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“Thank Goodness for Location!!!”

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Ngulia Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Fife, UK
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Thank Goodness for Location!!!”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 September 2013

The location of this lodge is by far it's best feature. The rooms were very basic and would benefit from serious investment. Unfortunately, we had no hot water during our one night stay here and our room filled with diesel fumes at 5:30am from the generator (I assume)! Like other reviews, drinks were more expensive at this lodge than other higher graded lodges and food was average. Overall, the lodge could benefit from investment as this would compliment it's stunning location.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Andrea_allan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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258 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (36)
Date | Rating
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English first
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Level Contributor
193 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 227 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 September 2013

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.

Room Tip: Get a view of the small watering hole (and leopard feeding area) with a room above the bar or restau...
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Kosmo63
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
united kingdom
Level Contributor
142 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 September 2013

We spent one night here and enjoyed ourselves.
The lodge is very nicely appointed in a lovely setting with a pool on site , bars and restaurant
The watering hole here is well visited by the wildlife so nice to sit in the bar watching.
The rooms were nice again quite basic but you are only spending a few hours sleep here.
The hotel ties a leg of meat to a frame each night here which a leopard eats from which is great to see.
Food was good here. The drinks not badly priced. The cocktails over expensive and wine terrible
This is a very nice lodge in a good location great view points

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank familyunitedkingdom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bengaluru, India
Level Contributor
53 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 August 2013

I stayed in Ngulia in the 90's as a kid and thought this would be the best way to pay homage to a hotel that inspired me to become a hospitality professional! now nearly two decades later I wanted to share what most of you already know, the location of this lodge is its best feature, you can watch migrations take place literally right under your nose and the savannah opens up right up to where the eyes can see! truly an amazing property and a lovely serene surrounding! I simply am in love with Ngulia!

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank KenyanMonk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
28 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 266 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 August 2013

The Best Part: Location, location, location! We only stayed here for one night while on a Safari with KET Safaris. Overall, I would have to recommend it based on our experience simply on the incredible location. It is up on a cliff-side overlooking the African Savannah. We were very lucky and got rooms overlooking the man-made waterhole and leopard feeding station. (Rooms 107 and 108) We were so entertained by the regular elephant visits to the waterhole. Then, at one point in time, hundreds of water buffalo ascended on the scene, scaring the elephants away! We also saw 2 of the largest porcupines we’ve ever seen that walked up towards the elevated dining area. At 6:30 in the evening, a staff member strung up a large piece of meat at the leopard feeding station. Within a minute, a leopard sprung out of nowhere and sat gnawing at the meat for the next 15 minutes until he finally got it off. He stayed and ate the whole thing and after, a couple others showed up to see if they could find any leftovers. While it’s not a totally natural process, this provided the most up-close, incredible view of a leopard that you probably wouldn’t get otherwise.

Food – the food we had for lunch and supper was pretty good and provided lots of options for vegetarians. It was buffet style and there are soups, salads, meat, vegetables and desserts. We were most impressed with a beef stroganoff type dish and a fresh pasta cooking station at lunch. We were least impressed with the desserts which lacked flavor.

Accommodations – if they were going for a 1960’s decrepit hotel look, they nailed it! The rooms are very dated and didn’t seem very clean. Our rooms had a double bed and a single bed. There were mosquito nets above the beds but they were old and came in very close to the bed, making it very difficult to avoid touching them throughout the night. There are very limited hours for hot water. The bathroom amenities included shampoo and body wash but that was it. There is only one plug for power purposes. If you can get a room overlooking the water hole, it makes it so much easier to handle the old rooms. Honestly, the fabulousness of the activity at the watering hole while we were there made up for the rooms and that is why I recommend this lodge. However, with that being said, I understand that we got lucky with all the action we saw. Some days, only one elephant will show up along with the leopard feeding activity, but if that were to have been the case while we were there, I would not recommend this hotel. The pool area was fairly nice, though aged but offered a beautiful view over the cliff-side.

Massage – INCREDIBLE! Esther, the lady doing massages, was really good! I was traveling with my mom, her husband and my husband. All four of us regularly go for massages. We all agreed that this was one of the best massages we have had. Not only was the quality great, the price was very affordable! If you like massages, want to relax or are feeling a bit sore from your bumpy game drives, you must book a massage with Esther – she is amazing!

Room Tip: A room overlooking the watering hole and leopard feeding station is amazing!
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Kristin E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Milan, Italy
Level Contributor
46 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 August 2013 via mobile

We spent one night during our visit to Tsavo West in this lodge, located in an amazing position overlooking the Tsavo plains. The rooms are a little small and old, but this doesn't really matters when at night the elephNts and buffaloes come to drink right in front of the lodge! The restaurant has a good buffet, the personnel is helpful. For sure a great choice to enjoy the wilderness of this wonderful park.

Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank GDL81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
1,176 reviews
139 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 682 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 July 2013

Don't get me wrong. A love my trip, everything, from the lodges to the parks but by far this hotel was the worst of all of them. Location wise it was amazing on the top of the hill with an amazing view of the valley and the mountain. Plus its a must for a night view of leopards, buffalos and any other animals that would come at night for the natural pool just in front of the reception.

But sadly, thats it. Its a place that lacks a lot of money in refurbishment and preparation. The rooms are very old and seems that the last touch of investment was on the 80's. The view of the rooms are amazing although.

The staff is not very friendly either compare to other places and lacks initiative and availability. If only they would do some extra effort for more attention to details this place would be amazing. I would only recommend this place if your priority is to go to the rhino sanctuary or to see one from the viewpoint in the hotel.

Room Tip: Rooms next to the reception are great to see the animals at night. Specially numbers 5 to 7.
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank RMartinSDXB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ngulia Safari Lodge

Property: Ngulia Safari Lodge
Address: Tsavo National Park West, Kenya
Region: Kenya > Coast Province > Tsavo National Park West
Amenities:
Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 14 Speciality Lodging in Tsavo National Park West
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Ngulia Safari Lodge 3.5*
Number of rooms: 52
Also Known As:
Ngulia Safari Hotel Tsavo National Park West
Ngulia Safari Lodge Kenya/Tsavo National Park West

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