Camping in Kenya


Discover Campsites in Kenya

Camping in Kenya

Brief Overview of Camping in Kenya

Camping is much more than a pleasant holiday. Many will say that it is the only way to truly enjoy Kenya, an inexpensive and delightful do-it-yourself holiday. In the warm Kenyan sun, it is a way of life many travellers spiritedly remember. Camping in itself is a very interesting activity to carry out whether as singly, as a couple or as a family. It is the ultimate nature-based tourism with enriching and beneficial natural, social and educational knowledge. A return to nature in the simplest configuration. In actuality, its official definition “as the activity of spending holidays living in a tent” could no better sum up the simplicity of the experience. With more than 200 official campsites in well-chosen wilderness areas throughout the country, Kenya is perfect for those who enjoy the rugged, outdoor life. As with many national parks around the world, Kenya Wildlife Service manages the places where campers can pitch tents within the National Parks and Reserves in Kenya – maximizing the outdoor experiences as well as conserving these fragile ecosystems. In numerous cases fully-equipped tents are available for hire at campsites in Kenya, but these should be booked in advance.

Camping is Kenya is practically a year-round extravaganza, although it would be prudent to avoid the rainy season between March to mid-May, and October to November. Wherever you camp, make sure you are within the designated zones and you have selected the spot you will pitch your tent before sundown. Needless to point out is the fact that you should be well conversant with setting up your camp beforehand. A few dry runs at home is practice enough for most. Where possible, choose level ground with short grass; make sure there is plenty of shade but watch which tree you wish to set up under. Thorn trees provide good, safe shade because they discourage climbing predators and crawlies like snakes. “Likewise, other trees can exude unpleasant sap and birds nesting can mean unpleasant dropping around the camp. Avoid dried-up river beds: sudden storms could create flash floods” – G. Hancock. Where the climate is generally hot be sure to pitch your tent with the largest window facing prevailing wind. Do not camp across or too near game trails. Ensure adequate control of camp fires by placing stones around the fire. If possible locate where there is a good ‘reserve’ of wood available not only for firewood but also for pioneering gadgets.

How To Set Up a Tent. Published by REI

Camping in Kenya Checklist

For camping: tents of course preferably with sewn groundsheets and mosquito netted windows; inflatable mattress or sleeping pad; sleeping bags or blankets; pillows and light sheet; air pump; small camping lights and torch; folding chairs and table. For camp kitchen: stove; stove fuel; paraffin or lint for starting fire; funnel; water jug; metal bowl for washing up and heating water; water bottles; cooler-box (large cooler for food and small cooler bag for drinks); ice for cooler; dishpan; bio-degradable dish soap; dish towels; dish cloth and scrubber; paper towels; garbage bags; aluminum foil; zipper-lock bags and re-usable containers. For clearing camping sites and chopping firewood: a panga, a spade or small axe should do the job. Having all three is better. For cooking: cooking pots and pans; mugs; large bowl; cutting board; spatula; serving spoons; knives; a can opener; grater; camp stove toaster; coffee press/maker; and food. Toiletries: sunscreen; bug repellent; towels; wash cloth; soap and shampoo; toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss; deodorant; razor; hairbrush; lip balm; hand sanitizer; wet wipes; and a small hand mirror. Toolkit: duct tape; rope or twine; small whisk and dust pan; screwdriver or multi-tool like a Swiss Army Knife; sewing kit. First Aid Kit. If you have them, or can afford them, binoculars will enable you to enjoy the camping experience even more. Carry plenty of drinking water.


Mount Ololokwe Campsite in Samburu County
Mount Ololokwe Campsite in Samburu County. Photo Courtesy of Gateway

Baringo County

1. Maji Moto Hot Springs

Always at 38 Degrees C, with unprecedented seclusion and scenery, this is a bath-made-in-heaven. The fact that hot water oozes from the ground should be reason enough to visit the springs, yet, the site is extra-ordinarily beautiful. Its beauty is pieced together by the turquoise pools in an unspoiled landscape, the beauty of the valley which unfolds around every bend and, the tiered pools that are wedged between the huge outcrops – giving a sense of being in the world’s biggest bath-tub. It has a waterfalls too. With warm water. Maji-Moto Springs epitomizes the joy of exploring a little-known hidden gem. The 3-bandas Kudu Camp is the perfect jumping-off place to fully enjoy this wonder. “The camping site has magical nights under billions of enchanting stars. Looking up from the natural spa at night is just magical. Then, sit around a blazing born-fire as you unwind”. From here, you can drive to Lake Bogoria, which is only 8 kms away. For further inspiration read the Kenyan Camper’s “Bogoria’s Hot Little Secret”.

2. Lake Bogoria National Reserve

For many years three camping sites have been available at the southern area of Lake Bogoria National Reserve: Acacia, Fig Tree and Riverside. Latrines and water point used to be available and equipped tents for hire. No recent details of the facilities or charges are available. The Kenyancamper made these recent useful observations at the Reserve: “There are no facilities here. That means no running water, no toilets and no showers. You will have to totally self sufficient. There’s no dead wood to collect so you’ll have to bring your own or do without”.

Map of Lake Bogoria National Reserve.  All Rights Reserved to Safari Bookings
Map of Lake Bogoria National Reserve. All Rights Reserved to Safari Bookings

3. Roberts Camp

Roberts Camp found at Kampi ya Samaki on the western shore of Lake Baringo National Reserve has a camping site in proximity to the lake. To reach Robert’s Camp you drive out along the B4 Nakuru-Sigor Road, and 19 kms past Marigat Town you turn right to Kampi ya Samaki. The camp is in excellent surroundings with a lodging area that has a variety of standard accommodation options: self-contained cottage, banda, safari-style tents and honeymoon suite. The camping site is set about in a woody capacious flat ground with a natural lawn and lovely wild vegetation. Facilities include: Running water, hot showers, modern toilets, tents for hire, day and night security, restaurant and bar. Prices to rent a tent start from Shs. 2,500 for a small dome tent that sleeps 2 people and Shs. 3,500 for a large dome tent that can sleep 3-4 people. Price is inclusive of beddings, mattresses, firewood and small night light. If you require cooking utensils be sure to make advance arrangements. It is possible to bring your own tent and camp at the grounds along the shore. Facilities include: Showers, toilets and washing facilities. Camping fee: Shs. 800 per person per night. Children 6-11 years pay Shs. 400; and it is free for children under 5 years. For bookings and inquiries you can get in touch at: 0717 176 656 or, email info@robertscamp.com

4. Royal Campsite

The Royal Campsite found at Kimng’ochoch Conservancy, covering 5-acres not far from Kabarnet Town, is a blooming spot for camping. Remote and romantic, off-the-beaten track on a beautifully-appointed hilltop overlooking Kerio Valley, it has quite a fantastic and an unforgettable experience for the camper who has not experienced this region of Kenya. It is a great launching-point to hike down into the Kerio Valley as well as visit three nearby conservancies that are in the vanguard of forest conservation and regeneration in Baringo County. At the moment Kimng’ochoch Conservancy is more popular as a hiking destination. No current details of the camping facilities or charges are available. The site was traditionally used by the Kalenjin Elders to host unique gatherings and is still upheld as a ‘traditional-shrine’. The hilltop contains 3 rumpty sheds (thought to be used by the elders) and several camping sites at conveniently shaded ground.


Aerial View of Kilima Resort and Campsite at Iten in Elgeyo Marakwet
Aerial View of Kilima Resort and Campsite at Iten in Elgeyo Marakwet

Elgeyo Marakwet County

5. Lelin Campsite

Lelin Camp 1 km after taking the turnoff towards Kamariny and Tambach along C51 Iten-Kabarnet Road, is an exhilarating and inexpensive way to take in the beauty of the Kerio Valley and Elgeyo Escarpment for those who enjoy the wild outdoors. It is a beautiful and well-kept location, but campers must bring their own tents. Facilities include: Fresh water, toilet facilities, a restaurant that sells a simple and limited menu, bar, and day and night security. It is situated in a gated property with a walled-in enclosure conveniently close to the C51 Road. There are a few self-contained bandas. Lelin Campsite borders a long stretch of the River Kessup which is great for riverine walks and relaxation. Walking trips with the aid of a local guide down the Elgeyo Escarpment to Kerio Valley can be arranged. To book or further information get in touch with Lelin: 0718 545 124.

6. Kilima Resort

Set immediately north of Kessup Falls and Forest, Kilima Resort is a wonderful retreat to enjoy the sights of Elgeyo Marakwet so famously cited in travel books. It sits right at very edge of the step-side on Elgeyo Escarpment halfway between the highland and Kerio Valley into a regal promontory with magnificent views. The resorts has 4 modern rondavel-style bandas completed with authentic and traditional grass-thatched roofs; a 3-bedrooms self-catering villa with a private compound; and a camping ground kept in good condition with access to warm showers, toilet facilities and the restaurant. All accommodation enjoy pleasing uninterrupted views over Kerio Valley and Tugen Hills beyond the valley. From the convinience of Kilima Resort, guests can walk into the forest to tour Kessup Falls and its other interests. Other activities include excursions to Kerio Valley, Kamariny Track, paragliding at Active Edge, or touring Rimoi National Reserve.


Embu County

7. Camp Ndunda Falls

Arriving at Embu Town there is a choice of two roads, one running southerly to Kiritiri and Kitui and another running northerly to Meru. If you take the latter route, to Meru, the road continues up a slight gradient through Mutunduri and Runyenges as you near the boundary of Mount Kenya National Reserve. 2 kms after the turnoff and taking a left turn near Embu Level 5 Hospital towards the Njukiri Forest is a unique attraction. Located at the northeast tip of the forest is Camp Ndunda Falls, one of the best adventure outfits in Embu County, which attracts nature-lovers, birdies and hikers from war and wide. Some of its prime highlights include a rope-bridge looking over the Ndunda Falls, zip-line across Rupingazi River, walking the Njukiri Forest trail and biking around the camp. It also has a well-kept and pocket-friendly camp (liked for its hanging or rocking beds) and a camping site. The area is also wildly beautiful and unspoiled, set at the foot slopes of Mount Kenya and along the banks of River Rupingazi. Across the trails is a constantly changing scenery met with a friendly fork and plenty of monkeys going about their risible rituals. From the turnoff, it is 6 kms to Camp Ndunda Falls passing ASK Show Ground and through Njukiri Shopping Centre.


Abasuba Peace Museum on Mfangano Island in Homa Bay County
Abasuba Peace Museum on Mfangano Island in Homa Bay County

Homa Bay County

8. Abasuba Peace Museum

The Abasuba Community, originally from neighbouring Uganda, predominate the rocky Mfangano Island and the Abasuba Peace Museum founded in 2000 aims to promote and preserve their remarkably unique cultural heritage. Here, travellers can view a pictographic collection of the Abasuba Rock Art, visit the Magerenge Shrines, learn at the Communal Centre, study more about culture at their library or enjoy a night or two either at their campsite or cottages. The Abasuba Peace Museum, managed by the Trust for Rock Africa Art (TARA), was one of the first community museums to be supported by the National Museums of Kenya and the Government of Kenya through Kenya Tourism Trust Fund.  It is located near Ramba 2 kms north of the ferry jetty at the east tip of Mfangano.


Isiolo County

9. Nakuprat Gotu Conservancy

The 393 km2 Nakuprat Gotu Conservancy under the umbrella trust of Northern Rangelands Trust is a prolific wildlife plain, that also supports close to 15,000 patrolalists mostly from the Turkana and the Borana Tribes. “In 2010, leaders from both the Turkana and Borana communities from Ngare Mara and Gotu locations came together to discuss founding of a joint conservancy.” Nakuprat-Gotu acts as a buffer reserve for Sera Community Conservancy and for Shaba, Samburu and Buffalo Springs National Reserves, making this a critical wildlife dispersal area with plenty of opportunities for wildlife viewing. Wildlife aside, it has many places of interest which include the variegated flora along the Ngare Mara River, Gotu Falls, Akunoit Forests, the Boji Dera Springs and Campsite, Simpirre Camp, and the Magado Crater. Its eastern flank, which supports vast plains, is home to one of the abounding herds of Beisa oryx remaining in Kenya.


Chemusot Estate in Kericho County.  Image Courtesy of Bett CFC
Chemusot Estate in Kericho County. Image Courtesy of Bett CFC

Kericho County

10. Chemusot Estate

36 kms from Mau Summit turnoff, turning off at Taidy’s Kaisugu shortly before Chagaik Arboretum, brings you to the fascinating Chemusot Estate, established in 1974 principally as a tea farm specializing in producing green and purple tea. Beautiful scenery in the 1,000-acres farm, especially over the tea farm looking out to forest’s shoulder, encouraged its owner to open it up for visitors. The star here is their dam, engulfed by sweeping rows of tea, and in the foreground well kept lawns spruced up with a burst of colorful. Here, “two open rondavels, with electricity supplied by solar panels. These lead to a long wooden jetty, extending out to the middle of the dam. Those who don’t want to swim can take their pick of two canoes, or a rowing boat moored to the jetty” – John Fox. Trippers who wish to spend a night must bring their own camping equipment. Some popular activities at Chemusot Estate, host of Kericho Triathlon, are walking and biking.


Kiambu County

11. Redhill Campsite

A campsite is available on the stretch of the road overlooking the Ngecha Valley near Redhill. It is approached 27 kms from Nairobi along Limuru Road turning off near Bustani Gardens and The Dam Redhill Resort. The area is beautiful and peaceful with access to a lovely woody and a river where guests can explore the country. Facilities include: Toilets, showers and a restaurant. Tents, mattresses, sleeping bags, camp chairs, bikes, fishing lines, bait and boats are available for hire. To get the latest pricing and condition of the camping ground parties can get in touch redhillcamp@gmail.com. Persons wishing to use the camping site using their own equipment are required to use the aforementioned contact for payment inquiry. Campers must be suitably clothed for the highlands. Warm clothing and a chage of it, scarfs and mittens (for the night) are necessary. From Limuru Road the Redhill Camp is about 2.6 kms along a good all-weather road.


Kirinyaga County

12. Camp Malta

This is found along A2 Nairobi-Nanyuki Road next-door to KenGen Tana Power Stations at Makuyu, and shortly before the Tana River Bridge. There are several camping sites at delightful spots along Tana River besides various trout fishing launches. There is a central mess, toilet and shower facilities, and a communal bonfire is lit in the evening. Additional firewood is available for those wishing to set small fires near their camps. Those hiring tents need bedding, cooking and eating utensils and drinking water. There’s no bar, eatery or shop, so campers should come fully supplied. There are a few raised tented camps secluded by natural hedges. Camp Malta is in excellent surrounding and on its fringes flows River Tana, where there are many options for birding and exploration. It is also next-door to Tana Power Station where trippers can hike up to learn about the eccentricities of hydro-electricity. It has varied facilities for team building and group bonding activities. For more information about the condition of the camp and pricing write to tanaricampmalta@gmail.com; or call them at 0735 435192.

13. Kijani Camp

The enjoyable and affordable Kijani Camp about 5 kms past Makutano along A2 Nairobi-Nanyuki Road is a jumping-off place for trippers to Kirinyaga County.  Kijani Camp offers the options of living in villas or camping in their grounds. From Kijani Camp, trippers may take part in day trips to Mwea Rice Plains or visit the nearby White Waters, Savage Wilderness, Rapids Camp, or Napoleon Rafting Camp which are all well-known for water-rafting and numerous other adrenaline rushing activities. Trippers who fancy something less dramatic and quiet can tour the close by tea and coffee farms or bike around the Kijani Camp.

14. Timstep Hotel and Campsite

This is found on the banks of River Tana just off the A2 Nairobi-Nanyuki Road north of Kijani Camp. In area it is close to 10-acres. Features are well-equipped cottages, picnic and camping site as well as water sports such as kayaking and river rafting. Camping equipment is available for hire at a modest fee. This is a very attractive family-oriented retreat with woodland, large open spaces, roomy grounds and kids play area. It’s located just 7 kms from the Makutano Junction.

15. Savage Wilderness

Established in 1990 as Kenya’s foremost rafting company, Savage Wilderness is a fun and adventure-oriented getaway cataloged among the most avouched for spots in Kirinyaga County and especially loved for its wild and high-adrenaline sports.  Its biggest trump-card, by far, is the thrilling kayaking circuit that goes over multiple rapids and a 6-ms waterfall. Then, there’s the zip line, mountain-biking and walking trails, rock climbing, bungee jumping, achoring range and its splendid campsite. Savage Wilderness is patronized by an international team of outdoor experts who are adeptly trained to provide the best safety standards.


Camping Grounds at Savage Wilderness, Sagana, in Kirinyaga County
Camping Grounds at Savage Wilderness, Sagana, in Kirinyaga County

Laikipia County

16. Mukogodo Forest

For centuries, the local Yiaku Community watched over and protected the forest from harm and exploitation. In turn, the Maasai Tribe living around it retained the edicts governing the use of the forest. As a result, Mukogodo Forest which remains a no-go-zone – save for the dry seasons – is among the best preserved forest in Kenya. Traditionally, in times of drought, the Maasai Council of Elders convenes to plan-out where and when the livestock should be grazed. There are two campsites within the forest open to the public, who should be self-catering while visiting the area. Of the 7 protected forests in Laikipia County, Mukogodo Forest remains the most cultural importance. The other six forests in Laikipia are: Lariak, Ol Arabei, Samanek, Ngare Ndare, Rumuruti and Marmanet Forest.


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