I have to agree with so much of the review of naylenk, and add some info - and weigh the location much more heavily in my overall rating.
LOCATION: Also there via KETS. This is coupled with the fact that many accommodations overlook either the very near man-made water hole or else the watering holes in the valley floor. We had a corner room so we could almost see the man-made watering hole that is in front of the bar and restaurant and lounging area. But our balcony had a great view of the valley floor. We spent one afternoon watching the interaction of several different families/herds of elephants at those water holes - and the play of two juveniles in particular. (There were plenty of gazelle as well.) In the evening - apparently as a leopard had begun to feed in front of the restaurant on its provided meat - we watching another leopard head toward that feeding area, get too close to a water buffalo youngster, get charged by a water buffalo parent, and race along right under our balcony and on past all of the other rooms arrayed along the valley and into the bush. Fantastic. The water buffalo were gathering, taking over the valley floor from the elephants and gazelle…Finally, in the darkness of late evening, we heard quite some noise and could see enough to see that there were many, many buffalo in front of the lodge, calling and communicating to each other. Unbelievably cool and the most buffalo we saw at one spot during 9 safari days across 7 parks/reserves.
Moreover, we watched a single elephant late evening at the near water hole in front of the bar, watched the leopard eating there, watched 3 porcupines sidle up to the bar wall, and eventually watched a small family of elephants at the near water hole. A rock hyrax would sit on the wall near us during dinner or breakfast. Agama would sun themselves just below that wall. The best wildlife watching bar none compared to 5 other lodges. We wished we had another night at Ngulia because of this. It was also one lodge at which you could get away from the lodge area lighting at night to see some awesome country night sky (most others are too lit - and of course none let you step outside their boundaries).
FOOD: As with everywhere else, get the item being made special at that particular meal. For instance, for us it was the freshly mixed and heated spaghetti. Breakfasts were perhaps better than our other lodges - maybe the omelet station, and/or the mixed fruit bowl for instance. Food on the whole was probably average. Not bad, mind you, but not great. The desserts were so flavorless that I had even made a specific note of this in my safari notes, with no knowledge of Naylenk's comment.
ACCOMMODATIONS: Small, definitely the least updated of our 6 safari lodges. Limited amenities, electricity, and hot water. (I figure, the lack of amenities - though maybe not room condition - should be considered the norm in these remote national parks and thus not necessarily count against the lodge.) Fortunately, I'd read about the electricity beforehand and brought a short extension cord along with the British-US adaptor; this let me plug in several battery chargers at once even though only one receptacle in the room for this.
Like every other safari lodge we stayed in, it shared the features (to us, downsides) of extremely hard beds and a pool with cold water (OK, it WAS "winter" in Kenya). Thankfully, we'd brought camp mattresses with us.
SERVICE: The only place that had a mosquito net but no turn-down service of the net. I agree that this was the sole lodge at which staff were not the utmost of friendly. Not grumpy, but not so cheerful and forthcoming. On the other hand, one of the porcupine definitely had some grievous face wound and staff were clearly trying to feed it to help it recover or survive. Note that there is no overall tip box for staff, so tip as you go and as you see fit.
- Also Known As:
- Ngulia Safari Hotel Tsavo National Park West
- Ngulia Safari Lodge Kenya/Tsavo National Park West