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“If you are desperate for leopard, this is your place - if not....”

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Ngulia Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Glossop, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
18 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“If you are desperate for leopard, this is your place - if not....”
Reviewed 18 July 2014

This lodge is set in a very nice location - unlike Rhino Valley Lodge, this does have a view of Rhino valley and the sanctuary. There is a waterhole that attracts buffalo and elephant. They put food out for leopard every night and you are effectively guarenteed a sighting.

The rooms are ok. They are comfortable but nothing special and could do with a spruce up. There are lots of rooms (50+) and when we were there is was pretty empty so we were rattling around a bit, but it meant we were able to knock down the price. The food again is ok - a standard big hotel buffet.

However, the service is rather poor. The staff are friendly but extremely keen to get all their jobs done as soon as possible. So dinner is purportedly served from 7-9pm, but if you are in the bar (likely as the leopard is fed at 6.30pm) you are STRONGLY encouraged to have dinner at 7pm - likewise at breakfast. As soon as you briefly put your cutlery down, your plate is removed and there is little chance of more buffet, as it is whisked away as soon as the last people have their first helping.

Do not expect a drink (or any service of anything) after 8.59pm sharp! Whilst noone is up late on safari, we were constantly chivvied to pay our bar bill and we were only reluctantly served drinks after dinner (ie no later than 8pm). The bar firmly closes at 8.59pm when ALL staff leave apart for a single security guard. Interestingly this poor service is combined with pretty full on grooming for tips. This is not the fault of the individual staff - i'm sure they work very long hours for poor pay - rather it hints at poor managment culture and ethics.

In summary, if you have one night to spare and are keen to see leopard (essentially guaranteed) then it is worth the stay. Bored of leopard or need to stay more than one night? Maybe consider elsewhere...

Room Tip: Get a room that faces the waterhole - this is one of the only reasons to stay here, so dont get a di...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Halimione
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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260 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (36)
Date | Rating
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English first
Bognor Regis, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
243 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 461 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 July 2014

we stayed here , wild life friendly place , lots of birds and wildlife at water hole . but the best thing is , at dusk ,staff put a joint of meat in tree 10 meters away and then you wait . In 15 MINUTES a leopard turned up and started to feed up in the tree, then another turned up and the had a brief fight over the meat , wow what can you say or wish for , very nice to see one but two leopards fighting 10 metres away and all viewed from a table whilst having a drink . excellent could not have wished for anything better

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
10 Thank Steve S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 16 April 2014 via mobile

Please spend some money on a face lift for the rooms. This was probably a great lodge in its hey day but that was 30 years ago. Basic rooms. No air con, tired bed linen and towels. Just about acceptable food and drink. Disappointing experience was expecting more.

Stayed April 2014, travelled with friends
Helpful?
Thank Jacqueline T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
272 reviews
111 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 128 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 March 2014

Rooms very poor and awful beds.

Not sure when room was last cleaned.

Food okay though and we only really ate and slept there for one night.

Leopard feeding was interesting, but I have a feeling this was a bit rigged, and not sure about it.

Seems there are better lodges, but we got this one

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Huw C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Level Contributor
84 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 194 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 February 2014

This lodge is part of the Ndogo Safari. As mentioned in previous reviews this lodge is very basic but very comfortable. Make use of the mosquito nets in your room as there are a lot of bugs - one tip I actually picked up from a previous review on tripadvisor is to roll a bath towel up and put it along your door to prevent any creepy crawlies sneaking in. We didnt have any problems with unwanted guests after doing this!

The views are amazing from the rooms, there isnt any air conditioning so stock up on your bottles of water from either the reception or the Pollman's rep you are travelling with as it does get quite warm on an evening.

The highlight of this hotel is definately the leopard visit on an evening, we narrowly missed seeing a leopard on safari that morning and we were disappointed and were so pleased to get the opportunity to see one so close. The scary thing is literally moments after the staff hung the goat meat out the leopard appeared, she wasnt afraid of the cameras going off in the twilight at all and quietly ate the meat leaving scraps for a younger leopard (possibly her cub?) and a hungry hyena who appeared about half an hour after she left.

The dining arrangements are interesting, the tables with a good view of the leopard feeding are reserved, it wasnt clear how the system for reservations worked however we managed to get one (think it was chance or maybe mistaken identity!!) and were able to get a picture of the hyena as he sneaked to get the left overs.

If you are looking for luxury then this lodge perhaps isnt for you, but if you are looking for the opportunity to get up close to wildlife and get some fantastic photographs then you can live with the basic room conditions for one night - I will definately return again to this lodge in the future.

Food was fine, not much choice and we were running late on safari arriving nearly at 2pm so most lunch choices had gone, but there enough to keep us all going we didnt starve! Evening meal was nice, again not much variety but good quality and same could be said for breakfast.

Drinks were reasonable as our safari was full board and didnt include drinks or snacks, around 300 kenyan shillings for a beer, 450 for a glass of wine and around 150 shillings for soft drinks.

For any diabetic travellers, this hotel offers branded diet soft drinks (diet coke and diet fanta)

Room Tip: Roll a bath towel up and put it along your door to prevent any creepy crawlies sneaking in. As soo...
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Ashleigh_Kate
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cardiff
Level Contributor
85 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 February 2014

This hotel is not exactly disabled friendly but then again what is in Kenya, all efforts were made by the staff to cover the stair case leading to the restaurant with an old door. The leopard feeding did seem a little wrong but at least we saw one. The food was adequate and the room was ok for the one night stay

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Steve1007Cardiff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
65 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 February 2014

What a fantastic hotel, I could have stayed here a lot longer! Sadly we only had one night (as I'm guessing most people do, just passing though whilst on safari) but I'm glad we had the one we did!

The wildlife viewing here is just amazing. From your room you look over plains and hills that have a steady stream of animals passing through to keep you occupied all day (and night). From the restaurant there are numerous birds, rock hyraxes, bush babies, whatever may come to the watering hole and of course the leopard (or apparently leopards if you're lucky!). We saw a lot of elephants here, from a herd of 17 wandering past to two running and trumpeting, to a lone male drinking from a spring right outside our balcony and finally a herd of grey ghosts shuffling past in the middle of the night. Good job we love elephants!

The only problem here was the bugs. During our evening meal I was fascinated to see a leaf insect (I'm sure that's not the technical term) chilling in the restaurant, but upon returning to my room I wasn't so keen on the army of giant moths that seemed to have invaded our room. I have no idea where they came from as we kept our doors closed and the mosquito nets on the windows were all intact. We also had another army of teeny tiny black bugs that could unfortunately fit through the window nets that were all over out ceiling, walls, desk and a few in the beds. That's just one of the things that happens out there though so it was a case of turn the light off, hide under the quilt and forget about it! I soon did, I had a great night's sleep.

The rooms are basic but adequate and fans are provided as it can get stuffy during the night. We had two beds but only one mosquito net which was odd, but a quick call into reception and this was sorted no problem. We'd have liked some furniture on the balcony though so we could sit and watch the animals as we were out there for so long, a couple of cheap plastic chairs would have done the job.

There's no power during the day so if you were thinking of charging your camera whilst having lunch...well, you can't. Plus there's only one power socket in the room so overnight it's a tough choice of fan or camera/phone charging. Perhaps an adaptor would have been a good idea to take with us here!

I'd love to come back here if I was on safari in this area again, lovely staff, delicious food, perfect views.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank DandelionMind
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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