African Safaris and Travel - Our safaris reflect every travelers style, time frame and budget!
Saruni is the deluxe, intimate lodge set in a private
conservation area outside the Masai Mara National Reserve,
the most famous game park in Africa. Established in 2003 by
a group of friends who shared their passion for Africa
(Riccardo Orizio, Pia-Sophie Wool, Paolo Barberis Canonico
and Davide Barberis Canonico), Saruni accommodates 12 guests
at the main lodge and six at our nearby tented camp, Campi
Set in a remote valley at the heart of the most exciting
wilderness of Kenya, the lodge offers a new concept of
African safari: a real adventure lived in harmony with the
Maasai warriors coupled with high standards of style and
The Masai Mara National Reserve of Kenya covers 1,672
square kilometers (more than 400,000 acres) and is situated
between 1,500 and 2,100 meters above sea level. It is part
of the Serengeti ecosystem that extends from northern
Tanzania into southern Kenya. Around the Masai Mara National
Reserve there are several "group ranches" or ancestral
wildlife areas owned collectively by the Masai communities.
The Lemek-Koyiaki Group Ranch, in which Saruni is set, has
an area of 1,490 square kilometers (368,000 acres) and its
natural treasures are managed by the several trusts set up
and managed by the Masai people. The Masai Mara region is
considered the jewel of African wildlife and nowhere on the
continent can you find the same abundance and variety of
wild animals. It is also a prime area for ornithologists and
hundreds of different bird species have been recorded. The
area is teeming with herbivores that, in turn, support large
numbers of predators. Millions of wildebeest, gazelle,
zebra, buffalo, impala, topi, hartebeest, giraffe, eland,
elephant, dik-dik, hippo and warthog live their natural
lifecycle alongside the largest population of lions in Kenya
as well as cheetah, leopard, hyena and jackal. The Mara is
also one of the best wilderness areas in Africa to observe
rare species, like the rhino, the bat-eared fox or the
nocturnal wildlife, from the bushbaby to the genet.
scenery ranges from the rolling hills dotted with acacias,
made famous by endless wildlife documentaries, to the lesser
known mountains, rivers and valleys where the vegetation can
be very green and lush. The highlight of the Masai Mara is
the famous annual migration of wildebeest that move north
from the Serengeti in Tanzania each July-August in search of
fresh grazing. After remaining here for three or four months
they return south in October before the beginning of the
rainy season. Watching millions of these animals traveling
en mass is truly a humbling experience for human observers.
The Masai Mara is, above all, the home of the Maasai, a
traditional semi-nomadic people known for their beauty,
intelligence and a deep love and understanding of the
African wilderness. After running the risk of developing too
quickly, in recent years the Masai Mara has entered a period
of renaissance with a more considerate form of low-impact
and sustainable Tourism emerging. To live in this African
bush is a privilege. Saruni, in the Aitong area of the Masai
Mara ecosystem, offers you a chance to share it. Each day is
a different adventure at our tented lodge, overlooking the
plains but set in a shady valley where the animals wander in
total freedom. In front of the main verandah elephants and
bushbuck, baboons and impalas all come to drink at our
Designed and built by Kenyan architect Mark Glen, Saruni
has six large cottages, where one can experience both the
elegance and safety of a permanent accommodation with the
thrill of sleeping in close contact with nature. The rooms
are furnished with colonial antiques, Persian carpets and
African art. The atmosphere at the camp is informal but
Each cottage has hot and cold running water, 220 volt
electricity, elegant Italian bathroom fittings, polished
wooden floors, and large bathrooms where the canvas front
can be totally open to offer you an amazing "shower with a
view". Décor is unique for each cottage and from the large
verandahs one enjoys a unique view of the Mara plains and
can watch the many wild animals that come to our waterhole.
Your safari actually starts on our massive cedar beds, from
where you can see in total privacy elephant, leopard,
waterbuck, bushbuck and impala traversing freely and
peacefully in the grounds of the camp.
Kuro House is the common dining area and is a mixture of
old-fashioned Africa and modern design. Its huge fireplace
is the focal point of life at Saruni and it is here that our
guests exchange memories of the day's safaris. While
reminiscing they can start to savor the exceptional cuisine
that is served around our long table and uses fresh, locally
grown and organic produce in inventive ways.
Alternatively meals can be taken in the bush among the
wild animals, with birdsong and animal calls as a backdrop.
By separate arrangement a candlelight dinner can be served
on your own verandah. A unique feature of Saruni is its
collection of books and its library, the most beautiful in
the African bush. With thousands of rare books and its very
private location, Saruni's library is a place where to
meditate, to rest, to think. Saruni has a low impact on the
environment thanks to the use of solar power and the
recycling of waste.
Saruni Wild is the private, 3-tents camp owned and
managed by Saruni in the Masai Mara. Located in a wild,
scenic valley rich both in wildlife and privacy, where no
other vehicles are ever met, Saruni Wild is a design camp
with oriental-looking tents and all the comforts: flush
toilets, hot and cold water, large showers, excellent
cuisine and open Land Rovers.
Elegantly styled, each tent has a large verandah with
uninterrupted views over the Yaile mountains of Northern
Masai Mara and a big bonfire where the Masai warriors come
and dance at night.
Saruni Wild’s secret valley has a large resident
population of elephant, giraffe, zebra, buffalo and impala.
Ideal for walking, for birdwatching and for observing wild
animals that are still not used to the human presence, the
camp will provide our guests with a unique experience: the
Masai Mara off the beaten tracks.
The location is a piece of pristine, old Africa, still
totally untouched by modern development: thousands of acres
where there are no roads, no villages, no humans. Wildlife
is abundant, but not habituated to contact with vehicles.
This is true Africa and we have trained our guides to the
highest standard to provide a thrilling, adventurous but
comfortable experience. You will track wild animals and
learn bush skills. Walks are individually tailored and are
set in a breathtaking valley, forests, springs and
Our tented camp is an ideal base for those who interested
in watching, tracking and studying elephants. An activity
offered at Saruni Wild is night game drives: all the
nocturnal species are abundant around the camp, from leopard
to greater galago, from genet to white tailed mongoose.
Weather conditions are ideal all year round: it’s never too
Although the 300,000 Masai are only about 2 per cent of
the Kenyan population they are, by far, the best-known
tribe. Beautiful, proud and colorfully dressed they are
still very close to their traditional way of life. Always
witty and genial the Masai are a Nilotic tribe of
pastoralists who until very recently led a semi-nomadic
life, which is exactly the opposite of the main Kenyan
tribe, the Kikuyu.
The Masai arrived, in what is today Central Kenya, from
the Sudan between 500 and 1,000 years ago. A fascinating
hypothesis suggests that the Masai - warriors and soldiers
by instinct - are the descendants of a lost Roman legion
that either deserted or became lost in the southern fringes
of the Roman Empire. A few details of their dress and habits
support this theory. For example, the sword that every Masai
man keeps to hand is identical to the daga of the Roman
legionnaires as well as their shields and sandals. In
addition, the red colours of the traditional Masai "shuka" is
similar to what is believed to have been the uniform of the
soldiers who were fighting for the Roman Empire.
Traditionally the Masai lived on a diet of blood and milk
and no household is without cattle as they are the "money"
and "bank accounts" of the Masai. For this reason cattle are
rarely killed and eaten as they represent the owner's
wealth. Goats and sheep are also important in the Masai life
Masai house is a "boma" which is often a circular group of
small huts built of mud and cows' dung. Around the entire
compound there is always an enclosure to protect the cows
and goats from the unwanted attentions of predators during
The Masai have been deliberately slow in catching up with
the modern world. Their attitude is one of respectful lack
of interest towards many of the "necessities" that we regard
as essential to modern life, from formal education to
technology, from transport to access to the media. Of
course, things are changing, but the Masai are not too keen
to join in the rush for globalization.
However it would be wrong to think of the Masai as simple
and noble "savages". Politics are a passion and also a duty
for every Masai man, who is not afraid to spend long hours
in sophisticated debates and meetings. The intricacies of
Masai hierarchy, rivalries and internal disputes are as
fascinating and as complex as the equivalent debates in
Moscow, Washington or London. Tough negotiators and fearless
fighters in real or metaphorical battle, the slim and
elegant Masai are much more than a walking picture. While on
safari with us, you will be able to meet the Masai warriors
and their families. Most of our employees are from the
surrounding areas and are very keen to introduce you to
their fascinating traditions. They will become your friends.
The Masai Mara and adjoining Loita Plains form the
northernmost part of the 25,000km Serengeti-Mara ecosystem.
The Mara receives the highest rainfall (1000mm average,
1200mm a year at Musiara) of the entire ecosystem. Rain
falls here through the year, with peaks usually in December,
January and April. Plenty of grass remains after the
Serengeti plains to the South have dried up.
This beneficent ecosystem supports a wildebeest
population of at least 600,000. Together with the associated
herds of 200,000 zebra and 350,000 Thomson gazelle, they
form a vast assemblage of ungulates whose annual movements
trough the ecosystem is known as "The Migration". The sight
of hundreds of thousands of these animals moving together
through the seas of grass must rank as the greatest wildlife
spectacle on earth.
The wildebeest herds congregate during the wettest part
of the year in the short-grass plains of the Serengeti
ecosystem, where there is sweet new grass and rainwater
pools. There they give birth - most of the females calving
within a few week in what has become known world over as
in the dry season, the pools in the short-grass plains dry
up and the wildebeest stream en masse through the longer
plains and on to the Western Corridor. As their food supply
diminishes, the herds move into the northern Serengeti
woodlands and the Masai Mara.
Zebra follow similar, but not quite identical, movements.
Thomson's gazelle also migrate, but only as far as the edge
of the woodlands. The routes taken by the herds vary from
year to year but the general pattern of the migration
remains the same.
Once in the woodlands the herds spread out but keep
moving in response to rainfall and the availability of
forage. The first wildebeest usually arrive in the Mara in
June or July and most remain there until late October or
early November. Slowly at first, but increasing momentum,
the wildebeest leave the Mara by various routes as they
follow the rains back south. The annual incursion of the
great herds into the Mara is a comparatively recent
phenomenon. Prior to 1969, a few wildebeest "spilled over"
from the Serengeti in very dry years, but most of the
wildebeest found in the Mara belonged to a completely
separate population, the Loita population. The Loita
wildebeest, commonly referred to as the "residents", perform
seasonal movements between the Loita plains in the wet
season and the Mara in the dry months.
Following the tremendous increase in the Serengeti herds
in the 1960s and 70s, the Mara is now dry season refuge for
up to 600,000 Serengeti wildebeest as well as about 25,000
Accommodation Rates:- From
$500 per person per night sharing.
Please contact us
for a quote and suggested itinerary.