is located at the foot of the Chyulu Hills
in Southeast Kenya
Chyulu is a relatively little known area of beautiful upland scenery which lies between the flatlands of Amboseli
and Tsavo West
, 75km to the northeast of Mount Kilimanjaro
which provides a scenic backdrop on clear days. Unlike the national parks either side, the area attracts very few visitors and therefore retains a much greater sense of wilderness.
Set on a private conservancy on the lower slopes of the southwestern side of these hills, Kanzi House is enthusiastically hosted by Kenyan owner of Italian decent, Luca Belpietro, who is a renowned professional safari guide and bush pilot. It is especially suited to experienced safari travellers and other people with a broader appreciation of nature and culture.
The house itself can only be rented in its entirety by private groups of up to ten guests. It is centred on a lovely main building under thatch, which contains elegant lounge and dining areas, plus four guest bedrooms, each with private bathrooms. A large swimming pool is the location for an additional smaller building containing a fifth bedroom.
Activities include excellent hiking, slow-paced vehicle safari, walking safari, horse-back safari, bush meals and night vehicle safari.
The core upland areas, which form the bulk of the national park, comprise mainly of dome topped hills which are in part covered by patches of open acacia woodlands and dense forests. These altitudes are much better watered than the surrounding plains and provide sanctuary to many animals during the Jul/Oct dry season, notably elephants, elands and hartebeests.
The plains to the southwest of the hills contain a network of large private conservancies and Maasai tribal lands, home to a very wide range of wildlife notably including giraffes, elephants, zebras, wildebeest. Predators including lions, spotted hyenas, cheetahs, leopards and servals are also present, but sightings are relatively few and far between. Wildlife numbers can actually be more prolific in this area during the Nov/Jun green season, which is counter to the usual trend in this part of the world.
Day trips can be done by vehicle further afield to Tsavo West
and even as far as Amboseli
. With Luca being a bush pilot it may also be possible to do undertake day-trips or overnight excursions by air to both of these locations, as well as the superb elephant sanctuary at Ithumba Hill
in Tsavo East.
Cultural visits to the local Maasai villages are also possible.
The main potential downsides are the high price of the lodge, the potential for low predator sightings in the immediate area, the fact that it is a long drive down to the Amboseli National Park should you want to visit, that aerial excursions may not be available if Luca is not in camp and that these landscapes can become extremely parched during the tail end of the dry season Aug/Nov.Seasons