The best-known lodging in Ol Pejeta -- and, in fact, the busiest "hotel" in Kenya -- is Sweetwaters Tented Camp (www.serenahotels.com). Despite the smart tents and availability of myriad amenities and luxuries (all at extra cost), it all feels a bit at odds with the setting -- its 40 tents are packed so tightly that the overall effect is borderline grotesque. Sure, they're all facing the large, active water hole, but by the time you set foot on the concrete pathways that lead to the tents (made of green canvas and set on concrete plinths beneath pitched thatch), you're already feeling a bit of the wilderness spell being broken. Tent interiors are luxurious enough, but designed in such a way that they might just as well be standard hotel bedrooms. The main lodge building features parquet flooring, the rich scent of freshly polished wood, decor that can only be described as "colonial modernism," and -- just about everywhere you look -- price lists advertising the charges for game drives ($140 per person for a full day), nature walks, camel rides, sundowners ($50), bush dinners, lion tracking, and what not. Still, if you stay here outside of peak season (Feb, July-Oct, and the Christmas/New Year period), you can strike a fairly good-value rate ($230-$335 double, including all meals), and many like the fact that there's a pool and long list of hotel amenities at their disposal. But if you have to pay the premium rate ($575), it's simply not worth it because all those extras will add up pretty quickly to a not-inconsiderable sum.
On the other end of the scale is the intimate Kicheche Laikipia Camp (www.kicheche.com), the latest addition to Ol Pejeta's accommodation scene, with six tents overlooking a water hole. If Kicheche's bush camp in the Masai Mara is anything to go by, this promises to be a good bet for anyone looking for an authentic camping experience, with an emphasis on game-viewing (day and night game drives and guided bush walks are offered) and good opportunities to observe and participate in some of Ol Pejeta's conservation activities. Doubles range from $630 to $770 per night.
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.