Elephant Bedroom

Elephant Bedroom: Our full report

Rooms
12 tented rooms (8 twins, 4 doubles)
Traveller's rating
Excellent (94%) From 10 reviews
Children
Best for 8+
Open
All year

Elephant Bedroom is located deep in the heart of the Samburu National Reserve on a lovely stretch of the Ewaso Nyiro River – where game viewing is at its best. It opened in 2008 and offers relatively luxurious tented accommodation in a shady grove of acacias and doum palms.

The main area consists of a pair of spacious tents that are raised on a smart wooden deck made from cypress wood. Open at the front, they have lovely views out over the river and their stylish furniture, much of which is made locally by Samburu craftsmen, is a mix of African and European styles. Elephant Bedroom's dining area is set with individual tables and chairs, and the comfortable lounge area, with large chairs and a sofa, is complemented by a couple of lounging areas on the broad, open-air deck. This is also the only area at Elephant Bedroom where guests can pick up Wi-Fi signal.

Below are a number of tables beneath shady parasols where breakfast and lunch are often served. Down here nearer the river's edge are, hammocks, swing chairs, a sofa and the fire pit, where guests often gather before dinner for a drink.

The tented rooms at Elephant Bedroom are spacious, comfortable and luxurious, but also unfussy. Nine of these tents are raised on individual wooden platforms (these are east, downstream of the main area), with the other three at ground level (these are upstream, to the west of the main area). Older guests, or those with mobility challengers, are usually accommodated in the ground-level tents, which are also close to the central areas of the camp.

All the tents are furnished with a sofa or lounging chairs, coffee table, writing desk and very comfortable king-sized or twin double beds. Eight of the tents have two double beds, and four of them have 1 kingsize bed (one tent in the west row and three in the east row). Each tent has space for a third, single bed if required. Wool rugs are laid across the floors and handmade cushions decorate the sofas and beds. Neutral tones and dark-wood furniture are used throughout, resulting in a rustic but stylish safari look.

The bathroom is at the back of each tent, with stone floors and canvas walls. There's hot and cold running water to both the plumbed-in shower and the twin wash basins, which are set on a wooden table, with electric water boilers providing the hot water. In addition, there's a flush toilet, hanging space for your clothes and a wrought-iron towel rail, and toiletries are provided.

Each of the tents also features a small, private plunge pool on the veranda, for cooling off in the heat of the day. This is welcome in Samburu where it is often very hot. True to its name, when we last stayed here in March 2017, our bedroom was besieged by a family of elephants one afternoon. We understand that this was not a one-off as elephants frequently walk calmly through camp.

The activities based from Elephant Bedroom focus mostly on safari drives in comfortable 4WD vehicles. When we were there we thought the guides were really good and their knowledge of the reserve was exceptional.

Back at camp during the day, you might also want to take advantage of the 'spa tent' for a massage (extra charge)

Game walks, led by an armed ranger and guide, can also be arranged for an additional US$45 per person, but these are best booked in advance. It is also possible to book a private sundowner, which is an extra cost but includes nibbles and drinks. Bush dinners and breakfast are a fun way of dining al fresco but these also cost extra: typically around US$45 per person for dinner and US$50 for breakfast.

Our view

Elephant Bedroom has a great location in Samburu, and we loved the elephants that frequently pass right through camp. It has an earthy, African feel and would suit those looking for a quiet tented camp that has some of the luxuries you might expect from a larger lodge.

Geographics

Location: Samburu National Reserve, Kenya

Ideal length of stay: 3 nights

Directions: There are several airstrips in Samburu, all about a 90-minute flight from Nairobi. It is then about a 30-minute road transfer through the park to the camp, depending on what you see along the way.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Staff: Joseph Gitonga has been the manager at Elephant Bedroom since it opened.

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: In the mornings you are woken up with tea or coffee, and a selection of freshly baked biscuits which should see you through your morning activity before returning to camp and a full breakfast. This includes a selection of cereals such as branflakes, cornflakes, Weetabix and muesli, together with yoghurt, scones and fresh fruit. The chef mans a cooking station for fresh eggs, mushrooms, fried potatoes, baked beans, pancakes, bacon and sausages.

Options for lunch and dinner at Elephant Bedroom are written on a blackboard, so the chef can take your order.

For lunch we had three courses, starting with either a soup or salad. We particularly enjoyed the carrot, cabbage and cashew nut salad that was served on our first day. For the main course we were offered fried tilapia with vegetables and chips, beef with mushrooms and vegetables, a penne pasta or a lentil dhal with rice. For pudding we were treated to cheesecake or crème caramel.

At dinner, there are four courses. We started with a spinach quiche, followed by vegetable soup, then a choice of pork chops, lamb stew or vegetarian pasta. Pudding options were apple crumble, or a decadent chocolate ball with nuts.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: The drinks at Elephant Bedroom are at an additional cost, with a soft drink (when we last visited in 2017) costing about US$2, a local beer around US$4. a glass of wine US$5 and house wines from $25 a bottle and up.

Further dining info: Elephant Bedroom can offer room service, but this needs to be sorted out in advance as there are no phones in the rooms.

Special interests

Wildlife safaris: Elephant Bedroom is located in the heart of Samburu National Reserve, which is famed for interesting northern and desert species that include the gerenuk, oryx and Grevy’s zebra.

See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Kenya

Children

Attitude towards children: Elephant Bedroom is quite happy to have children to stay, but they prefer well-behaved children over the age of seven, who will listen to their parents.

Property’s age restrictions: There is no strict age restriction at Elephant Bedroom.

Special activities & services: There are no special activities or services for children at Elephant Bedroom.

Equipment: Elephant Bedroom has baby cots but no highchairs.

Notes: Parents must accompany children at all times.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Generator

Power supply notes: Guests can charge electrical items during the times that the generator is on (06:00-09:00, 13:00-16:00 and 18:00-10:30). The lights in the tents work 24 hours a day.

Communications: There is cellphone reception in the camp and WiFi in the main area when the generator is on.

TV & radio: No

Water supply: Borehole

Water supply notes: There is hot and cold water 24 hours a day but guests are encouraged to keep water usage to a minimum as there is a limited supply in Samburu.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: The nearest doctors to Elephant Bedroom re at a medical centre seven miles away, and at a nearby lodge. All the guides are first-aid trained and there is first-aid equipment in vehicles and in camp. In case of a serious emergency Elephant Bedroom has links to the flying-doctor service.

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Security measures: Elephant Bedroom has security guards patrolling and looking out for big game in camp. They also have two park rangers in camp at night.

Fire safety: Elephant Bedroom has fire extinguishers between each of the rooms, in the kitchen and main area, and sand buckets are dotted around the property. Camp and security staff are trained in fire safety.

Extras

Disabled access: In Place

Laundry facilities: A full laundry service is available but there is an extra charge for this.

Money: There is a safe in the office for guests’ valuables. Elephant Bedroom is not able to offer any kind of currency exchange.

Accepted payment on location: Guests may settle any extras in cash using British pounds, euros, US dollars and Kenyan shillings. It is also possible to use Visa and MasterCard without a surcharge, but Elephant Bedroom do not accept Amex.

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