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Kenya is like mini-Africa. It has something of many of the continent's most precious features, so if you only ever visit one African country then it is an excellent choice. And the best places to stay in Kenya reflect this diversity, you'll find everything from city pads, to luxury safari lodges to beach resorts.
Kenya offers some wonderful wildlife-spotting opportunities on the grassy plains of the Masai Mara and in the folds of the Rift Valley, and Kenya's Tsavo National Park is regarded as one of the best places in Africa to see elephants, lions and leopards.
Kenya also has some spectacularly white Indian Ocean beaches, palm fringed on one side and colourful with coral gardens on the other.
And it's one of the world's top birdwatching destinations.
If you're looking for adventure you find it here. Scale Mount Kenya, dive or snorkel in the Marine National Park or jump on the famous 'Lunatic Express' between Nairobi and Mombasa.
One of Kenya's first settlements, beautiful Lamu island has retained its own character, despite the influence of other cultures brought by hundreds of years of ocean bound trade. Best known for having some of Kenya's best beaches, Lamu also has some wonderful Swahili architecture dating from the 14th Century, and the sights and sounds you'll hear on Lamu's winding, carless streets make you feel as if you're in a different age. Many of the best places to say in Kenya, if you're after a beach holiday, can be found here.
- Just along from coastal hotspots Lamu and Diani beach are the empty beaches and private lodges of Manda Bay. Private and palm fringed, this is perfect if you're looking for a peaceful escape. Accommodation is in sixteen thatched cottages, decorated with colourful local fabrics. You're right on the beaches and coral gardens, so there's plenty to do here beside relax.
- Beautiful and intimate amongst the Arab ruins, Peponi has been the place to stay in Lamu for decades, and is probably also one of the best places to stay in Kenya for honeymooners. Peponi began as a few rooms on the bay and has gown into a 29 room hotel with a lively bar and poolside dining.
- If you're heading to the coast for a beach break after your safari check out Kizingo, a sandy hideaway with a reputation for dolphin watching. There are eight palm-thatched bands, all of which have sea views as they're all in amongst the sand dunes. And if you're full of energy there's plenty to do here as well as dolphin watch, there's snorkelling, fishing, sailing, kayaking and body surfing.
- For those seeking seclusion and romance, Kiwayu is probably one of the best places to stay in Kenya. Ecologically friendly, but also stunning, Kiwayu is right on the beach, just up from where turtles flap their way up the beach to lay their eggs. Each of the private bandas have a veranda with a hammock and perfect views over the bay.
Mombasa's Beautiful Coastline
Mombasa is the largest port on the East African coast, so this is a historic city, as well as a busy one. But most people who come here are here for the beaches which stretch outwards from the port in both directions. This area is also becoming known as a golfing destination...
- For luxury on the Kenyan coast, one of the best places to stay in Kenya is Alfajiri, a secluded group of just three villas with private beach access and lots of local activities. Don't just take our guru's word for it though, Brad and Angelina recently graced Alfajiri with their presence, staying in the Cliff Villa which has it's own infinity pool and unlimited access to the local, international standard golf course.
- For a home-from-home feel (if your home was near the beach) we'd recommend Diani House. Sleeping up to 12, this was once the colonial home of the Archer family, and is now run as a very relaxed four bedroom room hotel. You're close to the beach yet you're surrounded by greenery within a coastal forest, which makes dining al fresco all the more charming.
Great Kenyan Safaris
Kenya has some of the world's best game reserves, and depending where you go you can see giraffes, lions, leopards and huge herds of zebras, buffalo and wildebeest. If you're here for the annual wildebeest migration consider trying to see it from a balloon safari… Northern Kenya is home to some fascinating tribes still living a more traditional lifestyle, so if you're interested in a cultural as well as animal experience head north.
- Guests of Ol Donyo Wuas have exclusive access to one of the last remaining wilderness areas in East Africa, 300,000 acres of plains underneath Mount Kilimanjaro. The accommodation is in seven bush cottages, with a communal dining area, pool and waterhole. Several of the cottages will comfortably fit a family, making this one of the best places to stay in Kenya if you're trying to give your kids an epic safari experience.
- On the banks of a large waterhole is Little Governors' Camp, a collection of 17 tents in an awe inspiring setting. If you like the BBC's Big Cat Diary this is one of the best places to stay in Kenya - they do a lot of filming just down the Mara river.
- Loisaba is a small lodge with views across the Laikipia Plateau. Each of the seven stone cottages have wonderful views, as does the main building with its dining area, which can spill outside when required, and lounge with its fireplace. Remote and luxurious, check it out if you're looking for a luxury safari with solid accommodation.
- Borana is another excellent choice for people who prefer to sleep beside walls rather than the sides of a tent. Borana is both a game reserve and working cattle ranch, with views over the foothills of Mount Kenya. There's plenty of game here - lions, wild dogs, elephants - but you probably won't see another tourist.
- If you love the idea of the safaris of yesteryear, Ol Seki is one of the best places to stay in Kenya. Its eight spacious tents are really exceptionally modern in design, but their mini-circus tent shape, lovely linen interiors and brass telescopes will make you think of pith helmets. Ol Seki has a reputation for both good food and good guiding.
Browse our list of the best places to stay in Kenya, and start to plan your holiday.
Best Hotels in Kenya
Mdoroni Villas 9 roomsKilifi, Kenya
Two stunning, fully staffed Arab/Swahili type houses overlooking the Indian Ocean & Kilifi Creek. Large living areas and a grand communal dining table perfect for groups and exclusive hire. Fantastic outdoor terrace with swimming pool and tropical gardens.Groups - These chic villas come fully staffed for exclusive hire, with plenty of living space and great activities nearby.Birdwatching - Twitchers will be in heaven, there are ample birdwatching opportunities in the Sokoke Forest or up the Creek.Sights nearby - Guests should spend at least one day sightseeing around the Arab Ruins at Gede and the Historic Old TownFishing - Pete Darnborough from Ocean Sports in Watamu organises Deep Sea Fishing trips for groups.
Kitich Camp 6 roomsMara Triangle National Reserve, Kenya
A diamond in the rough, this low-key and intimate camp overlooks the Ngeng River from its dense canopy standing point. Enjoy the views whether in your room, dining area or in the shower. Activities are much as expected - safari-centric. Enjoy a sundowner with a drink and the wildlife all around.Back to Nature - The Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy Trust is home to black panthers, rare monkeys, buffalo, lions, bushbucks and forest hogs.Honeymoons - Love is in the air on safari, with incredible sunsets, romantic tents, spectacular views, and relaxed al fresco dinners.Great walks - Head out on foot with the “masters of the forest”, the Ndorobo Samburu guides is search of rare animals, birds and plants.Birdwatching - Over 350 bird species have been counted in the area, including the spectacular and rare Hartlaub’s turaco.
Ol Donyo Wuas 10 roomsChyulu Hills, Kenya
Luxury lodge with exclusive access to East African wilderness. Enjoy meals in the bush or on the terrace, a drink at the bar and sundowners from the hideout. Large rooms with pool, views and welcoming hospitality. A beautiful spot!Eco break - By working with the local Maasai people the resort has become a pioneer in conservation and sustainable tourism.Romantic Break - A romantic spot with stunning views and rooftop “star beds” for sleeping under the African skies.Great walks - Guided bush walks put your more on the ground and appreciate the smallers things in life.Outstanding locationRecommended by - Relais & Chateaux
Sabuk 7 roomsNanyuki, Northern Frontier District, Kenya
Sabuk is privatly owned land in North-Central Kenya. Families, couples and groups are invited to witness the wilderness and beauty that lies there. The comfortable tents offer wonderful views over the river. Game drives, camel rides and nature walks are all on the cards.Back to Nature - Immerse yourself in the Kenyan bush, meet local Maasai, identify useful plants and track animals.Romantic Break - Whether its a camel safari for two or sundowner drinks on the plains- romance is in the air.Great walks - Head out on a nature walk and learn what berries can be used for poisoned arrows, how to track a warthog and much more.Fishing - Fish the river with handlines to catch Barbels, Catfish and Tilapia.
Diani House 6 rooms from $149Mombasa, Kenya
Cocooned in a coastal forest with pristine white sands and turquoise waters. A home from home with four beautiful bedrooms decorated in white with four-poster beds. A private retreat with plenty of beach activities, relaxing and an opportunity to explore the wildlife with a game drive.Honeymoons - Honeymoon heaven with desert island bbq's for two, sunset cruises in traditional dhows, and long walks along the private beach.Beach Life - White sands, crystal clear waters, deep sea fishing, snorkelling and diving- they have it all here!Local markets - Colourful local markets are within close range of the hotel, pick up some local traditional crafts.Fishing - The hotel has its own boat and deep sea fishing equipment to catch billfish, tuna or kingfish.
Peponi 29 rooms from $183Kenya
A house that grew into an intimate hotel set by the calm waters of the bay. Arabic rooms painted in white with four poster beds and lovely sea views. Romantic pool dining area perfect for honeymooners. The popular fisherman's bar creates a lively atmosphere at night. Paradise.Beach Life - Watersports, sunset or moonlight dhow cruises, unspoilt beaches and ancient sand dunes make this coastal paradise.Lively - Hip and happening.Fishing - Peponi’s deep sea fishing boat 'Little Toot' with its experienced crew offers some of the best sports fishing in East Africa.Local markets - Discover the Lamu Old Town on foot or by donkey (no cars on the island) and pick up some real treasures.
Hemingways Resort 76 rooms from $190Watamu, Kenya
Informal beach hotel with plenty to do and delicious food. Simple chic rooms with private balconies. Relaxed sophistication and fantastic sporting activities including big game fishing. A hotel with something for everyone.HoneymoonsBeach LifeRomantic BreakSwimming Pool - Luxury outdoor poolRecommended by - Small Luxury Hotels
Manda Bay 16 rooms from $200Lamu, Kenya
Privacy and tranquility on a secluded palm fringed peninsula. Empty beaches, coral gardens and indigenous forest surround individual cottages, each vibrantly decorated with local fabrics and with private verandahs. A romantic, unspoiled and idyllic beach retreat with plenty of water sports.Beach Life - Make the most of the sun, sea and sand- from fishing to snorkelling and even trips on the hotels traditional Dhow sailing boat.Honeymoons - Private villas nestled in the lush vegatation, large beds draped with muslin nets and private couples dining under the stars.Local markets - The hotels boutique stocks local crafts from all over East Africa, from handcrafted jewellery to delicate beaded slippers.Fishing - Head out reef or deep sea fishing on the East African coast, famed for its range of sport fish.
Elsa’s Kopje Private House 11 rooms from $276Meru National Park, Kenya
Explore the Meru National Park from this hideaway haven oozing romance, tranquility and luxury. Large rooms offer scenic views of the rugged terrain. A magical stay is complete with safari's where seeing animals is a sure bet! Relax by the pool or picnics by the river - a very romantic stay.Back to Nature - Meru National Park is a stunning location for viewing a wide variety of fauna and flora and learning about their conservation.Honeymoons - For added romance take Elsa's Private House with private living and dining area, garden and plunge pool.Great walks - Guided walks allow you to see the smaller things in life - racks, dung beetles, naked mole rats and micro-ecosystems.Sights nearby - The rhino sanctuary is home to 70 rhinos, both black and white, and is great to see.Recommended by - Kiwi Collection
Kiwayu 7 rooms from $275Lamu, Kenya
Stunning, secluded eco-lodge with private bandas on the beach. Chic traditional rooms with local fabrics and private verandahs. Miles of white untouched sand and crystal clear waters. Total relaxation and wellbeing as well as plenty of activities.Diving - Scuba diving is a fantastic way to explore the underwater world.Surfing - Catch some waves in this beautiful spot.Views - Sea views.On the beach - In front of the hotel.
Msambweni House and Private Villas 7 rooms from $355Msambweni, Kenya
A luxurious beach house and private villas set on a pristine white sand beach. An option of suites, private villas and a luxury tent, some boast private pools. Elegant rooms feature four poster beds and neutral relaxing tones. An exclusive and glamorous choice with romantic outdoor dining.Hideaway - A luxurious and exclusive hideaway on a stunning beach, offering fresh seafood, an infinity pool, Jacuzzi and massages.Fishing - For a truly unique experience head out deep sea fishing in the Pemba Channel with local fishermen.Diving - This pristine beach offers one of the best diving spots on the Kenyan coast.Barefoot Luxury - For total relaxation.Recommended by - Kiwi Collection
Kizingo 8 rooms from $300Lamu, Kenya
Relax and chill out in this sandy, barefoot hideaway. Palm-thatched spacious bandas with sea views with romantic king-sized beds and private verandahs. The perfect beach retreat with a range of exciting activities - dolphin watching, snorkelling, fishing, sailing and body surfing.Beach Life - Chilled out beach huts, white sands, miles of unspoilt coastline and plenty of watersportsActive Holiday - Fishing, kayaking, swimming with dolphins- there is something for everyone.Secluded setting - For escaping.Local markets - Make a trip to Lamu town a UNESCO World Heritage site and full of wonderful shops and bazaars.
Loisaba 19 rooms from $462Laikipia, Kenya
Loisaba offers two accommodation spots in stunning natural beauty - a tented camp with six ensuite tents, lounge and cosy fireplace; or 'Loisaba Starbeds' with four-poster beds set under the stars for a more authentic experience. Fantastic communal dining and excellent game drives. Truly romantic.Honeymoons - A romantic private ranch, with immpecable service, spa, and couples dining in a remote area of outsatnding natural beauty.Fishing - Fishing can be arranged in the river and dams, the camps will provide equipment and a picnic.Great walks - Head out on a guided bush walks to discover local flora, fauna and history.Secluded setting - For escaping.Recommended by - Kiwi Collection
Borana 8 rooms from $605Lewa Downs, Laikipia, Kenya
Panoramic views over the Samangua Valley, this family-run lodge offers eight romantic cottages. Enjoy the private terraces, stone fireplace and designer bath. Relax poolside with a drink, retreat to the cool living area or indulge in spa treatments. Explore nature from this working ranch location.Eco break - The Borana Conservancy is the non-profit dedicated to the sustainable conservation of this critical habitat and wildlife.Total relaxation - After a long days game drive, no better way to relax then with a spa treatment or better yet- a cocktail by the pool!Great walks - Guided bush walks are a tranquil ways to see wildlife, with slower pace and less noise you see so much more.Fishing - Fishing excurisions can be arranged and are a fantastic way to spend an afternoon. Take a picnic.
Little Governors' Camp 17 rooms from $1065Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Award-winning luxury camp in the Great Rift Valley is a beautiful stay for all the family. Large tents offer comfort while surrounded by nature. Enjoy a drink at the bar, dinner with fellow guests and Kenyan sunsets. Explore the Masai Mara by jeep, foot or hot air balloon. A truly romantic find.Eco break - The resort runs a sustainable tourism program and renewable energy project to protect the local people and environment.Back to Nature - Between the months of July and October witness The Great Wildebeest Migration.Barefoot Luxury - For total relaxation.Full of character
Tassia Lodge 6 rooms from $960Lekurruki, Laikipia Region, Kenya
Raised high, this eco-friendly retreat offers unobstructed view of the wilderness and wildlife from the six private bungalows. Rooms are comfortable and are all about being one with nature. Relax by the pool, get a in-room massage or get stuck into the nature activities that are the main draw.Active Holiday - Not a dull moment, from bush walks, to paragliding, camel safaris, cave explorations and horse riding across the plains.Honeymoons - Lie in your plush bed and watch the sunrise or arrange a romantic rooftop dinner under the canopy of stars.Great walks - Enjoy vigorous bush walks, tracking wildlife and learning bush craft and forrest walks to soothe the soul.Sights nearby - Visit to one of the local villages to learn about their way of life and meet members of the community.Recommended by - CN Traveller
Tortilis Camp 16 rooms from $1000Amboseli National Park, Kenya
Stunning camp with overwhelming views of Mount Kilimanjaro. Luxurious tents with private bathrooms and always room for a small one. Enjoy the peace the quiet of nature in this intimate and stunning camp. Relax by the pool, enjoy the camps knowledge as you see the animals either on foot or in a jeep.Total relaxation - Whether its sitting by the pool sipping a cocktail, or enjoying the speciality massages- relaxation is on the cards.Local exploring - Immerse yourself in the Amboseli National Park, meet the Masai people and explore the vast wildlife filled plains.Great walks - Learn about the terrain, traditional uses of wild herbs, and the Masai way of life on a Masai guided walking tour.Sights nearby - Cultural visits include entering a Masai village and meeting the villagers.
Alfajiri 3 rooms from $1000Ukunda, Kenya
One of the finest properties on the Kenyan coast. This secluded group of three luxury villas offers privacy, romance and beach fun. Luxurious rooms with beautiful drapes and four posters. Enjoy meals overlooking the private beach. Relaxed vibes for those wanting to unwind.Honeymoons - Private villas oozing romance and luxury, with private butlers, infinity pools, al fresco dining and sunset dhow sailing trips.Total relaxation - Lounge by the infinity pool with a fresh fruit cocktail, stroll along the white sands or enjoy an in-room massage.Beach Life - Beach activities for all the family, from whale spotting trips to kite surfing, snorkelling and sailing.Diving - Diving and Diving Courses are avaliable on request, explore the unique marine life of Diani Beach.Recommended by - Kiwi Collection
Rekero Camp 9 rooms from $1401Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
In the heart of the Masai Mara, this prime spot near the Great Migration river crossing has tents renowned in the area. Comfort and views for all. A romantic meal down by the river can be arranged. Activities are much about The Big Five and seeing what else lives in the Mara.Eco break - Chat with a Kenya Wildlife Trust researcher on what measures are being taken to preserve the people and animals of these plains.Total relaxation - Each luxorious tent has a daybed facing the river where you can sit and watch the game while being attended by a private butler!Birdwatching - Birds are everywhere, learnt their calls and how to distinguish species with the help of the experts.Great walks - Enjoy nature walks with knowledgeable guides.
Kicheche Mara Camp 11 rooms from $1200Nairobi, Kenya
Intimate and quiet, this hideout overlooks the Mara North Conservancy. The eight glamorous tents offer bathrooms, views and a memorable stay. Relax in the antique filled living area tent, explore the Maasai Mara and indulge your inner-explorer. Perfect for all the family to stay for great value!Romantic Break - Make the most of your romantic getaway with luxorious tents, private dinning in the bush, sunset walks and spectacular views.Eco break - This resort runs a comprehensive Ecotourism and Sustainability policy to protect the local people, animals, and environment.Great walks - Together with a knowledgable ranger, you can explore the savannah on foot.Barefoot Luxury - For total relaxation.
Ol Seki 10 rooms from $3600Mbagathi, Kenya
Private contemporary-designed camp in Naboisho Conservancy - the heart of the Masai Mara. The ten exclusive tents are crisp and comfortable with views overlooking the plains. Enjoy sundowners and bush walks, game drives and village visits. A tranquil spot in the heart of the Kenyan outback.Back to Nature - A charming spot where you can immerse yourself in nature surrounded by hippos, leopards, elephants, lions and giraffes.Honeymoons - Honeymoon heaven from champagne breakfast in the bush, to moonlight expeditions and romantic dining by candlelight.Local markets - Visit the curio markets where you can buy traditional Masai products crafted from weaving, beading and carving.Great walks - Bush walks are a brilliant way to see the surrounding area. Your ranger will know the lay of the land.