Loisaba Tented Camp: Our full report
A bush fire tore through the original, multi-award-winning Loisaba in 2013, devastating the property.In 2016 Loisaba Tented Camp re-opened as a high-end lodge of tented rooms, with uninterrupted views of Mount Kenya. The lodge is surrounded by the 56,0000 acres (227km²) of the Loisaba Conservancy.
Arriving at the lodge, you approach from the north up the back of the ridge. Reception, the office and shop are here at the entrance. A large, central decking area comprises the bar and dining area with panoramic views across the plains to the south and cone of Mount Kenya on the horizon. Over to the left is the infinity pool and contemporary outside lounge area, where some meals may be held. There is a waterhole on the plains below camp, so there is often wildlife to be seen from up here.
The rooms at Loisaba consist of eight standard tents (six doubles and two twins), and four family units formed by combining two tents connected by a walkway.
These tents are very large, supported on solid wooden frames and entered through a heavy wooden door at the rear. Inside, clean lines predominate, with soft lighting, cream walls for the toilet and bathroom and polished floorboards. Despite the breeze through the insect mesh windows, and the open front giving access to the deck and private grass lawn, the tents feel much more like hotel rooms than other safari camps. Where polished branches from dead trees are in vogue at many camps seeking that look of rustic, castaway luxury, Loisaba is going the other way, using natural elements – rugs of cowhide disks, elegant screens of white twigs and lampshades of porcupine quills – only to enhance a modern, minimalist design.
The picture is completed by large, comfortable beds (made up with high-thread-count sheets); a writing table (set with a decanter of sweet sherry on the house); plenty of clothes storage space; and comfy recliners on the deck.
What is currently the main family unit at the east end of the property, with its own swimming pool, will become a private section of the camp in 2019. This will be booked on an exclusive basis, using up to four tents, and the party here will be allocated their own staff to look after them. Meals will be prepared in part in this private camp, such as on open barbeques, and it will be possible for guests to spend time in the main areas too if they wish. Game drives will be on an exclusive basis. This will make an excellent base for large families or groups who would benefit from complete flexibility.
Loisaba offers relatively typical day and night game drives as well as guided bush walks. When we last stayed in November 2018, we found the wildlife on the conservancy to be rather hit and miss during these activities, but the guiding was excellent regardless.
There is also some seasonal fishing, and guided mountain-biking, but more excitingly, Loisaba offers guided horse- and camel-riding for a supplementary cost. Horse riding requires some experience – the duration and nature of the ride will be determined by the ability of the guests, as judged by those in charge of the stables. During our last stay, we were thoroughly impressed with the horse riding set up and had a very enjoyable ride across the plains. While little wildlife was spotted, it’s not uncommon to encounter plains game on these rides, as well as potentially some of the more dangerous species – which is why it is important to have the skill to be able to control the horse appropriately if the situation arises.
You can also do a village visit (a donation of $30 per person is expected). In the afternoon, game drives and other bush activities often finish with a sundowner by the pretty Sosian Lake, where you may be serenaded by a Turkana musician playing his local harp. There is often a hippo in the lake, and sundowners may be curtailed at short notice. You can also spend a night under the stars at Loisaba's satellite camp, Loisaba Star Beds.
Loisaba Conservancy is in the process of building a brand new place to stay, due to open in mid 2019 – Lodo Camp. Set high up on a ridgeline, this camp promises to be a step up in luxury from Loisaba Tented Camp, while still offering all of the activities on the conservancy. Ask us for the latest on this new camp if you’re interested!
While Loisaba, eschewing rustic-chic, has much less atmosphere than most of our properties in Laikipia, we thoroughly enjoyed our stays here in 2017 and 2018. This is a friendly, modern, sophisticated lodge with extremely comfortable and well-finished rooms. The wide range of optional activities does offset the somewhat inconsistent game viewing on the conservancy, resulting in an all-round enjoyable stay.
- Laikipia, Kenya
- Ideal length of stay
- 3-4 nights.
- Loisaba's own airstrip is used by scheduled services and just a 15-30 minute drive from the lodge. Nanyuki Airport is a 3-hour drive away.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- We thought the food at Loisaba was really good, tasty and creative, and with multiple options, even at breakfast. The lodge has a small herb and salad garden and there's a larger vegetable garden at the airstrip.
We stayed at Loisaba in November 2018 and found that the dishes are a mixture of cuisines – for example, one lunch there was a definite Asian influence with chicken stir fry and crunchy raw vegetable salad, whereas for dinner, we had a classic steak and vegetable accompaniments, with a fondant chocolate dessert. Breakfast had the classic selection of hot choices, along with various sweet treats and fruit dishes from which to choose. All meals have a menu presented with lunch and dinner having set choices for the three courses, often accompanied with an Italian dish on the side.
- Riding holidays
- Loisaba's excellent, well-run stable of 20 horses is one of the lodge's principal appeals. Riding here is a great option for reasonably experienced riders who can ride among the wildlife accompanied by a guide.
- See ideas for Riding holidays
- Attitude towards children
- Children are welcome to stay at Loisaba, but the camp expects parents to keep them under supervision.
- Property’s age restrictions
- Special activities & services
- There are a number of activities that children may enjoy, such as the camel-riding, visiting beading and/or wood workshops, learning tracking and basic bush skills, or visiting a local village school. Parents are welcome to request meals at any time they prefer, which can be served in the rooms, and there is also a babysitting service available for US$10 per night.
- High chairs and baby cots are available.
- Generally recommended for children
- We think Loisaba, with its fenced perimeter and swimming pool (no lifeguard, and it can be quite chilly), horse- and camel-riding and mountain bikes, is a good option for families with older children who will be happy in the fairly sophisticated, adult atmosphere.
- Although the lodge is fenced, there is still the chance of wildlife wandering through camp, so children need to be under parental supervision at all times.
- Power supply notes
- Loisaba is essentially powered 100% by solar energy, stored in batteries. They do have a backup generator, but it's rarely needed.
- WiFi is available throughout the lodge.
- TV & radio
- There is no TV in the lodge, but guests are welcome to watch big matches and the like at the staff canteen.
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- They have a sophisticated filtration and purification system for providing the main water supply and drinking water. Water for showering is heated using a solar system. There are water dispensers in the main areas for refilling water bottles.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- First-aid kits are available. Managers have medical training. The two local hospitals are the excellent Kimanjo Hospital and Nanyuki Cottage Hospital.
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- Loisaba Tented Camp has a perimeter fence with guarded gate access and a 24-hour security patrol. In addition the lodge is safeguarded by the security operations of the Loisaba Conservany itself. There are 2-way radios in the rooms to speak to the manager on duty.
- Fire safety
- Fire-training is done every two years and they have regular fire drills. They claim to be 100% compliant with fire safety standards and equipment is checked every six months.
Guided walking safari
Sleeping under the stars
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- Hand washed and returned within 24 hours. As usual, ladies underwear can't be laundered, but soap powder is provided in the rooms for you to do it yourself.
- Digital safes are provided in every room.
- Accepted payment on location
- Foreign exchange services are not available, but they do take credit cards for payments, and with no surcharge.
Other lodges in Laikipia
Alternative places to stay in this same area.