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“Excellent Stay If You Know What to Expect” 4 of 5 stars
Review of El Karama Eco Lodge

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El Karama Eco Lodge
El Karama Ranch | PO Box 172, 10400, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Toronto, Canada
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Excellent Stay If You Know What to Expect”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2012

We stayed at El Karama for 2 nights as part of a safari. The lodging is very unique and the bandas are nice and spacious. If you are expecting all the comforts of hotel accommodations you might not like this place. Everything is solar powered which means no electricity at night. This can make walking back to your room a little challenging but that's part of the fun. The room and bathroom windows are open so you need to sleep under a mosquito net to keep from getting bitten. Also make sure you bring warm clothes as it does get pretty cold at night and on the early morning game drives.
The food was very good and the staff were accommodating. There is internet access but only in the office which is a short walk from the main area. It is very slow but I was surprised they even had internet considering where you are. There was lots of wildlife- unfortunately we didn't see any lions or elephants but there were lots of zebra, giraffe, buffalo etc. Overall our stay was great but it might be a little too remote for some.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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 (4)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Southampton, UK
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2011

I had spent a week working in a wildlife conservancy with my boyfriend and a colleague. We came to El Karama for the weekend for a little break. My colleague had booked two of the bandas for us and we were speechless to find such beautiful set up in the middle of a cattle ranch. We were the only guests there and so had the cook, the guide, the night guard and the bar man to ourselves. We had brought our, own food which was prepared for us lunch time and evening.
The bandas were very lovely. A huge double bed with mosquito net, plus a single bed. The large bathroom with a bath and basin build from local stones, hand made soap from local women, a large area for storing cloth and a big window over the bath looking out. At the front each banda had a proch with a sofa and large chair where you could sit and look over the river and watch the swallows fly in and out of their nests. The bird life is amazing and all you have to do is sit and watch as birds are all around.
The bandas are entirely run through solar power, including the hot water.

A large, open central building with a big fireplace, enormous sofas to curl up in and enough tables for around 20 people to eat on provided the ideal place to eat, drink and sit in the evenings. Guidebooks and reading material on the background of the ranch provided plenty information on all the wildlife you can see on game drives or walks.
The family running the ranch is an artistic one and you can see their influence in all the attention to detail. The paintings on the wall, drawings in some of the books all done by the mother of the owners. A brand new gallery will soon be displaying "home made" art work.

On early morning and evening game drive you can see a great array of wildlife: bush babies, plan and Grevy's zebra, elephants, impala, Hartebeest, many different eagles etc.

This is a fantastic place to retire from the real world for a while and to immerse yourself into the wild and recharge your batteries. We can highly recommend this place.

  • Stayed October 2011, 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxford, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2011

We returned to kenya after many years and for the first time with our two children (9 and 11). This was our first stop after leaving Niarobi and it was just wonderful. Sitting in the wonderful bath in the upstream cottage watching the Elephant grazing across the river was bliss. Lovely views, relaxing and secluded and great service from all the staff. We would love to come back again with all the family. Sophie and Murray were very welcoming and their staff always on hand to help.

well worth a visit if you want to get away from it all and take in some lovely plains game and scenery.

Thank you!
Dave

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 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
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London, United Kingdom
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2011

We visited the ranch after a busy New Year on the Kenyan coast and it delivered the best possible refuge! Firstly the staff are fantastically welcoming and make you feel right at home. A morning game WALK was a rare pleasure and our guide was so warm and friendly that we could have gone on for hours.

The ranch itself is a lot larger than you might imagine with lots of places to explore. We saw a huge herd of elephant, families of giraffe and zebra, lovable warthogs and so many antelope. The landscape is stunning and some high level rocks provide a great vantage point for 'sun downers' whilst the sun disappears.

The food was an unexpected highlight. We took all of our own ingredients and the chef was able to make everything from fine dining quiche to the most elaborate BBQ. This is definitely not slumming it and beats some of the best restaurants in London. They really know how to throw ingredients together!

The accommodation was halfway between a luxury tent and a coastal banda and we were extremely comfortable. After a long day on the ranch, we would head back to our banda for a bath in the HUGE tubs (I’m not kidding they’re vast). Next we mixed up some bloody Marys at our own private bar for cocktail hour by the fire, whilst watching the hippos role by.

We will definitely be going back. You should go. Sophie and Murray (your hosts) are welcoming and so knowledgeable about the area - having been there for generations - and it does feel like that extra little journey into the wilderness will show you the 'real Kenya'.

Enjoy; you lucky things :)

Room Tip: All of the rooms are great - ask for the one with the extra floor if you have kids - they'd love...
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  • Stayed January 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Bangkok, Thailand
Top Contributor
125 reviews 125 reviews
59 hotel reviews
Reviews in 51 cities Reviews in 51 cities
159 helpful votes 159 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 2011

We had been camping several times on El Karama in the years 2003 - 2007, so when we went back to Kenya for a week's self-drive safari, we reserved the camping site. Warlmy welcomed by Sophie, we had a wonderfull time at the campsite with our guide Joseph with whom we did a night game drive and a walking safari.
A pity the animals weren't in abundance, yet the scenery from the farm is amazing, something to be seen to be believed.
Wamly recommended.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2011

We were expecting the arrival in this amazing place!!!
Al the 6 family members were looking throw the savannah what the bandas will look like.
We spend tree nights in the EColodge, and weren’t disappointed.
The welcome was very good, staff very nice and ready to be helpful, the driving games were peaceful and without any troubles : just us and Nature.
Many thanks for the very well arrangement of the bandas , clean, nice beds, so great bathrooms.
Many thanks or the hot water and the very good cooking.
Many thanks for Lebbo Safaris and staffs to bring us there.
We were living in Kenya 20 years ago, it’s was good to start our trip in this wonderful country from this place.
Our youngest daughter is 11 years old, it was great for her .

  • Stayed December 2010, 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
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Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2011

I used to go to El Karama as a child, and recently returned for a three-night getaway. I had a fantastic time, relaxing and reading, but also going on game walks and drives including a night drive. The facilities are simple but clean, extremely comfortable and very chic, with hot running water, comfortable beds and a front porch in the thatched bandas, and attentive, friendly staff.

The guide on the game drives and walks was informative and knows the ranch extremely well, the cook was excellent, the night guard always available and the owners of the ranch were extremely helpful and kind. There is an abundance of wildlife on the ranch (I saw lion, cheetah, giraffe, elephant, buffalo and tawny eagles among other things), and the cattle side of the business was also very interesting. Although the horseriding option was not available in January on the ranch itself, they were able to put me in contact with possibilities for this close by, which was very much appreciated. They also gave me contact details for an excellent car hire company.

All in all the trip was a great success and I will be visiting again!

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled solo
    • 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
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Additional Information about El Karama Eco Lodge

Address: El Karama Ranch | PO Box 172, 10400, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Laikipia District
Hotel Style:
Ranked #12 of 18 Specialty lodging in Laikipia District
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
El Karama Eco Lodge is a small, family owned/run eco lodge located on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro river on a private ranch of 15,000 acres in Laikipia, Kenya. The lodge is hosted by a local team and run by the owners Sophie and Murray Grant. They specialise in offering guests an intimate, memorable and fun Kenyan safari at an affordable price. El Karama is home to over 80 mammal species including elephant, buffalo, leopard, lion, cheetah as well as endangered species such as the African Hunting Dog and Grevy's Zebra. We also have over 370 bird species including indigenous species and European migrants at the relevant times of year. Guests at El Karama have the choice of guided game walks, game drives (in your own vehicle), bush meals under the stars, bush games like archery and tracking with our rangers, farm visits to see our cattle and ranch life as well as day trips to nearby conservancies and relaxing by the riverside mess area. The lodge is run entirely on solar energy and our overall aim as a family is to work closely with the community around us and with our guests to ensure that we preserve the habitat and wildlife of El Karama and Laikipia through responsible eco tourism and sensitive management of our natural resources. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
El Karama Eco Lodge Kenya/Laikipia District

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