Tucked away in the plains of Kajiado County – Kenya – Amboseli National Park is one of East Africa’s most exhilarating wildlife havens. This scenic park offers up unobstructed views of Africa’s highest mountain- Kilimanjaro; which lies just a few kilometres to the South-East, along the Kenya- Tanzania border.
On top of having an airstrip, the park is also easily accessible via road from major Kenyan cities like Nairobi and Mombasa. Accommodation options- meanwhile- are numerous and visitors to the park are often spoilt for choice.
Best Lodges in Amboseli
Whether you prefer campsite tents or safari lodges, this beautiful tourist destination has just what you need. Planning an Amboseli safari? Below, we provide you a detailed countdown of the top five lodges within the beautiful national park that you can try out.
1. Tawi Lodge
This posh eco-lodge sits inside the private conservancy that goes by the same name, taking up a vast 6,000 –acre land area. This gold-rated lodge is only a five-minute drive away from the national park and boasts state-of-the-art recreational amenities, which include 13 cottages complete with Victorian baths, a nature-inspired tree-bar and outdoor sundowner couches where you can relax and enjoy a drink; as you take in the serenity of the African Savannah.
And once you’ve had enough of that and the wildlife you can always go for a relaxing swim inside the lodge’s outdoor heated swimming pool. Meanwhile, the gourmet cuisine served at Tawi is largely ethnically-inspired, with lots of Swahili recipes.
The lodge’s management is keen on using locally-produced, organic ingredients and- therefore- grows their organic produce within the confines of the conservancy. The service offered here isn’t shabby- either. The staff personnel are detail-oriented and are typically eager to attend to customers’ requests to the best of their ability. This customer-friendly approach- coupled with the diverse ethnic menu- is what gives Tawi Lodge such a homely feel.
Being as Kajiado County generally has a dry climate, the abundance of indigenous flora is usually a welcome surprise for most tourists. This abundance of leafy trees renders Tawi Conservancy an avian sanctuary- too- with up to 400 species of birds calling this place home.
Beyond this calming foliage lies wonderful views of the imposing Kilimanjaro. Quite often, visitors can also catch glimpses of wildlife quenching their thirst in the conservancy’s water hole within the vicinity.
If the luxurious amenities and proximity to the mammals’ watering holes don’t tickle your fancy; Tawi Lodge offers unforgettable game drives that will get you up-close-and-personal with the beasts of the Savannah. From elephants and buffaloes to lions and rhinos, Amboseli is home to up to 50 species of mammals. The experience is breathtaking! You might have seen a lion in a zoo before, but nothing beats the feeling of seeing the king of the jungle roaming around freely in his natural habitat.
To get to Tawi Lodge from Nairobi, you can hire a chartered plane from Wilson Airport, as the conservancy boasts a private landing strip. Alternatively, you can drive there via Mombasa Road, whereupon reaching Emali, you can call up the lodge’s management for further directions.
2. Sopa Lodge
Amboseli Sopa Lodge has a traditional allure to it that will leave you wishing you could stay for longer when it’s time to leave. The lodge sits on a 200-acre piece of private land, with the beautiful Mount Kilimanjaro towering high above it. Being only a twenty-minute drive from the national park, wildlife tends to sprawl over to the conservancy, giving visitors a glimpse of what they came for before they even set out on a game drive.
Sopa Lodge’s management organizes game drives and nature walks for tourists, amidst a host of other interesting outdoor activities. Want to enjoy a meal in the middle of the bush? Sopa has you covered!
Numerous rustic cottages dot this vast private lodge, with up to 83 guest rooms adorned with visually alluring Maasai-inspired wall décor. The lodge also has a presidential suite with lots of luxury amenities as well as interconnecting rooms that are great for those visiting in family groups.
Inside one of the lodge’s facilities- The Mawenzi Bar- wrought iron furnishings build upon the rustic theme. An ornamental tree and a centrally-situated fireplace are also located within the bar, which serves as a welcome tribute to the natural beauty of Amboseli.
Hemingways Bar, meanwhile, has a more contemporary feel to it; and offers up wonderful views of the surrounding ecosystem, including the ever-alluring Mount Kilimanjaro.
Finally, at Kibo restaurant, there’s an outdoor terrace and a fireplace where visitors get to enjoy memorable sundowners as they listen to the pacifying sounds of nature.
To get to the lodge, you can hire a chartered plane to Amboseli Airstrip, after which you’ll get driven to the lodge. Alternatively, you can get there by road, as it’s only a four-hour drive away from the capital, Nairobi.
3. AA Amboseli Lodge
Sitting just two kilometers from the national park’s Kimana Gate, AA Amboseli Lodge is the perfect accommodation option for those looking for some contemporary charm in the middle of the African Savannah. The lodge features 31 lodge rooms, each tastefully furnished for an intimate appeal. For an extra fee, visitors can get their rooms upgraded and customized to their tastes. Each room also features a private balcony for unobstructed glimpses of the scenic Amboseli ecosystem.
Inside the lodge’s restaurants, they serve delectable gourmet dishes, with a special focus on continental cuisine. What’s more, visitors are accorded plenty of entertainment at AA Amboseli, including night-time Maasai cultural dances by real Maasai Morans.
Other notable amenities at this lodge include indoor and outdoor bars, spa and massage services, sundowners, and bush dinners. There’s also a curio shop within the confines of the lodge; for those wishing to take a souvenir of their visit back home with them.
AA Amboseli Lodge is accessible via road and also via Amboseli Airstrip, which is just a 30-minute flight away from Nairobi.
4. Sentrim Lodge
Ask any serial visitor to the Amboseli National Park which nearby lodge offers the most campsite-like feel, and they’ll most likely mention Amboseli Sentrim Lodge. This luxurious lodge- which is situated just three kilometres from the national park’s Kimana Gate- is a tented haven with up to 60 state-of-the-art tents. The lodge adds an upscale twist to traditional camping, with luxurious camping amenities like ensuite washrooms, hot showers, and flush toilets.
Standout attractions at Sentrim include the campfires, the child-friendly swimming pool, and guided daytime game drives. True to its campsite model, the lodge also accords visitors some camping essentials including coffee-makers and hair-dryers.
To get to Sentrim, you can travel by road along the Nairobi- Arusha route. Alternatively, you can take a flight to Amboseli Airstrip, from where the lodge’s management will accord you a free transfer to their premises- which lies about 15 kilometres from the airstrip.
5. Amboseli Serena Lodge
Located just on the periphery of Amboseli National Park, Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge is one of Kenya’s most frequented accommodation destinations by tourists. Of the five lodges listed, it’s the only one to be situated within the confines of the national park. Tucked away amidst an abundance of acacia foliage, the lodge is set against the exhilarating backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro.
The lodge’s accommodation facilities are no less exciting, either. Two single-stoned developments house several ensuite rooms that boast certain noteworthy features including a private veranda and lavish fenestration. The décor is also quite visually appealing, with a combination of Maasai-inspired accent pieces and hand-crafted wall art serving to highlight the lodge’s traditional theme.
From the lounge’s terrace, visitors can take in beautiful glimpses of the numerous green swamps that dot the surrounding area. The terrace also features a fire-place, making it the perfect spot for a late-evening cocktail drink.
At Amboseli Serena Lodge, they don’t compromise on the quality of their cuisine, either. From expertly-done salad buffets and entrees to mouth-watering breakfast pastry options; the delights served here will leave you with an unforgettable culinary experience. What’s more, the lodge’s restaurant has a good variety of vegan and vegetarian options on their menu.
Since it’s located within the national park, all you have to do to get there is to drive to any of the park’s gates; or take a chartered flight to Amboseli Airstrip, from where transfer to the lodge is readily available.
Whether it’s the ambiance and décor, the game drives, or the serenity of surroundings; the lodges in and around Amboseli National Park make for some worthwhile holiday destinations. While some, like Amboseli Serena Lodge, go for a luxurious feel and others, like Sopa Lodge, aim for a rustic vibe, one common fact that pits all five aforementioned lodges in the same revered category is that they’re the best accommodation options in Amboseli.
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Nicolas Lecocq16 Apr 2016
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