The Most Intimate Safari Camp


Most Africa honeymooners head for the famous Maasai Mara or Serengeti but for safari-goers in the know, Meru National Park is one of Kenya’s hidden gems. Five hours north of Nairobi, the landscape is unlike any other with bright red cotton soil, the multi-branch doum palms, and 13 winding rivers that draw thousands of animals to its shores. Being an insider spot not only lends itself to fewer crowds, but yields a savvier set looking for intimate accommodations like the incredible Offbeat Safaris’ six-tent Meru camp. We have so many favorite African safari lodges but when it comes to feeling at ease and having fun, Offbeat Meru is where our heart is.

From the staff to the design, there is no pretension at Offbeat Meru.  The charming manager team Tanith and Sean welcomed us into camp, as did the all the other waving and smiling guests that were enjoying themselves in the pool. We continued on to the open air lobby for check-in, settled into the chic linen sofas, sipped a cold Stoney Tangawezi soda, and had the feeling wash over us…it’s going to be a great stay.

Built in the the true safari-tent style, each canvas and screen suite embraces the outdoors without ever having to rough it. Our king-size canopy bed, luxurious linens, generous closet, and lounge area was like a hotel suite with panoramic views to the wild.

The whole front of our tent zipped open to a great little patio space. With the nearest neighbor almost 40 meters away, we could hear the calls of the kingfishers, the rustling of the monkeys in the trees,  and the crickets rubbing their legs as we sank into our campaign chairs with our drinks in hand (and later a honeymoon bottle of champagne).

To further prove the remote and wild nature of this camp, these two monkeys and about 15 of their friends were playing in the trees on all sides of our tent. Behind our screen they couldn’t see us so they continued about their day, swinging from branch to branch, picking each other’s fleas, and dangling from their tails…we could have watched them for hours.

One thing I particularly loved about Offbeat was their choose-your-own-adventure approach to itineraries. In the evenings, game drives were always available but activities like walking safaris or fishing at the watering hole were also fantastic options. We signed up for a walking safari our first night but when we saw the crew catching huge catfish, sipping Tusker lagers and having a grand old time at the pond, we joined in the next two nights.

On our walking safari, we saw the dust of a leopard that just darted from the scene, the rarely seen bush baby primate, a family of elephants, and the tracks of countless animals. Following the fresh prints of of some warthogs (so we thought), our Maasai guide Bernard led us to this romantic sundowner session for two!

Ready for a new day, we hopped in our Land Cruiser and explored the far reaches of park. This area is where Joy Adamson raised the lions for the famous book Born Free. You could see with the dramatic Ura Hills and swaying dume palms it would be the perfect setting for a novel.

All the safari vehicles come equipped with traditional Maasai blankets to combat the morning chill. Our guide Bernard gave me the inside scoop on how to wear one like a local.

Bernard was a phenomenal guide whose tracking skills combined with tenacity always brought us to the forefront of the action. We were driving along and suddenly he pulls into the bushes, and low and behold there was a male lion relaxing in the shade.  I’m still not sure how he knew this, but his sixth sense never ceased to amaze.

After two months in Africa we’ve seen hundreds elephants but never had we seen one with tusks as massive as these. These long swaths of ivory seemed to stretch for miles and slash through the air like swords. We certainly knew this was not the kind of pachyderm we’d want to mess with, but he gave us a mock charge and a few snorts just to make it extra clear.

After a full morning in the grassland and an delicious lunch, we spent the hottest hours of the day cooling down in the pool.  This is a taste of utter fun and relaxation at Offbeat Meru but for all the adventure they have in store, check out our next blog.

Much love from Meru,
Anne & Mike

Note: Offbeat Safaris invited us to be their guest; however all opinions are our own.

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