If you’re planning a once in a lifetime safari to Africa, the choices can be overwhelming. First, you must decide where in Africa you want to go, and with 54 countries to choose from that can be a challenge of its own! However, if you have already narrowed it down to just one country – Kenya – then that’s where we can step in and help you make an informed decision. It is important to think about the following criteria when booking a safari; from the style of accommodation you are looking for to the area you want to explore, the wildlife you will encounter and a few other key elements.
1. Unique accommodation styles
Saruni has four boutique and elegant properties, each having its own unique style and character; from the elegant cottages at Saruni Mara, the authentic under-canvas experience at Saruni Wild, the open and spacious luxury villas at Saruni Samburu and the rustic stone bandas at Saruni Rhino. There is a range to suit everyone’s preference and sense of adventure, whether traveling alone, as a couple or a family group, we can accommodate your request with either twin, double or family room all ensuite, ensuring complete comfort in a safe and welcoming environment.
2. Location: Mara vs Samburu
It is important to research where you want to explore. We have properties in two of the best locations in Kenya, the world renowned Masai Mara and the beautiful arid region of Samburu. Even better, we operate in conservancies that offer exclusivity to a limited number of camps and lodges to ensure the experience is enriching. Saruni Mara is in the Mara North Conservancy, an exclusive and private 68,732 -acres wildlife concession bordering the Masai Mara National Reserve offering abundant wildlife away from the crowds and uninterrupted by other vehicles. Lemek Conservancy, where Saruni Wild is situated, is a beautiful wilderness area of more than 17,350 acres, which is also a vital part of the Masai Mara ecosystem, that has a truly exclusive and private safari experience with a very low vehicle density. Just north of Samburu National Reserve is Saruni Samburu, which is the only lodge in 123,056 acres of Kalama Wildlife Conservancy and finally Saruni Rhino, which is nestled in 839,000 acres of Sera Conservancy, the wild, undiscovered Northern frontier of Kenya … or as we say, the real North!
3. Personal & Exclusive
One of the most remarkable aspects of a safari with Saruni is the privacy and exclusivity, and the personal touch. Our guides host you, and eagerly share their ancient customs and traditions, as well as their local knowledge of the landscape and wildlife. Over and above being professionally qualified, our guides are a part of the tribe who are the proud custodians of this incredible wilderness, and who have known this area as their home for centuries.
4. Immersive & authentic experiences
Consider the type of experiences you would like to enjoy while on safari. While staying at Saruni, guests can enjoy exciting, relaxing, and unusual activities. From day and night drives, picnic breakfasts on the plains or bush dinners in a dry riverbed with firelight, to guided bush walks and visits to the local village or market. Learn about bush skills and animal tracking in our special programme the Warriors Academy. For those that want to unwind, then treat yourself to one of our relaxing signature treatments at the Wellbeing Space.
In Samburu, visit the caves featuring ancient Samburu art, marvel at the incredible night sky while stargazing, try a Scorpion safari, hike the sacred mountain, or visit Reteti Elephant Sanctuary. Hang out in our elephant proof, ground-level photographer’s hide in front of a waterhole or lounge away your time at either of the two swimming pools. Saruni Rhino has the exhilarating experience of tracking endangered black rhinos on foot, alternatively meet Loijipu, the abandon calf that is now nearly 6 years old, who is being reintroduced to the wild, or a visit to ‘The Kisima Hamsini’, a series of 50 springs where local pastoralists take their livestock to water while singing to them.
In the Mara, drive to Mount Kilileoni with spectacular views across the Mara plains, immerse yourself in the culture with a visit to the local village market or walk amongst rhinos at the Olchorro Rhino Sanctuary. Days spent at Saruni are as peaceful or adventurous as you desire.
5. Incredible cuisine
We offer communal dining hosted by our guides and managers however, we also encourage private dining in the rooms, the choice is yours. Meals are organised to suit your needs, so there are no set times. The camps and lodges offer a daily three-course set menu and we cater for all dietary requirements and allergies as informed prior to arrival. The cuisine at Saruni is Italian-inspired and we use fresh and local ingredients, as well as special imported products. Nearly every review on TripAdvisor compliments the dishes served and how much our guests enjoy the food.
6. Fleet of 4×4 game viewing vehicles
At Saruni we have a fleet of 4×4 Land Rovers for all game drives and transfers, which are open sided for the best game viewing, each with a canvas roof for shade. Guests share vehicles, either 4 or 6 to a vehicle depending on the seating capacity – unless exclusive use of a vehicle has been requested at an additional cost.
7. Diversity of Wildlife
We can offer the best of both worlds! The Mara-Serengeti ecosystem, of which Mara North and Lemek is part, has the highest density of predators and plains game of any wilderness in the world, and is home to the most thrilling, awe-inspiring natural spectacle on the planet – the Great Migration. Game drives are action-packed, and guests are guaranteed incredible and unforgettable wildlife encounters. Samburu offers a very different experience but equally rewarding. The ‘Samburu Five’ are rare and endemic to the Samburu ecosystem. These consist of the Gerenuk, the Reticulated giraffe, the Somali ostrich, the Grevy’s zebra, the Beisa oryx and an abundance of other rare species such as the leopard, the striped hyena, the Civet cat and the wonderful African wild dog not forgetting a plethora of birdlife! Each of our northern locations offers a very different wildlife experience from the giant herds of Samburu elephant coming to drink at the waterholes, endangered packs of African wild dog seen roaming the rugged landscape or tracking black rhino on foot.
8. Conservation & Community
When booking a safari, it is important to find out an organisation’s ethos towards conservation and community efforts in the area. We believe that Africa needs honest, transparent, community-supportive entrepreneurship, where profits are made and used to create jobs and professional opportunities and to provide the people who own the land where wildlife is with equitable income. We are founding members of Mara North Conservancy, the most ambitious conservation project in the Masai Mara ecosystem, and are part of NRT (Northern Rangelands Trust), the most important conservation project in Northern Kenya. Saruni has provided jobs, income, training and guidance for the local Samburu / Maasai people in the area. Tourism directly supports conservation – by staying at Saruni, guests are directly giving back to the community who protects this beautiful land, improving their quality of life, while at the same time encouraging the purpose for conservation.
9. Choice of stand-alone stay or curated itinerary
We can book you a stay at just one of our camps or lodges, alternatively Saruni has carefully crafted safari itineraries that combine the most unique and remarkable places and experiences, from the world-renowned wilderness of the Masai Mara to the arid, remote lands of northern Kenya in Samburu and more. The itineraries are all-inclusive – every last detail is taken care of so that your journey is completely hassle free.
10. In operation for 20 years
Saruni has a long successful history operating in Kenya, building successful partnerships with our trade partners and community / conservation partners. Having established a trusted brand that is now 20 years old and as we grow, with the coming together of both Saruni and Basecamp Explorer Kenya, we share the same vision, drive and ability to take us to the next level, ensuring long-term success and expanding our common values. Trust us to deliver a unique and special experience while on safari in Kenya.