Elsa's Kopje

Meru National Park, Kenya

Elsa's Kopje

Named in tribute to Elsa the Lioness (of 'Born Free' fame), Elsa’s Kopje enjoys a beautiful position on a rocky kopje in the often-overlooked Meru National Park.

Established in 1999 by Stefano Cheli, Elsa’s Kopje is a homage to Elsa the Lioness and the conservationists Joy and George Adamson, made famous in the book ‘Born Free’. The camp is situated on Mughwango Hill (“kopje” being the term for a small hill), the site of the Adamsons’ original campsite in Meru National Park, from where it enjoys a superb view over the vast, open plains of Meru National Park.

The design of Elsa’s Kopje is wonderful. At a distance, it is hardly visible, as it has been tucked away so discreetly among the rocks, crags and trees on the upper slopes of Mughwango Hill. Once inside, however, it reveals itself to be a very spacious lodge, with wide, open-air decks, a large bar and lounge, and a gorgeous infinity pool with a view of the plains. It’s not a bush camp by any stretch of the imagination; you sleep in fully-furnished cottages rather than tents, which are connected to the main public areas by paved footpaths (and, we should add, quite a few steps). But despite these comforts, Elsa’s Kopje does have a pleasantly rustic feel, and does a good job of capturing that classic, settler-era safari ambience.

The game-viewing at Elsa’s Kopje is generally very good. Meru National Park covers a diverse range of habitats, and is host to a good variety of game, including most of the big cats (lion, leopard, cheetah), and rhino (within a sanctuary). The Park is not as famous nor as impressive as the best of Kenya’s parks and reserves. But it does offer something of an escape from the crowds, particularly if you choose to stay at Elsa’s, with its remote, hilltop location.

Elsa’s Kopje is open throughout the year.


Elsa's Kopje accommodates guests in ten private guest cottages, situated discreetly among the rock and trees on the slopes of Mughwango Hill. They are very sturdy units, constructed of stone, wood and thatch, with white-washed walls and polished floors. Each is unique in its design and layout, though the décor is largely the same between the rooms.

The furnishings at Elsa's have clearly been chosen to add to the very earthy, rustic feel of the lodge; naturally-occurring rocks and stones have been fashioned into tables and chairs, while the large double beds are crafted out of roughly-cut wooden beams. The bathrooms are particularly impressive, with stone baths and showers, and all the expected modern amenities (flush loos, double basins, hot running water).

Four of the cottages at Elsa’s Kopje are honeymoon rooms, which are larger and enjoy an outdoor bath and terrace. There is also a single family cottage, with two bedrooms (twin and double).

Totally separate to the rest of the lodge is Elsa’s Private House, a three-bedroomed private villa with its own swimming pool, living areas, and a separate staff.


The owner and designer of Elsa’s Kopje is Italian and this is reflected in the menus, though there’s also a good mix of international and African flavours on the menu. The menus are set and incorporate lots of fresh local ingredients, but most any dietary requirements will be catered for with advance notice. Each cottage is serviced by its own private butler.


- Swimming pool
- Dining area
- Massage room
- Lounge
- Bar


- Day and night game drives
- Guided bush walks
- Day trips to Tana River with packed lunch
- Sundowners
- Line Fishing (Catfish and Barbel)
- Massage

Child Policy

There are no age restrictions at Elsa’s Kopje. With that said, it is not a camp that we would normally recommend to families travelling with very young children. The camp's location on a high hill means that there a number of exposed drops.