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Leopard in Tsavo West National Park

Ngulia Safari Lodge, Kenya: A Complete Review

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When we were choosing a safari we decided on mid-range safari lodge accommodation. This was mainly because we were travelling with our two young nephews so we needed something comfortable and safe. Budget and family friendly were our main priorities so the first night of our safari we stayed at the Voi Safari Lodge and the second night we stayed at the Ngulia Safari Lodge, read on for our complete review.

Location

Ngulia Safari Lodge is surrounded by the Ngulia Hills and overlooks the Ngulia Black Rhino Sanctuary in Tsavo West National Park. The lodge also has spectacular views of Mount Kilamanjaro to the west and is close to the Mzima springs attraction. We stayed at Ngulia Safari lodge on the second night of our 3-day safari and we weren’t disappointed. With 52 en-suite bedrooms all facing the African landscape of the Tsavo West National Park this 3* hotel has plenty to offer and there is no such thing as a room without a view.

Black rhinos in Africa

Facilities

The lodge provided welcome drinks on arrival and each room had free bottled water which was replaced daily or on request. The lodge also had free wifi available for the guests and a private pool overlooking the African bush. We didn’t have chance to try out the pool, but it looked very clean and well-kept. The pool area had sun loungers and towels for guests to use and had a great view from the pool bar. The lodge had a large open viewing area in the leopard lounge where you could see out over the Ngulia hills and the watering hole and watch the wildlife passing through.

Our Family at the Ngulia Safari Lodge in Kenya

The rooms themselves were a little outdated but were clean and tidy with a large mosquito net over the beds. The room we stayed in was decorated in a traditional African style and had a large double bed that was very comfortable. It also had a desk area with a chair. The bathroom was basic with a toilet, sink and shower and complimentary soap and shampoo was provided along with clean towels. The water also remained on all night at this lodge.

The lodge did not have air conditioning, but in the communal areas it was completely open with no windows, and a fan was provided in each room. Each room also had a private balcony area outside with chairs where you could sit watch the wildlife. You could also prop open the door and entice in a breeze as there was a large mosquito screen covering the door. Just don’t leave the door open if you are not in the room as the baboons will come in!

The lodge had daily planned power outages between the hours of Midnight and 6am but we were told about this on arrival. We were also warned by our safari guide to charge our devices before the power went out as we would be leaving for our morning game drive before it came back on.

Elephant at Ngulia Safari Lodge watering hole

Food & Drink

The restaurant had an open side with views of the watering hole and a bar area for guests to sit after their meal. The restaurant also has the main attraction of the lodge next to it, the leopard feeding station. The style of service was an all-inclusive buffet with a small selection of dishes including a homemade soups, meat, fish and vegetarian options with vegetables, rice, pasta and potatoes. There was also a choice of homemade desserts on offer.

Drinks were not included in room rate, but were reasonably priced. The selection included tea, coffee, bottled water, soft drinks, local beers, wine and a small selection of cocktails and spirits . There weren’t many guests at the lodge when we stayed so the selection of food was limited. We didn’t mind as we appreciated that they were trying to minimise waste food and it was good to see.

Our family having lunch at the Ngulia Safari Lodge with the Ngulia hills in the background

Wildlife at Ngulia Safari Lodge

There is ample opportunity to see the wildlife from the bar, restaurant and lounge areas which were open and overlooked the watering hole. You can get up close and personal with ‘The Big Five’ as they come from miles around and you may even spot the elusive black rhinos. The rhinos were released from the Rhino Sanctuary nearby where they operate a breeding program. We spent our evening meal watching a family of elephants defending the watering hole from cape buffalo who wanted to join them.

Elephant in the forground with cape buffalo in the background outside the Ngulia Safari Lodge

Every evening a huge piece of meat is hung on a wooden frame lit with a spotlight just outside the restaurant in the hopes of attracting local leopards. We weren’t fortunate enough to see them feeding when we visited but we did see multiple leopards on our game drive. The staff at the lodge will also provide a wake-up call during the night if a leopard arrives to feed after you have gone to bed, so you don’t miss the close encounter. Our room also had a large tree outside where we could watch baboons monkeying around.

We highly recommend taking a trip to the Mzima Springs where you can spot crocodiles and hippos. And to the Ngulia Black Rhino Sanctuary from Ngulia safari lodge and supporting the local conservation efforts.

Leopard in Tsavo West National Park
Baboon mother and baby outside Ngulia Safari Lodge

Getting to Ngulia Safari Lodge

Access to Ngulia Safari Lodge is by road through the Tsavo West National park via either the Mtito Andei Gate or through Tsavo River Gate. It is 250km from Mombasa and 260km from Nairobi. For visitors preferring air travel there is a small airstrip 19km from the lodge. We were driven here as part of our tour in a 4WD vehicle by our safari guide. We travelled through the Tsavo East National Park from the Voi Safari Lodge to the Tsavo River Gate.

For advice on the Best Safari Destinations in Kenya be sure to check out this post.

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