‘Jambo! Welcome to Sasaab’ came the energetic greeting from our hosts and immediately we felt right at home.
Our two hour flight from Masaai Mara to the Sasaab lodge in Samburu had been a little bumpy but we landed safely on the hotel’s private airstrip and within ten minutes we’d arrived at the beautiful camp located high up on the hill.
From the terrace of the lodge you can look out on the beautiful red landscape of Samburu, follow the flow of the Ewaso Nyiro River and if you’re lucky maybe even see elephants come to bathe while you’re eating breakfast.
Sasaab is part of The Safari Collection, a portfolio of four luxury lodges and camps located throughout out Kenya. As well as Giraffe Manor, where I stayed in Nairobi, there is also Sala’s Camp in Maasai Mara and Solio Lodge near Mount Kenya. Owners Tanya and Mikey Carr-Hartley selected these locations to showcase the very best that their home country had to offer and allow guests to experience the unique features of each environment.
I’ll write more about the landscape in my next post but as soon as we landed in Samburu we were struck by how much the red sands contrasted with the lush green of Maasai Mara.
The design of Sasaab is a beautiful fusion of Moroccan and Swahili style and the main hotel lobby is an almost totally open space.
Undulating arches, white-washed walls and lanterns all add to the sense of place and African feel.
One side of the lobby can best be described as an open ‘living room’ with a bar and comfortable sofas and Moroccan inspired details. Actually ‘living room’ is a great way to describe the lodge as the kind hospitality of hotel managers Nicky and her boyfriend Scott make you feel right at home. In fact, it was the welcoming nature of the South African born couple that was what made this experience even more special.
On the other side of the lobby is the dining area. Guests dine together, family-style and Scott and Nicky join in too. And speaking of families, Sasaab is very child friendly and there’s even a special family suite that can be booked.
Meals and most drinks are all-inclusive here and we enjoyed pizza straight from the pizza oven and fresh healthy salads from the kitchen garden for lunch and cake for afternoon tea everyday. Breakfast and dinner is eaten on the veranda with a beautiful view of the river by day and lit up with lanterns by night.
One night Nicky and Scott organised a beautiful barbecue in the bush, with a huge bonfire and lanterns hung from the trees.
It also gave us the opportunity to meet and socialise with other guests, though of course there’s the option of eating in privacy too.
Sasaab is also home to these gorgeous teeny tiny antelope’s known as dik diks.
Adorable little Rosie and Thorn are pretty tame and you can feed them cabbage and interact with them during your stay in the lodge.
You may encounter some other bigger mammals on the way to your room!
The lodge has only nine rooms, meaning service is exquisitely personal and, being in room one at the bottom of the hill we were far away from any other guests and in total privacy.
Our room can only be described as a super luxurious tent and at over 100 metres squared it was certainly spacious.
With canvas walls and a thatched roof, the room was very open to the elements, allowing you to feel at one with nature whilst still being fully equipped with a electricity and a fan to keep you cool. There’s no need for a television here and if you miss having a fridge, a cool box can be placed in your room loaded with beer, wine and soft drinks.
There’s something so incredible about sleeping in an elegant four-poster in the middle of the wilderness and every night the mosquito nets were drawn to prevent an irritating mozzies coming to get you. It truly takes glamping to another level.
There’s a stylish safari-style desk but do be aware there’s no wifi in the rooms, though this can easily be picked up in the main lobby.
The bathroom was absolutely beautifully and totally open air with a huge shower and gorgeous curved double basins. It was also a reminder of the lodge’s commitment to the environment, and Sasaab has kept the Gold Eco Rating by EcoTourism Kenya since 2014. The water is heated up by solar panels outside the room and guests are encouraged to run the water with a bucket underneath while it heats so nothing is wasted and the excess water can be used for the plants around the lodge. I must say that it was totally glorious having a hot shower in an indoor / outdoor bathroom as the sun rose and it was still chilly outside.
There’s also a gorgeous outdoor space with two sun loungers outside so that you can relax and take in the incredible views of Samburu and the Ewaso Nyiro River.
You may even meet a friend whilst sitting out there…
My favourite part of the room was the beautiful Moroccan-inspired plunge, the ideal way to cool off in the the safari sun especially as the climate in Samburu is much warmer than Maasai Mara. Now if like me, you’re scared of creepy crawlies and feel a little squeamish about sleeping in an open tented room in the middle of the wilderness, let me put your mind at rest. The staff double check your tents at night and when you come back from your evening activity the tent is zipped up and quite airtight. We didn’t see one creepy crawlies in our tent, though a few people saw the odd hyrax outside their tents these are actually cute little, harmless animals that look like squirrels without tails.
As well as their private pool, guests are free to enjoy the main pool which can be found down a red sand path…
With it’s own bar and comfy seating for lounging. The usual schedule at Sasaab is a game drive in the morning and an afternoon activity, leaving plenty of time during the day to relax and enjoy the amenities in the lodge.
Such as SpaSaab for relaxation, Liz Earle beauty treatments and fitness. There’s even yoga and pilates.
Kren Blixen, author of Out of Africa once wrote – “There is something about safari life that makes you forget all your sorrows and feel as if you had drunk half a bottle of champagne — bubbling over with heartfelt gratitude for being alive.” That’s how a place like Sasaab make you feel, a place so unique and wonderful that you hardly believe that it exists….
PIN FOR LATER:
We were kindly hosted by Sasaab and The Safari Collection for two nights complimentary on an all-inclusive basis. Transfers, taxes and park fees were covered by us.