Hollywood’s hottest movie stars, actors and music mega stars are taking in African wildlife at two of the continent’s chicest safari camps-Lemarti’s Camp and Cottar’s Safari Service. Uma Thurman and Daniel Craig are fans of Lemarti’s located in the Northern area of Kenya along the Ewaso River. Expect the ultimate in African-chic with wild nature treks and yoga on the water. Thurman, along with Don Cheadle and Ed Norton, has also stayed at Cottar’s located in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve (one of the New Wonders of the World).
This old photo-safari camp boasts wildlife picnics and private outdoor baths, where a zebra or two just might stroll by. Accommodation in safari tented camps. For a nature enthusiast, nothing beats Africa and Kenya is a gem among jewels: Kenya has a high concentration of migrating and native wildlife, birds, open savannah as well as 42 indigenous tribes and sub-tribes, most of which maintain their traditions and dress. Plus, there’s a lot of love for Americans on relation of President Barack Obama’s family ties. For true experience consider a bilateral approach, tour the northern region for authentic cultural immersion and the south for tried and tested wildlife l viewing.
Lemarti’s Camp, Laikipia Plateau – Nestled underneath a massive, centuries-old fig tree, within an oasis of the banks of the Ewaso River, is Anna Trzebinski and Loyapan Lemarti’s « Africa-chic » camp. Trzebinski, an acclaimed Nairobi-born fashion and furniture designer, and Lemarti, her Samburu warrior husband and one of the area’s best nature guides, opened the camp two years ago with a focus on cultural integration. Lemarti and his Laikipia Masai and Samburu warrior pals are in charge of the day-to-day at the camp, and since there are only five tents, the genial and colorfully dressed tribesmen often out number the guests.
Visitors can spend days lounging around the tents, which are richly designed with reclaimed hardwoods, lush native textiles, and an overall nod to Africa (including found elephant jawbone toilet seats!). You can also wander to the river for some fruitful tilapia fishing, take a « Rites of Passage » nature walk with just you and the warriors and their spears, track elephants via Land Rover, and visit the manyatta (or village) of a friendly staffer. Meals are locally sourced, simple and gourmet.
Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp Masai Mara National Reserve – Take White Hunters from the bookcase in the lounge of Cottar’s 1920’s Camp, and open it to the chapter « Trailblazers of the Twenties. » There you’ll find a photo of a hunting party, among whom is Calvin Cottar’s grandfather Mike. The hat he is wearing now sits on top of the bookcase. The Cottar clan is referred to in the book as the Kenya First Family of the safari business. If you want to track the safari bloodline, you go to Cottar’s.
Charles Cottar was not British, but an American inspired by Teddy Roosevelt’s hunting exploits. He moved to Kenya in 1911 and established Cottar’s Safari Service in 1919. A pioneering wildlife cinematographer, he was killed while filming rhinos. The Cottars safari tented camps were among the first to import safari vehicles to Kenya, and Calvin’s father, Glen, established the first fixed camps in the country. Calvin himself, now 38, is said to be one of the models for the safari-god love interest in Francesca Marciano’s Rules of the wild, a 1999 roman à clef about Nairobi’s expat scene.
Today, Cottar’s camp is situated on the lower slopes of a heavily forested hillside, overlooking the green-blond Masai Mara plains and Tanzania’s Serengeti beyond. It’s such a classic vista that you expect the title Out of Africa to scroll across it. « My father hunted here, and I used to ride in the back of the vehicle, » says Calvin, piloting his Land Cruiser through a creek bed. When his father passed away, in 1996, Calvin set up shop on 250,000 acres held by a community of 3,000 Masai on the fringes of the game reserve. He scoured the family storerooms for the furnishings that give Cottar’s its Finch-Hatton feel.
Giraffe Manor Hotel is located in the Karen district, named after « Out of Africa » writer Karen Blixen. The manor’s six rooms overlook verdant grounds that are home to endangered Rothschild giraffes, which pop their heads into rooms looking for a nibble. Also in Nairobi make time for to visit the world-renowned Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, where visitors can meet and foster one of many orphaned baby elephants and rhinos. Dame Sheldrick, who lives on the grounds, has created this haven for young elephants and rhinos and to date has hand-reared nearly 100.
While you can make reservations in these camps directly, due to their location and planning involved (transfers, inland carriers, communications, visas, etc.), it is recommended that you book your trip through a reputable Kenya safari company, tour operators and travel company. African safaris and Adventures is one of the most reputable safari travel outfitters specializing in authentic Africa adventure travel with emphasis placed on nature conservation and preservation of indigenous.