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Kenya Safari

Campi ya Kanzi

Chyulu Hills National Park, Kenya

Campi ya Kanzi and Mount Kilimanjaro
Return to Map of Southeast Kenya                     Image © Campi ya Kanzi

View images of Campi ya Kanzi:  Campi ya Kanzi Images

CAMPI YA KANZI RATES: Campi ya Kanzi Rates

Campi ya Kanzi (Camp of the hidden treasure in Kiswahili) is a community project with the local Maasai people on their Group Ranch of 400 square miles. The project proudly embraces the principles of eco-tourism and your stay benefits the local community (who own the lodge) tremendously. The altitude of the ranch ranges from 3,000 to 6,900 feet, so the land on the ranch includes a variety of different environments, from savannah grasslands to green woodlands to cool mountain forests. The volcanic Chyulu Hills flank the property and the area is malaria-free.

Campi ya Kanzi is located near the border with Tanzania in the Chyulu Hills area (the Green Hills of Ernest Hemingway's Africa), overlooking Mount Kilimanjaro and bordering Tsavo West, Chyulu and Amboseli National Parks.

Campi ya Kanzi has two goals:
• Help the Maasai in preserving their wildlife and cultural heritage
• Treat you to a memorable vacation, while you play a huge role in preserving this paradise.

The camp is a joint venture between Luca Belpietro, Antonella Bonomi, and the local Maasai people. Luca (a professional guide) and Antonella live in the camp permanently, with a team of 50 local Maasai to assist them.

Accommodation            For images of Campi ya Kanzi, click Campi ya Kanzi Images
Campi ya Kanzi accommodates a maximum of 14 guests in six thatched-roof, tented cottages and in the Hemingway and Simba suites. The first suite is named after the famous author who wrote of the nearby Chyulu Hills in his book "Green Hills of Africa", while the latter suite is named after the Swahili name for Lion.
Each tented cottage enjoys a different view and accommodates one or two adults. An extra bed can be added for a child.

The rooms feature either twin or king-size beds, made at the camp with local logs, with specially made linen imported from Italy. A table, two safari chairs, a colonial trunk, shelves and hangers for your clothes, and daily fresh flowers complete the interior décor. The suites feature a king-size bed and a changing room with cabinets between the bedroom and the bathroom. The bathrooms have double sinks.

All tented cottages are constructed of stones, fabric, and wood and they feature a full elegant bath with shower, bidet, basin, flush toilet and electric light. Brass plumbing fixtures add an unexpected touch of elegance and comfort, with hot and cold running water.

Each tented cottage has a wide veranda to provide superb views of either Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Tsavo Hills, and the Chyulu Hills. The camp's state-of-the-art solar energy system provides 220-volt electricity for your cottage (plugs and sockets are Italian).

Campi ya Kanzi is a special retreat far removed from the hectic pace of the modern world. If necessary, however, you can reach your home or business with the camp's satellite phone. Cell phones - luckily - do not work.

With only eight tented cottages, there is ample distance from one to the other to guarantee every guest's privacy. Each tented cottage has a dedicated Maasai attendant assigned to it. At night, a Maasai askari (night watchman) patrols the camp.

Tembo House
Tembo ("elephant") House is the heart of the camp. The clubhouse has a thatched roof and is beautifully constructed of local materials, such as lava rocks and native timbers (collected in a National Forest where there is a sustainable plantation). It is open to the outdoors and from its terrace you'll have a spectacular view of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Tembo House has a large lounge where you can enjoy books about Africa, relax with a refreshing drink after your safari, or listen to classical music while watching a zebra drinking at the waterhole.

You will also take your meals at Tembo House. Crystal glasses, fine table settings and candlelight dinners will be a highlight of your Campi ya Kanzi experience. The chefs are trained in the preparation of fine Italian cuisine (home made fresh pasta, risotto, biscuits, bread, ice-cream...), which are featured, along with International and local dishes. Fresh daily vegetables are supplied by the camp's organic vegetable garden, as well as fresh milk from the organic dairy and fresh eggs from the chickens. Wines are from South Africa and Antonella's Italian vineyards, specially bottled for Campi ya Kanzi.

Solar energy provides 220v electricity 24 hours a day. Plugs are 2-pin, Italian.

Other Facilities
Back at the camp after a long day outdoors, you will find that enjoying a drink beside the fireplace is particularly rewarding. Accompanied by the magical sounds of the African night, a delicious five-course candlelight dinner provides a peaceful close to your exciting day.

Quality time in quality places should be your motto for a successful safari experience. Spare some time to just relax, spend an afternoon reading a book and absorbing the tranquility that will embrace you. At the waterhole in front of your veranda, wildlife will keep you entertained.

Should you like to visit the camp's organic garden, the solar energy system, or the workshop, the staff will be delighted, and will enjoy giving you a technical tour of the lodge. The managers are proud of the state of the art technologies they have adopted to protect the environment.

Enjoy a visit to Maasai Chic, the shop Antonella started to support a community women group. It features not just Maasai art crafts, but art work of Kenyan artists, African jewelry, African books, safari clothing and boutique clothing done by African stylists.

Activities & Wildlife
Your days at Campi ya Kanzi begin with the aroma of Kenyan coffee or tea brought to your tent by your personal Maasai attendant. Enjoy your coffee or tea and the view of Mt. Kilimanjaro on the veranda, and then head out for your morning walk or game drive.

After your safari, return to the camp for a breakfast that includes fresh local fruit such as mango and pineapple or enjoy a picnic breakfast in the middle of the savanna, complete with eggs and bacon cooked on a bush fire. Following breakfast, you can enjoy an escorted safari on foot, or just relax at the camp. At lunchtime, they can organize a grand picnic for you, featuring fresh vegetables from their garden or you can dine at Tembo House and then take an afternoon siesta.

At other safari camps, guests frequently find themselves tied to an inflexible, predetermined safari schedule; not so at Campi Ya Kanzi. Guests here are encouraged to work directly with their professional guide to design each day's safari and activities. All will depend on your desires, the time of the year (game moves within the reserve and certain safaris are better in certain time of the year) and the length of your stay.

The following are some of the activities available:
• Game drives in open Land Rovers
• Tsavo and Chyulu National Park excursions
• Maasai cultural villages visits
• Bush breakfast, picnic, dinner
• Forest walks
• Escorted game walks
• Bird watching
• Visit the Trust activities (schools, dispensaries, etc.)
• Mobile camping
• Air excursions, including a Kilimanjaro scenic flight

Safari game drives are conducted in one of the six open Land Rover Defenders. Your professional guide and Maasai game trackers will always be with you to provide all needed information and to ensure your safety in the bush.

On walking safaris with your guides, you'll see many species of game and birds in their natural environment. Since this is your Maasai tracker's native land, he'll be able to introduce you to local medicinal plants, discuss animal tracks and behavior, and share with you his lore of the Maasai culture and traditions.

You could start the day by taking a guided walking safari with local trackers to show you the rich flora and fauna of this undiscovered paradise. Another popular activity is the forest walk in the Chyulu, with a picnic on the hills, or a river walk and lunch at the camp. One of the best options is an early morning game drive with bush breakfast near the spring: walking next to elephants is almost guaranteed. A game drive or a walk in the savanna in the afternoon.

Or just before dawn, breakfast could be ready for you at the Tembo House. You will leave for a day excursion to Tsavo National Park. This is elephant country; you will explore the Park and see many different game species. We have been lucky to spot 30 different mammals species on this game drive, including elephant, lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, lesser kudu, klipspringer, oryx, wildebeest, and more. For lunch you will have a picnic in the Park and you'll be back to the camp in the late afternoon, driving through the plains of the ranch property.

Another day you could have an early morning game walk and bush breakfast, with the possibility to visit a Maasai village; in the afternoon you could enjoy a game walk or a game drive. Sundowners (a drink while you admire sunset) on a cliff looking for the elephants would be a perfect ending of a great day in Africa. Or you could spend the afternoon visiting the Maasai Wilderness Trust activities (schools, dispensaries, game scouts).

There are plenty of opportunities. Landscape varies from open grassland savanna, to bush hills, to river forests, to the lake, to the spring and up to the clouds forests of the Chyulu. Each place needs almost a day to be fully explored.

The ranch is immense and has a wide variety of natural habitats, so it is home to a remarkable range of wildlife and bird species. This diversity makes it a very valuable area for conservation in Kenya. It also ensures a truly thrilling safari for guests. There are lions, elephants, leopards, buffalos and the common animals of the plains, but also many rare species thrive on the ranch, such as African wild dog, lesser kudu, and cheetah. Conservation efforts have been so successful that black rhino have recently moved onto the ranch!

More than 60 species of mammals and almost 400 bird species inhabit the ranch. The most recent game count revealed an abundant local wildlife population: 2,016 zebra, 945 hartebeest, 810 Grant gazelles, 514 impala, 432 eland, 362 giraffes, 340 buffaloes, 329 elephants, 19 lions, and 5 leopards. There are also hundreds of wildebeests, waterbucks, Thompson's gazelles, baboons, and oryx. A walk through the gentle hills near the camp will reward you with a view of the graceful klipspringer. While exploring the riverbanks, you might catch a view of the shy lesser kudu or a glimpse of the bushbuck. In the plains you will see the unique, long-necked gerenuk antelope.

For an authentic tribal experience, you can also visit the local Maasai village where your tracker lives. Towards the end of the day, you'll find that late afternoon is also an excellent time for a safari. At dusk, you can make an easy climb up one of the beautiful volcanic hills surrounding the camp. This provides a stunning view of animals grazing on the golden plains below you.

Bird life is amazing, once again thanks to the incredible diversity of the topography of the reserve. The forest Narina trogon, Hartlaub's turaco, silver-cheeked hornbill are extremely rare elsewhere, yet easy to spot here. Kori bustards, a variety of hornbills, and numerous colorful sunbirds are also common. Birds of prey are plentiful, including the rare Verraux's eagle.

Fly Camping
In the early days of safaris, a hunter looking for game wanted to be able to move light and quick. Based at the main camp, he would put up a fly camp in remote areas looking for wildlife. Fly is the name for the upper sheet of a tent. Hunters would simply take along that sheet, and sleep underneath, hence the name fly camping. Today, a simple mobile camp is often referred to as a fly camp. Guests can experience this unique experience here. A simple camp is set up on the banks of a river at the foothills of Kilimanjaro, where Ernest Hemingway hunted in days gone by. Your facilities at the fly camp will be a bucket shower, a pit toilet tent,and a double tent with safari beds.

Dining is under the stars. You drive to the camp area, which is next to the border with Tanzania and take a walk on the river, reaching camp by foot at sunset. A shower and a drink at the fire will make you feel like the first hunters. Dinner under the stars will be unforgettable, while the river gently flows a few feet away.

In the morning a walk upstream is always rich with surprises; bushbucks are common, and so are elephants. Even cheetah have been seen on foot and the experience is simply unforgettable.

Kilimanjaro Flight
Should you wish to fly over the snow-topped peak of Kilimanjaro, the Green Hills of Africa (the Chyulu Hills), or over the magnificent wilderness of Tsavo West National Park in search of elephants, the camp's commercial pilot will be delighted to assist.

Flying next to the highest mountain of Africa is amazing; you will see the snowy peaks, the forests,and the valleys of the old lava flows. At sunrise, with a pink light embracing the Mountain, you will fly next to Mawenzi - the second highest peak, just hundreds of feet away, then towards Kibo. View the Shira Plateau, and in the distance Arusha's Mt. Meru.

Being so close to Kilimanjaro is fascinating. The flight returns toward the Chyulu Hills, flying low in search of elephants, which are typically seen. After landing, a table will be waiting for you in the savanna, with a fabulous vista of the mountain you've just flown over. A champagne breakfast, with eggs and bacon cooked on a bush fire complete the adventure.

Flying in the early morning is extremely comfortable, the air is not moving and you will have an incredibly smooth flight. Flying completely around the Mountain is also an option, but clearance from the Tanzanian Authorities is required, which is only obtainable with 48 hours advance notice. Please book in advance.

The flight is not included in the rates. Cost will depend on the number of passengers.

Conservation and Eco-Tourism
Campi ya Kanzi are actively participating in protecting the environment and enjoying it in the most ecologically sound possible manner. The camp is among the most environmentally friendly camps in all of Africa (so quoted by Adventure Magazine, National Geographic magazine, USA Today).

The camp has been built with local materials only, and not a single tree has been cut. State of the art technology was applied for the use of renewable resources.
The 220-volt electricity is provided by solar power and the water is heated with solar heaters. In the kitchen, Meals are prepared using a special, eco-friendly charcoal produced by the United Nations Environment Project. The food scraps are composted for use in the vegetable garden. Water is the most precious resource; after use, the gray water passes through lava filters that cleanse it before it is used in the garden or put in a pond for wildlife.

The camp assists the Maasai community to implement sustainable ways to manage their land and their resources. The organize workshop and trips to enable the Maasai community to better protect their wilderness.

Schools courses run by teachers and Maasai elders address the need to understand the delicate balance of the environment and how the entire community can play a role protecting it. If you have any old school text books for primary schools, please bring them with you, it will certainly help them.

The Trust created at Campi ya Kanzi plays an active role, as a $40 per day conservation fee (included in your rates) goes toward some of the Trust activities, such as employment of game scouts to make sure there is no poaching, no water courses diversion, no bush fire,and no illegal cutting of woods. It also helps by employing teachers, nurses and one doctor, to assist sick people.

The camp are proud to say that they have achieved meaningful results in protecting both the wilderness and the wildlife, working hand in hand with the Maasai.

The camp also runs the Simba Project. This project compensates the Maasai community for all livestock losses inflicted by lions. This is the only way to protect the lions that live alongside the Maasai.

The Maasai
Maasai is the correct spelling of this noble tribe: it means people speaking maa. Masai was the incorrect spelling of the British settlers and has remained in current use.

The Maasai have always been special. Their bright red robes set them apart visually. Spear in hand, they are calm and courageous, regardless of the danger. The armed British troops who drove the Maasai from their lands in the late 19th century had great respect for these fearless tribesmen. Up until recently, the only way for a Maasai boy to achieve warrior status was to single-handedly kill a lion with his spear.

When you see a Maasai for the first time, you will likely agree with what Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen) wrote about her experience in East Africa in her book Out of Africa: "A Maasai warrior is a fine sight. Those young men have, to the utmost extent, that particular form of intelligence which we call chic; daring and wildly fantastical as they seem, they are still unswervingly true to their own nature, and to an immanent ideal. Their style is not an assumed manner, nor an imitation of a foreign perfection; it has grown from the inside, and is an expression of the race and its history, and their weapons and finery are as much a part of their being as are a stag's antlers."

Kenya recognizes over fifty tribes of native people. The Maasai were the dominating tribe at the start of the 20th century. Today they are the only remaining tribe that have retained most of their traditions, lifestyle and lore.

In common with the wildlife with which they co-exist, the Maasai require much land. Unlike many other tribes in Kenya, the Maasai are nomadic and pastoral. They live by herding cattle and goats. The Maasai's god is Engai. They believe he created them, gave them all the cattle in the world, and later made other human beings.

The Maasai refer to the neighboring tribes of farmers and hunter-gatherers as "Ndorobo," meaning poor folk. Maasai measure wealth by the number of cattle, so people without cattle are considered poor.

Maasai do not have villages with permanent buildings. Instead, they construct a "enkang" (corral) for a group of families. The enkang is a circle of huts, one per family, enclosed by a circular fence of thorn bushes. The women of each household construct the hut from cattle dung and clay. Periodically, the group will abandon their enkang and construct a new one in an area with better water and grazing.

The main goal of Campi ya Kanzi is to protect the land of the Maasai of Kuku Group Ranch, and to enable them to continue living according to their traditions, if they so wish. Your visit to Campi ya Kanzi contributes to this goal. For every day you spent at Campi ya Kanzi, a $40 conservation fee is set aside to assist the Maasai community and to protect their wildlife.

TOURISM for TOMORROW 2006 - Conservation Award Winner
Campi ya Kanzi has been awarded the Tourism for Tomorrow Conservation Award for 2006.  This award recognizes the World's leading examples for best practices in tourism development.

The Award is granted by The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), a membership organization representing the leaders of the global Travel & Tourism Industry, working with Governments to raise awareness of one of the world's most important contributors to the economy and employment.

Sponsors of the Award are, among others, British Airways, Avis, Adventure Magazine of the National Geographic Society, BBC World, The Daily Telegraph, and Travel Weekly.

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