1st trip to Authentic Africa.”
Review of Campi ya Kanzi

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Campi ya Kanzi
Certificate of Excellence
San Francisco
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“2nd trip to Kenya. 1st trip to Authentic Africa.”
Reviewed 4 July 2009

Incredible. Amazing. Enchanting. Campi Ya Kanzi’s brochure calls this “Real Africa”. I would offer that what it really is, is “Authentic Africa”- the Africa you dream about when you close your eyes 10,000 miles away and visualize it. A wise philosopher once said that man is not searching for meaning; he is searching for experience. I wholeheartedly agree. Today, so many are willing to accept the prefabricated notion of an experience, neatly packaged and conveniently delivered. No risk, no real reward - marginally better than photoshopping yourself into pictures of far away places and landmarks. Campi Ya Kanzi is one of those increasingly rare places that still provides the type of authentic experience our souls crave, which seeks to satisfy the compulsion to see what lays out beyond the horizon.

This is not the drive-through-zoo of the national parks. Here it is not, “let’s go see the lions”. Its “let’s go see if we can *find* the lions”. Real Maasai trackers with you, often on foot outside of the car, searching the ground for animal tracks to follow. There is a genuine sense of adventure. You simply do not know what you are going to find when you leave the comfort of the camp. The thrill of the hunt that will appeal to the true adventure seeker, the romantic and the poet. This is not for everyone- and at 16 guest maximum capacity, it is not supposed to be. If you seek an authentic experience in exotic lands in the tradition of bygone days...when the journey tested you and the experience validated you and your connection to all things...and in the process you learned more about yourself...this is a place for you.

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank stevesf123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lucakanzi, Owner at Campi ya Kanzi, responded to this review, 24 February 2016
It is was our pleasure! Come back again soon :)
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96 reviews from our community

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English first
San Francisco
Level Contributor
26 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 February 2009

We have been to Mombo, Xigera, Jack's Camp, Londolozi, Skeleton Coast, etc., and while all of those experiences were wonderful, Campi ya Kanzi is the jewel in the crown. Yes, one needs to go to the Maasai Mara or the Serengeti and definitely to the Okavango Delta and, if one can, Jack's Camp and Londolozi (or adjacent private reserves next to Kruger NP), but be sure to visit Camp ya Kanzi at least once in your life! We so enjoyed our walking safaris to amazingly beautiful overlooks (and sundowners) with panoramic views of this stunningly beautiful, unspoiled landscape (as far as the eye can see in all directions w Kilimanjaro to the south, the "green hills of Africa" to the north). We loved our hikes in the hills, our visit to the Maasai village, and our game drives with our Maasai guides. The lodge and tent-bungalows are also very comfortable and beautiful, with nearby watering holes so one can see wildlife right from one's deck. The staff is warm and inviting and the food was memorable. Campi ya Kanzi is a wonderful blend of land, wildlife, and human "treasures," including the remarkable hosts. One is not just visiting a safari camp, this is a project to enable the Maasai to both continue to live as they prefer, but to also enjoy a range of choices going forward, as well as to preserve and enrich this magnificent landscape and population of wildlife.

  • Stayed January 2009, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank MCMSF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lucakanzi, Manager at Campi ya Kanzi, responded to this review, 27 March 2009
It is a pleasure to learn that we provided such a great experience and we are committed to only improve what we offer.
Thank you for your appreciation of our dedication.
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NYC
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 August 2008

There are some trips you take in your life that change you forever. My trip to Kenya and my time at Campi ya Kanzi was one such trip.
The place itself is magical - limited in rooms, you don't feel like a tourist trapped among herds of other tourists - instead, you feel like an honored guest - the people, from the Maasai guides to your host Luca are clearly in love with the land and the animals and with sharing this place with others and working to protect it for future generations.

The land is beyond words - breathtaking, biblical in nature, overwhelming in scape, absolutely stunning regardless of the weather - the wildlife is abundant and because they are not exposed to masses of humans behave as nature intended - free, wild, beautiful.

The camp is peaceful and has been built with the environment in mind while still catering to a high end traveller - the food is delicious - and the staff is quite accommodating - I am a vegetarian and they were able to adjust any of the meals to cover my dietary needs - and it was absolutely delicious - from fresh coffee and biscuits in the morning to home made ice cream at night.

The camp takes it eco-responsibility seriously - - I read another review that commented on a pool being built - as I understand it that home and pool is being built not for the managers of the lodge but rather as a high end accommodation from which all proceeds will go to support the Trust - a fund whose goal is to preserve the land, protect the animals, an allow this magnificent people - the Maasai - to preserve and continue their culture - I understand how someone might misread this in light of the camp's commitment to preserving water (as for me, the limitations of shower and other elements was a unique lesson for how little due I give in my "normal" life to the use of water - how I take this resource for granted) but I think it is important for anyone considering visiting not to be dissuaded by this misunderstanding.

I enjoyed my time there very much and left not only with great pictures and incredible memories - I left with a feeling that sometimes gets lost among life's modern conveniences - this sense of being part of something bigger, something beyond words, that reminds you how special the world we live in, the world we are a part of, really is.

  • Liked — How personalized it is - each person can have their experience customized to their own needs and interests.
  • Disliked — Nothing - it was a very special place.
  • Stayed November 2007, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank Pancho G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lucakanzi, Manager at Campi ya Kanzi, responded to this review, 5 August 2009
Great to learn about having provided great experiences to many of the reviewers. Many thanks to all who have posted their reviews.
Sadly a lady felt unhappy here. We feel adequate for interested visitors to specify that the house she refers to is Kanzi House, whose use benefits the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust. It has a swimming pool (all water is collected from the rain) and a jacuzzi. A stay at Kanzi House (accommodating a maximum of 10 guests) translate in $2,000 conservation fee per day to the Trust, hence assisting it in providing its services to the Maasai community (the Trust employs nearly 200 Kenyans as game scouts, teachers, nurses and doctors). This information were passed to the guest, and clearly got lost somewhere...
And yes, we do not (yet) control the clouds on Kili, but we are working on it!
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California
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 August 2008

We just returned from five days at Campi Ya Kanzi. We had heard very good things about this camp, but the reality exceeded our high expectations. The staff was very attentive. The smallest request was addressed immediately. We had a small problem with the zipper to the canvas door of our "tent". I mentioned it to a staffer before dinner, and when we returned to the tent after dinner a new zipper had already been installed. Another guest lost his passport, and Luca, the host and manager of the camp, took it upon himself to contact the embassy in Nairobi and arrrange for a replacement. The food was excellent; by far the best we encountered during our two weeks in Kenya and Tanzania. Ya Kanzi is the only tourist camp in a 400 square kilometer Masai reserve. This means that you never see another safari vehicle when you go out on game drives--unlike the better known and more heavily touristed Masai Mara where other vehicles are often in sight and it is not uncommon to find five or six vehicles surrounding a single lion as the visitors click away with their cameras. Unlike the Mara, where the animals are so accustomed to humans that often they don't even run away at the approach of a vehicle, the wildlife around Ya Kanzi is elusive. You can't be sure what you will find when you go out. This may be disappointing to some, but for us it added to the experience. In the Mara our guides could virtually promise us that we would see lions, or hyenas, or whatever (my thirteen-year-old son described the Mara as "not much different than a zoo except the animals have to feed themselves"), but at Ya Kanzi we actually had to go out and look for game. One morning we spent over an hour tracking a herd of elephants through the brush. During the search we flushed zebras, gazelles, giraffes, ostriches, and elan, and our excitement was all the greater when we finally caught up with the herd. Except for cats, hyenas and hippos, we saw all the animals we also saw in the Mara, only in smaller numbers. If you are interested in an alternative to the big, crowded parks, Ya Kanzi is a good choice.

  • Stayed August 2008, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Casimiro1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lucakanzi, Manager at Campi ya Kanzi, responded to this review, 5 August 2009
A 13 year old boy has been able to put it better than we could have ever do
it: a National Park experience is -in most cases - a zoo safari experience.
Here in the Amboseli-Tsavo ecosystem, in 280,000 acres pristine Maasai land, one find the real African wilderness, vanishing quickly everywhere else.
Thank you for a very sightly review, glad you enjoyed staying with us.
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WV
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 August 2008

We were there for a three night stay in July 2008. It was cold and rainy (in the dry season!). Animal viewing was limited but maybe our expectations were high because we had just left the Masai Mara and one of the best hotels in the world. The hosts at CYK were not present during the time we were there and the rest of the staff seemed to be taking some time away, too. Samson only joined us for dinner and was not a guide.

I was most disappointed by the hypocrisy regarding the ecosystem and water conservation. When we arrived, we were advised to take "sail-boat" showers (get wet, turn off water, soap up, and then turn the water back on to rinse). The next day was cloudy all day, so the host-in-residence, Stafano, told us that the showers would be cold -- and they were. The camp has ample electricity so why not use electric tankless water heaters?
The second day as we returned to camp by an upper road, we passed "the big house" -- the personal and private residence of Luca and Antoinella. This is a large compound of three houses (the largest is still under construction) and get this -- a 40 foot swimming pool! The pool was filled with water. The was not a guest pool--it was for the owners only. This was a great waste of water -- the evaporation rate has to be enough to supply showers and water for the pottys. (By the way, the potty was good for only one flush per night so you have to plan ahead.)

The food was good but not the best of the four tented-camps we visited. The meals were served "family style" with no menu choices. Everyone ate together--including the misbehaving child of the managers and the nanny who had issues with her young charge. The teenagers in our group enjoyed the hikes--but some of the adults in our group and in other groups there at the time found them difficult. One morning after a long, cold, game drive in the rain (no rain gear was provided--and the Masai guides were warming their hands over the spot light) we stopped for breakfast. This was not the ideal site that you see in the photos--it was in the "field of dung". No kidding--it was the single most unappetizing meal I have experienced--and I have lived in third-world countries.

The photos posted by other reviewers are good representations of the accommodations but we never saw the top (or even bottom) of Mt. Kilimanjaro due to the persistent cloud cover.

I would not recommend visiting this camp until they get their act together.

  • Liked — The Masai guides were very nice and knowledgeable.
  • Disliked — Cold rooms, cold water, bed like a stone. Few animals to see.
  • Stayed July 2008, travelled with family
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
6 Thank WvDizzyDaisy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 6 March 2008

This was the second-to-last stop on my three week trip to Tanzania and Kenya with my mother. There is nothing negative I could report about Campi ya Kanzi. We only had the opportunity to stay for 3 nights, but it was absolutely the best three nights of our entire trip.

After a nice flight to the property in the camp's plane (one of the smallest planes I've ever flown in...) we were greeted warmly by the camp's staff, including Luca and Samson.

The food at the camp is to die for! Antonella oversees the camp's kitchen, and it was quite possibly the best I've eaten on any vacation. - true Italian pastas, salads, meats... it was wonderful!

At each meal Luca would discuss what we wanted to do the following day. There are so many options. We went on a sunrise safari, hikes, and visits to the local school. Everything we did was wonderful. The highlight was visiting the school. You should definitely see that when you are there!

Overall, I would highly recommend Campi ya Kanzi to anyone in Kenya. I hope to go back one day.

  • Liked — Everything
  • Disliked — Nothing!
  • Stayed June 2006
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Helpful?
1 Thank jla1381
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lucakanzi, Owner at Campi ya Kanzi, responded to this review, 24 February 2016
Thank you :) We hope to see you again too!
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Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
27 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 January 2008

We just returned from a 3 night stay at Campi Ya Kanzi and have nothing but positive reviews. This was our first visit to Africa and our first safari experience so we did not really know what to expect. Both Luca and Antonella who host the camp are wonderful hosts, the food was fabulous, the tented camps are beautiful, comfortable and very romantic, all the staff is very knowledgable and there to ensure you have a wonderful experience. Experience is the key to this camp.

Unlike the camps located in national parkland, Campi Ya Kanzi is not restricted by park rules so you are able to walk the hills and go on night drives. This part of Kenya had received a lot of rain so we had to seek out many of the animals, so a different experience than in the Masai Mara where the game was more accessible. We spent 3 nights at CYK and 3 nights at another camp just north of the Mara so we had 2 different types of safari experiences which I would recommend. CYK has a plane that can fly you to other parts of Kenya (for a fee) and this worked very well for us.

It was well worth the cost and one of the best experiences we have had travelling. I am happy to answer questions - this was a really special place.

  • Stayed January 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank travelbugAustin_TX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lucakanzi, Owner at Campi ya Kanzi, responded to this review, 24 February 2016
Thanks so much! We think it's special as well :) We hope to see you again soon.
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Additional Information about Campi ya Kanzi

Property: Campi ya Kanzi
Address: Mtito Andei, Kenya
Phone Number:
Region: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Amboseli Eco-system
Amenities:
Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 19 Speciality Lodging in Amboseli Eco-system
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Campi ya Kanzi 3.5*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Campi ya Kanzi is widely recognized as one of the most unique and inspiring safari experiences in Africa. Situated at the foot of the legendary Chyulu Hills, Hemingway’s Green Hills of Africa, it is a luxury camp offering an incomparable combination of 5-star luxury, first class wilderness adventure, amazing wildlife, and authentic immersion in Maasai culture. This is truly the ultimate African safari.This luxury lodge has been built in partnership with the Maasai community of the 280,000-acre Kuku Group Ranch.Campi ya Kanzi has a unique commitment to community development and environmental sustainability: we are leaders in real ecotourism, engaging the local Maasai in benefiting from wilderness with thriving wildlife. Built from local materials, it uses solar technology to supply hot water and electricity to the six luxury cottages and two suites. In front of Kilimanjaro, with a Maasai warrior taking you on safari, among elephants and lions, you will experience your dream African adventure. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Campi Ya Kanzi Hotel Amboseli Eco-System

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