The Chyulu Hills are among the youngest hills on earth. Hemingway had them in mind when he wrote ‘Green Hills of Africa’. In the heart of Masaai Land, far to the northwest, across endless vistas of grass and scrub, lies the elephant country of Amboseli. If you turn around, you see the volcanic summits of Tsavo National Park receding over the horizon. Backlit by the setting sun, looms the unearthly vision of Mount Kilimanjaro and behind bathed in golden light, are the Chyulu Hills themselves – a voluptuous backdrop of volcanic summits covered in dense cloud forest.
Luca Belpietro and his wife Antonella have made this place their home. Luca grew up in Italy but in 1995 he left his management consultancy company and flew out to Kenya for good. Here, on the 400 square mile of Kuku Ranch, he and Antonella built Campi Ya Kanzi meaning ‘Camp of Hidden Treasures’. The camp is a luxury safari lodge and Masaai pastoralists communally own the ranch, money raised from tourism helps to maintain their traditional way of life.
Campi Ya Kanzi offers luxurious comfort, thrilling outdoor adventure, memorable wildlife experience and authentic connection to the Masaai people. Composed by six luxury-tented cottages and by two tented suites – each of them enjoy a different view and accommodate one or two guests.
Tembo House has got to be my favourite – this is the central lodge and located in the heart of the camp. Beautifully constructed with local materials, Tembo House was built by their own staff using lava rocks, thatch, and native timbers from a sustainable plantation. European and Kenyan décor are tastefully combined. It is open to the outdoors and its terrace offers a spectacular view of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Another special could be the swimming pool suite, a perfect place to experience life in the bush while fully equipped with the luxury of a comfortable bed and an en-suite bathroom. It features an 18-meter swimming pool, a fire pit and unforgettable views of Mount Kilimanjaro. It provides a luxurious private experience while allowing guests to explore the savanna around Campi Ya Kanzi.
A safari with Campi Ya Kanzi will mean exploring Masaai wilderness with a Masaai tracker, being able to walk with him and learning how to read footprints and identify scats, it will also mean hiking into the cloud forest of the Chyulu Hills; it will mean seeing many different species of wildlife and all this will be experienced in complete privacy and not surrounded by other visitors.
At Campi Ya Kanzi you will not be in a hotel, but in a home in the bush. Luca and Antonella (the founders) and the Masaai (who are the landlords of the paradise) will be your hosts. All the activities will be tailor made to your desires, from classic game drives in many different habitats, to lovely game walks with a Masaai guide and a Masaai tracker.
Activities at Campi Ya Kanzi include:
- Game drives in Open Land Rover
- Maasai cultural villages
- Forest walk
- Bird watching
- Air excursions
- Horse back riding
- Visit trust programs (schools, dispensaries, research centers)
- Bush breakfast, picnic, dinner
- Flying camp
- Kanzi Amani Wellness
- Yoga lessons
For more details on Campi Ya Kanzi, visit www.masaai.com or you can follow them on Instagram @campiyakanzi