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“My highlight of our trip to Kenya”
Review of Tortilis Camp

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Tortilis Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Wagga Wagga, Australia
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“My highlight of our trip to Kenya”
Reviewed 13 August 2014

I am 16 and came here with my family (there are 6 of us). It was beautiful. It was our start of our holiday. we stayed for 4 nights. We were in the private house and it was the coolest place. i loved it. youd fall to sleep listening to night sounds and wake up with a hot chocolate watching the red sun come up with Mount Kilimanjaro in front of you. Mount Kilimanjaro is mesmerising. i couldnt keep my eyes off it. Juma was our safari guide- Loved him. he was great adn managed to show us a cheetah run, lion kill, and got the best shot of our trip of us with elephants under the mountain! :) the staff are so so friendly - i got to know them all and are all so nice. we had bush breakfast under the mountain, and went to the maasai village which was an unforgettable experience. ive vowed that i will come back. LOVED IT.
PS. food was great :)

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Georgieharro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CheliPeacockKenya, Manager at Tortilis Camp, responded to this review, 27 August 2014
What a lovely review, thank you! Our staff had a wonderful time with you all and thank you for being such kind, friendly guests. Great to see that you've vowed to come back…please keep your promise!
From Juma, Manu, Andrea and all at Tortilis Camp
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312 reviews from our community

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Edmonds, Washington
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 August 2014

We stayed two nights here in July. The camp is in a lovely location, with a pond which attracted elephant and giraffe on the mornings we were there. This is one of the larger camps we stayed in, with a bit of a hike from the tents up to the restaurant and bar. The tents are very comfortable, and food was plentiful. Because the camp is fenced, it is safe for guests to roam the grounds at night. It was a special treat to have dik dik in our front yard. We enjoyed our guide, Jonathon, who was very knowledgeable and friendly. We saw lots of game on our game drives, enjoyed a bush break fast and a great sundowner. We felt very pampered with hot water, and wi fi. Appreciated the camp's commitment to conservation, and still have our refillable water bottle. We only got a peek-a-boo view of the mountain, but it is winter, after all!

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Vlee425
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CheliPeacockKenya, Manager at Tortilis Camp, responded to this review, 17 August 2014
We really appreciate your compliments, especially those regarding our efforts to care for the environment - it is very important to us.
Warmest wishes,
Manuela, Andrea, Jonathan and all of the staff at Tortilis Camp
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Long Island, New York
Level Contributor
381 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 180 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 July 2014

Stayed here for 3 nights. Just wonderful!

Location: For the Amboseli park--great. And on the conservancy--perfect!

Room: We stayed in the Family tent. This is a great accommodation for families. Master king-bed room with en suite bathroom and outdoor living area connected to another 2-bed room with additional en suite and outdoor living area for the kids. It's close to the main hotel area and separate from the other "tents" of the facility (really nice with the kids). The hotel is set on a hill and the family tent is on-level with the main facility (so NO climbing for us). View is outstanding. By the way, we did explore the place a bit...and yes there is a bit of a hike from some of the rooms up the hill...which I could see may be a problem for some but I found it to be fine. Plus, unlike other camps...the electricity was 24x7 and the hot water was 24x7 in the tents. For this much expense, that's the way it should be and we appreciated it (espcecially when your clock is off with jet-lag). Hard to believe you could even call these full-luxury glamping facilities tents! Amazing.

Amenities: Lovely. My daughter loved the pool (it was pretty cold but that didn't stop her). Had a massage (you have to walk down and then back up the hill)...lovely and very reasonably priced. Laundry--same day and free (the way it should be at a luxury resort). Wifi great and free (the way it should be).

Meals: Pretty good. Have to make sure to ask for some child-friendly choices but they accommodated nicely. Soft drinks, water, beer, house wine, gin...all included...the way it should be.

Safari: Our guide Eric accompanied us from start to finish. He picked us up from Namanga at the Tanzania/Kenya border by safari jeep. I should say he came to our rescue because Namanga was one of the more uncomfortable places I have ever been with my family (and we are from NYC and have been to about 20 countries together) and took over and made us feel at ease. He then was our guide everyday. He organized our bush breakfast and sundowner experience (both of which I had only mentioned but didn't formally arrange...such a nice surprise when they occurred and the quality of both were outstanding...the breakfast food was lovely and private hill-top sunset location with gin and tonics and even potato chips for the kids was fabulous). And didn't have to pay anything extra for the bush breakfast or sundowners...again, the way it should be at a luxury resort. And his safari/animal information was great! Very special.

A truly memorable place for a 5-star diva travel family. Exceeded our expectations!

One thing to add which is not really related to the resort. Our family went to the nearby Masai village for a cultural experience. The hotel makes it very clear that this is not something they promote per se but is available. Our guide took us and we walked to the village...a brief and pleasant enough walk. However, once we arrived this became the most unpleasant experience our well-traveled family has ever had. We had pre-educated ourselves and watched several videos and read up on the culture. But this was the most unsanitary place I have ever been. My wife and I are physicians and often encounter very challenging human conditions and hygiene. But nothing could prepare you for the amount of dung and flies. We zipped up our coats and hoods and tried to remain respectful. One of the villagers even put a large fresh piece of feces in my son's hand to demonstrate how they constructed their homes. What was more challenging was there was such a sense of "just trying to earn a buck"...they danced for us and then brought us over to see the "hand-made Masai goods" which clearly were mass produced from elsewhere and can be found all over Africa (and in NYC where we are from as well). They lied directly to us as they explained how they made these items and then stared at us until we purchased something. It was very uncomfortable. The experience was eye-opening and really made me feel blessed. But this was not a place for families.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank 5StarDivaFamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CheliPeacockKenya, Manager at Tortilis Camp, responded to this review, 28 July 2014
Thank you for all your beautiful compliments. We are so happy that you enjoyed the Family Tent - the view is indeed spectacular and it's perfect for families like yours.
Many thanks,
All at Tortilis Camp
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nairobi, Kenya
Level Contributor
191 reviews
71 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 144 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 July 2014

An uneventful flight from Samburu to Nairobi's Wilson airport, and we were met by the Safarilink staff. For our first time ever, there was confusion win the staff, one telling us to follow the other, and the other not knowing what to do. As we were transferring to Amboseli, we were given luggage tags for our checked in bags, and told to apply them ourselves. We did this diligently and were asked to wait for a while to be shown back to the Safarilink departure lounge. As we knew our way, we just walked around the corner ourselves.

Lunch was to be had a Monikos again. What can I say - it was blah. Boarding announcement was made, walked to the departures area, through security, and onto our next flight. 35 minutes later, we were descending into Amboseli.

We were met at the plane by our guide - Erik Ole Kalama. The vehicle was brand new and very comfortable, with six individual seats, charging points, plenty of storage spaces, bean bags, and guide books - all on Erik's iPad.

As usual the park fees took a while to pay Kenya Wildlife Services at its bureaucratic best, and we were given a very comprehensive briefing by Erik. We were off into Amboseli. We decided we wanted a game drive before heading to Tortilis Camp, so we went off to the swamp areas.

The wildlife in Amboseli is incredible. The bird life was teeming, and we had so many photographic opportunities. The highlight was the huge families of elephants. Swimming, wallowing, feeding, and playing - all in the swamps. We could at one point see in excess of 140 elephants. So many young. All content and free to play and feed in peace.

Amboseli has many accommodation options, and this was evident by the number of vehicles we saw. They tend to come out after 4 pm, so there are pockets of opportunity to have the area to yourself.

Tortilis is around 30 minutes from the airstrip. We passed large herds of zebra,Wilde beest, hippos wallowing, more elephant, Grants. Gazelle, Impala, Thompsons Gazelle, and other plains game. We also saw another honey badger - 2 in two days.

Tortilis camp is located In a private conservancy just on the edge of the park. It is a fenced camp with 16 tents plus two family tents. It was not what I was expecting. It felt more like a large lodge. The staff were warm and welcoming, and we passed a massive vegetable garden, and bee hives. All of that was promising,

From the main lounge area, you have a view of Mt. Kilimanjaro, with a water hole in the foreground.

We were checked in, given a brief, and then shown to our tent. The tents feel dated, all close to one another, and very small when compared to other properties in the Cheli and Peacock portfolio. Honestly, it felt like a let down.

The tents are 4x8 meters with a small bathroom out the back. They all have a deck with a day bed and a couple of safari chairs. They are practical and comfortable, but there is no wow factor. Electricty is available 24/7 and there is one Electricty plug for charging all of your devices (more points available at the bar). Hot water is on demand. Our tent had a view of Mt. Kilimanjaro, but with cloud cover we are yet to have seen it.

The saving grace for Tortilis is their food. Excellent fresh Italian food served at the table in the evenings and buffet style at lunch. It was very very good. As usual the drink menu for the all inclusive package was a let down. The wine was mediocre at best, and when we had a look at the wine list to buy wine, it was a serious disappointment. Why can't such high end places serve decent wines? Why????

On our first night, as we were getting ready, the all to familiar belly deep rumble of an elephant was heard. Looking from our deck, we could see the silhouette of several elephants heading towards to camp's water hole. We went up to the fire pit, and watched a family of 20 odd elephants come and have their sundowners with us.

On our first full day, we headed back to the park for our game drive. We saw hyaena family's, elephants galore ( if you want to see / photograph elephants, Amboseli is the place to be), zebra. Ostrich, wildebeest, and lots of other plains game, we also saw hippo out of the water, grazing less then 3'meters from us. Erik was an excellent guide.

Being a KWS managed park, you cannot have your picnic breakfast anywhere except at the airstrip or observation hill. We set up our folding table and chairs in the litter strewn car park, with mini vans, drivers and other tourists. The breakfast box was basic.

This afternoon we will return back to the park to see the elephants in the swamp again.

After a fabulous lunch of home made tagliatelle, egg plant parmigiana, salads fresh from the Tortilis gardens, spinach quiche and roast turkey, I had a siesta and we headed out on our game drive at 4 pm.

There were reports of a honeymooning lion couple near by, so we went off to investigate. We saw them, but the road was getting crowded. We let them be, and by guess would be more then 60 vehicles would have come there between 4.15 and 5.15. The road was super dusty, as most of the mini van drivers couldn't give two hoots.

We spent close to 90 minutes with our first time witnessing an elephant family sleeping. 5 mothers and 5 calves, between the edge of a swamp, and the road. The calves slept mostly lying down, between bouts of short playfulness. The mothers all slept standing, resting their trunks on the ground, and gently rocking. It was an amazing experience, another 7-8 vehicles came to see what we were seeing, and spending so long at, took a few shots and sped off again.

We also had our sundowners with the elephants, and headed back to camp accompanied by an amazing sunset.

Tortilis is not a hosted camp. There are two Italians who pretend to be the hosts, but do not engage guests at all. They are awake when we leave first thing in the morning, and you do see them at lunch and dinner, but that is it. No asking how your day has been, how your meal was, etc. They eat, and disappear. I just did not see the point of them being there.

On our third day, we headed into the conservancy (after seeing the lion honeymooning couple who looked knackered and disinterested in each other). Only Tortilis vehicles are allowed there, so if you drive in with your own vehicle, you need to book one of their game drives. We drove across Lake Amboseli, and came across herds of elephants. When I say herds, I mean many but one herd that included 120 plus individual, living, breathing elephants. It was magnificent. It was beautiful. Impressive. Awesome.

Unfortunately our time was cut short - 2 hours later :) as we were late for our bush breakfast. We hurtled across the dry lake bed, to a breakfast set up under a huge acacia in the middle of nowhere. A full fry up plus fruit, cereal, toast and hot beverages. We were late, but welcomed whole heartedly and sat down to a good breakfast. We wolfed it down, and were back out on the flats in no time, back to our herd.

Eric our guide is an ex elephant research assistant. He was making notes all the time for the elephant research project, and had a file full of photos identifying individual animals. We met Pizzero born in 1974. At one point, we were 60-90 meters away from this mega herd, we alighted from our vehicle, and sat on the ground photographing and observing. It was a truly life moving experience. Words cannot describe what we saw, and how humbled we felt.

Lunch interrupted, and we headed back to camp for an Italian feast. What a feast it was. The food is seriously amazing. Wine topped up regularly, we had a short snooze, and then back out on the Lake with the same mega herd of elephants.

We spent the whole afternoon with the elephants. They slept, ate, played, and moved on. As they came closer to the swamp, they split into several family groups, and some went into the swamp, and others hung back.

Overnight at Tortilis, after a memorable dinner. We had asked our guide to join us for dinner. We had a great conversation over many wine’s, and called it a night.

Our last morning, we decided to head out into the conservancy again, and see what elephants we could find. Only Tortilis guests in Tortilis vehicles can go to the conservancy. If you have your own vehicle, you cannot. This includes the bush breakfast, sundowners, etc. We found more herds of elephants, and spent eons with them. We even had a picnic breakfast sitting in the middle of Lake Amboseli with elephants 200 meters away. It was such a surreal experience.

Our safari was coming to an end. We headed back to camp. We had been given a late check out, which was fantastic. We packed and showered, and went back to the mess area for our last lunch. Pasta, breads, salads and sweets. All washed down with wine. Sadly our safari was coming to an end. We said goodbyes to all the staff, and headed off with Eric to the airstrip.

Safarilink sent us a Cessna 206 that they had sub-chartered from Yellow Wings. We had our own plane to take us back to Nairobi.

We landed, and the noise of Nairobi hit us like a semi -trailer head on. Our fantastic trip was sadly over.

Till next time soon :)

Room Tip: Rooms 1 - 4 have views of the waterhole. All rooms have a view of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank roadwarriorafrica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CheliPeacockKenya, Manager at Tortilis Camp, responded to this review, 27 July 2014
Very glad you enjoyed your stay, Amboseli is a wonderful area and having the private conservancy is very special.
Many thanks,
The Tortilis Camp team
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NJ
Level Contributor
29 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 July 2014

We spent 7 nights on Safari (Amboseli, Samburu and Maasai Mara). Of the 3 locations we visited, my family agrees that Tortilis was our favorite.

The "tents" were comfortable and we could view lots of animals behind the safety of the camp's fence. Bathrooms were luxurious with plenty of hot water, ample supplies of toiletries, and detergent to hand wash items in the sink. (They will also launder items at your request.) There are outlets in the tents so no problem charging electronics, and also outlets in the land rover if you need to charge a camera battery while out on a drive. There is also wifi available in the lounge area if you really need to stay in touch with home, or just want to upload your pics on FaceBook.

Note that the path from the tents to the dining area is a steep walk and could be a challenge for people who are older or not so physically fit. Unlike some of the other camps, walking around at night was not a problem since the property is fenced (although my younger daughter didn't find the bats so amusing!). The pool area was lovely, although it was cool when we were there so we didn't have opportunity to swim.

Tortilis was the only place that provided us with eco-friendly water "un-bottles" which we could refill at water coolers in the camp. At the other camps we visited, bottled water was the only option and every time I opened a new one I felt like I was simply contributing to the environmental problems. Kudos to Tortilis for being part of the solution. I am using my bottle at home!

I found the food to be plentiful and delicious, with lots of their own garden-grown vegetables. If the initial quantity served is smaller than your liking, all you have to do is ask, and more will come. There were lots of options at lunchtime (make sure you try the pasta!), but indeed only one entrée at dinner. It was only a problem for us one night when the entrée was fish and my 2 daughters and I simply don't enjoy fish. We said no thank you to our server, who promptly asked, "Do you like chicken?" We said yes, and less than 5 minutes later we were served beautiful chicken breasts in a delightful sauce! Thank you!!

Managers Pieter and Danielle are always visible and available but never intrusive. All of the staff is friendly and eager to help, and all have a great sense of humor too.

Our game drives were all private, just the 4 of us and our guide, Eric. I will say that Eric was the highlight of our entire trip. Eric knows the area and knows his animals, especially the elephants. He is adept at spotting all creatures, and has a gift for finding just the right position to get the perfect lighting for your photo. But he also knew when we just wanted to sit and breathe in the air and take in the sunrise. He obviously has a deep connection to the land, and he is respectful of it and passionate about it. I felt like I was on a spiritual journey with him and it is something my family and I will always remember.

Thank you to everyone at Tortilis for a fantastic stay!

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank farawayNJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CheliPeacockKenya, Manager at Tortilis Camp, responded to this review, 11 July 2014
Thank you very much for taking the time to post such a lovely review – we were very happy to host you and looking forward to welcoming you back in the future.
Best regards,
Pieter and Danielle (Relief Managers)
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Henderson
Level Contributor
53 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 July 2014

The host and hostess were charming and so attentive. The tents are beautiful and hotel-like with the advantage of feeling like you are one with nature. The food and activities were excellent too.I enjoyed the game drives, walks and the visit to a Maasai village.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank MarilynJ8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CheliPeacockKenya, Manager at Tortilis Camp, responded to this review, 9 July 2014
Thank you Marilyn for taking the time to post a review – it was a pleasure hosting you and the group and we are happy to hear you enjoyed your stay at Tortilis Camp. Looking forward to welcoming you back in the future.
Best regards,
Pieter and Danielle (Relief Managers)
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Nairobi, Kenya
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 5 July 2014

A group of us stayed in Tortilis after our car had broken down in Amboseli National Park. The managers and staff did everything possible to help us out, from getting their mechanics to take a look at our car, to even ordering a part to be flown in from Nairobi to make sure we would get home safely. All staff members were so lovely and were always offering to help us in anyway they could. The Camp has such a relaxing ambience. You can literally just sit in the bar, drink endless amounts of tea and eat cake (all provided free) while you gaze at Mt Kili. At night they serve canapes at the bar and you can observe all the animals in the park peacefully drinking at the waterhole nearby - you practically get a genuine safari experience without even having to leave the Camp. The rooms are amazing and the showers are spectacular which is so important after a long and dusty safari experience! The food is incredible and the service is very attentive, warm and welcoming. I loved it here and would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone who is looking to escape hectic city life. You will not regret staying here, it is something I will always remember.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank mengels1984
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CheliPeacockKenya, Manager at Tortilis Camp, responded to this review, 8 July 2014
Thank you very much for your wonderful review, it was a pleasure to have you here and looking forward to your next visit.
Best regards
Pieter and Danielle (Relief Managers)
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Tortilis Camp

Property: Tortilis Camp
Address: Amboseli National Park, 00517, Kenya
Region: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Amboseli Eco-system
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 19 Speciality Lodging in Amboseli Eco-system
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Tortilis Camp 5*
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Amboseli is best known for its unrivaled views of Kilimanjaro and the local elephant population. There are over 1000 elephants in the park eco-system, featuring some of the largest elephants in Africa. Tortilis Camp is named after the flat-topped, umbrella thorn tree, the Acacia Tortilis, and is situated in one of Amboseli's areas of Acacia Tortilis woodland, with the majestic backdrop of Africa's highest mountain, and the World’s highest free-standing mountain, snow-capped Kilimanjaro. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tortilis Camp Hotel Amboseli Eco-System

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