El Karama Lodge

“Truly one of a kind family safari run by a family in wonderful Laikipia”
Budget level: Mid-Range
When to Go
All year
Property Type

El Karama Lodge is an intimate, owner-operated, award-winning lodge built by one of Africa’s most gifted wildlife sculptors, Murray Grant. Specialising in family safaris and small groups looking for adventure in the wild, there is no other place like it!

Located in the heart of Kenya’s most unique wildlife area, Laikipia, this one of a kind lodge is found inside a 5 600-hectare family owned private conservancy with access to over 80 000 hectares. The wildlife experience here is world-class, offering abundant sightings of the BIG 4, and day visits to horse ride, camel walk, visit iconic black and white rhino, or fly up to a private Elephant Rehabilitation Sanctuary in North Kenya.

The habitat supports 430 verified bird species and Northern Kenyan species such as Grevy’s Zebra, Gerenuk and Vulterine Guinea Fowl. With outstanding views of natural beauty, guests can wake up to the peaks of Mount Kenya and fall asleep to the sounds of the mighty Ewaso Nyiro river. It’s all about freedom and privacy here, whether you like to walk, fly camp under the stars, game drive, track on foot with guides, fish, visit the working farm, pick your vegetables in the organic garden, engage with wildlife conservation activities on the ground, or experience education in action with the rangers, the El Karama Lodge team will make it possible.

The lodge is owner–operated and was built and created by Kenyan wildlife sculptor Murray Grant and his wife Sophie, who continue to live here with their two children and many other animals. The lodge has two main living and dining areas, an eco-pool, a gallery/learning area and eight rooms.

You will sleep in airy cottages made of stone, wood, thatch and canvas. Having only eight in total means you will enjoy privacy and intimacy throughout your whole experience. Each cottage is unique and varies in size and feel. All except one are ensuite with large bath/showers made from black river stone and hand-crafted woodwork. The cottages have 24-hour electricity (solar) for lighting and hot water, flushing toilets and bath/showers. They have tried to create a peaceful environment that connects you to the bush combining all the important home comforts without losing the magic of this wild space.

The linen has a high-quality thread count, with plush pillows, heavy hand-spun linen throws from local artisans from the Rift Valley. Colours are muted, lots of creams, light greys, pale pinks and blues to make sure everything feels light and fresh.

Eating is an important part of any holiday and the lodge takes great pleasure in offering home-grown food that is as nutritious as it is delicious. Sophie is a French foodie with a fantastic team of chefs and assistants, so the dining experience at El Karama is always fresh, hearty and creative. Guests are welcome to visit the Bush Kitchen whenever they like and can get involved in everything from harvesting fresh veggies from the ‘shamba’, collecting the eggs from the chickens, sharing recipes and kneading dough for the daily loaves! If you are vegan, vegetarian or have special requirements, they are always happy to create something tailor made. For children they know exactly how important the right food at the right time is for family. Kids menus have been honed to a tee: think hot chocolate and banana rolls to coax little ones up at sunrise, early supper cooked out on the rocks, thermoses of soup with warm bread to keep everyone going on their adventures and marshmallows roasted on open fires!

Activities at El Karama is varied and include: Photography/Walking safaris/Driving safaris/Night drives/Bush meals/Fly camping/Pool/Wellness/Farm visits/Farm to fork/Yoga and Pilates.

For children and teens they have Kenya’s first Bush School for children, which is focused on educating and ‘rewilding’ children during their safari. This is a truly family-friendly lodge and your precious little ones will be busy learning about the bush with the wonderful guides and resident naturalists.

Child activities include: Tracking and plaster casts/Clay sculpting/Drawing/Safari diary/Fishing/Playing with bunnies/Collect the Eggs from Sophie’s chickens/Ride Mr B the pony/Visit the veggie patch and pick your own for lunch/Wildlife monitoring/Predator profiling/Bush photography/Cooking lessons/Sports (volleyball, running, bush football)/Walking with rangers/School Visit to Daraja Academy/Fishing/Bushcraft and medicinal uses of plants/Behind the scenes tour of the lodge.

The ethos at El Karama is:

“That all our guests are welcomed like family into the unique, authentic realm that is El Karama Lodge. To us, curiosity, a sense of adventure and self-sufficiency are the crucial ingredients for truly transformative encounters. We are managing and protecting this very special piece of Africa for you, for the animals, for the people of Laikipia, for posterity. Sustainability is the main foundation of our ethos: how to fit, seamlessly, into this environment with a limited footprint, how to make real impact where it’s needed the most and how to make it last. We invite you to come and be a part of this story. We want you to experience this life as we do; wonder at the tiny tracks of dik diks on a sandy path, marvel at the light across the plains after a rainstorm, delight in harvesting avocados for lunch directly from the tree and most important of all, to take a step back from the pace of modern existence”.

Why is the lodge so special for families?

Because it’s run by one. This family has a strong creative heritage that can be seen in every part of the lodge life from art on the walls to the sculptures in the shared areas. The Grants have lived on El Karama since Independence in 1963 and combined cattle breeding and ranching with wildlife protection for over 50 years now. Murray Grant, a third generation Kenyan born on El Karama, now wildlife sculptor and conservationist, and Sophie, a passionate Homesteader and Foodie created the lodge together with their team over a 10-year period, developing its offering in an organic and holistic way. They continue to live next to the lodge with their two children, chickens, dogs and rabbits and enjoy meeting guests and sharing their way of life.

This is a truly unique and very very special experience for families!

Ready for an adventure? Lets Talk!

Contact SAFARI FRANK to get started on your safari of a lifetime!