Sasaab | Samburu Luxury Kenya Safari Lodge

Discover Kenya’s lesser-known Samburu National Reserve from the comforts of Sasaab, located just west of it. With Moroccan-style suites, indulgent spa treatments, game drives, bush breakfasts, cultural trips, camel rides, quad biking and fly camping, there’s something for everyone.

The place

I sit atop Sundowner Rock, enjoying a drink with my partner. Sweeping across the 360-degree views, my eyes stop at the jagged peak of Mount Kenya in the distance, across the Laikipia Plateau. We’re at Sasaab, a luxury Kenyan safari lodge within the Westgate Community Conservancy, in the Northern Frontier District. It has nine thatched-roof suites, a spa, central bar and dining area, and an infinity pool perched on the hills above the Ngiro River.I continue to scan the horizon, hoping to spot any of the Samburu Special Five, the reticulated giraffe, Grévy’s zebra, Somali ostrich, beisa oryx and gerenuk that are unique to this region. As the vast African sky lights up with the fiery colours of the setting sun, I feel utter contentment. I’m exactly where I want to be.

I sit atop Sundowner Rock, enjoying a drink with my partner. Sweeping across the 360-degree views, my eyes stop at the jagged peak of Mount Kenya in the distance, across the Laikipia Plateau. We’re at Sasaab, a luxury Kenyan safari lodge within the Westgate Community Conservancy, in the Northern Frontier District. It has nine thatched-roof suites, a spa, central bar and dining area, and an infinity pool perched on the hills above the Ngiro River.

I continue to scan the horizon, hoping to spot any of the Samburu Special Five, the reticulated giraffe, Grévy’s zebra, Somali ostrich, beisa oryx and gerenuk that are unique to this region. As the vast African sky lights up with the fiery colours of the setting sun, I feel utter contentment. I’m exactly where I want to be.

The room

I walk back towards my massive tented suite, which has canvas walls secured into a stone structure. As I take the stairs to the verandah, which stretches around the tent to offer unrivalled views of the river, I reflect that this is the kind of ‘camping’ I could get used to. The ornate arches and open-sided pavilions of Sasaab’s Moroccan-style architecture, high-ceilinged roof and open-air bathroom are all designed to help circulate air in the sultry African heat, giving the interior a roomy, cool and inviting feel. While imminently practical, the four-poster bed draped in muslin mosquito nets certainly fits this theme.But it’s the private plunge pool that is my suite’s crowning glory; we spend many hours in it watching the river to see visiting herds of elephant bathing, or predatory crocodiles menacing the dik-dik that come to quench their thirst. Other special touches include a yoga mat with a card that gives us some simple exercises to do after our game drives, a watercolour set and artist pad and a field guide to the birds of Africa – very useful given the prolific birdlife.Though we can eat in the room, on our verandah or anywhere in the lodge, we venture to the dining hall for a three-course dinner, with ingredients sourced from the lodge’s organic vegetable garden. Later we’re escorted back to our suite by an armed guide under the star-studded sky – thrillingly, leopard are known to come into camp. We snuggle up in our comfortable bed, serenaded by the sounds of insects and other animals. Knowing how reliable the wakeup calls are we don’t bother to set an alarm for our early-morning game drive.

I walk back towards my massive tented suite, which has canvas walls secured into a stone structure. As I take the stairs to the verandah, which stretches around the tent to offer unrivalled views of the river, I reflect that this is the kind of ‘camping’ I could get used to. The ornate arches and open-sided pavilions of Sasaab’s Moroccan-style architecture, high-ceilinged roof and open-air bathroom are all designed to help circulate air in the sultry African heat, giving the interior a roomy, cool and inviting feel. While imminently practical, the four-poster bed draped in muslin mosquito nets certainly fits this theme.

But it’s the private plunge pool that is my suite’s crowning glory; we spend many hours in it watching the river to see visiting herds of elephant bathing, or predatory crocodiles menacing the dik-dik that come to quench their thirst. Other special touches include a yoga mat with a card that gives us some simple exercises to do after our game drives, a watercolour set and artist pad and a field guide to the birds of Africa – very useful given the prolific birdlife.

Though we can eat in the room, on our verandah or anywhere in the lodge, we venture to the dining hall for a three-course dinner, with ingredients sourced from the lodge’s organic vegetable garden. Later we’re escorted back to our suite by an armed guide under the star-studded sky – thrillingly, leopard are known to come into camp. We snuggle up in our comfortable bed, serenaded by the sounds of insects and other animals. Knowing how reliable the wakeup calls are we don’t bother to set an alarm for our early-morning game drive.

What sets it apart

I loved every minute of our stay, from the morning game drives and breakfast in the bush to the trip to the village to meet the Samburu people, the camel ride to Sundowner Rock, the massages while listening to the babbling ebb and flow of the river and our exciting fly-camping experience in the wilderness.I particularly enjoyed finding out that – as well as only employing local tribesmen – part of Sasaab’s profits are channeled back to some 600 families in the conservancy. The lodge has enabled the building of health dispensaries, schools and dams, and has provided education and training. With a strong commitment to environmental conservation, it also supports many wildlife trusts and organisations – which means that by staying here, we do to. It’s wonderful to be able to give back on a getaway like this.

I loved every minute of our stay, from the morning game drives and breakfast in the bush to the trip to the village to meet the Samburu people, the camel ride to Sundowner Rock, the massages while listening to the babbling ebb and flow of the river and our exciting fly-camping experience in the wilderness.

I particularly enjoyed finding out that – as well as only employing local tribesmen – part of Sasaab’s profits are channeled back to some 600 families in the conservancy. The lodge has enabled the building of health dispensaries, schools and dams, and has provided education and training. With a strong commitment to environmental conservation, it also supports many wildlife trusts and organisations – which means that by staying here, we do to. It’s wonderful to be able to give back on a getaway like this.

At a glance

  • Exclusive ‘gold’ eco-rated safari camp of only nine Moroccan-style tented rooms with private plunge pools as well as spa, gym and infinity pool.
  • Private concession, private butler service, private dining available, only six guests per safari vehicle and private vehicles available (additional cost).
  • Game drives, walking safaris, bush dinners, bush breakfasts, bush sundowners, camel riding, quad biking (additional cost), fly camping (additional cost if vehicle required), cultural visits (additional cost), spa treatments (additional cost) and art supplies.
  • Children welcome. Family suite, Sasaab Kids’ Programme and babysitting available.

  • Exclusive ‘gold’ eco-rated safari camp of only nine Moroccan-style tented rooms with private plunge pools as well as spa, gym and infinity pool.
  • Private concession, private butler service, private dining available, only six guests per safari vehicle and private vehicles available (additional cost).
  • Game drives, walking safaris, bush dinners, bush breakfasts, bush sundowners, camel riding, quad biking (additional cost), fly camping (additional cost if vehicle required), cultural visits (additional cost), spa treatments (additional cost) and art supplies.
  • Children welcome. Family suite, Sasaab Kids’ Programme and babysitting available.

Prices

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

When to Go

This is prime time for a luxury safari in northern Kenya. The weather is dry and cool, making conditions perfect in this arid part of the country. It’s just after the long rains, so while the bush is initially lush it gets progressively sparser, making wildlife easier to spot. A trip to northern Kenya at this time of year is best combined with a visit to the Masai Mara, where you’ll be able to see the Great Wildebeest Migration from July to September.

In this period following the short rains, the dry season takes hold and the vegetation thins out completely. The animals congregate near water sources – particularly the Ngiro River, which makes its way from the Laikipia highlands to Samburu and beyond – so the game viewing is excellent, plus there are fewer people around to share your sightings with. To round off your safari experience, visit Tanzania now too, where you’ll catch the southern Serengeti leg of the Great Wildebeest Migration, as well as the wildebeest’s dramatic birthing season.

Kenya’s long rains, which fall steadily throughout April and May, are followed by short rains in November – generally quick afternoon bursts. While muddy roads can make getting around a bit tricky, the drier north is the best place to be in Kenya at this time of year. It’s a quiet time for tourism, so wildlife experiences are exclusive, and as the vegetation is in a growth period, game sightings are plentiful. All in all visitors get good-value holidays now, provided they pack their sense of humour (and their gum boots!).

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