Kenya : Amboseli
The great Amboseli plain, with its parched alkaline salt pans, strange mirages and oasis of marshes and lakes, is renowned for its spectacular backdrop of Africa's highest mountain Mt Kilimanjaro, which rises dramatically from the plains, and its huge elephant population. There are over 1,000 elephant in the park eco- system, and they are some of the biggest elephant in Africa. The park is also home to herds of plains game - particularly zebra and wildebeest - and their predators, more than 300 species of birds, as well as the Maasai, who have lived in harmony with nature here for thousands of years.
Tortilis is a stunning camp set in the shadow of Mt Kilimanjaro. It has 17 large tented rooms on raised wooden platforms and under thatch. They all have elegant en-suite bathrooms and large verandas from where you can sit and absorb the sounds of the bush. There is also a family house with one double and one twin room. There is a swimming pool to cool off in after a game walk or game drive, or a visit to a Maasai village. Bush breakfasts, picnics and sundowners are all part of your stay and the camp is renowned for its wholesome food, high standards of service and sunsets over Kilimanjaro.
"Our guide at Tortilis was just fantastic."
Claire and Gary, Livingston
Amboseli Porini is a gem of a camp in the Selenkay Conservation Area a few miles north of Amboseli National Park. The conservancy, which is well off the beaten track and has only recently been visited by tourists, is an important dispersal area for wildlife migrating out of the National Park and you will have excellent private game viewing here. Amboseli Porini is a proper bush camp. Small and intimate, with the majority of staff coming from the conservation area itself, it has just six spacious tents, comfortably furnished and with en-suite washrooms with a shower, wash basin and flush loo. You see a bit of everyday local life on the conservancy and can visit the local villages, and all under the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro. Game drives are in specially designed open Landrover 4x4 safari vehicles and, as Selenkay Conservation Area is a private game reserve, you will not see any other vehicles or minibuses.
Satao Elerai is a community-run luxury camp in a private conservancy outside Amboseli National Park. It has five thatched lodge rooms and nine huge tents with sensational views of Mount Kilimanjaro. The tents are built on cedar-wood decks and under thatch to help keep them cool. They have huge beds, are elegantly furnished and have a generous deck with a day bed from where you can enjoy amazing views. The suites are built from stone and thatch and have funky wood furniture and unique bathrooms built from natural rock and acacia wood. On clear nights, dinner is served on the terrace under the stars so you can enjoy the views of Kilimanjaro bathed in moonlight. One of the biggest advantages is that being in its own private conservation area, you can go on night drives and game walks from here as well as on full-day game drives into Amboseli with a picnic lunch.
Tawi is a stunning camp set in the shadow of Africa's highest mountain, the snow-capped Mt Kilimanjaro. It is situated on a conservancy just outside the park in one of Amboseli's few remaining areas of Acaia woodland, with the majestic backdrop of Kilimanjaro. It has 12 large cottages spread out for privacy. Each has its own wooden deck, fireplaces and en-suite bathrooms with both baths and showers all with views out toward Kilimanjaro. The cottages are spacious and tastefully designed for maximum comfort with an African vibe. When you are not out on game drives in the Amboseli National Park then you can enjoy bush walks, camel rides or night drives in the conservancy. Between activities you can take a dip in the pool, enjoy a massage in the spa or relax in the library all of which have views onto the water hole just outside the camp. Dining at Tawi is a real treat, with an open dining room overlooking the gardens you can relax and enjoy delicious meals watching elephants bathe in the watering hole or listening to the sounds of hyenas hunting whilst gazing at the stars. The lodge manager was formerly a world renowned chef and so the food here is superb.