I'd been to Tawi a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it, and just returned for a quick two nights arranged quite last minute. I had forgotten how wonderful Amboseli and its ridiculously large herds of elephants are, and Tawi really is a superb lodge, one of the best in its price bracket that I've stayed at in Kenya. Clever and modern design, great cool shaded areas in the garden with the ponds, and huge rooms with free-standing baths and showers with views of Kilimanjaro. The staff are all friendly, professional, fun but not overbearing, the guides first-rate (Nickson was our guide and was super), and above all the food really was something exceptional. There were a couple of minor issues over water pressure in our rooms (11 and 12) and the fridges were not working in the rooms. Beyond that, pretty much perfect.
I'd recommend going for at least two nights, ideally three, but remember you don't have to pay your KWS Amboseli park fee for every night you stay at Tawi because you're outside the Park in the conservancy. Certainly go into the Park, but take time to chill around the lodge (and in its spa!), and to walk in the conservancy. If you're lucky, as we were, you'll have a dozen elephants wallowing in the waterhole just beyond the lodge, and you can sit in the bar with a G+T and just watch them all afternoon.....
A word of caution on the KWS park fees - if you enter the park at Meshanani Gate (the Namanga side), even if you are transiting through to Kimana then to Tawi, you'll pay there and the clock will start ticking on the 24-hour validity of your ticket. Recommend driving Nairobi-Emali-Oloitokitok-Kimana Gate instead. Also, KWS may soon restrict you to one entry only per ticket - meaning you can't, say, have an afternoon game drive, leave the park to stay at Tawi overnight, then go back in the next morning. Currently (as at Feb 1, 2014) they allow one extra entry per ticket per 24 hours, but that may change. Ask Tawi about the latest.
All in all, I'd really recommend Tawi Lodge as the best place that I know of to stay in Amboseli. And if you time it right with the Mombasa Road traffic, it's basically four hours door-to-door from home in Nairobi!
East, West and Central Africa Correspondent
The Daily Telegraph
London (based in Nairobi)
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- Also Known As:
- Tawi Hotel Amboseli National Park