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Larsens Camp - Samburu, Kenya

A member of the Small luxury hotels of the world group

Samburu National Reserve - Kenya

Larsens Camp is located in Kenya's famous Samburu National Reserve is named after Erik Ole Larsen, a legendary Dane credited with defining the luxury safari under canvas. The camp is bordered by the Uaso Nyiro River on one side and nothing to see but pristine nature on the other three.

For the ultimate safari experience, you need to echo the style of the great hunters of the 1920s, such as Denys Finch Hatton and Baron Bror Blixen. Erik Ole Larsen, a Dane who truly understood the concept of combining tented opulence with raw wilderness, established the benchmark for all luxury camps. The first person to establish a tented camp that boasted not only silver-service dining, but also antique furniture, gorgeous rugs and impossibly opulent bathrooms, Larsen's legacy has defined Kenya's safari industry. No one, however, has replicated it so well, or so simply.

Ideally located at the very centre of one of the world's few remaining sanctuaries for the endangered Grevy's zebra, the rare beisa oryx and the blue-shanked Somali ostrich, the camp stands on a bend in the mighty Ewaso Nyiro River, with uninturrupted views to the plains beyond.

Getting there
The Samburu National Reserve of northern Kenya, lies 320 kilometres from Nairobi. The camp has its own all-weather air strip, which is less than an hour from Nairobi by air.

Kenya hotels and accommodation
Amongst the wide range of Kenya hotels, some make the ideal Kenya safari destination. Choose a safari lodge, safari hotel, bush camp, luxury lodge, safari camp, tented camp or bush lodge. National park accommodation usually takes the form of a traditional safari lodge or tented camp, but numerous other options exist on the park boundaries. Luxury lodges and luxury camp options are also offered in the private wildlife conservancies.

Generously sized, mounted on a river stone plinth and sheltered by a natural thatch roof, each of our 20 tents offers either a king-sized bed or two twin beds. At the back of the tent is a luxury ensuite bathroom (24-hour hot water, power shower and flush WC). Tastefully furnished with antique-styled safari furniture, each tent offers a dressing area, seating area and its own private vernandah overlooking the river. The tents are provided with 24-hour electricity, while at night the winding paths that link them to the central dining area are softly lit by traditional safari hurricane lanterns. Naturally, we also offer a full valet, laundry and in-tent room service.

Dining with Larsen
If anything matched Erick Ole Larsen's flair for the creation of under-canvas luxury, it was his commitment to the presentation of the finest gourmet cuisine. Today, Larsen's chef holds true to this tradition and excels in the provision of a breakfast, lunch and dinner experience more in keeping with that of a 5-star city hotel than a tented camp on Kenya's northern frontiers. Nor are the experiences confined to the dining tent; we also excel in presenting our exquisite menus against the backdrop of the river and the bush.

Bush dining
For those who want to savour every second of their safari experience, we are also proficient in presenting atmospheric breakfasts, sundowners and bush dinners against the breathtaking backdrop of the sublime Samburu.

The tented bar
Lulled by the sound of the river, our tented bar area has been entirely constructed from local sustainable materials and blends river stone with twisted wildwood, traditional safari lanterns with authentic safari memorabilia. Our wine choices reflect the best of old- and new-world wines, while our choice of beers, cocktails and juices is just as Mr Larsen would have expected.

Safari pool
Few swimming pools boast the kind of view that ours does. Seemingly set in the midst of the acacia bush, it looks out towards the volcanic shoals of the northern frontier. The sweeping river stone pool deck offers a range of comfortable loungers in both sun and shade, while our brasserie-styled café service offers a wide range of snacks, ices and cool drinks. And, after a day on safari, why not take the plunge into our clear blue Jacuzzi.

The sundowner experience
An integral part of the true safari experience

Dating back to the great safaris of the 1920s, which typically included American film stars, European aristrocracy and British royalty, the 'sundowner' is one of the unforgettable icons of safari life. Served as the sun sinks over the horizon, the sundowner will be served in an exceptionally scenic spot and features waiter service and a range of home-made savouries. At Larsen's our sundowners typically take place on the river bank as the elephants come down to drink.

Life in the painted desert of the Samburu
As starkly beautiful as it is ruggedly dramatic
We appreciate that whilst you are with us, you will want to absorb as much of this unique wilderness experience as possible. The Samburu is world famous for its wildlife, which includes some species found nowhere else. We operate our own fleet of safari-customized vehicles, with viewing hatches and open sides. All are driven by professional guides, whose knowledge of the reserves and their wildlife is unequalled. Typically, game drives set off at 6.30 am and 4.30 pm and can be timed to coincide with a bush breakfast, sundowners on the river or dinner watching the elephants come down to bathe.

A brilliance of birdlife
So abundant is this area's birdlife that it is possible to notch up over 100 species in a day, the most noteworthy being the rare blue-shanked Somali ostrich. Secretary birds are plentiful, as are bands of bustling helmeted and vulturine guinea fowls, while along the river storks feed and sand grouse congregate at dusk. Both red-billed and Von der Decken's hornbills are common. The rugged nature of the reserve also provides an ideal raptor habitat; common sightings include; pygmy falcons, martial eagles and Verreaux's eagle owls. For those who would like to learn more about them, our resident naturalist offers guided bird-walks at 10am daily.

A vibrant cultural showcase
To really experience a different culture, you have to interact with your hosts

It is our belief that the ideal safari experience should offer our guests the opportunity to learn more about the culture of their hosts, the Samburu, whose name, which means ‘butterfly' reflects the elusive vibrancy of their essence.

As a result, we feature Samburu musicians as part of our dinner entertainment and are delighted to arrange visits to local Samburu villages, where genuine hand-crafted beadwork and carvings are often offered for sale.

Africa promises the very best of family time
The camp welcomes children and offers both special children's menus and mealtimes. Additionally, we offer adjoining family tents, a ‘listening service' to keep watch over your children, baby-sitting (by prior request), games and books, educational videos and guided walks around the grounds.

Wilderness health and wellness
Our Eseriani Spa, ‘the place of peace'

Just because you are on safari doesn't mean you can't maintain your own personal health and wellness. Our Eseriani Spa, named in the Samburu language as ‘the place of peace' offers a wide range of nature-inspired body massages, scrubs and wraps, energizing facials and luxury manicures and pedicures. Raised on a wildwood deck overlooking the plains, our Spa allows you to appreciate the sights and sounds of the bush while indulging in a unique range of treatments, all of which are based on entirely natural local ingredients such as flowers, spices and coffee.

Samburu Wedding
Weddings don't get much more dramatic than when set against the stunning backdrop of the Samburu. Add to this the style of our unashamedly luxurious tented camp, and you have a wedding of timeless safari style. Our choice of venues includes a wedding by the river, on the plains or in our tented dining tent. We are also proficient in catering your reception to the highest standards, complete with wedding cake, champagne and a themed banquet of your choice.

Honeymoon in the Wilderness
Wildly romantic
For true Out of Africa romance, nothing is quite so memorable as sleeping under canvas. As night falls, your tent is golden lit and, from within the safety of its canvas walls, you can listen to the sounds of the bush. Additionally, we can arrange for such ‘surprise and delight' features as; an intimate dinner for two in the bush or on your private verandah, a honeymoon breakfast in bed, or breakfast by the river.

Special events, meetings and conferences
Larsen's... transforming ‘special' into an art form
An utterly unique experience, Larsen's offers the ideal venue for the special times in life, such as anniversaries, birthdays or corporate incentives. Similarly, we enjoy an unrivalled reputation for the provision of themed gala dinners, champagne breakfasts in the bush, or captivating surprise riverside breakfasts. Should you wish it, our entire camp can also be reserved for your own exclusive use.

The Camp
The camp is connected by telephone, VHF radio and wireless internet. We offer our own forex and medical services while our reception tent features a gift shop offering both safari essentials and an enchanting range of locally crafted gifts. Services include; Forex services, 24-hour electricity, laundry, valet and medical services.

Larsens Camp - Samburu National Reserve • Exclusive Tented Camp • Kenya Hotels, Lodges & Camps
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