Experience the Samburu wildlife from two angles: Joy’s Camp and Sasaab Lodge Image courtesy of Joy's Camp
13 July 2013 Written by 

Experience the Samburu wildlife from two angles: Joy’s Camp and Sasaab Lodge

Spending several hours in a car is worthwhile if the drive's destination is Kenya's heavenly Northern Frontier. As you go up north past the equator and Mount Kenya, you will encounter the culturally beautiful people of Samburu, Turkana and Borana. Here, Kenya boasts of splendid wildlife and exquisite scenes as well. A great adventure of the Northern Frontier of Kenya can be experienced in two amazing tourism destinations: Sasaab Lodge and Joy's Camp.

Sasaab Lodge

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One can charter local flights from Nanyuki or Nairobi to get to Sasaab or one can drive for approximately seven hours from Nairobi city. Sasaab Lodge is located within the Westgate Community Conservancy in Samburu. It is neighboured by the Samburu National Reserve, Namunyak Wildlife Conservation Trust and Kalama Community Wildlife conservancy. The lodge is located in the heart of nature.

Accommodation

Yet, in spite of the lodge's outdoor nature, the accommodation befits anyone looking for luxury. Sasaab Lodge boasts of nine excellent rooms that are very spacious. The room décor speaks of African grandeur. Each room has a four-poster bed with Egyptian cotton sheets, a self-contained bathroom, verandah and private plunge pool. From the room, one can catch views of wildlife in the conservancy and the Ewaso Nyiro river cutting through the arid African earth.

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All rooms face west, giving all visitors the breathtaking view of the Kenyan sunset. Because luxury rooms can be too mainstream, Sasaab offers outdoor camping. The lodge locates a suitable spot in the wild, provides the bare sleeping necessities, lights a campfire and offers you an experience of sleeping under the stars.

Dining

Out in the open is the deck. Here, visitors will enjoy their freshly cooked meals from the well-trained chefs. Sasaab has its own vegetable garden and can offer a special diet meal upon request. Dinner is the best time at the deck as one gets to see the Milky Way and the zillions of stars shimmering down at the lodge.

The Experience

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In their souk style mess, visitors can relax or read a book in their cushions as they catch spectacular views of the rugged terrain in the Northern Frontier. From the main pool, visitors can watch elephants wade in the river below.

Visitors can enjoy night and day drives into the wild. Common species you are likely to see are the lion, the leopard, the cheetah and the Samburu Special Five (Grevy's Zebra-an endangered species, Reticulated Giraffe, Beisa Oryx, Gerenuk and the Somali Ostrich). The cherry on the cake of the wildlife excursion would be the elephants by the river that are not shied away by touring vehicles.

Visitors of Sasaab can take nature walks or camel rides around the area. The experience of meeting the culturally rich Samburu people will leave an indelible mark in your life as you witness their traditional weddings, blessing rituals and lifestyle in their Manyatta houses. Visitors get to interact with their cultural art of jewel making.

Children who accompany adults to Sasaab learn to make traditional Samburu weapons, toothbrushes and get to create their own souvenirs from the culturally rich Samburu people.

At the lodge, by the river, Sasaab offers a spa treatment using Liz Earle skin care products. As you are treated like royalty, enjoy the river's view.

Joy's Camp

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Marie Claire once said that Joy's Camp is "A good place to start your love affair with Africa." Joy's Camp is a multiple award winning location. Recently, to add to their trophy cabinet, they won the 2012-2013 Best Sustainable Hotel in Africa award by the International Hotel Awards in association with Yamaha. The camp is located in author Joy Adamson's tented home in Shaba National Reserve, in the arid Samburu. The camp overlooks a huge natural spring where species like the elephant, lion, buffalo, Beisa Oryx, Reticulated Giraffe and Grevy's zebra dip and drink from.

Accommodation

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The camp has ten tents-seven doubles and three twin tents. The tents are very spacious and are with en-suite bathrooms with hot running water. The rooms have a large verandah with a seating area to catch spectacular views of the rugged terrain. All tents can fit two extra beds to accommodate children under the age of 16 years. The camp can only host five extra beds at any given time.

Dining

Joy's Camp offers homemade breads and pastas, traditional Italian risottos and fresh organic salads. During lunch, visitors enjoy their meal as they gaze over the camp's springs teaming with wild game. During dinner, the springs are floodlit and one can catch predators lurking in the darkness for their dinner too. Dining at Joy Camp is individual and not communal as in most camps. Upon request, Joy Camp can organize a private romantic dinner for you and your lover. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free customers can have their special meals arranged too but they have to provide this information prior to their visit.

The Experience

Joy Camp offers open game drives in their 4x4 Landcruisers accompanied by their award winning guides who know Shaba National Reserve like the back of their hands. The rocky hills, huge acacia trees and lush springs favour species such as the elephant, leopard, gerenuk, giraffe, antelope, Beisa Oryx, Grevy Zebra, Reticulated Giraffe, Somali Ostrich, brown and striped hyena and the klipspringer (Mbuzi Mawe)!

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Nature-walks under the towering acacia trees is a wonderful activity. Famous sites for walks include the river gorges where one can spot crocodiles, the Chaffa stream that has lots of flowers and birds, and Penny's drop-a waterfall dropping from a spring into the great Ewaso Nyiro river.

Joy Adamson was also an accomplished artist. Guests, can access painting packs in the safari shop in the camp and express their artistry of the beautiful terrain.

Joy Camp has a swimming pool of the terrain with a spectacular view and that has direct service from the bar.

Joy Camp can plan bush breakfast for its visitors, sundowners, and cultural visits to the habitats of the nomadic Borana, Samburu and Turkana local people. Visitors can enjoy a picnic as they take the day out to visit Magado Crater where the local women mine salt.

In their campsite, Joy's Camp offers, spa treatments-massages, pedicure and manicure to help you forget that frenetic lifestyle you left at home.



Ernest Wamboye Wakhusama

Ernest Wamboye is a writer and editor working in Nairobi, Kenya. He is also a volunteer Brand Ambassador at AfricaTalentbank.com and an origami artist and storyteller at Arts & OAK, a company that he founded. Ernest is married to Waturi and they both live in Nairobi, Kenya.
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