Top 9 Great Places to Go Camping in Kenya
If the idea of sleeping under a diamond sky filled with stars excites you, waking up next to a watering hole filled with elephants, or braving the heights of Mt. Kilimanjaro fills you with a sense of wonder, then chances are you’ve dreamed of camping in Africa. Kenya is a great place to pitch a tent, because it offers a range of exotic locations, filled with zebra, giraffes, hiking trails, shimmering pools, and breathtaking vistas.
Although there are many to choose from, here are 9 great places to pop up your instant tent, stay in a luxury camp, or rough it. These places are not for the faint of heart, but the awe-inspiring views and unforgettable experiences will be worth packing your tent and supplies and heading out.
1.Ngare Ndare Forest, Nanyuki
Where else are you going to be able to camp twenty-one feet above the ground? The campsite is located on a raised platform, giving you a bird’s eye view of the forest floor below. The two-hundred-year-old forest has plenty of rich animal and bird wildlife. Wake up to birds and monkeys chittering around you, then your forest adventure begins. This camp has a canopy walk, rock climbing, fantastic hiking trails, and cliff jumping. Take a dip in the brisk, crystal-clear pools, then take a walk along the suspended rope bridge. You won’t be disappointed.
2. Camp Carnelley’s
Camp Carnelly’s is for the hippie-chic in all of us. This campsite located next to the enormous, hippo-filled Lake Naivasha, just an hour-and-a-half drive outside of Nairobi. It is also right next to the famous Kikopey, and their legendary roasted meat. You can bring your own instant tent or rent from the campsite. This campsite is tranquil, with beautiful grounds.
3. Camp Ya Kanzi
No list would be complete without mentioning Camp Ya Kanzi. Self-described as a “boutique ecolodge,” this campsite is consistently award-winning and the best in luxury camping. It is located deep in the lush “green hills of Africa,” a la Ernest Hemmingway, one of the only campsites on a Maasai-owned reserve. You’ll experience the finest in luxury camping, as well as a taste of authentic Maasai culture.
4. Hell’s Gate Gorge and National Park
With a name like “Hell’s Gate,” you wouldn’t expect to be anything less than impressed, and this campsite doesn’t fail. From deep gorges to lush grassland, to wildlife, this campsite is idea for those who love spectacular geological formations. Go on a walking or cycling safari and be impressed by the rust-red rocks of this amazing national park.
5. Rapids Camp, Sagana
Situated right next to a river, Rapids Camp is perfect for those desiring to partake in water-related activities, such as canoeing, rafting, and kayaking. They also provide rock climbing, zip-lining, and unique waterfall challenges. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or looking for a peaceful night under the stars, Rapids Camp has it all.
6. Mount Ololokwe, near Isiolo
This flat-topped mountain dominates the landscape around it, five hours outside of Nairobi. The 2,000-meter-tall mountain is shrouded in mystery and legend and is a perfect place for the adventurous camper. This campsite will test the mettle of those who hike up its side, but its steep trails are well worth the effort once you reach the top. Be surrounded by beautiful vistas and drink in the beauty of the countryside.
7. Mount Suswa crater rim, Mount Suswa
Have you ever wanted to camp on a dormant volcano? On Mount Suswa, you can! Explore this double-shield volcano and its labyrinth of caves. The outer crater of this once-active volcano is home to Maasi families and a variety of plant and animal wildlife, including baboons, lions, leopards, and hyenas. The inner crater is covered in natural forest and it provides a sweeping vista once you reach the top. The lava caves are especially interesting, filled with bats that come out at night. Reaching the top can be a difficult climb; half a day for experienced hikers. If climbing isn’t your thing, you can always take a 4×4 off-road vehicle to get you up there.
Travel back in time to the prehistoric era when you camp at Olorgesailie. Located approximately one hour outside of Nairobi, this sunken basin was made famous by Louis and Mary Leakey, as it was pivotal in the research of early man. Here, you’ll find excavation sites, waterfalls, and fascinating nature walks. It’s perfect for the history buff or anyone interested in the origins of man. This campsite’s theme is simple rather than luxurious, so call ahead to ask about amenities.
9. Oloiden Camping Site
Finally, the Oloiden camping site provides you with the unique opportunity to camp right on the banks of a beautiful, pristine lake. If you’re looking for a tranquil camping experience away from the flocks and masses of people, then look no further. They provide double or single tents, hot showers, flushing toilets, and a bonfire free for campers. They have a restaurant on-site that provides a variety of beef, chicken, and fish caught straight from the lake. The camp is a bit pricier than most, but if you’re willing to splurge, this is the camp for you.
No matter where you’re looking to pitch your tent, Kenya has some unbelievable sights. Each location has its merits, and many tourists dive straight into the safaris and forget to experience the wonder of Kenya’s natural beauty by living directly alongside it. Only in Kenya can you wake up in a tent and step out into a land of magic.