An elegant oasis in the spectacular arid landscapes of Samburu; Joy’s Camp is built on the site of Joy Adamson’s tented home in Shaba National Reserve. The camp overlooks a large natural spring where elephant and lion jostle for watering rights with herds of buffalo and the rare desert species of Beisa Oryx, reticulated giraffe and Grevy’s zebra.

The eastern corner of the Samburu eco-system, Shaba is a secluded idyll; which Joy’s Camp guests can enjoy as a private experience, out of the hustle and bustle of Samburu – an arid landscape dotted with lush springs and rocky river gorges, home to unique and rare wildlife species.

About the camp

Only 10 guest tents, each 100sq m sumptuous tent is uniquely decorated with handmade glass and the vibrant fabrics of the local nomadic tribes creating a chic, sophisticated and stylish camp. Each tent has its own private veranda, ideal for game viewing, as well as relaxing, reading and soaking up the truly wild environs offered by Shaba.

The camp has a swimming pool, well-being facilities, and a shop.


  • A private experience of 59,000 acre National Reserve, part of the greater Samburu-Buffalo Springs ecosystem, with spectacular scenery.
  • Rare arid species: Beisa oryx, reticulated giraffe, gerenuk, Grevy’s zebra, Somali ostrich, as well as elephant herds, big cats, buffalo, water-buck, and diverse bird species.
  • Night gamedrives after an early “theatre dinner” – leopard, wild cat, porcupines …
  • Experienced silver & bronze KPGSA certified guides.
  • Walks, bush breakfasts and sundowners.
  • Game drives in open custom designed 4×4 game viewing vehicles.
  • Meet the truly nomadic Boran peoples




Joy’s Camp guides have the whole park to themselves, and know their backyard intimately. All the guides are Bronze or Silver level Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association certified. Shaba is the most spectacular part of the Samburu eco-system with beautiful Bodich and Shaba mountains glowing red in the evening sun. One and a half times the size of Samburu or Buffalo Springs, with no other vehicles – Joy’s Camp has the whole of Shaba to itself! Dramatic arid countryside with natural salts and lush palm fringed springs that attract the wildlife. The northern border of the park is the great Ewaso Nyiro River with rocky gorges, waterfalls and sandy beaches to explore. Game driving in Shaba is very different to game driving in Samburu where all the vehicles drive up and down the river; in Shaba the wildlife concentrates round the numerous springs, and the Joys Camp guides know the territories of the predators, and the elephants’ favourite evening watering hole. They also know how the giant termite castles are built, and enjoy leaving the vehicle behind and walking the river gorge, or to the Chaffa spring.


Game Drives

Joy’s Camp has open gamedrive vehicles. The current fleet are new, specially fitted, 4×4 Toyota Landcruisers. The vehicles are unrivalled with feature enhancements specifically designed for comfort and photography – open sided with 3 rows of seats, photographic equipment stands, and charging sockets. Guests will share gamedrives unless “exclusive use of vehicle” has been prebooked at an extra charge.

This is elephant and leopard country – rocky hills, huge acacias, and lush springs, the perfect habitat. Shaba is also home to the rare northern species; gerenuk (giraffe antelope), herds of Beisa oryx, Grevy zebra, reticulated giraffe, Somali ostrich, striped hyena – and a wonderful place to see klipspringer!

The camp is famous for its night gamedrives – clients have a full morning gamedrive, relax in camp in the afternoon, before a “theater dinner” at 6.30pm, and out for a long night gamedrive till about 10pm.  These arid lands, unlike the cooler savannahs have lots of activity going on after dark – wild cat, lions, aardwolf, hyena, owls, leopards

Guided Walks

Take the time to leave the car behind and enjoy the small things – tracks, dung beetles and micro-ecosystems.

One of the most popular walks is along the river gorge, dramatic views, and if you are lucky catch a glimpse of shy crocodiles.

Another favourite is walking along the Chaffa stream, starting at the spring – spectacular flowers, birds.

Other special places to roam around out of the car is at “Penny’s Drop”, a waterfall dropping from a spring into the great Ewaso Nyiro river.


The colours, vistas and landscape in Shaba cry out to be painted! The camp has easels, paints, charcoal pencils, paper… all you need to settle in and create. Once you have caught the painting bug, the shop has mini painting safari packs for you to take onto your next stop.

Joy Adamson was also an accomplished artist, documenting the plants and peoples of Kenya for posterity. Another reason why she chose to live at this spectacular site!

Swimming Pool

Enjoy the cool waters in the heat of the day!

The swimming pool has service from the bar, and overlooks the spring and the view.

Bush Breakfast and Sundowners

Take a moment to sit back, enjoy the spectacular views, the smells, the colours, and the gentle breeze.

Bush breakfasts are a chance to enjoy a full breakfast, al fresco, in the middle of the plains, or by the river, surrounded by wildlife.

“Sundowners” are a safari tradition – after a day of safari; stop, watch the spectacular sunset; traditionally with a gin and tonic in hand!

Massage, Manicure and Pedicure

Safari is also a holiday and a rest – a break from today’s frenetic lifestyle.

Joy’s Camp offers:

  • Massages – a wonderful way to ease the stress out of tired shoulders and backs.
  • Manicure and pedicure – compliment those tanned limbs!

Cultural Visits

Joy’s Camp works with closely with the Nakuprat Gotu community, and there are ways that you can get involved.

The Borana, Samburu and Turkana people that inhabit this area are truly nomadic, so sometimes there are villages conveniently close to camp, and sometimes they are too far to visit! Of Kenya’s colourful peoples they are probably some of the most traditional, herding sheep, cattle, goats and camels, and passing on their stories and customs through song.

Most of the staff in camp are from the Borana community, with striking very hansom features and brightly coloured clothes.
Magado Crater

A full day out with picnic lunch, the crater has natural salt pans which are mined by the local women. A colourful scene reminiscent of ancient times!

Weddings & Honeymoons


There is nothing more romantic than a safari! Already an unforgettable, once in a lifetime and pampered experience; safaris offer incredible sunsets, romantic tents with spectacular views, and relaxed al fresco dinners.

The beautiful tent suites at Joys Camp are ideal for that very special romantic holiday.

Being a very special holiday, we often have special offers and upgrades for honeymooners.

Weddings at Joy's

Over the years, Joy’s Camp has hosted very many beautiful weddings, blessings, and renewal of vows for our guests. From small simple ceremonies involving merely a glass of champagne at the end of a gamedrive; to elaborate three day events, with over 20 guests taking over the whole property.


About Joy’s Camp

Joy Adamson, renowned conservationist, and author of “Born Free”, chose the most spectacular site in Samburu to make her home – shaded by massive Tortilis acacias and overlooking a fertile spring, with long vistas looking west towards Bodich mountain. The site of “Joy’s Camp” was home to Joy for very many years, where she reintroduced Penny the leopard into the wild, and where she lived until her death in 1980. There are pictures of Joy’s old camp at the lodge, and a small gallery of Joy Adamson memorabilia.

Joy’s Camp was designed and built by Stefano Cheli, opening in 2006. Originally partnering with his friend Mike “Chief” Lawrence, seasoned Shaba safari guide. Stefano and Mike had both guided safaris in Shaba over the years and they chose to build on their favourite site. Sadly Mike only spent one night in Joy’s Camp before dying of a long borne illness. Stefano, Liz and their friend Stephen Hitchins bought Mike’s shares from his family, and remember their friend with fondness.

Being the third lodge built by Stefano, it too followed the hallmarks of stylish elegance, combined with sound conservation and eco-practices. A fresh design, inspired by the colours and style worn by the Boran people of the area; Joy’s Camp has breathed life back into a forgotten conservation backwater, and partners with the local community.


Tent Suites

The 100 sqm tent suites; with chic “Borana” design with clean lines, contemporary architectural details and vibrant fabrics has made this camp a must with “style aficionados” and romantics.

  • 10 spacious en-suite tents
  • 7 doubles and 3 twin tents

Each tent is 100m sq and consists of a large main bedroom, with en suite bathroom (stone floors, flush loo, hot running water and shower), and large veranda with seating area.
All tents can fit two extra beds, to accommodate children under the age of 16yrs only. Maximum is 5 extra beds in camp at any one time


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