Campi Ya Kanzi
Chuylu Hills, Kenya
Ya Kanzi is the kind of place that inspired Ernest Hemingway to write in Green Hills of Africa that “All I wanted to do now was to get back to Africa. We had not left it yet, but when I would wake in the night, I would lie, listening, homesick for it already.” In fact, this is indeed the place Hemingway was already homesick for; ya Kanzi is set at the foot of the cloud-forested Chyulu Hills, Hemingway’s beloved Green Hills. And just to the south, rising like dream, is what is perhaps the largest, and surely the most magisterial mountain on earth, Kilimanjaro.
The camp’s wondrous setting is just part of its charm. It’s delightfully small—only six marvelously designed tents and two suites—and intimate—it’s the only camp on a Maasai-owned, 283,000-acre wilderness—providing Micato guests a near-unique old-time safari experience under Luca and Antonella’s creative care. (Though they’re quick to point out that “The true hosts here are the Maasai landlords who own and staff Campi ya Kanzi.” Thus another ya Kanzi charm: the fertile partnership between the camp and the local people. For a sample of ya Kanzi’s intense involvement with sustainability and cultural preservation, take a look at maasaiwilderness.org (New York Marathon fans might be familiar with the Maasai runners who recently raised $58,000 for the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust.)
Ya Kanzi’s six luxury thatched cottages and two tented suites are breezu, cozy, and designed in the hallowed safari tradition. All are graced with every-changing views of Kilimanjaro and the forests and plains below, and each has its own Maasai attendant. Kanzi House is a lovely villa ideal for larger groups and families who can dine in privacy, and the Swimming Pool Suite features a large swimming pool from which to float while watching towering clouds float above Kilimanjaro.
The main lodge is a characteristically elegant and homey, and dining at ya Kanzi is exceptional. Under Antonella’s supervision, the camp’s cooks creatively add Italian touches to fresh local ingredients.
A note for families & children
Luca and Antonella are raising their three kids, Lucrezia, Jacopo, and Lorenzo, at the camp, so family-friendliness is a merry fact of ya Kanzi life.
Our hosts’ love of Africa is reflected in their highly-trained naturalist staff, who join with their old friend, our Micato Safari Director, in leading spectacularly informative and fun game drives on the big-game-thronged plains below. And a uniquely thrilling ya Kanzi experience: walking safaris led by Luca and Maasai trackers in the Chyulu cloud forest above. Strolling among huge strangler figs trees and a quiet riot of lush vegetation, we see wild forest hogs, antelope, forest elephants, and silver-cheeked hornbills. And, peering through that mist-nurtured flora, we’re treated to rare views of Kilimanjaro, almost invariably seen from the plains. At sunset, delicious sundowners high atop a hill for more views, more magnificence.
This website and our brochure are filled with praise for the camps and lodges we think best fulfill old and new safari dreams. Each has its own thoughtfully luxurious, comfy character, and its own loving engagement with Africa’s golden joys. And when we dream of Africa, which we more or less always do, we dream a sweetly homesick dream of a place just like ya Kanzi.