We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“Help the Masai people by visiting this beautiful lodge”
Review of Il Ngwesi Lodge

We can't find prices for this accommodation
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this accommodation, but we can search other options in Nanyuki Town
Check In dd/mm/yyyy Check Out dd/mm/yyyy
Il Ngwesi Lodge
Kisumu, Kenya
1 review
“Help the Masai people by visiting this beautiful lodge”
Reviewed 2 May 2010

I was impressed by the beauty of the lodge and its environment. The staff was great and I felt very welcome as a guest. They explained about their community life and their community based project. More people should be aware of the uniqueness of this lodge.Thank you for your hospitality!

  • Stayed April 2010, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank 1Chris
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

67 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    63
    0
    3
    1
    0
See reviews for
17
10
5
2
Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (27)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 April 2010

From looking at Il Ngwesi's website I knew I was in for a treat, but the stunning setting and high standards of accommodation blew me away as soon as I arrived. Incorporating a game drive into the journey to the lodge really built up the excitement. We spotted zebra, giraffe and more in the beautiful land surrounding the lodge before we even arrived!

The lodge is built from local materials and staffed and run by Masai from local villages. The service is fantastic and it is so interesting to learn about the traditional lifestyle from the staff. I stayed in room one, which had a huge wooden four poster bed (complete with mozzie net of course!) and the best shower ever! It feels as if you're standing (naked!) in the middle of the bush with animals and birds looking on! The room is totally open and overlooks the watering hole where we were lucky enough to see elephants stop for a morning drink.

One of my main concerns when booking this trip was that the weather would be bad as it is during Kenya's "rainy" season but it the whole three weeks I spent in the country, I only got caught in the rain once. Don't be put off traveling at this time - you can get some great deals and the land is lush and green. One of the highlights of my stay was the sunny afternoon spent by the infinity pool. Heaven. I really couldn't recommend this place more.

  • Stayed April 2010, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Jo_Fran80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
london
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 April 2010

I've just returned from a phenomenal stay at the Il Ngwesi Lodge. From beginning to end, the weekend couldn't have been more perfect.

We enjoyed two fantastic game drives through Lewa Conservancy seeing elephants, dik diks, zebra, wildesbeast, giraffe and three leopards devouring a feast of freshly killed zebra. During our stay we were also taken on a fascinating bush walk where James, our guide, showed us a variety of animal prints and poo's, wild herbs and the 'toothbrush tree'. His knowledge of the local environment was vast and as well as giving an interesting tour he answered any question thrown at him with great consideration.

We stayed in room one (previous residents include Prince William who had a, 'Very spoiling,' time!) which was spacious and luxurious. Our huge bed was wheeled out onto a plaform overlooking the savanna so we could sleep under the stars surrounded by the sounds of the bush, an unforgettable experience. The complex has been carefully designed and the rooms are carefully spaced so once inside you feel as though you could be the only guests there.

The lodge has a beautiful infinity pool in a secluded spot overlooked by mountains. During our stay there was sunshine all day long and we spent a lovely afternoon swimming and relaxing next to the pool on the loungers.

The staff at the lodge were attentive, informative and always friendly. We really felt a part of the Il Negwesi family and nothing was too much trouble. After two days there I was reluctant to leave and can't wait to go back!

  • Stayed April 2010, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank tubbins
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oxford, UK
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 August 2009

All the spectacular wildlife and stunning landscapes you could hope from a holiday to Kenya but what makes Il Ngwesi extra special and the best place we've ever stayed, are the Masai community who own and run it. We saw more species of mammals and many many more birds at Il Ngwesi than we did in the Mara in the week previously. There are wild dogs and rhino at Il Ngwesi that are absent from the Mara for example. What Il Ngwesi lacks that the Mara has a lot of are vehicles and lots of tourists. It is well worth doing what we did and spending a few days watching big herds of wildebeest and lions in the Mara and then escaping up to Il Ngwesi for some tranquility and the chance to connect with the landscape and the people.

The running of the lodge is extremely professional - everything impeccably organised, clean and well-kept, delicious meals. The bandas are comfortable and beautifully constructed, I could have just stayed in my banda all week watching animals at the waterhole. Lots to do, beautiful place to do nothing, if that's what you want.

Some specific comments below on wildlife, visiting with children and the importance of supporting Il Ngwesi...

Wildlife
It's almost impossible to believe that 15 years ago there were little more than dik-diks and impala in the area round the lodge which was then used as grazing for goats and cattle. Since the community protected the habitat, life has returned in abundance. The lodge has been built on a little hill overlooking a waterhole: no need for bumpy jeep ride to find animals, let them come to you while you sit there with a gin and tonic! Instead of seeing them flee into the bush you can just sit and watch them bickering with one another as if you weren't there. Highlights included a blotched genet every night in the dining area, 15 hyena harrassing a buffalo one night at the waterhole, gerenuk (weird), klipspringers (exquisite), special torchlight "porcupine safari". There are wild dog around, some of the other guests had followed them for 20 minutes (on foot!).

We went out on drives but I particularly enjoyed the chance to go on foot. Our guide David, who practically became one of the family, brought everything to life, telling us what plants were eaten for what by what, explaining traditional uses (one morning he whittled us toothbrushes from the "toothbrush tree"), deciphering tracks in the sand, digging out ant lions - all things you miss from a jeep. Out of the jeep you can feel quite exposed at first, which has the effect of opening up your senses: the smells and the sounds are so much more vivid.

Visiting Il Ngwesi with children
I can't recommend Il Ngwesi enough if you are planning a trip with children. We have two children 5 and 10 who had had enough of being in the back of a jeep after a week of game drives and relished the chance for some adventure. Our guide, David, arranged for them to help the local children herd goats one morning (power trip with a stick!), another morning we went on a camel safari. David showed them how to identify tracks and droppings - by the end of the week they couldn't walk past a poo without shouting out "dik-dik!, "buffalo!" "hyena!". It was great having the pool for cooling down when it got hot in the middle of the day. The staff were obviously delighted to see them there and had great fun with them. Not a day goes by that they don't talk about our visit there.

The visit to the village was organised in such an amazing way - you go for a walk with a guide around the village where some of the traditional skills are demonstrated (stalking using a donkey disguised as a oryx, for example) and then you enter the village for roast goat dinner. After dark, a party atmosphere quickly develops and you are very much there as a guest rather than an audience. Warriors and girls sing and dance in the moonlight - much more interested in one another than you! You can join in if you enjoy embarrassing your children as I do. Such an amazing opportunity for them to learn about another culture in such a healthy way.

Importance of supporting Il Ngwesi..
Il Ngwesi is the only lodge completely owned and run by the community, so the lady that cleans your banda and the chef that cooks your food are also shareholders. This completely changes the dynamic and vibe as a visitor from any other place we've stayed. Many lodges pay their staff poorly and expect their employees to work for many months without time off to visit family. We had a taxi driver in Nairobi that worked at a high-end lodge in the Mara but had to leave because they didn't pay him enough to pay for transport home. The typical model for tourist lodges in Kenya is local staff, white managers, share holder in London. It was important to us that such stereotypes were not reinforced to our children on our holiday. What we didn't expect however, was how much difference this made to the day-to-day enjoyment of our stay. What the community has achieved since (1996?) when they started out, is awe-inspiring - one of the main challenges to them in their remote location is marketing to the outside world and they rely largely on word-of-mouth. All the profits from the lodge go back into the community, including a bursary scheme to pay for children to attend secondary school. (Our guide had been one of the beneficiaries of this scheme.) It's never been so much fun to pay!

  • Stayed August 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank AshOxford_UK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cleveland, OH
Level Contributor
35 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 July 2009

Il Ngewsi is a beautiful Masaai run camp in the middle of the Kenyan wilderness. Partially walled bandas allow full views of various wildlife with only the sounds of nature surrounding you. Gorgeous pool area is a highlight and time seems to melt away while spending an afternoon or two in this peaceful environment. Staff is incredibly conscientious and accommodating, willing to share their knowledge of flora, fauna and culture openly if you're interested. For an educational component, take a break from lounging by the pool and arrange a guided walk with a Masaai warrior or elder.

Stayed May 2009
Helpful?
Thank slp9700
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, CA
Level Contributor
15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 December 2008

A visit to the Il N'gwesi Lodge was a much welcomed change from the usual safari experience. We enjoyed all of the activities from bush hikes, individualized safaris, camel ride, parade of wildlife to the watering hole (way better than the Ark and Mountain Lodge), and a wonderful send-off. The most important intangible is the people--the Masai own and operate the lodge without outside influence. In these lean economic times, we are concerned that smaller operations like Il Ngwesi can fall prey to the larger tourist trap operations that have lower operating expenses and heard visitors around like wilderbeast in the Mara. We hope others can make it to Il Ngwesi to make their trip to Kenya a trip of a lifetime.

  • Liked — Unique atmosphere and hospitality created by lodge owned and operated by the Masai
  • Disliked — None
  • Stayed July 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank globetrotter423
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Angus
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 April 2007

My husband and I stayed here for three nights as part of our two week safari holiday organised by the excellent team at Journeys by Design.

We arrived at Lewa airstrip, and had a short wait to be collected there. We were greeted by the very friendly Lodge Manager, with two of his staff. All of the staff are local Maasai, and the lodge is owned and run by the local community. The Manager was also an accomplished guide, who accompanied us on all of our excursions, and dined with us each night. Food was excellent.

Il Ngwesi was about an hour drive (rough but spectacular) from the Airstrip.

There is not a huge quantity of game compared to some other, busier, places, but you are very unlikely to see another vehicle all day. On our final evening, the bush walk (just the two of us, accompanied by our guide and two of his colleagues) culminated in an amazing bush dinner, where a goat was killed and prepared for us.

Rooms were amazing - open air showers looking out into the wilderness!

This place was incredible, and the experience was unforgettable.

A great place to relax, chill out and enjoy the beautiful wildlife and country.

  • Stayed July 2006, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Holidaycmuchs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near Nanyuki Town
31.6 mi away
Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club
45.8 mi away
Porini Rhino Camp
Porini Rhino Camp
#2 of 36 in Nanyuki Town
5.0 of 5 bubbles 204 reviews
0.0 mi away
Lewa Safari Camp
Lewa Safari Camp
#2 of 57 in Laikipia County
5.0 of 5 bubbles 213 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
23.3 mi away
Elephant Bedroom Camp
Elephant Bedroom Camp
#3 of 16 in Samburu National Reserve
5.0 of 5 bubbles 317 reviews
30.6 mi away
Lions Court Lodge
Lions Court Lodge
#16 of 36 in Nanyuki Town
4.0 of 5 bubbles 18 reviews
17.6 mi away
Samburu Intrepids Luxury Tented Camp
Samburu Intrepids Luxury Tented ...
#2 of 16 in Samburu National Reserve
5.0 of 5 bubbles 442 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Il Ngwesi Lodge? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

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

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing