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East Africa Parks and Lodges

Since 2004 I’ve visited East Africa five times, spending about eight weeks experiencing a bit of the richness of two countries: Kenya and Tanzania.  During these journeys I’ve visited over twenty wildlife parks and reserves and stayed in twenty-eight different lodges, camps or hotels.  What follows are a dozen of my favorite places to visit and favorite places to stay — six in each each of the two countries.

Bateleur Camp, Kichwa Tembo (located just a few miles from the northwest entrance to the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya) is Susan’s and my favorite camp — we’ve visited twice.  The staff (pictured above) are exceptional, the accommodations beautiful, and the scenery outstanding.

Susan, Protus & Michael – Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Within Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve, a very nice accommodation is the Mara Serena Lodge.  It’s perched on a hill with outstanding views of the savanna (and abundant wildlife) below.

Cheetah – Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

House of Waine is one my favorite places to stay in Nairobi.  It is located in a very serene setting on the outskirts of Nairobi in the suburb of  Karen — named for Karen Blixen (Out of Africa) who once had a home and coffee plantation in the area.

Standing with our friend Peter who took the bus from Arusha, Tanzania to visit, House of Waine – Nairobi, Kenya

Though the accommodations are simple at the Serena Mountain Lodge in the central highlands of Kenya, the scenery is grand and wildlife viewing is spectacular — there is a natural salt lick behind the lodge that attracts a variety of wildlife.

Sykes Monkey – Serena Mountain Lodge, Kenya

Of the places visited in Kenya, my very favorite for wildlife viewing is the Masai Mara National Reserve.  But my next favorite is Lake Nakuru National Park and I do enjoy the Lake Nakuru Lodge — wonderful setting!

Lesser Flamingos – Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya

Another favorite wildlife viewing spot in Kenya is Lake Baringo (one of the Rift Valley  saline lakes); the Lake Baringo Country Club is a very quaint place to stay.  The variety of bird species in the area is grand.

Watching hippos – Lake Baringo, Kenya

It’s hard to imagine a more serene place to begin a Tanzania adventure than the Arusha Coffee Lodge. Located only a few miles from the city of Arusha (and rather close to the small airport that services the many safari lodges), the Coffee Lodge includes only 18 private chalets, wonderful gardens, pool and indoor as well as out door dining.  Though a tad expensive we love it!

Outdoor dining at the Arusha Coffee Lodge – Arusha, Tanzania

Another nice lodge near Arusha (also built on a Coffee Plantation) is the Arumeru River Lodge.  A bit less expensive than the Coffee Lodge, it’s also comfortable, quiet (only twenty chalets) and is very relaxing.

Guided hike organized by the Arumeru River Lodge – Arusha, Tanzania

Located near the Serengeti Klein’s Camp is a real jewel.  This is another intimate camp run by &Beyond (Conservation Corporation Africa) that leaves nothing to chance: wonderful accommodations and staff.  The lovely stone lodges are perched on the edge of the Kuka Hills on the north-eastern border of Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.

Picnic on the Serengeti with Peter & Bacari, Klein’s Camp – Kuka Hills, Tanzania

A very comfortable camp with easy access to the Western Serengeti is the Mbalageti Safari Lodge.  Situated not far from the Mbalageti River, this commanding lodge is nicely situated along the western corridor of the Great Migration (the annual migration of a million or more wildebeest and zebras) in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.

Wildebeests pausing near the Grumeti River –  Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

One of my favorite wildlife parks in Tanzania is Tarangire National Park.  Not has heavily frequented as the Serengeti National Park or the Ngorongoro Crater (i.e., a lot less vehicles), Tarangire is a real gem, especially if you enjoy seeing lots of elephants and majestic Baobab trees.  And, the Kikoti Tented Lodge, just outside one of the park’s entrances is a very reasonable and enjoyable place to stay.

Elephants – Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

I’ve saved the best for last.  Another &Beyond (Conservation Corporation Africa) lodge is located on the most serene (and private) island I’ve ever visited: Mnemba Island Lodge, Zanzibar, Tanzania.  This completely tranquil setting is rather pricey but you get what you pay for.  We’ve visited twice and plan to return again!

Sunset stroll on Mnemba Island – Zanzibar, Tanzania

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