Sirikoi: Our full report
Sirikoi is a luxury safari camp and lodge, located by a game-rich waterhole in a private, 7000 acre (28-square...... -kilometre) area of the 250-square-kilometre Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, in south-eastern Laikipia. With only a handful of tents it aims to offer a very high-quality, personal experience.
Named after the river which runs in front of the camp, Sirikoi was conceived and designed by Willie and Sue Roberts, well-known East African safari operators. It first opened its doors back in 2000, and we have visited many times since – most recently in 2019 – and always found a luxurious, unpretentious and very well-run camp in a lovely location.
It has just four well-appointed tented rooms, plus a two-bedroom cottage and a three-bedroom house used by families or groups of friends. Set on beautifully manicured lawns shaded by acacia trees, it's an intimate and high-quality operation, with a great number of activities on offer.
Sirikoi looks onto a large natural watering hole with a small salt lick, which is frequented by animals – you don't even have to leave the comfort of your tent to enjoy the wildlife here. Although Sirikoi is cleverly fenced to keep giraffe and elephant from destroying their trees, animals such as buffalo, rhino and plains game wander freely in the grounds. There is also a friendly giraffe who has managed to get inside the grounds and is now habituated. On our recent visit we saw numerous zebra, gazelle, a large herd of elephants as well as the semi-resident giraffe.
Despite feeling very luxurious, Sirikoi enjoys an exceptionally homely feel. Its spacious central area is a large, solid, thatched building which houses a main lounge and small bar. It's been designed with a real eye for style, and the family photos, plush sofas, and numerous coffee-table books scattered around make it an inviting place to while away a few hours between activities. A very well stocked bar is always open, with some skilled bartenders to whip up a cocktail of your choice. In front of the lounge area, a large shaded decking provides the perfect breakfast and lunch location, while dinner takes place next to a roaring campfire. A large infinity pool with plenty of comfortable loungers faces the watering hole. There is a large selection of curios and stylish clothing, jewelry and artwork to purchase at the shop.
Conspicuously placed around the lodge and gardens are sculptures by Murray Grant, a renowned Scottish-Kenyan artist (based at El Karama, available for purchase).
Accommodation at Sirikoi consists of four luxury tents, a two-bedroom private cottage, and a three-bedroom private house. Neither the house nor the cottage has their own pool, but guests are welcome to use the pool at the main lodge.
- The four tented rooms are identical in design and angled to face the waterhole and plains beyond. Arguably, the two tents closer to the main areas lack a little privacy, as the path runs along the front, but as they're set slightly back, it's not a real negative. Each tent is well designed with great attention to detail. The bowl chairs on the veranda are hard to resist during siesta time, while a small, raised charcoal fireplace in the lounge area makes for a very cosy room on cool evenings (we were assured the ventilation makes these fires completely safe). There's a large double bed, or twin beds, flanked by bedside tables, with beautiful Kitengela Glass water decanters. The wonderfully comfortable bed linen is fine-weave Egyptian cotton sheets and duvet covers. Behind the bed is space to store your luggage and clothes out of sight.
- At the rear of the tents, the impressive bathrooms feature stand-alone Victorian baths, with uninterrupted views through the gauze windows to the bush beyond. There's also a separate shower, flush loo and twin porcelain wash basins.
- The two-bedroom cottage, with both bedrooms en suite, is set slightly away from the main areas, and is quite self-contained. Made from wood, stone and thatch, it feels much more established than Sirikoi's tents. It has its own separate living and dining areas (with TV) and a large deck, meaning that guests here can be quite independent from the main camp. Like the tents and main areas, it's really well designed, combining good quality with a relaxed and homely feel. This would be a great choice for families or two couples who want the luxury of setting their own schedule, and the option of privacy.
- Much like the cottage, the new three-bedroom house is entirely independent of the main lodge, with very spacious communal areas and decking. Two of the bedrooms here are in one unit, while the other is separate. All three bedrooms are en-suite. To the back of the house is a separate kitchen where meals for the house are prepared, guests staying here can choose to dine independently, or dine at the main camp.
The service at Sirikoi was brilliant – with more than 70 staff it's no great surprise that things run like clockwork. The managers run the camp in a very professional but informal, relaxed way, and you feel immediately at home as soon as you enter.
Behind the scenes is an enormous vegetable garden growing flowers which are displayed throughout the lodge, as well as vegetables, herbs and fruit, which contributes fresh produce to delicious meals. This garden is completely pesticide free and it is fascinating to take a tour with one of the Sirikoi team. The nutrient rich soils and temperate climate means that fruit and vegetables flourish here, when we stayed in 2019 we were fascinated to see raspberries and blueberries growing side by side with pawpaw and mango. The food at Sirikoi was exceptional, fresh, tasty and healthy.
There is a beautiful curio shop next to the communal area selling a selection of high-end crafts and jewelry. In addition to the standard Maasai beadwork items found throughout much of Kenya they also stocked a range of stunning silverwork pieces.
Activities at Sirikoi are numerous and you'll be spoilt for choice. Lewa Wildlife Conservancy boasts some excellent game-viewing opportunities, with a high chance of seeing white and black rhino and Grevy's zebra amongst the more common game. Sirikoi always give every party their own vehicle and guide. The private houses will always have use of the new, completely open vehicles.
Bush walks can be arranged, too, albeit with advance notice, since an armed ranger is needed. When we visited, Sirikoi's managers were both hoping to get a gun licence soon so they could conduct walks themselves.
Other activities can be arranged at extra cost.
- Horseriding for both beginners and experienced riders with the nearby Lewa Wilderness (US$75 per person), or with Borana (US$95pp).
- Forest walks (US$55pp, plus a tip for the ranger) to the nearby Ngare Ndare forest, where there is a beautiful waterfall pool to swim in.
- Massages by a local lady are available from $40-$120.
- A guided trip to the local village of Il Ngwesi, about one hour away from Sirikoi, can be arranged for $45.
- Helicopter flights are increasingly popular at Sirikoi. Although expensive (around $2600 per hour, minimum of 2 hours) they're a fantastic way to appreciate the beauty and sheer size of the local environment and nearby Mount Kenya.
- Fishing, fly camping and other adventurous excursions can be arranged, either just for a day or for a few nights through Roberts Safaris. Prices vary depending on whether you take plane, road or helicopter transfers.
Sirikoi succeeds very well. It combines a very high degree of attention to detail with an unpretentious set-up, excellent food and friendly staff. The private cottages and house are perfect for families or groups, while the tents suit couples looking for a stylish retreat.
- Laikipia, Kenya
- Ideal length of stay
- At least 3-4 nights to enable you to try a range of the activities.
- Sirikoi is 15 minutes’ drive from Lewa Downs airstrip for scheduled flights and charters, but will soon have its own airstrip for charters. Helicopters land on the lawn.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- On our last visit in 2019, we found the food at Sirikoi to be the some of the best of our whole trip – no doubt due in part to their exceptional vegetable garden. Almost all the ingredients are produced on site, with only dried goods and some meat bought in. Everything is very fresh and healthy, and beautifully presented.
Breakfast was a buffet selection of breads, cereals, freshly baked lemon and poppyseed muffins, tropical fruit and berries picked from the garden the same morning. A hot cooked breakfast was available to order along with plenty of hot fresh tea and coffee. We sat outside on the shaded decking to eat, which was lovely.
Lunch is generally light and fresh, often served as a buffet on the deck overlooking the marsh. When staying in 2019 we enjoyed bacon and mushroom quiche, fishcakes, tomato and mozzarella salad, kale salad, homemade chutneys and a selection of cheeses and crackers. We ended the meal with fresh yoghurt and fruit compote topped with a brown sugar crumb.
Before dinner guests typically gather around the fire for drinks and canapes before moving to individual tables. We started with feta and spinach samosas, these were followed by roast chicken with a sweet gravy sauce, red cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower florets and a mustard and bean mash. Desert was a rich Amarula ice cream with apple strudel.
- For an exclusive, romantic and luxurious safari camp focusing on attention to detail, Sirikoi is a great choice for a honeymoon in Kenya. With very stylish tents, excellent staff and delicious food, it’s a perfect place to celebrate a special occasion.
- See ideas for Honeymoons
- Riding holidays
- Located in an exclusive 30km2 area of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Sirikoi offers riding opportunities with horses suited to beginners or experienced riders, accompanied by experienced guides on horseback to ensure safety.
- See ideas for Riding holidays
- With more than 70 staff to look after you, and sumptuously furnished tented rooms, it’s easy to feel spoiled at Sirikoi. The décor strikes a welcome balance of comfort and intimacy, making this a high-quality retreat to truly unwind in.
- See ideas for Wellbeing
- Private villas & houses
- Sirikoi has a 2-bedroom cottage and 3-bedroom house, each booked exclusively. Each base has a private vehicle and dedicated staff. They are perfect for families or small groups wanting a high-end, exclusive safari with excellent wildlife-viewing.
- See ideas for Private villas & houses
- With its manicured lawns, 70-strong staff and extras that include helicopter flights, horse riding and massages, this intimate camp offers an unparalleled level of care. Situated on a private conservancy, even the game-viewing feels exclusive.
- See ideas for Luxury
- Attitude towards children
- Sirikoi suggest that children should be around 10 years or older so that they can make the most of the camp.
- Property’s age restrictions
- No under-5s are accommodated in the tents. There are no age restrictions in the house or cottage.
- Special activities & services
- Activities such as the forest walk, which ends at a waterfall you can swim in, are very popular with children.
Sirikoi can offer a babysitting service, but note that this will be a member of the housekeeping staff, and not someone trained in childcare.
- Generally recommended for children
- The cottage and house make a good option for families with older children, but because the camp is wild, and big game does pass through, it is imperative that children are under constant parental supervision.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Sirikoi
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Sirikoi have kindly recorded their wildlife sightings and shared them with us. The results are below. Click an animal to see more, and here to see more on our methodology.
- Power supply notes
- There is 24/7 power throughout the camp, with a generator to boost power on cloudy days and kuni boosters (wood-fueled boilers) to provide hot water. Hair driers can be used in the rooms.
- Free WiFi is usually available in all the tents and central areas. There are no phones in the rooms, but there is generally good cellphone reception.
- TV & radio
- There are TVs in the cottage and the house, but not in the tents.
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- Water for Sirikoi comes from a mountain spring on Mount Kenya. It is purified to be used by guests.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- There are first-aid kits in the lodge and office. Staff members regularly take part in first-aid course.
Quadbike warning: quad-biking is sometimes available as an activity from Sirikoi. As with any potentially dangerous activity, it’s vital that you take responsibility for ensuring that you have adequate travel insurance prior to getting involved. Be aware that some insurances cover quad-bike activities only for bikes with lower engine ratings: check such clauses particularly carefully before you get on a bike.
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- Night watchmen patrol the camp and guests are always escorted to their tents in the hours of darkness. There is a light security presence around the perimeter during the day.
- Fire safety
- There are fire extinguishers in the rooms and central areas. Very good pumps, fire hoses and fire breaks have been installed.
Guided walking safari
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- A full laundry service is included (female underwear excluded).
- There are self-operating safes in each room.
Sirikoi can exchange small amounts of money.
- Accepted payment on location
- Visa & MasterCard are accepted. There is a 3% surcharge. The preferred currency is US dollars, but payments may also be made in GB pounds, Kenyan shillings.
Other lodges in Laikipia
Alternative places to stay in this same area.