Elephant Bedroom: Our full report
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 14 tented rooms at Elephant Bedroom are spacious, comfortable and luxurious, but also unfussy. These are all raised on individual wooden platforms, eleven to the east of the main area with the other three to the west. The tents are reasonably close together however they did not feel overlooked. Of these, 12 are standard tents, eight with twin double beds and four with one king-size bed; each tent has space for a third, single bed if required. In addition, there are two deluxe rooms – one configured as a double and the other as a twin.
All the tents are furnished with a sofa or lounging chairs, coffee table, writing desk and very comfortable king-sized or twin double beds. 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 spent the night here in 2019, our tent was visited in the evening by a large male elephant who came to investigate the plunge pool. We understand that this was not a one-off as elephants frequently walk calmly through camp, also seen firsthand when we paid the camp a brief visit in 2018.
The deluxe rooms are much larger, with a lounge area, wooden flooring throughout, an outside shower and bathtub, as well as a bigger deck and plunge pool. A stay in one of these rooms will certainly elevate the overall luxury and comfort of the camp.
When we stayed in 2019 we were told that there are plans to build a further four deluxe rooms, which they hope to be ready for July 2020. All six deluxe rooms will be situated a short distance from the standard tents and the plan is that this will become a separate ‘deluxe’ camp, complete with its own independent lounge and dining area. The main camp will then consist of the 12 standard tents and existing dining area and lounge. Chat to us for the latest information here.
The activities based from Elephant Bedroom focus mostly on safari drives in comfortable 4WD vehicles. Guests typically go out from 06:00-09:30, then return to camp for a leisurely breakfast, relaxing and lunch, before heading out again from 16:00. Our previous experience of the guiding were impressive: we thought the guides were really good and their knowledge of the reserve was exceptional. During our last visit in 2019, we noted that the game in the vicinity of camp was some of the best in the park, with good sightings of elephants, lions, and even a pack of wild dogs, but that did also attract a fair number of other vehicles, most carrying guests staying at the nearby larger, budget lodges. Having said this, Samburu is far less visited than areas such as the Maasai Mara and it is unlikely to feel crowded.
Back at camp during the day, you might also want to take advantage of the 'spa tent' for a massage. It is also possible to visit a local village, around 15 minutes' drive away, for an insight into the Samburu culture and rural life. There are extra charges for these activities.
Game walks, led by two armed rangers and a 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.
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.
- Samburu National Reserve, Kenya
- Ideal length of stay
- 3 nights
- The best airstrip for Elephant Bedroom is Kalama, which is about a 90-minute flight from Nairobi. It is then about a 45-minute road transfer through the park to the camp, however this could be longer depending on what you see on the way.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- 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. There is typically a couple of different meat options in addition to at least one vegetarian dish.
When staying here in 2019, lunch consisted of three courses, starting with a Greek salad, followed by grilled red snapper and vegetables. Desert was a banana mousse cake. On previous trips we’ve tucked in to carrot, cabbage and cashew nut salad, followed by beef with mushrooms and vegetables and a desert of crème caramel.
At dinner, there are three courses. We started with a carrot and ginger soup and freshly baked bread. Our main was a beautifully spiced paneer curry accompanied by fluffy rice and poppadum’s; we then rounded up the meal with ‘lemon snow’, which turned out to be lemon blancmange with fruit compote.
- Dining style
- Individual Tables
- Dining locations
- Indoor and Outdoor Dining
- Further dining info, including room service
- Elephant Bedroom can offer room service, but this needs to be sorted out in advance as there are no phones in the rooms.
- Drinks included
- The drinks at Elephant Bedroom are at an additional cost, with a soft drink (when we last visited in 2019) costing about US$2, a local beer around US$5. a glass of wine US$5 and house wines from $25 a bottle and up.
- Family holidays
- Elephant Pepper accepts children of all ages at competitive rates and the camp has a friendly, welcoming feel. Children enjoy the lawn area, hammocks and swing chairs, the nature walks and the Maasai-led activities that take place around the house.
- See ideas for Family holidays
- Cultural experiences
- Elephant Bedroom is managed by members of the Samburu community and offers local Samburu village visits. During these you’ll gain genuine insights into local daily life – an experience which benefits both the guests and community.
- See ideas for Cultural experiences
- 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 ideas for Wildlife safaris
- Attitude towards children
- Elephant Bedroom is quite happy to have children to stay, but they prefer well-behaved children over the age of five, 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.
- Elephant Bedroom has baby cots but no highchairs.
- Generally recommended for children
- There are lots of elephants around camp, so Elephant Bedroom is better for children over the age of eight, who have a little more awareness of their surroundings. We think the camp’s preference for older, well-behaved children fits quite well with its reasonably adult atmosphere.
- Parents must accompany children at all times.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Elephant Bedroom
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Elephant Bedroom 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
- Guests can charge electrical items during the times that the generator is on (05:00-07:30,13:00-15:00 and 18:00-23:00). The lights in the tents work during these hours.
- There is cellphone reception in the camp and WiFi in the main area when the generator is on.
- TV & radio
- Water supply
- 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
- Medical care
- The nearest doctors to Elephant Bedroom are 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. It's worth noting that the vervet monkeys around camp are beginning to become a nuisance: some of them are experienced sneak thieves and not easily discouraged, so you definitely need to be on your guard and very assertive, and keep food, or anything that might be of interest to a monkey, out of sight, and preferably packed away. There are padlocks on the tent zips to help keep the monkeys out.
- 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.
- Disabled access
- In Place
- Laundry facilities
- A full laundry service is available but there is an extra charge for this.
- There is an electric 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.
Other lodges in Samburu National Reserve
Alternative places to stay in this same area.