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“A true Masai experience!”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Il Ngwesi Lodge

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Il Ngwesi Lodge
NJ
Level Contributor
174 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“A true Masai experience!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 December 2013

Our group stayed at Il N'gwesi for two nights. This small 6 room exclusive camp is owned and efficiently run by the local Masai community. It is remotely located on a vast savannah north of Mount Kenya. We were met on arrival by a local group of smiling young Masai in traditional dress. They were eager to please and very accommodating. We visited a Masai village during our stay and learned about their culture and history. Each banda (room) is very comfortable, well appointed, open to the local sites, sounds and offer spectacular scenic views. One word of caution: the road in to the camp can be very difficult to travel in the rainy weather. Aside from that, I would highly recommend you make Il N'gwesi a stop on your African experience! Special thanks to James, Moses and Benjamin who helped with our passage and made our stay so memorable.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Pat E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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67 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (27)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
103 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 October 2013

This place is pure magic, totally hidden from sight until you've climbed up a winding path. The people could not be more friendly or willing to help, and overall, they are very efficient too. For me, the greatest interest lay in learning how the community decided to embrace the concepts of conserving wild life and holistic range management on this fragilesemi arid land with their traditional 'wealth' being measured in flocks ... And in seeing how proud they are of what they are achieving! Now they see and understand that wild animals can bring them income in the form of tourists ... And the animals are returning.
The accommodation is well designed, very private and the 'star need's are wonderful indeed.
I also really enjoyed music played on a home made Masaai guitar. The people are the greatest attraction for me, though I saw kudu, elephant, wild dog, elands and many other animals both at the water hole and on the game drives

Room Tip: It is well worth trying to get the star bed room overlooking the waterhole!
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank BJ0707
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
52 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 September 2013

Long delayed in writing this review, but I feel compelled to leave my .02 about Il N'gwesi.

Il N'gwesi was the first stop on my daughter's and my African safari, and was followed by a stop at Porini Lion in the Olare Orok Conservancy outside of the Mara. In retrospect, I am so glad that I was able to deliver both because of the amazing balance I was able to achieve. Both locations were so different, and magical in their own ways.

While admittedly, the wildlife in the Mara region is more varied so to speak, at Il N'wesi we were able to see species that can only be found in Northern Kenya. So while there were no big cats, there were reticulated giraffes, white rhinos, and Grevy's zebra.

Il N'gwesi is a long, bumpy ride from the air strip (3 hours) approx..but the payoff is incredibly scenic vistas, a unique topography from the flat plains of the Mara, and the complete absence of other tourists. Literally, my daughter and I saw NO other tourists the whole time we were there...which made it feel really special. It was our experience alone.

Our room (#1) had a panoramic view of the hills, and the watering hole below, from which we could watch giraffes and elephants drinking, with a deck that allowed our "star bed" to be rolled out at night so we could sleep under the stars.

Our guide, James, was great. In general, the service was outstanding. Great food, great people.

The highlight of the trip, and in stark contrast to the same activity in the Mara, was our village visit. Go here, if for this experience alone. While in the Mara, our village visit was a canned show that ended quickly with us being herded into a huge area of way overpriced souvenirs brought in from Nairobi-- our visit to the Il N'gwesi tribe was an absolute delight. Again, it was just the two of us. We were greeted with dancing and singing that went on for hours, long after we stopped watching. Peterson, a Maasai warrior, taught us local customs. My daughter played with the children. We had a delightful traditional meal with James. The evening ended with the villagers singing and dancing as they thanked us with a cake with our names on it, and a speech.

I cannot say enough about how much I loved this place. Go to the Mara for wildlife, go to Il N'gwesi and the Lewa region for the experience.

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank Jessica L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Outer London
Level Contributor
26 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 August 2013 via mobile


This is remote camp that is owned and run by the local Masai community. The camp has the benefit of no phone signal or wifi which forces you free yourself from your I phone. It only has 6 rooms and we were lucky as we were the only guests at the camp
We were greeted by David the assistant manager and the rest of the team with big smiles. These slightly dropped when they saw the size of our luggage. The camp is built on a hill and requires a bit of effort to walk to the lobby never-mind lugging a 20 kg suitcase. The Masai however flipped the case on his head and jogged up the hill.  I would recommend that you limit the size of your luggage 

The views from the lobby are stunning and elephants and giraffe can be seen lumbering across the wild.  The rooms are all open to the elements with no windows or door making this a unique experience.  We were given the honeymoon suite which has a bed which can be wheeled into the balcony so you can really sleep under the stars. This was a truly magical experience. Outside showers and toilets overlooking the conservancy are a lovely touch.

The food was good and heartily and beer, wine and soft drinks were all including within the fare. The game drives were challenging due to the terain and the animal are scared of the trucks. We got to see loads of giraffe, elephant, antelope, grevy and plain zebra. We did not see any lion but did track its prints which was fairly excitingly. David organised breakfast and evening drinks in the park which were really special. We also went on a night drive which was different and it was fun to see the animal stuck in the headlight!
If you want to really experience africa this is the place to start 

Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
Helpful?
Thank gerrardsposh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Trowbridge, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
43 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 July 2013

Travelling with our daughter and son in law, We are lucky enough to arrive at the lodge, having already booked the star bed rooms, (there are only 2) room no 1 (the royal suite ) and room 5. Each evening the bed is wheeled out onto the veranda where you spend the night under the stars,
With absolutely no light pollution I have never seen soooo many stars. Room 1 has a view of the watering hole which was visited by elephants, giraffe, Jackles, warthogs, etc. We pulled ourselves away from the wonderful room and did early evening game drive where we saw elephant, giraffe ect then sundowners over looking the river, next morning tea delivered to our room, then off for game drive again, back to lodge for breakfast. Totally amazing, relaxed around the lodge with lunch, a swim and just sitting on our veranda watching the African wildlife. Then another evening game drive. Well all I can say is this was the most wonderful experience of my life so far. !!!!!!
By the way the royal suite is called that as William and Kate spent 2 nights there whilst they were in Kenya in nov 2010, where he proposed.

Room Tip: It has to be the Royal suite........ I'm sure the other rooms are fab, but once in a life time...
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank tjaWiltshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nanyuki Town, Kenya
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 April 2013

This place is one of the best remote getaways I have been to in Kenya; spectacular scenery, great staff, lovely food and no network to disturb you. The rooms are all spacious and open, with beautiful views over the Northern Kenyan hills and plains. You can watch elephants drinking from the waterhole below while taking your hot outdoor shower or drinking a cold beer in the pool.
The nights I found spectacular: sounds of lions, elephants and thousands of birds. When sleeping in the star bed you actually wish to stay up all night to watch the stars and listen to the impressive sounds of the savannah. All in all a perfect place to spend at least a few nights!

Room Tip: Room number 1 or 5 (star bed)
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Annelieke D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nairobi, Kenya
Level Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 February 2013

I don't entirely share the enthousiastic reviews made on TA so far. I would probably rate Il Ngewsi 4/5 or 5/5 if the lodge was half the price it actually is, but for 300 USD per night per person (full board of course, and game drive included), I really think this place needs some improvements.

I can mention a few:
- Generally the level of comfort is low, even for an eco lodge in the middle of the bush. Very basic furniture, our armchairs were inhabited by dozens of wasps, my wife and daughter got severely biten. Almost no light in the bathroom and shower. Holes in the mosquito nets (which were repaired before the second night);
- The lodge is lacking basic things, like: flashlights in the rooms (you're in total darkness at night, and there's noone to escort you on the path between the room and the dining lounge), enough bottles of water in the room, first aid kit. On this last point, after my wife and daughter were biten by wasps, I was told that the lodge had nothing for the guests in case of an incident, not even bandages or basic medicines. So definitely not the best place to get injured.
- The staff is totally invisible for most of the day. If you want a drink or anything else in the middle of the afternoon, you can wait for 15 minutes until someone shows up.
- On our second day, we were told that there was no proper vehicle for our game drive, so we had to cram into a landrover borrowed from who knows where, and closed on all sides except for small side windows. We were only two groups staying at Il Ngewsi at that time, so for the price you pay it is indeed not acceptable that the lodge isn't able to provide proper game drive vehicles for it's clients. The manager apologized for this but it was really disapointing.

Now, to end on a positive note:
- The view from the lodge is breathtaking, absolutely spectacular;
- The staff is friendly and helpful;
- The lodge is owned and managed by the local Masai community, so you know that your money is going to contribute directly to local development;
- The food is excellent;
- The nearby village is very interesting.

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
7 Thank manutokyo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Il Ngwesi Lodge

Property: Il Ngwesi Lodge
Address: Laipha house, 3rd floor Nanyuki Town, Room 23, Nanyuki Town, Nanyuki Municipality, Kenya
Region: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Laikipia County > Nanyuki Municipality > Nanyuki Town
Amenities:
Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 36 Speciality Lodging in Nanyuki Town
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A Maasai community run lodge, on the Il Ngwesi Group Ranch, made of local materials located on a rocky outcrop beside the Mukogodo escarpment, north west of Mount Kenya. The award winning lodge is often considered a role model for community based tourism. A great opportunity to be hosted by these forward thinking Maasai and be immersed into the Maasai culture and enjoy walks and visits to their manyattas (villages) as well as wildlife game viewing. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Il Ngwesi Hotel Nanyuki
Il Ngwesi Lodge Kenya/Nanyuki Town

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