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Uniquely situated on the shoreline of sapphire-blue Lake Elmenteita where hundreds of thousands of birds congregate, the small and exclusive Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp in Kenya opened in July 2011. This area of breathtaking beauty, also home to many rare species of animals, is less than two hours’ drive from Nairobi and just a short distance to the famous Flamingo filled Lake Nakuru. Evocatively styled to echo the area’s rich history, our safari camp blends aristocratic elegance with modern luxury and will offer cuisine and service of fittingly high standards
The nomadic Maasai had passed through the area for centuries and the name Elmenteita derives from the Maasai Ol muteita for “place of dust”. Then in 1897 one of the first pioneers arrived, after walking over 1,000 km south from Berbera on the coast of Somalia. This was the third Baron Delamere, who dedicated his foresight and fortune to pioneering farming methods in the Rift Valley. He moved to Elmenteita in 1906, where he further experimented with sheep and cattle ranching, advised and assisted by the Maasai – with whom he had a great rapport. He named his farm Soysambu, Maasai for “striated rock” – Sambu is also a cow colour.
Today’s Soysambu is a 48,000 acre Wildlife Conservancy, also a RAMSAR site – a wetland of international importance. The alkaline lake’s rocky islands are the only East African nesting site for great white pelicans, while its algae and plankton provides food for vast flocks of flamingos and a multitude of other waterfowl, many of them rare. The Conservancy protects over 450 bird species and 15,000 wild animals. Rothschild giraffes have found a safe haven for breeding here, while a diverse variety of terrain shelters many species – from herds of giant elands to tiny dik-diks and cliff-dwelling klipspringers. Night game-drives offer a unique opportunity to spot nocturnal creatures including the curious-looking aardvark and elusive leopard. Walking is also allowed, with chances to experience the miracles of the bush close-up. Atmospheric bush dinners beneath the stars and spectacular sundowners over this geologically fascinating part of the Great Rift Valley are a few more of the camp’s exciting activities. Lake Nakuru National Park and Kariandusi prehistoric site are also nearby.