Joy's Camp or Sabuk?

Jun 27th, 2006, 02:38 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Joy's Camp or Sabuk?

I was wondering if anyone had any input on either one of these camps, both are available for the three days and I am having a hard time deciding. I know that Joy's camp is brand new, they open in July. Joy's is located in the Shaba National Reserve. Sabuk is located in Laikipia, Northern Frontier District. Both camps are run by Chelie & Peacock. This trip will be taking place in Sept. of this year.
I have looked at the fact sheets and both offer camel trecks, since that looks interesting.

The other places that we have tentatively made arrangements for are:

Elephant Pepper Camp - Masai Mara 3 nights
Tortilas - Amboseli 2 to 3 nights
Mnemba - 3 nights

Thanks, Heather
HLester3 is offline  
Jun 27th, 2006, 03:34 PM
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Do you know anything about the camel treks at Joy's camp other than what's listed on their fact sheet? I was just curious since it's not mentioned anywhere else in the description or rates for Joy's camp.

Sabuk on the other hand is/was well known for their camel safaris (I understand it's changed hands recently).
Patty is offline  
Jun 27th, 2006, 04:15 PM
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Hi Heather,

I can't answer anything about either of those camps, but I can tell you to move Tortilis from tentative to definate. We stayed there in 1999 and both agreed it was the best place we had ever stayed.

When it appeared on the Conde Nast list a few years later, I was not at all surprised. In fact I think I emailed my congratulations to them (as if that made a difference). Great italian food, immpecable service and a stunning location. I will go back when I visit Kenya again.
seyfun is offline  
Jun 27th, 2006, 04:31 PM
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Patty - The only place I could find any mention was on the fact sheet on the C&P website. I cannot find out any other information about the camp, I tried to Google it to see if there was anything else out there. It would be nice if they had some pictures, since it is hard to make any determination based on a drawing.

Seyfun - Tortilas is as close as possible to on the definite list. I only started planning this trip 2 weeks ago, so we are still trying to work everything together. I keep having my fingers crossed that everything will mesh and we will have our confirmations. Right now they are only tentative holds, and I am on pins and needles worried something will fall through.

My number one choice was Elsa's, but it is not available, so that left Sabuk and Joy's. I guess right now I am leaning toward Sabuk. I also read that it is very family oriented, and since we are bringing our two children, I think that gives it a plus.
HLester3 is offline  
Jun 27th, 2006, 05:20 PM
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Heather... I think both places will be fabulous - no worries there (when they say "bedouin-style" they usually mean big, high-roofed and filled with colorful rugs and mats, etc. - very classy) and you should perhaps be looking at where they are and what you want to do. Joy's in in Shaba National Reserve and so the focus will be on viewing wildlife - although it is apparently a striklingly pretty park with a wide range of natural environments (swamp, semi-desert, riverine woodland, scrub desert and others all within a pretty small area). If you are particularly interested in animals you can also do a day trip to Samburu NR from here. The other thing about Joy's Camp is that it on the campsite of Joy Adamson, where she did a lot of her work after splitting from George - so that's certainly something if you are a lover of her books.

However, basically Shaba is flat and the views are pretty or beautiful rather than spectacular. Shaba however, is located in a more mountainous and generally greener region, favoured by cattle ranchers - although it can get pretty dry. And the views tend to be described as spectacular. There is game around in pretty reasonable quantities but it is likely to be more scattered since animals can wander over large parts of the Laikipia area nowadays without running into too many fences and there are few towns and villages since the land mostly belongs to huge ranches. You won't see any other tourists except those at Sabuk and maybe from neighboring Loisaba. It is a wilderness feeling I guess, but at the same time the land around here is still being used by cattle ranchers. People often fly camp at least one night here and there's probably more of an adventure feel. With a bit of common sense instilled the kids can probably run around more freely here - explore on their own a bit (although if you're a worrier you won't allow it because of snakes and so on and so that is barely an advantage). Under old management (and I presume it is the same now although you might want to check) the family who owned the property lived near to the guest accommodations and they and their kids and possibly friends and relatives would be around mingling with the guests a lot of the time - that's my impression fo where the "kid-friendly" thing comes from - it's a lived in place rather than just a camp, with all that entails. And then there's the camels - you know about them I guess?

I'm afraid all of the above is based only on doing research for my trip this December (I ended up choosing Il Ngwesi, which is another story altogether - but certainly worth a look at if you are undecided and your kids are old enough not to fall off cliffs and stuff ;-) - my impression is it is a little less "managed" than Sabuk since it is owned and run by the local Masaai community). However, I promise I didn't make any of it up and it comes from what seemed to me to be reliable sources - a large number.

I'd go for Sabuk, although Joy's would be more in line with your original choice of Elsa's Kopje.

I assume you are flying everywhere? Otherwise you should take into accoutn that getting to Sabuk is likely to involve a little more off road driving in the "middle of nowhere" (I personally find that a plus)
kimburu is offline  
Jun 28th, 2006, 06:32 AM
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My vote would be for Sabuk. Though under new management, I can't believe much has changed. When we visited, there were children around... daughter of the manager who had friends visiting from NBO with two young children. And as mentioned above, the former owner had his family nearby.

The accommodations are lovely and spacious. The scenery is amazing; the furniture in the main lounge is comfy. The staff is warm and welcoming with many living a few steps from Sabuk with their own children around.

You can do camel safaris as short as an hour, half-day or more. There are also more options as to what to do and when - game drives, walks, fishing and swimming at the Ewaso Nyiro River. Best, as with most places in the Laikipia area - guests set the schedule, so if there is something you prefer not to do, you need not. Some of you can go on drives, others can go fishing or just flop down on a sofa and read.

Our visit here last year, though only 1-1/2 days was absolutely great.
Jun 28th, 2006, 06:34 AM
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Oh, we also stayed at Elephant Pepper and found the camp outstanding. They're recently redone all their tents (as you can see on their website)... they're larger and all sn-suite. Great staff and guides. With new managers this season, but I can assure you they're as outstanding as the previous ones... and great food.

Jun 28th, 2006, 08:33 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 195
Sandi & Kimburu - Thank you both for both of your responses. I think Sabuk sounds like the better choice.

Kimburu - I also looked at the web site for Il Ngwesi, it looks great, and I love the idea of the joint ownership, like Shampole. Your idea to look at Ngwesi and looking at the boards and seeing pictures of Shampole, made me think about looking into that lodge. It is so late that it will probably be booked for Sept. but I am still waiting to hear back.

I feel so lucky that I have been able to get most of my 1st choices in lodges at such short notice. I already have my airfare leaving Sept. 16th and returning Oct. 3rd, so hopefully soon we will have all of our comfirmations back and we can finalize everything.
HLester3 is offline  
Jun 29th, 2006, 04:08 AM
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Shompole is absolutely lovely, but certainly not a place for young children (not before they're eight earliest, preferrably ten-years). There are lots of levels and steps in the rooms and public space, no barriers, floors go out and then drop off. Swimming pools in each room without barriers. On way to the loo you can easily find yourself in 6-ft of water. Save Shompole for a romantic stay or for an adults only visit.

Possible new ownership of Il Ngwesi is being negotiated; the place will be refurbished... kind of worn and run-down of late.

Tortilis, Elephant Pepper and Sabuk are excellent choices.
Jun 29th, 2006, 07:00 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,871
This may further strengthen your decision to go with Sabuk. I just found out that there are no camel treks at Joy's camp ('twas a mistake on the C&P website). My tour op emailed them and here's their reply -

"Thank you for bringing to our attention he following.
We do NOT have came trek at Joys Camp. we have just realised that there is an error on the website and have informed our marketing department to make the necessary changes.
We do have camel treking and fly camping but this is at Sabuk(laikipia) and it seems like this was a mix up.
As for Joy's opening, we are opening with our first booking on the 21st of July so your clients have nothing to worry about."

Updated fact sheet for Joy's camp (not sure if this will post correctly) -

Shaba National Reserve, Northern Kenya

4 spacious en-suite twin tents
6 spacious en-suite double tents

Situated at Joy Adamson’s original campsite in Shaba National Reserve, the place where she released her famous leopard “Penny”, these luxury tents are set on raised platforms with breathtaking views of the surrounding hills of Bodich, Shaba Hill. The camp overlooks a large natural spring allowing continuous game viewing. It is home to resident buffalo, waterbuck and a regular watering hole for the large number of elephant passing. Each sumptuous tent is uniquely decorated with Bedouin-Somali cloth design, creating a chic, sophisticated and stylish camp enjoying it’s own private deck, ideal for private game viewing, relaxing, reading and soaking up the truly wild environs offered by Shaba. Joy’s Camp is the perfect choice for discerning guests interested in a glimpse of Kenyan history, as well as those looking for an authentic wildlife experience combined with the comfort of a luxury-tented camp.
Joy’s Camp, “Forever Free”!

Game Drives in 4-wheel-drive vehicles
Night Game Drives
Guided Bush Walks along Ewaso Nyiro River and gorge.
Visits to the Magado Crater
Bush Meals

Soft drinks, beer, house wines and non-luxury spirits are included in the room rates.
Champagne, special wines and luxury spirits are additional.

Laundry service included

Chaffa Airstrip, Shaba Reserve
Once daily scheduled Air Kenya flight from Wilson to Nanyuki at 09h15
Twice daily scheduled Safarilink flights From Wilson to Nanyuki at 08h15 amd 11h30
Joys Camp is 45 minutes charter flight from Nanyuki.
Private Charters from anywhere.
Samburu transfers not available.
Patty is offline  
Jun 29th, 2006, 08:42 AM
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Patty - that does make the decision that much easier. Once I started thinging about the camels, it became something I really wanted to do. Thanks for getting the correct information.
HLester3 is offline  
Jun 29th, 2006, 05:58 PM
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Sandi... Il Ngwesi is going to have new owners? Do you know anything more about this? It sounds like bad news (and I don't jsut mean for my trip - Il Ngwesi is such a good IDEA). And refurbishment? I was going to say "but it was only refurbished in ....". Then I realised actually that was a few years ago and being open to the elements....

Oh dear, those days in my itinerary are just cursed - exactly the same thing happened when Sangare was pencilled in for them.
kimburu is offline  
Jun 30th, 2006, 03:17 AM
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It's okay Sandi. Il Ngwesi responded super-super quick when I mailed them about this. I guess it's a sensitive issue. There seems quite a split over how to proceed, but anyway the point of any sale would seemingly be to improve the return on the business to the community - so at least I don't have to worry about them not being open at all. They told me refurbishment would not affect operation so I guess I'm still on.
kimburu is offline  
Sep 29th, 2006, 02:47 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 369

Did you end up going to Sabuk or Joy's Camp? Which one did you prefer? How did you like it?!

simbakubwa is offline  
Sep 29th, 2006, 10:39 AM
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Heather is still in Africa, due home in a few.

They chose Sabuk, along with Shompole, Elephant Pepper in Kenyha and Mnemba off Tanzania.

Hope she reports in on her return.

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