Cheli & Peacock tied together their conservation and tourism efforts nearly 25 years ago. Today, the impact of their work is far greater than they first imagined, and the lives of Kenyans are being dramatically changed.
Amidst rural communities and in close proximity to Kenya’s densely-populated wilderness, the aim of the Saruni Samburu retreat remains simple: allow visitors to experience enchanting natural beauty and world-class pampering while simultaneously enhancing the local population’s quality of life.
Surrounded by the Kalama Community Wildlife Conservancy and a short distance from the Samburu National Reserve, Saruni Samburu is one of many eco-lodges made possible by Stefano Cheli and Liz Peacock. Since the conservation pioneers married their desire for an eco-friendly, sustainable safari solution with their tourism enterprises over 25 years ago, Cheli & Peacock Ltd. have been bringing the very best of Africa to visitors while benefiting the surrounding communities. In Kenya they continue to discourage uncontrolled development and champion responsible practices including solar energy, hiring from nearby communities and environmentally conscious waste management, resulting in flourishing animal populations and thriving local economies.
Together with owner Riccardo Orizio, Cheli & Peacock helped to implement their proven conservationist practices at one of the Kalama’s first luxury destinations. The Samburu and Kalama residents have coexisted for over 40 years, sharing revenues and implementing infrastructure improvements for mutual benefit, including adding permanent watering holes for wildlife and piped water to area communities. The staff of Saruni Samburu is comprised mainly of Kalama and Samburu residents who have been provided full training. The local guides have grown up amidst the area’s flora and fauna and they are pleased to impart their knowledge to visitors. One of the lodge’s most engaging activities is the “Warrior for a Week” program, where guests spend a few days learning survival skills, tracking animals and constructing nomadic homes – part of the training the Samburu learn as adolescents.
Situated in a region known as “the jewel of African wildlife”, visitors are exposed to one of the highest and most diverse concentrations of creatures on the continent. Saruni’s elevated location provides a stunning view of distant mountains and grassy slopes teeming with elephant, reticulated giraffe, zebra and antelope – denizens who regularly visit the watering hole visible from the grand outdoor pool. The area is also home to hundreds of different bird species, often seen and heard on the grounds.
Saruni Samburu is comprised of two en-suite houses and two family houses, each with large bedrooms and dressing areas, private bathrooms with oversized tubs, personal dining areas, and large verandahs overlooking the expanse of the Kalama. The luxury experience extends beyond the lodge to the Wellbeing pace where the therapists combine their knowledge of local plants and seeds with techniques learned at the famed Centro Benessere Stresa in Italy. The open-air cottage is an ethereal setting for a variety of massages, skin therapy and relaxation close to nature. Arrange a private dinner on the grounds complete with nearby birdsong and animal calls as the evening soundtrack.
A journey to Saruni Samburu will leave you enriched and pleased knowing your visit has aided in continuing the legacy of cultural preservation and independence for the Samburu community.