Far&Wild had an internal competition to tell each other about our favourite lodges
Operations & Marketing Development
30 Mar 2020
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During this time of home-stay, we had a little moral boosting competition to help maintain the amazing team spirit we all share here at Far & Wild.
Each of us presented a pitch about our favourite lodge, why it’s special to us, what kind of traveller it’s good for and what you can hope to see. All the entries were enthusiastic (we have a highly competitive streak), great to watch and listen to, all the lodges are fantastic in their own right but at the end of the day the best presentation went to…
Saruni Samburu, Kenya
Saruni Samburu was put forward by Lorien our sales coordinator as her favourite lodge, her compelling pitch swayed our team and Saruni Samburu, one of our much loved properties won as our favourite lodge! This lodge is perfect for a luxury Kenya safari holiday.
She said "I am in love with Saruni Samburu and would choose it as my favourite lodge for so many reason but to narrow it down, I'm going to tell you my top three reasons."
Saruni Samburu is situated in the north of Samburu National Reserve which is in turn situated in Kenya’s wild north. The lodge dwells in a pristine, private wildlife conservancy, and is perched on top of a spectacular viewpoint, overlooking several waterholes where some of Samburu’s famous wildlife gathers to drink.
The area around Saruni Samburu is always flowing with wildlife and is one of the most exciting in East Africa. It offers an abundance of rare species like the leopard, the Striped hyena, the African civet and African Wild dog. Some wild dogs have even been spotted making their way across the plains just below the camp! You’ve got giant herds of Samburu elephant coming to drink at the waterholes and even leopard making their lairs on rocky outcrops just by the Lodge. The area is also home to rare endemic species, the Samburu Five: Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, Beisa oryx, Somali ostrich and Genenuk.
Loyal to their Community
Saruni Samburu stands alone as the only lodge in Kalama Conservancy. It has provided the only source of income for the communities found in the area. Samburu has been able to provide jobs, income, training and guidance for the local Samburu people in the area. Tourism also directly supports conservation so just by visiting Saruni Samburu, you are directly giving back to the community. The same community who protects this beautiful land, improving their quality of life, while at the same time encouraging the purpose for conservation.
Apoka Safari Lodge in the Kidepo Valley, Uganda was put forward by our Sales Director, Alistair as his favourite place to stay. What Alistair has to say about Aoka Safari Lodge…
Apoka Safari Lodge is the best lodge in Africa as it’s so remote you really feel like you are on a proper safari. Even though you are in the middle of nowhere standards are not compromised and the attention to details is there from the food right through to the drinks left beside your hot out door post-safari bubble bath. The rooms are vast – there’s only 10 of them and all have striking views.
The wildlife in the area is great with excellent and regular sightings of lion, elephant and leopard and huge herds of buffalo – in fact some of the largest herds in Africa. All encapsulated in remarkable settings, perfect for the discerning traveller to indulge in a safari in a remote and isolated setting.
With activities, take your pick from walking or driving and if you get bored of the game you can explore Idi Amin’s dilapidated lodge from decades ago. The views are incredible and there is no-one else around. A proper safari in the remote heart of the ‘Pearl of Africa’.
Nsolo Camp, South Luangwa was chosen by our Africa specialist, Marc and this is what he has to say about this fantastic property...
Set deep within the South Luangwa, overlooking a bend in the seasonal Luwi River, Nsolo camp is situated well away from the majority of other camps. This allows you to enjoy the same exceptional wildlife and predator sightings, such as lions and wild dogs, but in a more exclusive setting with few, if any, other vehicles around.
The camp offers a great variety of safari activities with exceptional expert guides; including day and night game drives and has an excellent reputation for walking safaris and optional bush sleep-outs.
I stayed here whilst on honeymoon. The game drives and walks delivered incredible wildlife viewing, great guiding and with no other visitors at most of our sightings. The highlight was definitely the sleepout that we did. On the walk to our camp we saw so much wildlife and had a thrilling experience of walking into a pride of about 13 lions! The camp was very comfortable, with thick roll mattresses and mosquito nets, set up in a dry river bed… so we slept under a blanket of stars. The food and hospitality was flawless. As we sat, enjoying a sundowner by the campfire, the lions made a return, as we heard a crashing and growling about 200 metres up the river bed. The guide and tracker brought the vehicle (hidden nearby for safety) and we went to find the lions on a fresh kill, which we watched them devour, with no one else around, until we returned to camp for our own dinner. We drifted off to the calls of nearby lions, looking up at the Milky Way. This is what an African safari is all about!
At a time when the environment, conservation and responsible travel is increasingly important Nsolo ticks all the boxes. Built from locally sourced materials and run off solar power it is the perfect place to disconnect and engage with nature and the incredible wildlife that is all around. The Time & Tide Foundation that the camp is part of contributes over US$ 300,000 per year to local community, health, education and wildlife conservation projects.
El Karama in Laikipia, Kenya was selected by Ben our MD and founder and this is why he recommends this superb, lodge so highly for a Kenya family holiday.
The lodge and location
This is for me, the perfect safari lodge. Somewhere that has that fundamental quality that we all look for in ‘character’ – that is to say authenticity.
In a hospitality scene that’s full of the bluff and bluster of insta fuelled self publicity – here is a safari lodge that does the business where it matters... the experience when you’re actually there. Its a smallish lodge of about 10 rooms located in Laikipia, near Mt Kenya, owner run, and when it comes to a safari experience – it punches well above its weight.
With some romantic rooms with outdoor baths and private dining for the couples, exciting three bedroom hobbit houses for the families, and delicious homegrown produce from the kitchen for everyone to congregate around and share exciting safari stories at meal times.
The El Karama conservancy has some of the most scenic mixed terrain in Kenya. Not only does this deliver stunning views of Mt Kenya and the Laikipia Plateau, but also a wonderfully diverse array of wildlife.... outside of the Masai Mara honey pot, its about as good as you’ll get in Kenya. Lion, Cheetah, Leopard, Hippo, Buffalo, Crocs, Elephants, Giraffe, Kudu, Waterbuck, Baboons, Gerenuk and glorious bird species.
On the surface El Karama is an easy sell as ‘awesome safari lodge’ – but actually it’s whats below the surface that is really interesting. From the egg that starts your day, to the pillow you rest your head upon at the end of it – the entire El Karama operation and guest experience is as socially and environmentally sustainable as you’ll find anywhere in Kenya... indeed Africa. The team are drawn from the local area, produce is either home-grown or locally sourced, the glorious swimming pool doesn’t have a drop of chlorine in it... I could go on, but I’m sure you get the picture.
Peter, one of our Africa Specialist chose Chinzombo Camp, Zambia as his favourite safari destination. Here's why he loves it so much...
The blend of luxury and traditional styles, amazing food, private pools and stunning views – what isn’t there to love!
Location and wildlife
Nestled beneath a grove of trees on the banks of the Luangwa River, Chinzombo is a haven of tranquillity and luxury, offering levels of luxury rarely seen in Zambia. The beauty of this camp is that it blends the luxuries of a modern-day safari with old-world touches, creating a unique and wonderful atmosphere to the camp. The rooms all have their own private pools, perfect for cooling off in during the hot Luangwa afternoons and they also have great views out across the river where pods of hippos are spotted throughout the year. The food is outstanding, the service sharp but laid back and the views out across the river truly breathtaking. The game viewing in the area is exceptional, with lion, leopard, wild dog and elephant seen in especially strong numbers.
This lovely camp is a perfect alternative for those looking for something a little more affordable than going to Botswana.
Lewa Wilderness Camp located in the Lewa Private Conservancy in Kenya was chosen by our Marketing Guru, Eliza. Eliza explains what makes this safari camp in so special.
Lewa Wilderness is my favourite lodge as it is small and intimate, beautifully designed and offers an amazing array of safari activities. It is also where I stayed on my honeymoon so has special memories for me.
The lodge and experience
Lewa Wilderness is made up of just nine rooms making it very intimate. We stayed in a gorgeous hillside cottage with a thatched roof, four poster bed and incredible views over the valley. From the bar (where they make a great cocktail) you look down at a river where you can see elephants come and bathe. The lodge are very welcoming and fab at putting on little surprises such as one morning our game drive ended in a surprise bush breakfast complete with camels for us to ride back to the lodge. I also love that the lodge has a swimming pool and tennis court – after days of sitting in a 4x4 and eating non-stop delicious food, the ability to be able to do a bit of exercise is a welcome relief, and because the lodge has an electric fence, you feel safe wandering around the stunning gardens.
Wildlife and acitvities
Lewa Wilderness is located in Lewa in Kenya which is home to the Big Five (include both white and black rhino) and it also has rare Grevy Zebras. One of the things I loved about Lewa Wilderness was the range of activities available most of which are included in the price. As well as traditional safaris in a 4x4, you can also do walking safaris and horse riding safaris. These were highlights of our trip – there is nothing like riding in the plains alongside zebras, or sitting on a horse right next to a giraffe as it has its breakfast. We were also amazed by how many animals we saw on our walking safari – rhinos, buffalo, giraffe, zebra and hyenas, and you definitely feel like you’ve earned your gin ad tonic at the end! The adrenalin of working out where is safe to walk and having all your senses on high alert makes for an incredible experience.
The lodge has been run by the Craig family for several generations and they are still actively involved in the running. The lodge has a big focus on conservation - it was originally a farm that transferred into being the not for profit Lewa Wildlife Conservancy it is today. It is particularly famous for its Rhino and Grevy zebra programs which has seen huge increases in these endangered animals. The lodge focuses on conservation that works with the community and has education programs, a community run garden that provides all the fruit and vegetables for the lodge, as well as sanitation and development programs. The fact that you are staying somewhere that is focused on improving life for the local community and protecting the animals was a huge tick for us.
Both Vundu and Little Vundu are really special; fantastic hosts, superb guiding, phenomenal location, amazing wildlife all culminating in a photographer's dream. If you love exploring and having encounters with wildlife on foot... I can think of nowhere better.
Award winning camps run by husband and wife team Nick and Desiree Murray with a combined guiding experience spanning over 60 years and this shows in their absolute professionalism and love for what they do.
Both camps are situated on the banks of the Zambezi River in their own private concession which gives guests exclusivity. It’s also within the home range of a pack of African wild dogs – meaning they are quite often seen with minimal disruption from other guests in the park. And most evenings something special happens along the floodplains. As the sun begins to set, a golden orange light begins to appear giving the park a very magical feel.
Wildlife and location
Is there a better way to experience wildlife but on it’s own terms? Vundu and Little Vundu Camps are located in Mana Pools, which is one of a few parks that allows you to get out of your vehicle, thus allowing for up-close encounters, dramatic camera angles and gives you a unique encounter with some of Africa’s iconic species. Stalk lions, track wild dogs, watch elephants stand on their tippy toes feeding from giant trees and stargaze on the banks of the Zambezi River - this really is a photographers dream.
Nick and Desiree founded Bushlife Conservancy, which is a registered charity that is dedicated to the protection and conservation of wildlife and habitats in Africa, primarily in the Zambezi River Valley of Zimbabwe and Zambia. They are also heavily involved with the Painted Dog Conservation project which actively monitors and researches African Wild Dogs through Zimbabwe.
If you’re looking for a spot of adventure then look no further. This is a safari adventure with a difference.
Richard, one of Africa Specialist love Gomoti Plans Camp and here are a few reason why...
The Gomoti Plains is located in a community run concession, on the edge of the Gomoti river system southeast of the Okavango Delta.
The area is known for its large concentrations of wildlife which thrive on the Gomoti plains and waterways. The Gomoti trees line the waterways and provide excellent cover for nesting water birds such as herons and storks.This exclusive area has been a well-kept secret for many years.
There’s a tonne of activities you can do here including; bird watching, boating, fishing, game drives, game walks, mokoro (canoe) excursions and night drives.
I have stayed there a couple of times and always had very good game viewing. I also sent my parents there for their 60th Birthdays
With 10 rooms is a luxury tented camp and the rooms are not too big or over the top which I like a, it really is a luxury canvas tent which is very comfortable. The guiding is also great and mealtimes are had around a big communal table so you feel very at home.
If you're travelled with Far & Wild and would like to share your favourite lodge with us, we'd love to hear all about your experience, why you it's special to you and why you would recommend it than don't hesitate to get in touch!
If any of our favourite lodges have sparked your wanderlust to travel to Africa or India - don't hesitate to get in touch with one of our country specialist consultants.
Click here to read our ULTIMATE SAFARI GUIDE which give you a tonne of information about the different types of safaris you can go on