We stayed at Galdessa for two nights last December, departing on New Years Day. I had read on trip advisor about Banda 7a in Galdessa Main camp being the only one with an upstairs viewing deck (actually it is the Honeymoon Banda in Galdessa Main) so I e - mailed them asking if it would be possible for us to stay in this Banda, explaining that it would be our wedding anniversary the previous day and it would be nice to spoil ourselves! They replied that they wouldn't be able to guarantee it, so just wait & if it was available it would be a nice surprise. It was definitely a nice surprise on arrival when Sylvia, Galdessa's charming manager informed us that we had been upgraded to the Honeymoon Banda at Galdessa Private camp, in fact we would be having the entirety of Galdessa Private to ourselves. There were two reasons for this, one was my request & the other was that she had two big groups staying on the two nights we were there. On the first night there was an Italian group & on the second a French group and she thought we would be more comfortable on our own as no English was likely to be spoken in the main camp. We were certainly not objecting! After a short briefing on the camp we were introduced to our personal waiter and our tent boy who turned out to be more of a butler than anything else. Both of these guys were very efficient at what they did and really nice guys as well. The service level at this camp is way above anything else we have had in Africa with the exception of the Nyungwe Forest lodge in Rwanda. The Banda we were shown to was simply breathtaking, talk about the WOW factor! We entered across a huge balcony which was just up from the Galana river bank. The tent was huge with a very huge super King bed in the middle. There was plenty of room all around the bed, thru a door out the back was the similarly huge bathroom with a shower in the middle of it, vanity & large wardrobe with lots of hangers & a lock up security box which we never felt the need to use. The flush toilet opened off the bathroom. The rainwater overhead shower was of the bucket variety. We had to tell our tent boy when we wanted a shower and he duly turned up with water at whatever temperature we requested and filled the overhead storage bag with it. He would fill it up, one of us would shower then he would return with a refill for the other one of us. He always announced his arrival & asked if it was OK to enter the bathroom thru his access door at the rear. The whole arrangement worked very well, we never ran short of water or ever had to take a cold shower. The water supply for the hand basin & toilet was separate & much larger so didn't need filling during our stay. We had a staircase leading up the side of the Banda to a viewing platform above the roof. We had a double day bed on both the lower balcony & also up on this viewing platform. That's 3 beds! As Galdessa is unfenced we had to have an escort each time we left the tent, we would pre - arrange times & this also worked very well. The tent boy is on call 24/7 & can be summonsed by us blowing a whistle if required. We never needed to. The Tent was kept perfectly clean & things such as making the bed, replacing towels was always done when we were at meals or out. The level of professionalism this guy had was astonishing, nothing was any trouble at all to him. I was just commenting to my wife that one or two of my T Shirts were a bit grimy, he took them away & brought them back to me a short while later laundered & folded - no charge, all part of the service. We felt like the King & Queen sitting at our table for 10 in our own private dining lounge being served delicious food & wine by our private waiter. All the food at Galdessa is top quality, it is a set Menu so you are asked on arrival if you have any allergies or dislikes. Even though it had been our wedding anniversary the day before we arrived they presented us with a little anniversary cake after dinner on our first night here.
We joined the other guests at Galdessa Main for a special New Years Eve dinner, it was also very nice but a bit of a come down, there were other people there!! On the whole day we had here we did the morning excursion to the Lugards Falls. You travel a short distance then walk accompanied by armed rangers down the side of the rocks to the falls. On the way you can get close to enormous Crocodiles & eventually you get to a pool on the river where you can see Hippo's except the day we did this there were none. We did see an interesting snake in a tree on the way back though. We did a game drive on the way back to the camp & were lucky enough to see a pride of Lions eating an Impala they had just killed. We also saw lots of the Tsavo "Red" Elephants & a few Giraffe. During the night a Hippo walked right in front of our tent on her way back into the river, what a commotion she made. We frequently saw Hippo's crossing the river although none of them were that close to us. If you would like to see our photos of this truly amazing place you are welcome to have a look at www.flickr.com/photos/kiwiexplorer you will have to click on sets and then look for the Tsavo ones. The photos on their website do not do the place justice, maybe ours show it a bit more like it is. This is a more expensive camp than other options in the area but for a special treat it is so worthwhile and I know we were spoilt here but looking in the regular Banda's they are very nice as well & I'm sure you are just as well treated by these wonderful Kenyan people. What a great country, what a great people & what a great camp!!
- Also Known As:
- Galdessa Camp Tsavo East National Park Hotel Tsavo National Park East
- Galdessa Camp Tsavo East National Park Hotel
- Galdessa Camp Tsavo East National Park Kenya/Tsavo National Park East
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Galdessa offers the ultimate wilderness experience. With its elegant thatch-and-canvas tents overlooking the meandering waters of the Galana River, Galdessa offers the ultimate ‘bush style’ in one of East Africa’s wildest, secluded and unspoiled locations. Galdessa sits beneath giant doum palms, 15 kilometres upstream from Lugard’s Falls, in the heart of Tsavo East National Park. The camp’s riverside location means that many of Tsavo’s large animal herds come to you right in front of your tent. ... more less