Porini Rhino Camp, Kenya
December 05, 2017
LOCATION: Sandwiched between the Aberdares and Mount Kenya, the Ol Pejeta Conservancy is a 90,000-acre private wildlife reserve in the quiet and upmarket Laikipia region of Kenya.
LOCATION: Sandwiched between the Aberdares and Mount Kenya, the Ol Pejeta Conservancy is a 90,000-acre private wildlife reserve in the quiet and upmarket Laikipia region of Kenya. The nearest airstrip, Nanyuki, is just a short flight from Nairobi, but the minute you step off the plane you leave the crowds behind. You rarely see another soul on game drives – but you do see plenty of game, especially rhino. There are both black and white rhino here – in fact, four of the last eight Northern White Rhino in the world are here, part of a special breeding programme.FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Porini Rhino sneaks up on you. It has a stealthy, low-key presence. The low, grey-green tents nestle next to acacia trees, almost invisible. Luxury here isn’t about opulence; it’s about exclusivity. Guiding is exceptional – the local Maasai know every inch of the land, and will not only give you the lowdown on the big game, but also on how their tribes live. The camp is run on the strictest sustainable principles, so it benefits the local community and isn’t to the detriment of the pristine environment.THE FACTS: There are just six tents here, each with its own terrace with views over the Laikipia plains – you can even look out from the large, comfortable beds. Furniture throughout is wooden and colonial in style, with meals taken either in the main lounge tent on a long table lit by storm lanterns, or in the open air in a wooded glade. The food is delicious, particularly in this remote location, and in addition to three square meals there are treats throughout, from fresh coffee and biscuits with your pre-game drive wake up call, to canapés with your sundowners.
A GOOD BASE FOR: An all-round Kenyan safari experience without the crowds. Big game is plentiful and humans are scarce, so there’s wilderness as well as wildlife – and you need both for the best safaris. Because the camp is part of a private conservancy it isn’t governed by the same laws that cover Kenya’s National Parks, so walking safaris and night drives are possible. It’s a must for rhino lovers, with the double whammy of both black and white varieties, and there are even chimpanzees in a rescue sanctuary.
WOW: Hanging out with the Maasai is a real wow – we went for a walk after dinner and were shown how to throw spears, and then the guides sang and demonstrated the famous Maasai leaping. It felt inclusive, rather than contrived. Late night drinks around the campfire offers some extraordinary star-gazing opportunities.
HOW MUCH: A two-night package starts from $945 per person