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Our History

Legend and LEGACY

Finch Hattons is steeped in the history of luxury Kenyan safari camps.

We take our name from Denys Finch Hatton, the English aristocrat who, in the early 20th century, became the pioneer of the most opulent safaris East Africa had ever seen. He was the lover of Danish noblewoman Karen Blixen and features in her memoir, Out of Africa. It was the combination of Denys Finch Hattons’ love for the wilderness and his refined tastes that inspired renowned hotelier Peter Frank and the Gehlot family to establish Finch Hattons Luxury Tented Camp in 1993.

OUR HISTORY

Denys Finch Hatton

Mt. Kilimajaro

Prince of Wales on Safari in Kenya

Karen Blixen & Denys Finch Hatton

The legacy of Denys Finch Hatton

When it came to creating luxury safaris, Denys Finch Hatton left no piece of silver cutlery unturned. His camps were quite literally fit for British royalty, and were defined by absolute opulence, total seclusion, romance and mystery. Deep in the heart of the Kenyan wilderness, he served his guests exquisite dinners on fine bone china and offered them the chance to toast the stars with crystal glasses. Today, at the camp that is his namesake, his legacy is borne out in everything we do.

Karen Blixen & Denys Finch Hatton

Come experience the legend of Denys Finch Hatton

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Peter Frank chose the site himself after flying around Tsavo National Park. He was drawn to the natural springs around which today’s camp is located. The years that followed were a labour of love for both families as they set about creating a space that quickly became synonymous with outstanding hospitality amid majestic splendour. We set the standard for Kenya Luxury and then we revamped in 2015.

In the early years, Finch Hattons was known for its seven-course dinners, served with bone china and crystal (just like Denys’ original camps), and earned itself a reputation for the best fine dining in the bush.

At the time, our staff was trained by a Swiss cordon bleu chef. But times and tastes changed, and without altering the quality of our food and service, we have since stripped away some of these out-dated traditions to create an environment that is inviting, relaxed and still – quite undeniably – world class.

Janet & Jim, Guest Review, 1998

The before and

THE AFTER

Our rebuild

After the rebuild, a new chapter began at Finch Hattons. We appointed South African architect Francois Theron to see our vision through, as well as various project managers, construction workers and interior experts. Of course, every member of our team had to have extensive experience working in logistically demanding and ecologically sensitive areas. The preservation of Tsavo was our prime concern.

The new design was different from the original in several important ways. Previously, for example, the layout of the camp interrupted animals’ access to the water. The new layout addressed this, while also prioritising the privacy of each tent. Trees were considered a sacred commodity during construction and as many as possible were spared. The sustainability of our processes and infrastructure was also considered critical, and every measure was taken to make the camp as eco-friendly as possible.

Come and see

OUR PLACE

The refurbished camp has retained the essence of the original Finch Hattons camp – and indeed Finch Hatton himself – while introducing an elegant and modern feel that is in harmony with our environment. When the new camp was reopened in 2015, it immediately won the award for Best New Safari Camp by Architectural Digest.

It was also named Africa’s Leading Tented Safari Camp in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

View our award-winning

TENTED SUITES