If you searched for camping in Kenya and are based here in Kenya, you’ll probably get the same results I got. List of campsites near you. While Google tries to give you these helpful quick links from the search bar, you’ll quickly realize that it is very little to get you excited about camping in Kenya.
While we advocate for camping safaris that can save you up to 50% of your safari cost, we realize that there is a lot we need to do here at Kambu Campers to really get the information about campsite locations. Sarah has been working on a robust map listing all the campsites in national parks, reserves and in conservancies. She has embedded them on Google Maps for you to easily navigate to any particular campsite or to get details of any specific campground in Kenya.
So can I camp in Kenya?
Yes! There are a lot of camping opportunities in Kenya and our first-hand responses to some interview questions we prepared in order to understand the camping subsector in Kenya’s tourism industry revealed that camping used to be a big adventure in Kenya.
Camping in Kenya will give you memories that will last a lifetime. With some of the most beautiful places to pitch a tent, why would you want to camp anywhere else? The Great Rift Valley, volcanoes, savannahs full of lions, and forests inhabited by elephants are only a taste of what’s available for your camping experience. However, even if you choose to stay at a campsite with excellent facilities, you’ll need the proper equipment for the conditions in Kenya.
So with all the beauty, you’d think Kenyan roads are busy with campers over the weekends.
Unfortunately, the truth is that camping in Kenya has become an activity reserved for a few adventurous souls. The lack of information and resources on camping, coupled with the challenges related to poor infrastructure investment has driven potential campers away from the experience.
But with Kambu Campers, we want to bridge the gap between you and your memorable camping experience in Kenya. We have created a platform with information about campsites around the country to give you an idea of what’s available and where exactly these campsites are located and whether they require pre-booking or not.
We have tried to cover as many of the camping sites, from the coast to inland, national parks, reserves and conservancies to give you all the information you need for your camping adventure. We provide details about the facilities available at each campsite including toilets, showers, water supply, security and more.
We also have a list of camping equipment rental companies so that if you don’t have the necessary equipment, you can get it from them. If you need to rent complete camping gear, we also offer that as a service.
Before we launched Kambu Campers, we came up with a simple questionnaire where we talked to various tour operators and campground owners or operators to understand the dismal situation of camping in Kenya. We did this to find out what problems needed fixing in order to make camping more accessible and enjoyable.
We had to find out why Camping is in decline in Kenya:
Eliakim, a veteran tour guide who founded Tekko Tours told us that camping as an activity has seen a significant decline over the past two decades. He pointed out that several tour operators decided to focus on the lucrative growing market from the West – Specifically the US and some parts of Europe and Asia.
Campsites locations in the Parks and outside the parks used to be better staffed and campsite operators and even KWS which manages several public campgrounds use to decide on more resources to make sure campsites were equipped.
Tripadvisor reviews left by disgruntled safarigoers made many tour operators opt for glamping safari packages that offer more convenience to their customers. Apparently, camping was also the last resort booking for campers who missed out on popular lodges and resorts within the parks. Such lodge-aspiring campers do not make good clients and Eliakim pointed out that those are the one who is likely to leave negative reviews.
The thing is, camping comes with some challenges but there are benefits to that – especially for people with growing kids.
Here are the 10 key benefits of camping:
- Camping is an affordable holiday option
- Being surrounded by nature can be therapeutic
- You get to explore new places and meet new people
- You can bond with your family and friends
- Teach kids how to appreciate the outdoors
- Learn new skills while camping such as lighting a fire, setting up a tent, or paddling a canoe
- Engage in cool activities such as making campfires. Take note of campsites that provide firewood such as those at Ol Pejeta.
- Camping can help reduce stress levels and develop better sleeping habits
- Appreciate the night sky with your family
- Meet new people and create lifelong memories
We are working with tour operators and campsite owners to provide camping solutions for those who want to explore the Kenyan wilds but don’t want to be weighed down by equipment and gear. Our ultimate goal is to revive camping as a popular choice for adventurers seeking an authentic experience in Kenya.
Glamping vs Camping:
Glamping is a combination of glamor and camping, meant to provide an outdoor experience with the luxury of accommodation. It is an ideal option for those who want to explore nature’s beauty while enjoying some basic amenities such as comfortable beds, hot showers, electricity and other services.
On the other hand, camping involves roughing it out in the wilds with minimal amenities. Campers need to bring their own camping gear such as tents, sleeping bags and other supplies. Even though you will be outdoors, there are basic creature comforts that you can enjoy such as having a hot meal over a campfire or playing fun games like football or badminton.
Should I go camping or glamping in my Kenya Safari? Cost Comparison
The choice is all yours. It depends on your budget and experience level. If you are looking for a comfortable stay with basic amenities, you can choose glamping for convenience. You should, however, be prepared to pay for glamping accommodation on tented camps with rates starting from $200 per night per person. This is in addition to the daily transport fee of $250 to $350 per day – for the van to take you from the airport to the campsite. This brings the total cost of glamping to at least $450 per night per person. In fact, some glamping options such go for as high as $700 per night per person.
On the other hand, if you want to experience nature in its raw form and don’t mind roughing it out then camping is the way to go. You can get the same experience without breaking the bank. With our sleeper campervans fitted with a small kitchenette and a bed with bedding, you pay anywhere from $150 to $250 depending on the month. Considering the cost of food is about $30 and park entry is $50 (on the higher side), you can come up with a budget safari that’s really affordable. Your all-inclusive daily expenses can be as low as $230 per day during low-season months such as April to $300 which is still a big discount from the $450 to $700 glamping cost.
Read our other post on cost of Kenya safari here.
How Our Campervans can make your camping safari even more affordable:
By using our campervan to go on a camping safari, you can bring down the cost of your expenses significantly. Our vans have all the basic necessities such as a comfortable bed and a kitchenette. This means that you don’t have to rent any extra equipment or supplies for your camping trip. In addition, our campervans can come with a driver(optional) who will also be your guide.
From lodging accommodation of $300+ per night, you can end up spending maybe $50 to gain entry to the campsite and perhaps $30 to get into the park, reserve or conservancy. Remember the cost of campsites varies from one place to another, so it’s best to research this in advance.
If you would rather get a self-drive safari van and drive yourself to the campsite destination, that’s even better as you then reduce the cost of having a guide.
Read more about our campervan rentals here or get more info on self-drive 4WD safari vehicles here.
Some tips for camping in Kenya:
At Kambu Campers, we are committed to encouraging and supporting campers in Kenya with our list of campsites and camping tours. We have a few tips on how you can enhance your camping experience in Kenya and make sure you have the best time while doing it:
1. Check out the camps
There are campsites located in all the national parks, reserves and conservancies. Some of the better-known ones include Amboseli National Park, Masai Mara, Laikipia Plateau and Samburu National Reserve just to list a few.
2. Research the facilities
When planning a camping trip in Kenya, make sure to check out any campsite reviews online before committing. This will help you get an idea of what amenities are available at each camp and help you narrow down your choices. Some of the things to look for include toilets, showers, water supply, electricity, and any other items that might be important for your camping experience.
3. Bring the right equipment
To ensure a comfortable and enjoyable camping experience, make sure to bring all the equipment you need. This includes tents, sleeping bags, cooking supplies, flashlights, insect repellent and sun protection. Consider renting or borrowing camping gear if needed.
4. Be aware of safety issues
When camping in Kenya, always be aware of the potential for danger and take precautions to protect yourself. Familiarize yourself with local animal and plant life, obey park regulations, stay on trails, and avoid unnecessary risks. Make sure you are equipped with a first-aid kit and emergency supplies.
Camping in different campsites locations in Kenya:
Camping in Lake Naivasha:
Lake Naivasha is a beautiful freshwater lake located in the Great Rift Valley with plenty of camping sites. This area is great for bird watching and has spectacular views of the surrounding hills and Mount Longonot. Campsites here range from basic to luxury, all nestled among the vibrant foliage.
Camping in Amboseli National Park:
Amboseli National Park is one of the most popular places in Kenya for wildlife watching. It is home to large herds of elephants, lions, giraffes, buffaloes and other animals. The park also offers plenty of camping options from budget to luxury.
Camping in Masai Mara:
The Masai Mara is one of the most famous wildlife reserves in Kenya. Here you can find large concentrations of animals such as zebras, wildebeest, cheetahs and lions. It also has a variety of camping sites from basic to luxury and is a great place for game drives.
Camping in Laikipia Plateau:
The Laikipia Plateau is a stunningly beautiful area located in central Kenya. It has a variety of camping sites from basic to luxury and offers some of the best views in the country. The area is popular for game drives, bird watching and spot-lighting at night.
Camping in Samburu National Reserve:
Samburu National Reserve is located in northern Kenya and is home to large concentrations of wildlife. It offers basic to luxury camping options, making it a great place for those looking to camp while getting up close to nature.