Elephant Watch: The Lowdown

Extraordinary Africa>Kenya > Samburu > Elephant Watch

Like many of the very best safari camps, Elephant Watch is so much more than a place to stay. It’s a family home, an effortless shelter in the natural environment and utter paradise for elephant lovers.

What’s Elephant Watch really like?

Elephant Watch was built on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River by Oria Douglas-Hamilton. She used wood from fallen trees, gloriously bright Kenyan fabrics, and an utterly natural décor that makes the camp feel part of nature. In the six wonderfully rustic rooms you’ll have extraordinary gnarled wooden beds, solar lanterns and bucket showers in your en suite bathrooms. Each night as you wander along the dusty paths to dinner you’ll be escorted by Samburu warriors- inquisitive ellies are frequent visitors to camp, as are mischievous baboons, vervet monkeys and all manner of birds. Food is fresh and delicious- much of it grown on the Douglas-Hamilton’s farm in Naivasha, and influenced by Oria’s Italian heritage. Today Oria occasionally still hosts the camp herself, but more often you’ll meet one of the wonderful camp hosts, or daughter Saba, and husband Frank, who helps to run Save the Elephants. They, along with their Samburu friends and guides are fantastic hosts, and do a phenomenal job of looking after their guests.

What can I do at Elephant Watch?

Even if you came to Elephant Watch Camp without being an elephant lover, your Samburu hosts will do their best to make you fall in love on your daily game drives. Samburu has one of the largest elephant populations in Kenya, and the guides have been trained by Save the Elephants to recognise hundreds of elephants, not to mention a fair few lions, leopards and cheetahs. You can visit the Save the Elephant Research Centre yourself, as well as visiting manyattas and the local schools with your Samburu hosts.  Bird walks are also a fabulous, though often overlooked, way to pass a few peaceful hours from Elephant Watch. If you want to stretch your legs more seriously, for an extra charge Elephant Watch can organise a hike to the top of the sacred mountain, Ol Donyo Sapache. Another special extra is taking a helicopter flight across Northern Kenya- magic!

Giving back at Elephant Watch: It would be impossible to stay at Elephant Watch and not notice their efforts to protect the environment. Lamps in the rooms are solar powered, plastic water bottles are eschewed, and fallen wood is used wherever possible. Fridges are solar powered (when we first visited there were traditional charcoal fridges), water is hand-pumped and grey water is used to water the trees.

Want to know more? We’ve been here, so just

Ask the Africa Experts