Tsavo National Park, Safaris, Lodges and tented Camps in Tsavo East and West
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    Ndolwa House, Tsavo National Park, Kenya & Hotels, Lodges, Tented Camps, Accommodation

    Ndolwa House is a small private homestay bordering Tsavo West National Park catering for the discerning client wishing to experience an unspoilt wilderness in the African bush, based on a private community owned conservation area, Ndolwa House Tsavo offers great accessibility to both the southern and northern regions of the Tsavo National Park for an exciting mix of wildlife viewing opportunities and wonderfully diverse and breathtaking scenery. Set on Ndolwa Hill the Tsavo Ndolwa House overlooks a vast panoramic expanse unlike any other in Tsavo West, including spectacular views of Mt Kilimanjaro, the Chyulu Hills, Tsavo West National Park, the Yatta Plateau and the Taita Hills. The very relaxed and child-friendly establishment caters for the discerning client who wishes to have exclusivity and privacy with a homely atmosphere. Ndolwa house Tsavo Kenya is located on the 10,000 acre conservation area of Oza Group Ranch, The lodge has been built based on eco-friendly principles and this bears in mind both the need for minimal visitor impact on the environment and economy of scale. Needless to say, the location of the safari lodge has been carefully considered in conjunction with the natural topography and will limit the cost of the human impact. All construction to date has and will continue to be based on environmentally friendly principles and we will endeavour to make sure no property is a disturbance to the landscape or project.

     

    In this context, alongside the Ndolwa house and Ndolwa Wildlife Sanctuary will develop the building of separate, individualized homesteads for the very discerning clients. This represents a new and diverse concept in Kenyan tourism. Preliminary market analysis has shown that there is a demand for ownership of properties in wild, beautiful pristine areas in Kenya, away from high density tourist regions. These potential investors would feel that they own a piece of pristine wilderness and would have the pleasure and comforts that come with a top quality safari experience. The clients acquiring the homesteads would directly be contributing to wildlife and habitat conservation. Relative margins on the building of a house in this area and the price at which they can be leased are significant. Yearly management will also ensure a positive cash flow on a long-term basis. Any interested investor would have the choice to timeshare out their property that Ndolwa Wildlife Sanctuary would manage on their behalf. A revenue sharing system would be drawn up to mutually satisfy all parties concerned. Marcus Russell, owner and host of Ndolwa House Private Homestay, is a professional Tsavo safari guide and a seasoned bushman. A second generation Kenyan, he has spent most of his life in Kenya’s wilderness areas, building and managing tourist safari lodges and tented camps; setting up wildlife conservation projects and working with the Kenya Wildlife Service on anti-poaching and wildlife management activities.

     

    The 10,000 acre portion of land upon which Ndolwa House is based has been leased from community owned Oza Group Ranch. Here Marcus and Shikha are working to develop a wildlife sanctuary and a conservation project with the interests of both wildlife and communities in mind. As keen naturalists dedicated to protecting the pristine ­natural habitat, they are educating the local community to conserve and not destroy the land via human settlement and non-viable agricultural practices. At the same time they aim to create a bigger sanctuary incorporating three community owned group ranches and an important wildlife corridor between Tsavo West and Tsavo East National Park particularly for elephant migrating between the two Parks thereby minimizing human-animal conflict. The ‘tourism for conservation’ ethos of Ndolwa House Tsavo Africa channels an annual rental fee plus a daily visitor conservation fee direct to the local community. This creates an understanding and awareness amongst community landowners of the value that magnificent wildlife habitats are as a source of valuable and much needed revenue if managed correctly and that common ground exists for both community and conservation templates on the same pocket of land. Furthermore, while encouraging a community to develop socially and economically by sustaining itself through its natural resources, it is possible to ensure the protection of a part of the world’s heritage for future generations to come. Ndolwa House Private Homestay has four private en-suite cottages (two with double beds, one with twin beds and one family room with one double bed and two single beds) and two tents measuring 44 square meters each with en suite bathrooms (one with a double bed and the other with two single beds); each cottage and tent has a private verandah. There are also two guide rooms to accommodate guides (one with a double bed and the other with two single beds) attached to the central mess/dining area. On request extra beds can be placed in the rooms to accommodate more people or young children.

     

    Each Ndolwa private House Kenia cottage has its own unique style with custom made beds, personal African collections and bead work decoration. Comfortable, spacious and relaxing areas are central to the style and there is a homely atmosphere; the hosting is personalized and individual needs are accommodated wherever possible. The cuisine is of a high standard and consists of good quality home cooking. The discerning client who wishes to have exclusivity and privacy with a homely atmosphere is well catered for. A minimum three night stay at Ndolwa House Private is recommended for visitors wishing to benefit from the wonders of the truly wild Tsavo West National Park; dolwa House has an informal atmosphere so guests may dress according to their comfort. Guests are advised to bring warm clothing to wear on chilly mornings and evenings. A pair of binoculars, camera and extra film or data cards is highly recommended. A hat, sunscreen, good walking shoes and comfortable khaki/bush colored clothing on bush walks are essential. To travel to Tsavo Ndolwa house from Nairobi Travel to Mitito Andei town (approximately 3 hrs from Nairobi.) Turn right at Mitito Andei into Main Gate Tsavo West National Park. KWS smart cards may be loaded at the main gate. Once through the gate travel for 14 kms to sign No 4. Turn left. Travel to sign No 15. Go straight across. Travel to sign No 16. Go straight across. Carry on straight and do not take any right turns to reach the Tsavo River Bridge for approximately 15 kms. Cross the bridge and travel for approximately 3 kms to a T-junction.

     

    This is the Mzima Springs pipeline road. At the T-junction turn left and travel for approximately 4.5 kms to reach sign No 66. At this sign turn right and travel straight for approximately 38 km to Maktau Gate. Please call us from Mitito Andei with an approximate time of arrival into Maktau so that we can arrange for a member of staff to meet you there to guide you to Ndowa House Tsavo. The drive through the Park from the main gate at Mitito Andei to Ndolwa House takes approximately 2 - 2 ½ hours game viewing through one of the most spectacular scenic game parks in Kenya. To travel to Ndolwa House from Mombasa by road, Drive down the main Nairobi-Mombasa road to Voi (approximately 1½ - 2 hours). Just before the Caltex petrol station on the main road turn left and takes this main Voi - Taveta road. Travel 20 kms to Mwatate town. Carry straight on. When the tarmac ends proceed on the murram road and pass the next town called Bura and carry on. Pass Taita Hills and Salt Lick Lodges on the left. Proceed to next town called Maktau. The road from Voi to Maktau is 55 kms (approximately 1 hour drive). Please call us from Voi with an approximate time of arrival into Maktau so that we can arrange for a member of our staff to meet you there to guide you the last few kilometers to Ndolwa House, most of our clients from Mombasa arrive on packaged safaris by Malindi and Mombassa tour operators, however we can organize your safari to Tsavo and combine with accommodation in Malindi, Watamu, Diani, Lamu island, and Mombasa, Ndolwa Wildlife Sanctuary long rains are normally from April through to June and the shorter rains are from mid-November to mid-December. Days are generally sunny and there is a moderate to cool climate throughout the year. The altitude is 3,900 ft.

     

    Ndolwa House Accommodation

     

    Ndolwa House has four private ensuite cottages (two with double beds, one with twin beds and one family room with one double bed and two single beds) and two tents measuring 44 square meters each with ensuite bathrooms (one with a double bed and the other with two single beds); each cottage and tent has a private verandah. There are also two guide rooms to accommodate guides (one with a double bed and the other with two single beds) attached to the central mess/dining area. On request extra beds can be placed in the rooms to accommodate more people or young children. Each cottage has its own unique style with custom made beds, personal Africana collections and bead work decoration. The cottages, tents and the mess/dining area overlook spectacular panoramic views of Mt Kilimanjaro, the Chyulu Hills, Tsavo West National Park, Ngulia Hill, the Yatta Plateau, and the Taita Hills. There are two spacious tents measuring 44 sq mtrs each with makuti thatch roofs on a natural stone plinth, both with en suite bathrooms and private verandahs, one with a double bed and the other with two single beds. On request extra beds can be placed in the cottages or tents to accommodate more people or young children where there are several family groups. There are two rooms to accommodate guides, one with a double bed and the other with two single beds attached to the central mess/dining area. Extra guide tents can be arranged if necessary.

     

    Ndolwa House Meals

     

    Ndolwa House cuisine is of a high standard and consists of good quality home cooking. The discerning client who wishes to have exclusivity and privacy with a homely atmosphere is well catered for. Ndolwa House is child friendly and children of all ages are welcome. Early dinners and special menus can be arranged upon request. Days spent out in the park usually combine picnic lunches in incredible settings; by Lake Jipe, on the Tsavo River or amongst the wildlife under a wonderfully shady Acacia tree. Occasionally we have orphaned animals that we raise and rehabilitate back to the wild. We like to introduce children and adults to a first hand knowledge and experience of how to interact with these animals and on the process of returning them back to the wild. Our hosting is personalized and individual needs are willingly accommodated wherever possible. The closest airstrip is the Maktau airstrip at the National Park gate, 7 km away, which may be used for private charters. The next closest are at Kilaguni Lodge and Finch Hattons Camp in Tsavo West National Park, which are serviced by Safarilink from Wilson Airport, Nairobi. Private ‘bush' lunches and dinners can be arranged in the bush, complete with waiters, private bar and private BBQ cooking station, campfires and hurricane lamps

     

    Ndolwa House Wildlife Activities

     

    At Ndolwa House, clients wishing to have exclusivity and privacy in a relaxed atmosphere are well catered for. The day can be tailor made to suit your requirements by indulging in one or combining the following activities: Game drives into Tsavo West National Park Northern region, including sights of the Tsavo River; Ngulia Mountain; Rhino Valley and Shetani lava flow. Game drives in Tsavo West National Park Southern region including game and bird viewing on the Serengeti Plains and Lake Jipe. Guided educational bush walks. Night drives within the sanctuary. Days spent out in the park usually combine picnic lunches in incredible settings; by Lake Jipe, on the Tsavo River or amongst the wildlife under a wonderfully shady Acacia tree. Game Drives, nature walks and medicinal plant discovery Experience the real Tsavo safari - morning and afternoon game drives through the Tsavo West National Park with our trained safari driver-guides. Picnic lunches and sundowners can be provided. Tsavo West National Park offers some of the most magnificent wildlife viewing in the world - vast herds of dust-red elephant, fat pods of hippo, giant crocodile, teeming herds of plains game, a fantasia of bird life and some magical flora. Apart from specialized game drives and nature walks, the lodge offers also different ranger courses, learning about tracking and spoor, approaching dangerous game, first aid in the bush, medicinal plants as well as a 7-days bush survival and navigation training.

     

    Tsavo National Park

     

    The combined area of Tsavo East and West National Parks makes Tsavo one of the world's largest game sanctuaries, larger than Wales in Great Britain or Jamaica in the Caribbean. Lying about halfway between Nairobi and Mombasa it covers 20,812 sq km. Tsavo East is larger and more arid than Tsavo West and is less visited. If you are looking for an authentic African experience from your luxury safari to Tsavo National Park is the ideal safari destination. Because of its proximity to the Kenya Coast, our safari in Tsavo National Park combines fantastically with a few days’ rest and relaxation with a Mombassa beach holiday. Amongst the wide range of Tsavo hotels, make the ideal Kenya safari destination. Choose a safari lodge, safari hotel, bush camp, luxury lodge, safari camp, tented camp or bush lodge. Tsavo National Park accommodation usually takes the form of a traditional safari lodge or tented camp, but numerous other options exist on the park boundaries. Luxury lodges and luxury camp options are also offered in the private wildlife conservancies. In 1948 Tsavo was gazetted as Kenya's second national park, two years after Nairobi was so declared. A combination of tsetse fly and lack of water had kept this great tract of land from being occupied by humans.

     

    There are only two permanent rivers in this vast area, the Tsavo which begins its life on Kilimanjaro and is greatly supplemented by a huge underground river flowing from Mzima Springs, and the Athi in Tsavo east which begins near Nairobi. Poachers and drought caused tremendous devastation among the Park's elephant and rhino populations, but both species are now recovering. An aerial count of elephants in Tsavo East and West in 1991 revealed nearly 7,000 elephants—by far the largest population in any Kenyan park. Poaching has all but ended—in 1991 there were no elephants poached in Tsavo and only 18 in the whole of the Republic. This figure compares with an average of 5,000 elephants killed by poachers every year in the period 1973-1989. Tsavo is a model national park in both layout and its geophysical, animal, and plant diversity. Tsavo West has more than 2,000 km of well-maintained, all-weather roads. Good signposting leads the visitor from one natural wonder to another. Chief among these must rank the marvel of Mzima Springs, replenished with two hundred and twenty million litres of crystal-clear water every day, from the underground streams stemming from the lava massif known as the Chyulu Hills, 40-50 km away. Mzima forms a haven for a rich wildlife pageant with elephants soaking half immersed in the waters, light-footed but ponderous looking hippos, apparently weightless, tip-toeing across the bottom, crocodiles basking on the bank or swirling through the water; gazelles, zebra, and giraffes wandering around the banks through the thick acacias and raffia palms together with hundreds of chattering monkeys and birds. Mzima is also the main source of Mombasa's water supply. There are well-marked nature trails, an observation platform, and an underwater glass tank which provides a special vantage point to view this remarkable oasis. Not far from Mzima Springs, along a well-marked track, lies the precipitous magnificence of the Ngulia escarpment at the foot of the Ngulia Hills , which rises to 1825 m. Each year from late September to November, Ngulia has become the base of a unique phenomenon. Attracted by the lights of Ngulia Lodge, thousands of migrant birds descend through the mists, which are prevalent at this time of the year to be netted, ringed, and released. It has become one of the bird wonders of the world and provides vital information on the migratory routes and the habits of many species common to the northern hemisphere. Reports of ringed birds have been received from as far north as St. Petersburg, and from countries as widely separated as Oman, Malawi, Iran, and Germany. Apart from the elephant population there are many lion—some undoubtedly the descendants of the famous Maneaters of Tsavo! Among the less common animals to be found are the fringed-eared oryx, the gerenuk, and lesser kudu. The carnivores in addition to lion include serval, hyena, leopard cheetah, and caracal.

     

    The landscape is dominated, especially off the hills, by the giant baobab, a tree which is reputed to live 1,000 years. After the rains, the Park is showered with white and pink ipomea, the morning glory family, and the acacia trees are festooned in feathery masses of white and pink blossoms. The desert rose, somewhat like a miniature baobab, produces fuschia-pink flowers of striking beauty at almost any time of the year. The first lodge inside any national park was Kilaguni Lodge, opened by Britain's Duke of Gloucester in 1962. It stands at the centre of Tsavo West and affords excellent game runs in all directions. The lodge and its waterhole have an almost permanent population of ground squirrels, warthog, hyrax, mongooses, and masses of impudent birds. Elephant are nearly always to be seen, with many other animals at the waterhole. This feast of wildlife, flora, and birds combines to make Tsavo of special interest—an interest perhaps made greater by geological activity evidenced by a mass of recently extinct volcanoes and massive lava flows. It is also possible to make an excursion to the Chyulu Hills National Park, which abuts Tsavo to the northwest. The Chyulus are one of the world's newest mountain ranges; the most recent volcanic peak was formed only 500 years ago. A four-wheel-drive track leads to this peak—Shaitani—from the Chyulu gate near Kilaguni Lodge and it is simple to walk to the caves on the side of the volcano.

     

    It is a breathtaking landscape of rampant ferocity and the vistas to Kilimanjaro are unbeatable. At the other end of Tsavo West, in the southwest corner, lies Lake Jipe. Bisected by the border with Tanzania, it is a favourite haunt of bird-watchers and boats are available for ardent ornithologists. In the lake area is a small herd of Grevy's zebra, translocated from northern Kenya in 1977. Only a small area of this vast nature reserve, larger by far than Tsavo West, is open to the public, although new areas for human intrusion are now being added. The remainder provides a remote animal wilderness. There are many interesting aspects in the open areas of Tsavo East, not least the spine of the Yatta Plateau, one of the world's longest lava flows. An additional attraction is the Athi River flanked by stately doum palms, which, near the Manyani gate forms the Lugard Falls, a long stretch of rippling white water cataracts and a favourite haunt for sunbathing crocodiles. The Falls gush through a small fissure, narrow enough for the foolhardy to leap across, before dropping to Crocodile Point below, where the river changes its name to the Galana. Droughts are much more common in Tsavo East than West and Aruba Dam, built in 1952, has dried up completely at times, although it covers an area of 85.4 hectares. This wilderness, seemingly so hostile, is nevertheless inhabited by a wide range of plains' game including zebra, several species of antelope, among them lesser kudu and hartebeest, warthog, and ostrich as well as elephant herds that plunder their way through bush and scrub to the permanent waters of the Athi.

     

    Tsavo West National Park

     

    Tsavo West National Park is operated by the Kenya Wildlife Service. It encompasses mountains and hills for climbing, savanna bush and semi-arid desert scrub, acacia woodland, palm thickets, rivers and the tranquil Lake Jipe. There are many tourist attractions at Tsavo West National Park, from safari tours to see the red-skinned elephants, to birdwatching and hill hiking, to caving and boating. There are many Kenyan animals in the park, including elephants, African lions, hippos, cheetahs, hartebeest and buffalo.

     

    Tsavo West National Park covers 7065km² but the terrain is much more varied than that of Tsavo East. It ranges from 200-1000m in altitude. The northern sector is bush land with scattered native baobab trees. The railway runs along the border separating Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Park. In 1898, as many as 135 railway workers were attacked and killed by man-eating lions. The pair of male, maneless lions that, unusually, hunted humans rather than livestock, evaded traps and capture for many months. The man-eaters were eventually shot by Lt. Col. John Henry Patterson, but the legend lives on. A wildlife safari is the best way to see Kenya's wildlife close-up in its natural environment. Tsavo West is home to the largest population of red-skinned elephants as well as to members of the rest of the "Big 5" African animals (buffalo, African lions, leopards and rhinos). There is also a host of Kenyan birds and other animals, both large and small, to see. From Lake Jipe, on the Tanzanian border, to the mountain forests of the Chyulu Hills, the wide range of landscape offers protection to many endangered African wildlife including the black rhinoceros, Cosen's gerbil, Hunter's hartebeest, several species of shrew and rat, Grevy's zebra and wild dogs. Upon entering Tsavo West National Park, the park warden will give you several commonsense rules. For example: do not get out of your vehicle, except at designated spots; do not harass the animals in any way; keep to the tracks; no off-road driving; and remember that the animals always have the right of way.

     

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