Saruni Wild is down in a valley in the Mara North Conservancy.
Saruni Wild: Our full report
Located 10 kms away from the main Saruni Mara, Saruni Wild is down in a valley within the Mara North Conservancy. With only three tents and no electricity it is a simple bushcamp which works perfectly in conjunction with a stay at the much more permanent Saruni Mara.
In July 2015, Saruni Wild relocated to a new location, much further south, closer to the Mara North airstrip. We understand the new location provides a more wildlife-rich experience, while preserving the intimacy and smallness of the original location, and still with only three tents. As soon as we have a chance to visit, we'll post our update here.
Tucked into the bush in a low part of a valley, Saruni Wid has lovely views of the surrounding flora and fauna and of Yaile Mountains beyond. This area as resident elephant, giraffe, buffalo and impala. It is also good for leopard although, and it is one of the very few parts of the Mara where they still occasionally see wild dog.
When we visited Saruni Wild there were no guests and so the camp wasn’t fully made up (hence the lack of pictures in our slideshow – please see the owner’s images for more). But we had a good look around the camp to get a feel for it and chatted through the details with the manager.
With just three tents Saruni Wild is often booked out privately for groups or families. We imagine that a group would have great fun in a wild bush camp like this with the main areas and the guide all to themselves. But the camp is also sold by the room, and so you don’t have to take the whole camp over if it is just a couple.
The central mess tent is simply furnished with a number of cream sofas set around a dark wood coffee table from the Swahili coast. There is a communal dining table here too which is sometimes set inside, and sometimes outside for dining under the stars. Meals are sociable and usually hosted by the guide, though the managers from Saruni Mara will often come down to join you as well. There are directors chairs on the veranda in case guests want to sit outside and bird-watch, and a fire pit for the evenings too.
There are just three dark cream canvas tents at Saruni Wild. All are decorated in the same way with woven rugs on the floor, large comfortable beds with chunky and rustic wooden frames and bed side tables. Bottled water is provided in the rooms, as is bug spray and a sound horn for emergencies. Little luxuries such as bathrobes mean that this is still a comfortable camp.
The ensuite bathroom is simple, but has a beautifully made wooden sideboard with a mirror in front, and sink with a tap and running water from a tank outside. This same tank feeds the extraordinary and surprisingly pretty flush loo that feeds into a hygienic soak away. The shower is a traditional safari shower, which is a bucket filled with warm water and hoisted up outside the tent by your tent attendant. This then allows gravity to draw the water down through a shower head inside the tent. Warm water is always available – you just have to ask. Toiletries are provided.
One of the tents is a family tent that has two adjoining tents with a zip between them. This can be opened up into one large tent – with a double and two twin beds.
Activities include day and night game drives, walks, birding and village visits. Guests can also go up to Saruni Mara for the shop and spa. Sarun Wild use an open sided Landrover. Usually they have one vehicle and guide based at the camp, who also acts as your host, but can arrange more if the camp is very full with different groups.
Our viewSaruni Wild is one of the most remote camps in the Mara and we loved is simplicity. Though larger and with more structure than a fly-camp, its lack of electricity gives it that kind of feel and it works really well in combination with a longer stay at the more established Saruni Mara. The result would be a really varied experience and for those looking for a touch of adventure we think this is a really fun option.
Ideal length of stay: A night or two is perfect when in conjunction with a longer stay at Saruni
Directions: Saruni Wild is a 1-hour drive from Mara North airstrip, and 10 kms from Saruni Mara.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: Riccardo Orizio, journalist, author and safari guide
Staff: (For our Info) Raymond Gachie and Chelsea. William Santinn (head guide) hosts guests or joins for meals. 80% of staff are Maasai (most from the local community) 35/40% female and and 60/65% male. There are five expat staff, including the management team and chef.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: The food at Saurni Wild is the same menu as Saruni Mara and so as with the main camp, it is also influenced by its Italian owner. You can expect lots of flavour and excellent pasta dishes. Saruni Wild, Saruni Mara and Saruni Samburu operate a shared weekly menu so as to avoid repeats for guests who are doing the circuit.
Saruni Wild offers both a bush breakfast, and a breakfast in camp depending on what suits each guest. If you decide to take breakfast out with you then it is still a good spread with yoghurt, cereals, bread, boiled eggs and cold sausages. There is also coffee, juice and fresh fruit. If you have breakfast in camp you simply have more choice of all the same items as well as a full cooked breakfast.
Lunches might also be in camp or out in the bush. In the bush it would usually be a number of cold salads and pasta dishes as well as fresh bread and some sliced meat. In camp the lunch is a bit more substantial with a pasta starter, a main course and a desert.
Then the evening dinners at Saruni Wild start with nibbles, and then three courses are served to the communal table.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: All drinks are included except for premium wines and spirits, and Champagne.
Further dining info: Meals at Saruni Wild are usually communal and hosted by one of the guides or a manager from Saruni Mara who will often be in camp.
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome at Saruni Wild.
Property’s age restrictions: None
Special activities & services: For children over the age of six, the “warriors for a week" programme brings Maasai boys into interaction with visiting children.
Equipment: Baby cot but no cots or high chairs.
Generally recommended for children: Saruni Wild, is as the name suggests - quite a wild camp better suited to older and more mature children.
Notes: This camp is unfenced and located in quite a bushy area. Parents must be vigilant, and be responsible for their children at all times.
Power supply: None
Communications: There is limited phone signal and no WiFi at Saruni Wild. Guests who urgently require these will have to pop up to Saruni Mara which is about a 30 minute drive away.
TV & radio: No.
Water supply: Transported in
Water supply notes: Hot water is brought for washing and showering via safari bucket showers. Bottled drinking water is supplied.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: Most guides are first-aiders at Saruni Wild. Aitong clinic is not far away and for serious emergencies medevac helicopters can land nearby.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: Askaris are on patrol all the time at Saruni Wild.
Fire safety: Saruni Wild has fire dotted around the camp and staff are trained to use them.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Laundry from Saruni Wild is washed up at Saruni Mara where it is machine-washed and line-dried. It is included in the rates, but in common with most camps, ladies' underwear is not washed for cultural reasons (washing powder is provided in the bathrooms for hand-washing any items).
Money: Saruni Wild cannot offer any currency exchange.
Accepted payment on location: All major currencies are accepted in cash at Saruni Wild. Saruni Mara up the road will also take Mastercard and Visa credit cards for which there is a 4% surcharge.