“ Address: Tsavo West National Park /Kenya „
Where it is:
Ngulia Lodge is in the middle of Tsavo West Safari park in Kenya. Tsavo East and West combined creates the largest game reserve in Kenya and offers a different range to the Masai Mara. Also unlike the Masai it is easily accesible from Mombasa via road (about 2 hours.) Tsavo West is thicker with dense vegetation compared to the east which is more dusty and barren. If you are planning to do a safari from Mombasa you will need to go for longer than 2 days to have time to do both Tsavo East and West, but this hotel is only a 15 minute drive from the rhino sanctuary - the only place you are going to see them as they still need to be protected from poachers.
The rooms were pretty basic. A tiled floor, a bed and a bathroom with bath and shower. Electricity was only available between 1-2pm and from 6pm in the evening. We think this is because the hotel runs on solar power. Also if you are doing a safari you will be out in the morning and late afternoon anyway. The rooms were clean and had mosquito nets over the bed, however these were a bit past their best. Overall in the hotel there are 52 rooms, all with balconies. These overlook either the watering hole or the vast savannah behind where the animals can come up to the room to graze. The baboons even used the balcony to walk along to get to the watering hole. Bottled water isn't provided in the rooms so remember to get one from the bar before you go to brush your teeth!
As we were only at the hotel for one night we only got a sample of the food. It was served buffet style with an assortment of fresh fruit and juices, cereals, pastries and fried breakfast too. Lunch and dinner were also a buffet, with a range of salads, hot dishes such as moussaka and traditional dishes such as Ugali (maize flour boiled up to make a paste - it is a kenyan staple and tastes a bit like mushy rice!) Deserts were available but I gave them a miss - partly because they always seemed to be shaped like various body parts! All food is included but you have to pay for drinks - a round of 4 drinks works out at about £6
As you will find if you go anywhere in Kenya, the level of service is impecable. To begin with you will wonder why they are making jobs for themselves, but after a couple of days you begin to embrace it. I for one have become a right lazy cow because I am so used to people running aroound after me! You do have to get used to the fact that as soon as your knife and fork are down your plate is taken away, even if other people are eating, and the fact you won't be allowed to carry your bags, put your mosquito nets on, pour your own drink. They are all however really badly paid (about £20 a week) so it is advised to give a tip of 100 schillings which is 75p.
If you are doing a safari it is likely to have been booked through a travel agents or through the safari tour operator. I can't see any reason why you would choose to come here and not be part of a safari party as there is nothing else to do there!
There is no tv in the room and you obviously can't go out for a walk so the only options are either sit in the bar or go for a swim. The swimming pool was very small but seemed clean, and on a hot day would definitely be worth taking advantage of. However we went in African winter (July) so were cool enough at about 30 degrees. At night it is nice to watch the watering hole as all the elephants come in to drink from it and they also strap a goat leg to a frame next to the bar so leopards come in most nights to eat. You can get some amazing pictures here as it is only about 6 feet away. You can hear as it crunches though the bones, so not good for the squeamish! As you have to get up at about 6am to be out on the next safari drive it is probably easier to spend time in the lodge catching up on sleep.
If you don't like creepy crawlies I would not recommend this lodge. We had about 3 lizards in our room (they were more scared of us though) and when I went to sit on my balcony saw a bug flying around that was about the size of my fist! I screamed lke a girl and ran away. It is also advised that you don't feed the animals as they are wild and likely to bite and scratch you.
This hotel was ok. I wouldn't fancy any more than a night there - and being absolutely knackered diverted my attention from the lack of things to do. The views from the hotel are spectacular and if you see the leopard that close up it is definitely worth it
I visited Kenya in June last year. Staying in Mombasa we took a few days off from our very hectic schedule of lying by the pool getting a tan, to go on safari. We stayed at three different lodges, Ngulia being the second stop.
Located in Tsavo West National Park very near to the rhino park. There are 52 rooms in the lodge all with their own bathroom. The room we stayed in was not fantastic, however the beds were comfy and the bathroom was clean (albeit a bit dark and dingy!). Having said this, you do not spend that long in your room and we were only there for one night so I can't complain!
One of the main attractions at Ngulia is the view from your balcony (which each room has). After lunch I must have spent a good couple of hours sat on our balcony watching the herds of elephants. They came really close to the lodge and then one of the herds with all ages of elephants came really close and started playing in the mud right next to the lodge. We had such a fantastic view of this from our balcony and it was just such an amazing experience.
The facilites at the lodge include a swimming pool, a retaurant, two bars and a lovely garden with lots of exotic flowers and cacti, and a lot of hi-rats running around! The food is OK but not brilliant however there is plenty of choice and you are bound to find at least one thing you will like.
The other main attraction at Ngulia is that they hang meat outside the lodge at dusk to attract the leopards. The meat is placed outside one of the bars and the area is lit up so you have a fantastic view. As you don't know when or even if the leopard will show up, as soon as he arrives to get the meat a member of staff goes and knocks on everyone's doors shouting 'leopard, leopard' so that everyone can run to the bar and see him. Be warned though you need to run quick to get a good view as it gets very busy very quickly!
Whilst we were in the bar at night an elephant came right up to the lodge in front of the bar and we were able to watch him playing and rubbing himself up the tree! The bar has no glass window, it is just open so you feel like you are actually out in the wild with the animals. It really is totally amazing, just thinking about it makes me want to jump on a plane and go back there right now!
In summary, although this is not the best place for accommodation or food it is a great place to stop on safari just to be able to get that up close and personal to the leopards and elephants.