The small and exclusive Samatian Island Lodge is set on a small private island on Lake Baringo in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley. With its breath-taking views across the bronze waters of the lake to the imposing backdrop of the Laikipia Escarpment, the lodge offers the perfect mid-safari break. The beauty of Baringo is legendary, with its spectacular sunsets, dazzling array of bird life, and the Njemps fishermen continuing a lifestyle little changed for over 200 years. Lake Baringo is also a Ramsar site, having been recognised internationally as a vitally important wetland.
Accommodation and Meals
Samatian Island offers guests the ultimate in relaxation & exclusivity in magical surroundings. Samatian is run as a small family homestay, ultimately for self catered guests, catering can be arranged by special arrangement for a party of 6 guests or more.
Accommodation Samatian Island is in five open-plan thatched cottages sleeping up to a total of 12 guests. Each room has a superb view of the lake and all bedrooms have adjacent bathrooms, each with its own unique style, and usually a view too. The family chalet has a double and a twin bedroom as well as an open air deck upstairs for star-gazing and enjoying the breathtaking 360-degree view. These open rooms provide welcome breezes while mosquito nets provide protection at night. In the rare event of a storm, waterproof blinds are let down to shut out the rain.
The dining and homely living areas are situated next to the large infinity pool, offering panoramic views of the lake with its backdrop of rugged hills of Kenya’s arid Northern Frontier District.
For the active, there’s canoeing, jogging or walking along the lakeside to view the prolific bird life. You can also take advantage of boat rides to explore the lake and view the resident hippo, crocodile, giant monitor lizards, as well as over 450 species of birds: You can feed and photograph the fish eagles, explore this fascinating lake and visit Baringo’s hot springs.
The local Pokot people are one of the last remaining tribes in Kenya who have been relatively unaffected by Western influence. A visit to a Pokot homestead will give guests the opportunity to learn about these colourful people, their traditions and lifestyle. Typically you will be shown around their hut, see how they milk their cows, light their fires by rubbing together two sticks and draw blood from the cow to drink, an important part of the Pokot diet. They may dance for you or invite you to fire their bows and arrows. They usually have a variety of genuine artefacts including items made of leather, metal, wooden or beaded products for sale.
The Njemps people live on the eastern shores of Lake Baringo. They are cousins of the better-known Masai, and very different to the Pokot. You can walk around a local village to see how the people make balsa-wood boats, which they use for crossing the lake and fishing. They will also demonstrate how they smoke fish, construct their simple houses and keep their livestock. There is a small nursery school here, where guests can meet the children and enjoy a song or two.
We can also take you on day-trips to neighbouring Lake Bogoria, with its vast numbers of flamingo and the possibility of seeing rarer animals including the Greater Kudu; the forests and prehistoric site in the Tugen Hills, Kidepo springs with their extraordinary hot waterfalls; tours of the Rugus Wildlife conservancy, as well as visiting and learning about local tribes. Finally at Samatian Island there’s the chance to enjoy fine food or drinks al fresco, if you venture out for our bush breakfast, or sundowner trips.
Caroline (nee Roberts), together with her husband Ross Withey, own and operate this 12-bed lodge. The Roberts’ family first settled at Baringo in the 1950’s, and Caroline’s grandmother still lives beside the lake, while the rest of the large and locally well-known Roberts family have all kept Kenya as their homes. Caroline and Ross are both Kenya citizens and traditional Kenyan hospitality is part of the Samatian experience.
The beauty of Baringo is legendary, with its spectacular sunsets, dazzling array of bird life, and the Njemps fishermen continuing a lifestyle little changed for over 200 years. Lake Baringo is also a Ramsar site, having been recognised internationally as a vitally important wetland.