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“Thoughts of a young traveller”

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Laikipia Wilderness Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Bedford, England, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Thoughts of a young traveller”
Reviewed 14 August 2013

The fire was red hot, gleaming brightly as we sat around it watching the omnipotent sun find its way down into a gap deep in the distant hills. At this point I felt like Sydney Pollack, sitting on my directors chair on the escarpment, taking in the alien sights, sounds and smells surrounding me.

But I wasn't controlling the story, our host, the Big Friendly Giant, or Steve Carey from Zimbabwe as he is more formally known, sat with us, discussing the possible activities available to us on our stay - and it wasn't only game watching - rafting, rock jumping, fishing, camping under the stars - these were all possible too.

We weren't dining alone in this magical place. Our hostess Annabelle's cousin Olly and a group of friends had come out to the camp a couple days before us and were diving into their last meal, washed down with the statutory Tusker beer.

Dad being Dad, a deep conversation with cousin Olly was underway who was excited to hear that we had encountered a pride of lions earlier that day as we drove into the site - the boys from London and Oxford, who had not been so lucky in their quest to view these glorious cats - leapt out of their director chairs and charged for the 4 wheel drive like a heard of Buffalo running from a predator.

Moments later, my younger brothers Toby and Sam decided to follow for the 'night drive' - Barend our South African guide ('drop dead gorgeous' according to the female members of our party) typcially as excited as the rest of the group about going to track down the lioness and her cubs.

Supper was served on the escarpment, a miraculous buffet of lamb, cous cous, and a delicious aubergine and tomato dish - all food carefully hunted down in the supermarkets of Nanyuki, or grown on site. Olly and the gang had returned and we all tucked into our meal like wild animals after a kill. And as if that wasn't enough, sticky toffee pudding was on the dessert menu, a real triumph, and as we were to discover just one in a repertoire of delicious cakes and puddings!

Having devoured our meal we found ourselves in the warmth of our 'tents', although these were a far cry from family camping pop-up affairs . The four youngest were in one tent, equipped with one bunk bed and two single beds, and Mum, Dad and big sister shared a separate tent furnished with a double and a single bed. These tents were master class, designed with an open air bathroom at the back - they had everything thing you needed and Annabelle's artistic touch was in evidence here as much as everywhere else - fresh roses in the bathroom and Kikoy bed covers helped to remind us we were indeed in Africa.

We had met the director, the cast and the crew, the location was perfect, catering facilities top class and accommodation dreamy. As long as the wildlife performed as expected, this was going to be an Oscar winning stay.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Emma G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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59 reviews from our community

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English first
Stockbridge
Level 5 Contributor
52 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 August 2013

We stayed at Laikipia Wilderness Camp for four nights recently and it was an experience we will never forget - but for all the right reasons! THE most delicious food for every meal we had and quite frankly, probably the best cakes at tea time you will ever eat! Such a friendly atmosphere within the camp from the owners and everyone else involved. We went to this camp on a personal recommendation and the wild dogs here are such a special experience that it's worth coming here for that alone, but even if you are not wild about the dogs, there is plenty of other things to see and do and you won't get a better and more knowledgable and passionate guide than Steve and his fellow crew. It's a wonderful place and it has a true safari feel to it as well as some spectacular scenery and game. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank wizzyone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 February 2013

If you want to get away from it all, then this is a place where you can do it. In an increasingly connected world, Laikipia Wildnerness Camp(LWC) is refreshingly not connected. It is smack dab in the middle of nowhere. You do not have access to television, email, cell phone(or even smoke-signals). Located an hour and half out of Nanyuki, this is an ideal place to unwind, kick back and relax for a few days.

Although I pride myself in having a natural sense of direction, I found it challenging getting to LWC. I do not often get lost and when I do, I am not above asking for assistance. We managed to get off-track twice. We made wrong turns both on our way to LWC and on our return trip. If you follow the directions provided by LWC, do not neglect the part about calling them when you leave Nanyuki. You will not be able to stop and ask for directions enroute. Also, recognize the distances provided are not precise. Using 20/20 hindsight, the best thing to do is stick to the main track until you reach the second bridge. At that point, throw your vehicle into reverse and look for the right turn about 20 metres back.

First impressions last a long time. Simon, smiling and gregarious, made a good first impression. He greeted us upon arrival and was quickly followed up by Buster and Borris. They are the resident dogs that are super-friendly. They quickly bonded with our children and to everyone’s delight; they even accompanied us on several game drives.

Simon walked us between thistles and thorns along a dry, sandy trail towards the mess tent. Inside, we found a well-appointed room filled with lounge furniture, a large dining table and photographic books, travel magazines and a few children's games. We were given cold beverages and a bit of information about where we were and what we could do.

After a few minutes, Simon escorted us to our rooms. Half of us(two adults, one child) landed in one tent and the other half(three children) were next door. There is lots of space in the tents and the porches face the sunrise for early morning tea(asked for masala) and coffee. We appreciated the large, open-concept, adjacent bathroom that wonderfully combines nature and privacy. You can shower in the sun(or under the stars) without feeling the least bit prudish. You stand on a built-in wooden frame when showering which keeps your feet from getting cold on the concrete. We thought a nice future addition might be to offer massages in the same spot in the mid-afternoon.

Because we care about what we eat(and drink), we were satisfied by the food offered at LWC. We took note of the organic garden growing just outside the kitchen. The meals are cooked to perfection and it is obvious the chef knows how to follow a recipe. With the exception of the porridge, we never ate the same things twice. Fresh grilled zucchini in the middle of the bush? Lasagna that was nearly as good as my mother used to make? Three cheese samosas that melt in your mouth? Where can we buy some of that tomatoe chutney? These are the thoughts you will think as you savour each bite.

Overall, everyone in the family--including the children-- enjoyed the mealtimes, we did notice two things. It could be we are alone in this and it is peculiar to us. But, maybe we are not alone and so we will mention them.

First, we do not drink soda. In our family, pop is anathema. This is problematic because LWC has plenty of options when it comes to soft drinks. Our children have been taught that Coca-cola or Sprite are not good for you. There were lime drinks and juice options given, but when you are on full board, you find yourself wanting other options besides apple and orange juice.

Second, we loved the quality of the food. Because it is so good, you find yourself wanting more. Yet, there were a few times when there didn't seem to be more available. For example, there were four portions of above-mentioned lasagna when we were a family of six. There were a limited number of the cheese samosas(the children fought over the last one). We all wanted to eat more of the ribs on the night we ate by the elephant water-hole but sadly there was none left. I suspect because of the location of LWC that it is not easy to run down the road for extras when a hungry family of six shows up.

The game drives were good. Joseph is Samburu and he knows his way around middle-of-nowhere places like this. He has been trained how to follow the signs(tracks, poop, birds, etc.) to find animals. He got a little more high-tech when it came to finding the wild dogs. We tracked the wild dog packs using an antennae and radio. Apparently, a few of the dogs have been fitted with radio collars. Once we found them, we sat in the truck for an hour listening to the dogs munch and crunch their way through a young water-buck they had just killed. Painted dogs are such a rare find on most safaris. The sight of these alone(almost guaranteed here)makes LWC a place worth visiting. We also saw the other usual suspects: elephants, giraffe, wart-hog, hyena and a wife variety of bucks.

We met Steve(Annabelle wasn't feeling well), the owner of LWC, on our second day. He is an energetic, good-natured outdoors-kind-of-guy. He has years of experience hosting and guiding folks in both Zimbabwe and Kenya. We enjoyed hearing his stories and learning from his knowledge of the area as we sat in the mess tent and around the fire late into the night.

The children were well-looked after by Joseph and Mugambi. In the afternoons, they went for adventure walks, swam and rafted in the river, fished and did some bird-watching. We even did some rock-climbing on a nearby outcrop. There was never a dull moment. This makes it easier for the parents. Even when they were at the camp, they were free to run around and make noise. At one point, our youngest dug out an old paint set(you know the kind with the multi-coloured round cakes) and asked for water and paper. The staff quickly accommodated her request and she busied herself with the paints.

Great memories were created on this weekend getaway. We left with smiles on our faces and a renewed sense that the world is a wild place. The Creator has created some amazing creatures. We only wish that it was closer to Nairobi so that we could make more frequent visits.

Room Tip: Take a shower at 2:30PM on a hot, sunny afternoon. You can thank me afterwards.
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank Jonathan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seeheim-Jugenheim, Germany
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 January 2013

The Laikipia wilderness camp by Annabelle, Steve, Fin, Mr. Rave and their crew is the best you can experience if you are looking for the "African Wilderness Feeling" away from it all.
We had a wonderful week that had everything: great activities, the perfect mix of wilderness and comfort, plenty of great homemade food, attentive hosts, enough free time to sit in front of our tent watching Giraffes or listening to the Leopard's cries near the camp. From game walks and game drives to night camping in the middle of the bush with a fantastic star spangled sky and the sounds of the wilderness - Steve and Joseph (Eagle eye), the best guides ever, made every day into an adventure. Meals are often outside the camp. We had Brunch at a water hole with Elephants drinking nearby and Leopard or Lions crawling thru the bushes, barbecue at the campfire on a hill or teatime in the camp with self baked cakes - everything was perfectly organised by Annabelle. We will never forget these holidays.

Astrid&Thomas, Frankfurt, Germany

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Thomas S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Warrington
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 November 2012

This is a fantastic authentic safari experience with hosts Steve and Annabelle. I have experienced several safari trips but this was for me by far the best. Joseph and all their staff provide expert guidance and show guests the 'real deal' in terms of a bush experience. My wife and I enjoyed every minute of it, we saw planty of wildlife including the result of a hippo kill. Joseph was guided to wild honey by birds, eating wild honey in the Kenya bush is an experience not to be missed. Fishing for catfish from the river was an added bonus for me! Waking to coffee and sitting watching the sun rise every morning, eating al fresco by the river at lunch and by campfire at night was really special. The food was excellently prepared, plentiful and varied. Sleeping in tents with outside bathroom added to our trip as too did showering in river water!
When you arrive you quickly realise what you read in the details for this safari is exactly what you get. In short a fantastic welcome by the hosts and staff, keen to provide any safari experience you ask for. Excellent value and a memorable holiday. A 5 star experience with service to match! We can't wait to go back!

Room Tip: All the tents are the same in terms of layot and standard.
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  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank TGFTWE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Laikipia Wilderness Camp

Property: Laikipia Wilderness Camp
Address: Nanyuki Town, Nanyuki Municipality 10400, Kenya
Region: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Laikipia County > Nanyuki Municipality > Nanyuki Town
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 36 Speciality Lodging in Nanyuki Town
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Small and personal 10 bed tented camp in Laikipia, Kenya offering real adventure, walking safaris, game drives, excellent wild dog, leopard, elephant, giraffe and special Laikipia species. Homely atmosphere, family run, comfortable tents with en suite facilities and at a good price. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Laikipia Wilderness Camp Kenya/Nanyuki Town

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