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“Joy's Camp”
Review of Joy's Camp

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Joy's Camp
Reviewed March 4, 2014

The road transfer from Elsa’s Kopje’s to Joy’s Camp in Shaba Reserve which is located east of the road linking Isiolo and Marsabit is a must do for anyone travelling to Africa for the very first time. It gives you an insight into the culture of the villages, road side market stalls, life of rural villagers and a sense of the distances between lodges. We came across goat and cattle herders who were traffic stoppers and a man on a scooter with a couch balanced on the back!! Perfect balance. The landscape changed from savannah to hillside agriculture to the dry arid dramatic landscape of Shaba Reserve.
Joy’s camp is situated in Shaba overlooking a natural spring where wildlife could be viewed from the whole camp. My tent was very large, comfortable and the bathroom was luxurious. A family of dik diks would wander along the paths which added a very special touch to the atmosphere.

Sundowners were enjoyed on Turkana Hill overlooking the tracks where Joy Adamson walked her leopard, Penny, daily. Watching the sun set from this vantage point was so special. The authentic Italian meals were as good as any I have had in Italy.
Games drives were amazing with viewing of an abundant supply of the rare Grevy zebras, ( we learnt there were only about 2500 left in the wild ) reticulated giraffes, giraffe necked antelopes, lions following the vast herd of buffalo on the move and I viewed 63 different birds in 2 short days. No shortage of birds or wildlife.
My bush breakfast on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River was so special with a delicious breakfast cooked just there especially for the guests. After reading the information about Joy Adamson in Camp you could just imagine her and Penny resting under the trees after walking 2 hours from Camp! A little different from our comfortable ride to get there..
This lodge is a must do for any safari experience as it is in such a different environment compared to the Masai Mara.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Katrina V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CheliPeacockKenya, Manager at Joy's Camp, responded to this reviewResponded March 11, 2014

Thank you very much for taking the time to write your detailed review - & for coming to visit our very special little corner of Kenya!
With best wishes
Iris & Pelham

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Reviewed February 23, 2014

Stayed 3 nights in Joys Camp.
Shaba is an absolutely beautiful part of Kenya. There is plenty of interesting game in the park, but perhaps not so easily seen as in the more famous parks. This is more than made up for, huge diversity of bird life and stunning scenery. The arid desert environment is broken up with splashes of green by various volcanic springs, streams and of course the river.
The apparent remoteness of the park also allows one to really enjoy the wilderness experience - I did not see one other vehicle on any game drive during my stay.
The camp is set around a waterhole (possibly a spring) in a really beautiful spot.
The tents are quite private, roomy, with a fair sized bathroom and wooden veranda.
The service was friendly, but perhaps not as professional as in other C & P camps we have visited. The management team were new and it was possibly a period of transition for the camp. I look forward to reading future reviews.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank rjm50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CheliPeacockKenya, Manager at Joy's Camp, responded to this reviewResponded February 28, 2014

Thank you very much for review.

Shaba is indeed beautiful and Joy’s Camp sits next to one of 14 natural springs in the National Reserve.

We're not sure if you stayed when we had just arrived (mid-Jan) or prior to our arrival but please rest assured that we have now settled into this lovely corner of Kenya and strive to ensure the highest standards of service are maintained at all times.

With best wishes
Iris & Pelham

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Reviewed February 21, 2014

We had always wanted to stay at Joy's Camp and finally had the chance- it is everything we had hoped it would be. Shaba as a game reserve offers stunning views and the chance to view game or enjoy sundowners in complete isolation, rather than the crowded minibus jostling experience that the Masai Mara is now becoming. The camp is superbly run- clean, extremely comfortable and beautifully decorated, the meals: delicious, healthy, varied and gourmet, even beautiful! (and I am a very picky food critic) The tents are situated wisely, making them very private and they completely open up at the rear to a wide view.The staff are gracious, and friendly without interfering with your privacy. The common areas are almost like an open large sitting room, with interesting books, and the presence of birds singing and eating. The camp is located on a large spring, so you can swim and have a cup of coffee while watching waterbuck come and go, impala, wart hog, and watch many heron, and storks fly in. The pool is almost a beccessity by afternoon, though we were there in a unusual rainy season: Shaba is typically rocky, hot and very dry, so the great times for game viewing drives are early mornings and late afternoons and evenings. Don't expect the huge prairie scenes of "Out of Africa" here, this is a desolate, rocky terrain with dry bush and thorn trees. Clear water springs bubble out of the ground in several places offering emerald green grass and huge amounts of varied bird life, and the shady banks of the river, or nearby hilltops, all make delightful sundowner spots. The rare antelope "geranuk"and the Grevy's Zebra, and the reticulated giraffe as well as buffalo, are commonly seen, but the carnivores are very elusive- this is more a place for relaxation, gorgeous views, and birds rather than the big 5. We got up very erly and went to the top of a nearby hill for the sunrise one morning- so rewarding! The camp will pack breakfast for you if you want to go out early and not come back for breakfast- and they will pack sundowners for you in the early evening as well. The wine list must be mentioned here- absolutely wonderful wines are offered, ranging from Italian Chianti to South African Sauvignon Blanc, to…here's a surprise! An English Rose blush "Champagne" in the classical mouthed! Absolutely stunning, and the prices are the lowest I have seen on any camp or lodge wine list in Kenya. Others have commented that it is a long drive from Nairobi but I feel the opposite! I was back in Nairobi for a late lunch, having eaten breakfast at the camp that mroning, and the road is excellent by Kenya standards, the whole way.

Room Tip: Tent 1 is excellent for a couple, a little secluded and at the far end. If you have an elederly pers...
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  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with friends
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Thank SafariQueenNairobi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CheliPeacockKenya, Manager at Joy's Camp, responded to this reviewResponded February 28, 2014

Thank you very much for your review. We were delighted to read that you loved Shaba and Joy’s Camp.

The landscape, the remoteness and the natural springs are what makes Shaba so special, and since the rains have passed, more and more game has been congregating around the Springs. We’ve had lion calling around camp, nearly every night for the last 3 weeks!

We look forward to welcoming you back here again soon.
Pelham & Iris

PS - We love your Trip Advisor name!

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Reviewed February 11, 2014

We started off our honeymoon in Joy's Camp and were just blown away at how amazing our first stop was. Everywhere we went, it felt like we were in heaven. The tents were so perfect with a full functioning bathroom and then the tent opened up to the "bush backyard". The managers were so welcoming and we enjoyed our time getting to know them and having drinks by the campfire. It all felt like a big family almost. Our guide was amazing and the scenary in the Shaba was just out of this world. There wasn't as many animals as we had expected (not as much as in mara) but the scenary is so worth it and almost even better. We had the most memorable bush breakfasts and sundowners in a magical backdrop. The tent is by a watering hole so we wouldn't even have to travel far, we could lounge by the pool or have some lunch while watching herds of animals just pass by right by our camp. This was a tough choice for us when picking places to stay for our safari but this experience was absolutely worth it and should be a MUST for all those putting together their safari itineraries. Cheli and Peacock knows how to do safari camps!

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank LeCattt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CheliPeacockKenya, Manager at Joy's Camp, responded to this reviewResponded February 13, 2014

Thank you so much for your kind review.

It is very important for us here at Joy’s to make all our guests feel at home, to be able to wind down in these idyllic settings and also enjoy the wildlife in this unique National Reserve.

Please spread the word and come again

With warmest wishes
Pelham and Iris

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Reviewed February 4, 2014

We spent two weeks in Kenya for our honeymoon and Joy's Camp was the first stop. It couldn't have been been. Wonderful staff, great food and the desolation of the Shaba Reserve is not to be missed. We had a great time. The tents were extremely comfortable and we were quickly made to feel as part of the family. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants an "off the beaten path" experience in Africa.

Room Tip: Tent 7 was terrific. Didn't see many of the other tents.
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  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Rocky L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CheliPeacockKenya, Owner at Joy's Camp, responded to this reviewResponded February 13, 2014

Thank you for your kind review. It was wonderful to meet you - and to see Ninian again!

Best wishes, Liz and Stefano

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Reviewed January 28, 2014

Joy's Camp lives up to it's description as an African Oasis. It is a beautiful, well maintained lodge but it is quite the distance to travel.

I have stayed at Joy's Camp twice now and sadly my second visit has confirmed that I don't need to visit this part of Kenya again. My first visit involved unique animal spotting with guides who were passionate about their jobs. My second visit was tainted by the 'rushed' game drive experience, making spotting almost impossible. Knowing that the environment in Shaba is unique, I would have appreciated a drive that allowed me to learn more and appreciate this habitat. Despite this, Arnold is commended on his efforts to be personable during the drive.

The lodge and tents are amazing but are a bit anti-climactic to return to when almost no wildlife has been spotted. The significance of the area to Joy Adamson is certainly a drawcard, however there was more time taken to discuss her research on my first trip in 2012 and little reference to her life and work on this trip.

The camp staff themselves are wonderful and service is fantastic. Unfortunately, following both of my visits to Joy's Camp I have become extremely ill. I would hope this is coincidence but throughout all of my African travel, these are the only two times I have been sick.

The highlight of my second trip this year was Turkana Hill at sunset. Without this sundowner, the long drive to this camp would not have been worth it.

For such a beautiful camp, with great service on site at the lodge, it is disappointing that the surrounding environment was not given the credit it deserves with meaningful and purposeful game drives.

After two stays here, perhaps this lodge is better suited for guests seeking a short term break away from the true safari experience.

  • Stayed: January 2014
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1  Thank Kiri1985
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CheliPeacockKenya, Owner at Joy's Camp, responded to this reviewResponded February 2, 2014

Thank you for taking time to write a review. We were sorry to read your stay didn't match your expectations. It is always difficult when guests stay for only one night and travel as a group whose interests & expectations vary dramatically – we feel that possibly, given your review, your itinerary of only one afternoon in Shaba was not tailored to your requirements. With only one afternoon of game-driving available, I think the guides were eager to showcase all the many wonderful facets of Shaba rather than concentrating on a particular area. Our apologies if that was the case - our past experiences with guests on such a short timeframe is that they generally want to see as much as possible.

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Reviewed January 18, 2014

This is the second time i have visited this camp to give it a second chance this time i totally was not impressed.

Drivers very inexperienced and gave some totally inaccurate information , drove way too fast giving us little opportunity to get good sightings of wildlife. Did really cater for good photography and when we did see a animal did not position the truck to cater for the guest experience. Camp service staff were very helpful and nothing was to much trouble.

Very remote location at least a 2 hr dirt road drive from the main town and get ready for a rough bumpy dusty ride and wildlife was very scarce. Even though this camp is a gold star rated camp and has great treated camp the location was more like a bronze experience. There could be some better training given to staff especially when yo are one of the camp companies which have multiple camps "Cheli and Peacock" time to get pull your socks up. This would not be one i would recommend to go to as there are way better options with better wildlife and service closer to main towns.

If you are however looking at totally remote privacy and not fantastic wildlife sightings this might be for you and if for with to see where the amazing Joy Adamson spent time doing great work and finally was murdered back in 1980.

Hopefully this can give some people a different view of my personal experiences.

Room Tip: Camp is very speed out and private but if you are not as athletic get a tent closer to common area a...
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  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with friends
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Thank slither1234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CheliPeacockKenya, Owner at Joy's Camp, responded to this reviewResponded January 22, 2014

Thank you very much for your feedback. Stefano and I are here at Joys Camp to do guide training, so very timely. We are pleased with our guiding team, their knowledge of the area, eco-system and its wildlife, but have found as you described, that they got "rattled" when clients seem to be only interested in ticking off the Big 5. We have spent time explaining to them why visitors to Kenya include different habitats in their itinerary, and how they can interpret this wild, incredibly beautiful, semi-desert eco-system to our guests. Kenya is blessed with semi-desert, forest, savannah, as well as white sand tropical beaches; and you visit each region to see the speciality of that region; happily, they are now focusing on the rare and unique animals (including the big 4, small 5), plants, birds and many other happy critters that Shaba is home to.


Liz Cheli

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Additional Information about Joy's Camp

Address: Samburu Ecosystem, Shaba National Reserve, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Eastern Province > Shaba National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Shaba National Reserve
Price Range: $990 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Joy's Camp 5*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
An elegant oasis in the arid lands of Samburu; Joy’s Camp is built on the site of Joy Adamson’s tented home in Shaba. Each sumptuous tent is uniquely decorated with handmade glass and vibrant fabrics of the local nomadic tribes creating a chic, sophisticated and stylish camp. A perfect choice for those interested in a glimpse of Kenyan history, as well as an authentic wildlife experience combined with the comfort of a luxury tented camp. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Joy`s Camp Hotel Shaba National Reserve
Joy's Camp Kenya/Shaba National Reserve

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