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Lewa Conservatory

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Curious if anyone has stayed at Kifaru camp on the Lewa Conservatory? We are planning a trip to Kenya and would like to stay at Lewa. Sirioki seems to be the most popular, but I am not a real fan of tents. So we are trying to decide between Kifaru, Lewa Wilderness and whether the location near the watering hole is worth staying in the tent at Sirioki.

We will be staying in the Mara in tents for a number of nights, so just thinking cottages at Lewa might be a welcome change.

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    Hello Kch246,

    Lewa is a phenomenal destination and remains one of my all-time safari spots. Their focus towards community and conservation has really changed the landscape of sustainable/low imparct tourism across Africa. As you already know, this area is also mega in terms of landscape (Mt.Kenya in the backdrop), activities (game drive, walking, cultural visits, riding safaris, camel back safaris etc.) and boasts some of the best rhino viewing in Africa. Coupled with the Mara, I am sure that you will have a stunning time. Are you visiting anywhere else in Kenya?

    Amuriat is incorrect in his assessment of Kifaru House. Kifaru House is a 6 bedroom villa/cottage concept property booked on an exclusive use basis. Meaning, you should have 6-12 guests to occupy the property. If you’ve got a party large enough, it may make sense for you to consider Kifaru House. As you already know, the property is not a tented affair. I’ve also heard, but not confirmed, that Kifaru is no longer accepting general bookings and really reserved these days for Lewa donors. I would ask your booking agent to confirm this before proceeding forward.

    Sirikoi is the most luxurious/upscale option in the conservancy. If indeed you have a larger party, Sirikoi as a 2 bedroom cottage and a 3 bedroom house along-side their 4 luxury tents. Meaning, if you are seeking a lodge experience (not tented) and you have a party of 4-6, Sirikoi has options for you to consider. Although their accommodations and cuisine is the best you can find in Lewa, they do have a caveat of not including many of the optional activities in their costs. I’d make sure that if you do weigh Sirikoi as an option, have your booking agent/tour operator explicitly state the inclusions/exclusions. Sirikoi is a lovely property! The watering hole/swamp are in front of camp does attract wildlife and the expansive manicured lawns do give you good views into this area. They have an older resident giraffe that roams the grounds as well – none of the other camps/lodges have quite as many animals roam through camp as Sirikoi. With that said, while on game drive, all the Lewa properties share the 65,000 acres giving everyone equal opportunity at great game viewing.

    You also mentioned Lewa Wilderness (LW). This is my favorite property in Lewa and owned/operated by the Craig family who started Lewa Downs way back when. The Craigs are often on property which adds to the experience if they join during meals etc. In an area with such strong ethos towards conservation, I think human element of the camp/lodge is very important. All riding activities start from LW, giving LW guests priority in riding activities (included in rates) and exclusive offerings on the bi-plane (additional cost and not offered to guests outside of LW). LW is a fine option, especially if you are seeking a lodge experience and not under canvas. I’d make sure to request hillside cottage with a plunge pool (not every room as one). Some rooms have 2 bedrooms which are suitable for families – I don’t know the dynamics of your party, but this may play a factor?

    If you are traveling with young kids, you should also consider taking a look at Lewa House. Like LW, this is also a brick and mortar building, but tends to be a bit more family friendly!

    I sat down for coffee recently with Mike Watson (CEO of Lewa) and Sanders Marvin (Development Director for Lewa based in MN). Lewa and Borana Conservancy are no longer separated by fence-line and animals roam freely between the two areas. Meaning, you can also consider Borana Lodge into your list of considerations. If you have a party large enough to fill Kifaru for exclusive use, you can look at taking over the slightly larger Laragai House which I believe can accommodate up to 18 guests on an exclusive use basis. This area is also great for riding and also mountain biking safaris.

    Finally, if you want the ultimate villa/cottage concept, check out the Sirai House in Borana. Arguably the finest lodge in Kenya, it’s a 6 cottage villa concept for exclusive use in the southern sector. This place is also a home run!

    You will really enjoy your stay in this area and wishing you and your party a lovely safari to Kenya!

    Safari Njema,
    Kota Tabuchi – Managing Director: Africa – Travel Beyond

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