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Campsites we love - Sieku

Posted by Adam 31/08/2017 0 Comment(s)

Here’s the second in our series of posts from Campsites we love!

This time, it’s Rob from the amazing Sieku Glampsite in Kenya….

Who are you? Tell us a little about yourself!

Hi, I’m Rob Wood, the one-man-pretty-much-everything at Sieku Glamping, which is in Laikipia county in northern Kenya.  We are the only proper glamping experience in Kenya.  

I’m originally from the UK but have been fortunate enough to be living in Kenya since 2005.  I moved to the capital, Nairobi, with my girlfriend, a couple of bags, a short-term contract and no plans to stay here long-term.  

Kenya is a stunning place, and for keen and adventurous souls it really has it all – savannah, forests, mountains, lakes, oceans, desert – and some of the best people on the continent.  Kenya got soon under our skin, and all for good reasons, we haven’t yet managed to find somewhere better to live.

Why did you start a glamping business?

Errrr, I actually didn’t mean to!  

Four years ago, we bought a piece of land with some of the best views in Kenya – with hills and mountains all around and near to forests with clear blue pools.  This piece of land, combined with a passion for the outdoors and camping well, has somehow taken on a life of its own to become Sieku Glamping.  

I wanted a bolt hole to escape Nairobi, so we built mess tents and eco-loos and showers etc and kept a couple of bell tents up there so that we could quickly and easily go camping, hassle-free, in style.   

Six months ago, some friends wanted to go and stay.  We made the tents look and feel special, and their reviews were great.  I decided to see if other guests might be interested in staying, and since then it’s gone totally crazy.  We are now already booked weeks in advance we’ve had to expand.  

What’s been the biggest challenge so far?

Definitely being able to keep up with the pace and growth of the business – on all fronts!  

It’s awesome and I love most things about Sieku Glamping, but I sometimes feel like I’ve inadvertently created something that’s leading me, and not vice versa.    

We’ve got loads of ideas and plans on what to do make the site more special; things we want to do to make the tents even better; gardens to plant; new experiences for guests we want to design; bookings to make; promotional photos to take; marketing to do etc etc.  

All of these are great, but they take up loads of my time, and I have a really busy full-time job as well, so it’s means that my day often starts early and ends late sorting out the glamping business.  

What do you enjoy most?

Without a doubt, happy guests and happy glampers!   We’ve had nothing (so far, touch wood!) but great reviews. We’ve had guests from the UK say we are “glamping at its best” and Kenyans say we have the “best views in the country”.  We’ve had others describe how they’ve never heard a lion groan at night before staying with us, and by staying with us lots of Kenyans are now exploring a beautiful part of the country that they’ve never even been to before.  All of this makes me super happy.

Giving people a new and different experience is also something I love.  The Sieku Glamping experience is different to a lot of other accommodation in the country.  We’ve just brought a new 5m Tipi Ultimate into Kenya and this will be the first tipi glamping experience anywhere here! It feels good to be offering something different. 

Have you got any great stories you’d like to tell?

Within a couple of months of putting up our fence at Sieku, we had a herd of elephants come stomping right through it.  Last year we went wild camping and, slightly naively, went wading with the kids in the river to cool off, and had a very close miss with a crocodile.  Six weeks ago, we went camping in another national park not too far from Nairobi and we had lions right outside our tent all night.  The noise of a lion grunting and calling to others a few feet away from you and with only some canvas between you and them is heart-stopping.  It’s such a deep and immensely powerful noise.  It cuts right through you and makes your soul shake.  Turns out there were at least eight adult lions who’d killed a buffalo a couple of hundred metres from our camp.  It made for an interesting morning, packing up the bell tent and kit with a couple of our kids making sure that none of the lions getting any closer to our camp.