If you came to us searching for the African Safari of your dreams, we really believe you need look no further. We think a visit here might even surpass what’s in your imagination and, with certainty, we can say that you will not find a comparable experience in the typical ‘tourist loop’ that so many people end up trapped in.
If you want to escape the ordinary, avoid the crowds and feel that rare magic of an authentic encounter with a place and a culture…come spend time with us.
The Chyulu Hills are one of the most iconic landscapes on the continent: the “Green Hills of Africa” that Ernest Hemingway came to again and again and that inspired him to write “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” while camping in our hills and plains, where the view of that famous mountain is supremely beautiful. With wildlife roaming in abundance, massive granite outcroppings rising over rivers and lava flows that cut across the plains and a deep and mysterious cloud forest on the crest of the green hills, this landscape is truly one of the great wilderness experiences anywhere.
Campi ya Kanzi itself is an award-winning, boutique eco-lodge that sets a new standard for the experience of true luxury safari that is also truly ecologically low-impact. In partnership with the Maasai community of Kuku Group Ranch, we set out to prove that you can have the romance of the great safaris of earlier days, the comfort and service of a top hotel, the fine dining of an Italian palazzo…and that we can give it all to you without damaging the very environment you’ve come to immerse yourself in. And best of all through your visit will be supporting our deepest mission, which is the preservation of this ecosystem and sustainable economic benefit for the local community.
Every safari camp will tell you why they are special. So what makes us truly unique? What will you experience here that sets us apart?
Campi ya Kanzi sits alone within 283,000 acres (400 square miles) of the most pristine part of the Amboseli-Tsavo ecosystem, directly in the migration corridor between two of the most legendary national parks in Kenya. Kuku Group Ranch, where we are the exclusive safari operator, is almost 5 times bigger than Amboseli National Park! 3/4 the size of the entire Maasai Mara. The Maasai Mara has room for 5,000 tourists, while Campi ya Kanzi hosts just 16 guests at a time. In Amboseli dozens of tourist white mini-buses from the coast roam along with you looking for a lion to encircle, while with us you will not see one single tourist who is not our guest. You will have an incomparably private safari experience and if we pass the main road and you see the vans racing each other to the parks you will sigh with relief that you haven’t traveled so far just to feel like you’ve gone to the zoo.
Go on safari in any National Park and that’s what you’ll be muttering to yourself within 3 days. But in the National Parks and Game Reserves it is not permitted. With us you can do more than just stretch your legs, you can walk for days. Stroll down through the foothills to the granite-topped outcroppings at the edge of the savannah and climb up for a view that will stop your heart and brings a tear to the eye of many people. Take a longer day hike across the hills and plains, accompanied by your Maasai scouts, learning to read the signs of the animals and hearing how the landscape was formed, crossing over ancient lava flows and ending in a tented camp under a baobab tree for the night. Or, best of all, take the rarest of walks up into the Green Hills and through the Chyulu Cloud Forest: wild forest hogs, rare Turaco birds, huge silver-cheeked Hornbills, antelope, elephant…all under the cool shade of giant strangler fig trees that rival the strangest most mystical trees in the world. A large percentage of our guests say that the experience of these walks was the highlight of their trip in East Africa. (And, yes, it’s very safe! You will always be accompanied by experienced Maasai armed escort).
The Maasai you will meet going in and out of National Parks will be people hawking trinkets at the gate. Campi ya Kanzi is not just located within one of the largest intact Maasai group ranches in Kenya, our lodge is owned and staffed by the community. Almost everyone who works here was born and raised here. Many of our staff built the lodge by hand. The pride in ownership here is real and so is the excitement to welcome you into the community in a deep way. Visit homes of our staff, meet their families, visit their bomas, visit the schools or health dispensaries, ask questions and learn about the traditions of this famous nomadic warrior culture…and join in the dancing and singing that happens on many nights out by a fire in the hills under the moon or in one of the famous lava caves where Maasai warriors used to hide stolen cattle. You will meet people here who want to show you their true culture in a way you will not find elsewhere and you will end your trip with new friends.
Campi ya Kanzi is not a ‘ safari lodge’ like the big ones on the circuit. Here you are in our home in the bush with us. “Us” is Luca and Antonella Belpietro, your hosts in Paradise, and the Maasai who work here and are the landlords of everything around you. We have lived here nearly twenty years and we are raising our three children here. Maasai are the lords of the bush and Italians are lords of the kitchen and gracious hosting…we think it’s the perfect combination! Whether you want intimacy, privacy and quiet service in your own luxury tent or villa, or a long night of Italian wine and stories by the fire…we are here to make your visit ‘perfetto’.
Scenic flights around Kilimanjaro and over the Chyulu; visits to Tsavo and the famous hippos of Mzima Springs; an old-fashioned ‘fly camping’ tented overnight safari; horse-back riding; transcendental meditation course; visits and presentations by conservation scientists at the nearby Chyulu Conservation and Research Center…the list of things to do here that you will find nowhere else goes on and on.
Campi ya Kanzi costs $750 per person per day, sharing, plus $101 conservation fee.
We have two suites, for $950 per person per day, sharing, plus $101 conservation fee.
The swimming pool suite: $1,300 plus $151 conservation fee, sharing
Kanzi House, with room for up to 8 guests, costs $1,300 plus $151 conservation fee, per person (minimum 2 pax)
Kanzi House and the swimming pool suite can be booked in exclusivity for $8,000 per day, minimum 3 nights, plus $151 conservation fee per person per day.
Rates are all inclusive, nothing extra unless you want to tip the staff. All safari activities are included.
Excluded are these special activities and services: scenic flights, horse-back riding, massages, optional excursions to Tsavo West (by car) and to Amboseli (by air) National Parks, guaranteed guiding by Luca Belpietro.
Other extra activities offered are a transcendental meditation course, a photographic course, fly camping, a night in Tsavo East at the Sheldrick elephant orphanage: these last activities needs to be pre-booked in advance.
The conservation fee is levied by the community and paid in full to the Maasai Wilderness Conservaiton Trust, an award winning conservation and economic development organization working to preserve the ecosystem and strengthen the welfare of the community. The conservation fee funds a program called Wildlife Pays, which compensates the community for losses of livestock to predators and employs community rangers to stop poaching.
The Trust has won the United Nations Equator Prize and Samson Parashina, head guide of Campi ya Kanzi and Chairman of the Trust, has been named by the UN Champion of the Earth.
Add $400 per person for the flight from Nairobi to the camp, one way.
Campi ya Kanzi staff can organize all aspects of your safari from arrival in Nairobi, including hotel reservations, transfers, flights and bookings at other camps and lodges in East Africa, all according to your tastes and desires.
Should you like an extension of your safari at the coast, we operate for MWCT benefit a private villa in Malindi, with a 2.5 acre park and a 25mt/80ft swimming pool. See www.maasaiocean.com
There is so much to do at Campi ya Kanzi that we think it takes at least 5 days to get a taste of all of it. One week with us would be the perfect safari.
During you seven days with us we would recommend spending a night in the fly camp, a night at Ithumba with the orphan elephants, enjoy a Kilimanjaro scenic flight and spend a day in Tsavo West. A very complete and diverse safari.
You can even stay 10 days and do something different every day.
And almost every type of experience can be enjoyed by anyone, no matter what your level of fitness, we can adjust things to suit your abilities.
The camp is open year round and there isn’t a month which is better than the others.
Altitudes range from 7,000 ft. in the Chyulu Hills to 3,000 ft. in the plains in front of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The many different habitats host many different species of mammals (more the 60 big mammals, including elephant, buffalo, rhino -rarely seen – lion, leopard, cheetah, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, impala, gazelles, etc.), birds (more than 400 species), trees (more than a 1,000 different species).
If conservation and biology research interests you especially, have a closer look at the activities of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, which you are supporting with your conservation fee. You can download the Trust brochure below.