We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“unbelievable location and experience!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Saruni Samburu

We can't find prices for this accommodation
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this accommodation, but we can search other options in Samburu National Reserve
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Saruni Samburu
Save
You added Saruni Samburu to your Saves list
4.0 of 5 Lodge   |   1 Kalama Road | Kalama Area, Samburu National Reserve 20500, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Amman, Jordan
Top Contributor
182 reviews 182 reviews
46 hotel reviews
Reviews in 58 cities Reviews in 58 cities
89 helpful votes 89 helpful votes
“unbelievable location and experience!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2013

We stayed there for new years, it was a truly life changing and unforgettable experience. The rooms are fantastic, almost tent like with a great view overlooking the wildlife and animals. The best part was the outdoor shower, you truly feel your in the outdoors and free, a fully functional bathroom was a great to have as well. The food was very yummy and always fresh. The staff are very friendly and highly knowledgeable of the animals and the history of the place. Great place to relax, get in touch with the wild life and see the beauty of Africa. They do have WIFI in one location, if you really need to be in touch with the world.

Room Tip: for sure go on the early morning game drives!
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RiccardoOrizio, Owner at Saruni Samburu, responded to this review, November 5, 2013
Thank you very much for your wonderful words and send us your friends from Jordan, a country I love!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

156 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    140
    15
    0
    1
    0
See reviews for
49
76
4
1
Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (48)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Vancouver, Canada
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 2013

We were greeted at the airport by our guide Chris and upon arrival at Saruni were stunned by the location. How someone had the foresight to think of placing a lodge on top of a rock is amazing in itself. This quality translated throughout the accommodations, the food, the service and the quality of the people who looked after our every need.

Meals were taken at a communal table, probably because there were not many other guests during our stay. This allowed us to meet other travelers and share our stories.

From our early morning wake up by Steven with coffee & cookies until the end of each day the bar continued to be set higher. Chris was determined to show us the best wildlife the area had to offer and he certainly succeeded in that. We shared our bush breakfast with not one herd of elephants but two, on the same day. We saw 10 of 13 lions that reside on the one side of the river and observed a pride who had obviously recently eaten as they watched a large elephant herd cross the river.

A leopard in a tree with a recent kill was another highlight. Too many to list.

Chris was extremely passionate about his Samburu heritage and was very willing to share with us. I was a bit skeptical when we agreed to go to a local village but it was not at all touristy. The people were very happy to greet us and show us around their simple village.

We had a bush dinner which was a surprise only to us as the other guests had been advised in advance. A brilliant way to end a day. We had a large fire, some dancing by local Samburu people and a great meal, all under the millions of stars. We were a little wary of the location as we had seen a cheetah nearby the previous day but we assured we were safe.

I highly recommend Saruni Samburu to anyone looking for an unusual location coupled with outstanding service and game viewing.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RiccardoOrizio, Owner at Saruni Samburu, responded to this review, November 3, 2013
Thank you very much for this fantastic review and thank you for coming to Kenya and to Saruni! And I agree that one of our best assets is the people who work at the lodge and the people who make the community who own the conservancy (often the two qualifications overlap). And i'm glad you have enjoyed our by now "famous" bush dinner in the dry river bed: in the middle of a nowhere full of everything.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 5, 2013 via mobile

What a wonderful place to stay for our first Safari experience. This wonderful venue was so comfortable with great food and we were lucky to have great company whilst we were there. All the marvelous Samburu staff were amazing they could not have been more attentive.Our guide Joseph was absolutely fantastic. The vehicle that we went out in was great, really comfortable and very open to give really good visibility of all the amazing wildlife.

Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RiccardoOrizio, Owner at Saruni Samburu, responded to this review, October 24, 2013
Thank you Fiona for your feedback: we are very happy that you first safari experience was with us and was so positive! We look forward to have you back one day soon (and I'm very happy you loved our open Land Rovers).
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nairobi, Kenya
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2013

Gorgeous setting and very well constructed - esp so it blends in with the natural surroundings! The food was amazing, as were all the staff at the lodge! And lots of game viewing in Samburu National Reserve! We went for our mini moon, and loved it! I would recommend it to all of you out there:)

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RiccardoOrizio, Owner at Saruni Samburu, responded to this review, October 24, 2013
Thank you Roxy and glad the "mini moon" was so positive! I'm also glad you noted that Samburu National Reserve has lots and lots of wildlife: somehow, people tent to think of Samburu as a safari destination focused on landscape and culture, but as you say there is also very abundance wildlife!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hampshire, England
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2013 via mobile

You can go off iPads. You pen War and Peace in praise of a place and, without so much as a by your leave it decides you never wrote it. Well, I shall persist in spite of temperamental hardware and declare Saruni Samburu to be a breathtaking place to go to and proof that safari lodges aren't all the same.

For starters, there's the location. After an extended journey through the dry, thorny savannah and introductions to our delightful guide and the wildlife he spots as we gently wend our way, we arrive at the top of the rocky outcrop upon which the camp sits, greeted by the manager, staff and drink. It's only when you enter the open main building that you discover that the outcrop looks out across a vast plain to distant hills. No photograph quite prepares you for the scale and tranquility of the vista.

It's a view that every room in the place shares. Well, I should say three and a bit rooms, since that's what you each get: a thankfully shaded decking area, a dining area, bedroom, all of which are completely open to the view during the day, and separately huge bathroom all look out on the same glorious, silent view, along with the outdoor shower, which is an entertaining experience in the morning if you're off for a dawn drive.

The staff, with a couple of exceptions, are all local Samburu or Masai, all of them genuine, warm and with an excellent sense of humour, as well as a seriously good service ethic. The lovely thing is that it's relaxed and there's an added plus in that Saruni contribute heavily back to the community through running the place there. That's why it's the only lodge for miles around, away from the scattered grouping nearer the river.

That river is some distance away and it's true to say that the Samburu isn't laden with wildlife in the way that the Mara North Conservancy is. But that's not to say there aren't real gems, as well as animals you simply won't see anywhere else - species of giraffe and zebra that only live here, as well as the very peculiar gerenuk that likes nothing more than to stand on its hind legs for half an hour or so at a time.

This is also good leopard territory, as well as home to cheetah and lion, all of whom we managed to get to within a few feet of in the open, properly tooled-up open Land Rovers that can go anywhere. The other beauty of being where they are - in the Kalama Conservancy - is that being well away from other lodges means you're also well away from the traffic of other lodges, which converge into a small queue in the main Reserve when a good spot gets known about (which is usually within about five minutes). So many of the very best encounters we had were ours and ours alone (and, in our case, that meant just the two of us, the service was that personal) and lasted for ages at a time.

Other driving highlights included a trip down to the river for breakfast, all laid out by Sambara our guide, and a brilliant sundowner in front of an open fire in the middle of absolutely nowhere. The solitude was repeatedly fabulous. One more drive that needs telling. We were taken to a Samburu village, our guide's, as it happened, but this was no putting-on-a-show for the tourists. This was a real village, with real people and very real poverty of possessions and creature comforts, besides the obvious. It was uplifting and humbling.

Drives were not the only thing on offer and twice we ventured out on extended walks through the bush, accompanied by guide and ranger with rifle and a disturbingly large amount of ammo. Well worth doing.

The food shouldn't be forgotten. Saruni is Italian-owned and the food reflected these influences. Damned fine it was too and the communal dining approach worked really well, with people staying on average no more than three or four nights at a time, ensuring plenty of turnover. In-room dining was available on request, but we never saw the need for it. The company was always good and the food excellent, with as much wine as you'd ever need in the deal.

I'm trying to think of any downsides and can't remember any. Oh, and there was a free laundry - though not pressing! - service. Oh, and no one dressed particularly for dinner, which is a good guide to how many clothes to bring. You could bring a cozzie for the pool but we were usually too busy on drives, walks and stuff.

Saruni Samburu is a world removed, barefoot luxury in a stunning setting. Well-appointed, with great staff, service and food, it is the way to do this safari thing, a haven in the middle of nowhere that reminds you just how fabulous the unspoiled parts of this earth still are.

Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RiccardoOrizio, Owner at Saruni Samburu, responded to this review, October 24, 2013
WOW! This is a amazing review and I'm so so grateful that you took the time to write in such detail and to go to such a length to explain why Saruni Samburu is so special. The "ingredients' that you mention are indeed the ones that make our recipe unique. I must confess that it partially happened because of a design or plan, and partially in a spontaneous way: while building Saruni Samburu and settling there, we simply have been blessed with an incredible convergence of positive factors and "feel good" elements. Thank you thank you thank you for understanding us so well.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2013

I was lucky enough to spend 2 days at Saruni during a 4-day bird-watching safari to Samburu. Arrived late at night and after a chorus of hyenas, lions and a leopard during the night I awoke to the MOST spectacular view ever. Ever. The area produced a very impressive list of birds, and we also saw plenty of wildlife. The service was first class, as was my room (massive) and the food was good. There is wireless Internet at the shop and cell signal here and there. Saruni has an impressive commitment to local communities and wildlife conservation projects so I was content that my safari did some good as well. The pool at the top of the mountain has views for ever.

Room Tip: Many rooms are a fair walk along a path so if you are old or unfit ask for a room near the main cent...
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RiccardoOrizio, Owner at Saruni Samburu, responded to this review, October 24, 2013
Thank you Simon! The potential qualification as the best view in Africa is a huge honor for us and, coming from such an expert like you, it is indeed a "medal" that we are happy to wear. Glad you managed to work your birds list and fantastic that you slept with the soundtrack of lions, leopard and hyenas. Five years ago, when we started, this was a dream, more than reality, and security and conservation and community-friendly practices have made it possible.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stuart, Florida
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2013

This lodge is located in the Kalama Conservancy but is adjacent to the Samburu National Reserve.in Kenya. The setting is breathtaking, The rooms are built right into the rock formations and the view from every room is spectacular. My daughter and I had a two bedroom suite separated from the rest of the rooms but close to the main facility. Had to be 1500 sq. feet. The highlight of our stay was two trips to Samburu National Reserve which is abundant with wildlife especially elephants, lions, and leopard. Our guide, Lepayon, a local Samburu, was dressed in native attire so stunning that other tourists were constantly asking to photograph him. He has six years experience guiding in the area and is highly recommended. Service and food were excellent and Andrea, the manager, was clearly well suited for her job. Our butler, Benson, was also outstanding. This is a very unique lodge and well worth considering.

Room Tip: The two bedroom suite is wonderful and would be perfect for a family
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RiccardoOrizio, Owner at Saruni Samburu, responded to this review, October 24, 2013
Thank you Gary for your very warm comment and I'm very happy that you liked your safari at Saruni so much. We look forward to having you and your family back to Kenya in the future!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
Price Your Stay

Been to Saruni Samburu? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Saruni Samburu

Address: 1 Kalama Road | Kalama Area, Samburu National Reserve 20500, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Samburu District > Samburu National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 14 Specialty Lodging in Samburu National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Saruni Samburu 4*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Perched on the top of the Kalama mountains with an all-round view of Northern Kenya all the way to snow-covered Mount Kenya, Saruni Samburu is a design lodge that is introducing a fresh concept to a well-known safari destination. Built on the pristine land owned by the Kalama Wildlife Conservancy in 240,000 acres-large Gir Gir Group Ranch, it is only seven kilometers - and 20 minutes of exciting game drive - away from the Northern border of Samburu National Reserve, a celebrated elephant sanctuary. The lodge offers first-class safari experience in a totally unspoilt environment, far from the beaten tracks but very close to the wildlife. We currently have 6 villas and a capacity of 20 guests. Owned and operated by Saruni in the Masai Mara, Saruni Samburu has been facilitated by the Northern Rangeland (Nrt), an umbrella organization developed by Lewa Wildlife Conservancy to promote tourism and conservation in Northern Kenya. We game drive inside Samburu National Reserve and Buffalo Springs National Reserve, but many activities take place in Kalama, a well-kept secret of Kenya's North. The recent introduction of water means that Kalama is becoming an important attraction to all the Samburu wildlife. Our activities include night and morning game drive in Kalama Conservancy, visits to the caves where in the past the Samburu have painted and carved rock art during meat-eating feasts, professionally-led game walks, bush dinners and star gazing. The traditions and semi-nomadic heritage of the local Samburu people are an important part of the experience. Led by professional Samburu guides, our guests enjoy a new dimension of this rightfully popular region: the feeling of exclusivity, of having an incredibly large area totally to their own, and a high level of comfort and tailor-made service. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Saruni Samburu Hotel Kalama Wildlife Conservancy
Saruni Samburu Kenya/Samburu National Reserve

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Saruni Samburu, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.