Elephant Watch Camp is a rustic, 6 tent camp on the banks of the seasonal Ewaso Nyiro River in the Samburu Reserve. The camp has excellent eco credentials and has been built using local natural materials. The camp is owned by Oria and Iain Douglas-Hamilton who run the Save the Elephants charity and monitoring project, and spending time getting to know the local elephant population with an expert guide is very much part of the Elephant Watch Camp experience.
The tents are furnished with bright textiles, cushions and Kanga robes and wooden furniture made from recycled trees and logs, and solar-powered lighting. All have en-suite facilities and an open-air bucket shower using sun-heated water from the camp's own well. There is a large common room with comfy sofas and chairs where you are welcome to browse through the collection of books while enjoying a drink from the bar.
Food is delicious, using organically grown fruit, vegetables and herbs from the Douglas-Hamilton's farm near Lake Naivasha. Meat is also from their own stock. There's an Italian influence to the cuisine, which features jams, honey, relishes, fruit juice and ice cream, all home-made, with bread, scones and pasta baked daily. Feel free to visit the kitchen and chat to the chef. Meals are usually served in the open air, lit by lamps, lanterns and the camp fire at night.
Game viewing including elephant tracking is offered each day. Guided walks and bird watching are led by local Samburu who are happy to share their knowledge of the environment, its plant and wildlife. Hikes into the hills around the camp and visits to a local Samburu village are also popular.
Open: Elephant Watch Camp is usually open from mid-May to the end of October and mid-December to late March.
Location: Elephant Watch Camp is on the banks of the Ewaso Ngiro river in Samburu Game Reserve. Samburu Oryx airstrip is the closest to the camp
Rooms: The 6 tented rooms are colourfully furnished with bright textiles and hand-woven rugs and have furniture made from reclaimed wood and trees felled by elephants. The netted windows admit the breeze. Each tent has a king size bed, bedside tables and lamps. The open air bathrooms are built around trees. There is solar-heated water for showers, and organic soap and shampoo. Tents have thatched roofs and private verandas. You have a supply of drinking water. 2 of the tents can take extra beds suitable for children under 16 years. Over Christmas additional tents can be erected, depending on demand.
Activities: The camp is owned and run by Iain and Oria Douglas-Hamilton, well-known elephant conservationists and, not surprisingly, activities revolve around elephant viewing. The camp has specialist guides who can help you learn about these animals, able to identify hundreds of individuals from over 60 family groups. You can also visit the Save The Elephants centre. Other activities include wildlife game drives, guided walks along the riverbank and in the bush with a Samburu guide, bird watching, visiting a Samburu village and sundowners on Elephant Hill.
Facilities: There is a comfortable lounge tent with a large terrace and high thatched roof. There is a collection of reference books. Meals are a blend of Italian and African influences and can be enjoyed in the open air by the river, by the camp fire or in the mess tent. Much of the food is grown at the Douglas-Hamilton’s organic farm. The camp offers a same day laundry service
Dining: Meals can be taken communally or at separate tables.
Children: Children of all ages are welcome.
Health: This is a malarial area.
Communication: There is Wi-Fi internet access and limited mobile phone reception.
"We were all blown away by this beautiful place. Everything was first class and Hilary, Saba's great friend, was managing the camp in her absence. She was delightful and looked after our every need. All the staff were wonderful, the food divine and attention to detail was incredible. We loved it here and can't wait to go back. "