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Catering mostly to resident Kenyans who prefer their independence but don't necessarily want to put up with the inherent inconveniences and lack of amenities that go hand-in-hand with camping, the Kenya Wildlife Service rents out some of its former wardens' digs as self-catering holiday homes. One of the best that I've seen is Lake Naivasha's Naisha House (reservations through the park warden, lakenakurunationalpark@kws.go.ke, or through KWS headquarters in Nairobi, www.kws.org). This simple stone house is set among acacia trees in a grove right near the park's airstrip -- you'll be visited by buffalo, baboons, and all kinds of plains game, and you may even be lucky enough to spot predators from your front porch. The rental comprises a main house with two bedrooms (each with a double and single bed), full kitchen (with gas stove, fridge, crockery, and cutlery), dining area, lounge with fireplace, a single bathroom (with tub and shower), and barbecue area. A small annex with two single rooms and a long-drop toilet is ideal to accommodate a driver and a guide. Electricity is available for 4 hours every evening; there's kerosene lighting and hot water; and the house comes with a pair of housekeepers, Irene and Geoffrey, who keep things tidy and can supply you with firewood. The biggest drawback might very well be the overwhelming popularity of the house; you'll need to reserve your place anywhere between 2 months and 1 year in advance. You also need to be aware that there is some KWS staff housing nearby, so things can get a tad noisy. The cottage costs $200 to $250 per night on a self-catering basis -- besides supplying your own food, you'll need to bring bottled drinking water, and park fees are not included.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.