Voi town is a small, charming center. As you get on the main street, Barclays Bank stands on the right in a historic building which speaks to the history of Voi considered one of the oldest towns in Kenya. Historians state that Voi started as a settlement town by railway workers who constructed the Kenya-Uganda railway in the early 1900s.
A turn on the left leads you down a dusty road to the entrance of Tsavo East National Park, the Theater of the Wild!! Love how dramatic that sounds! Together, Tsavo East and Tsavo West form the largest park in Kenya and are larger than Switzerland and Israel. The parks are famous for their large herds of elephants (we saw herds upon herds eles!!) the Shetani lava (black rocks from past volcanic activity) and the Mzima Springs, a series of four springs which draw their crystal clear waters from the Chyulu Hills. And not forgetting the legend of the Man Eaters of Tsavo, two lions that terrorized …. Intrigued enough to consider a visit? Here are a variety of camps and lodges that you can choose to stay at.
WHERE TO STAY IN TSAVO EAST NATIONAL PARK
With 46 rooms and 6 tents, Ashnil Aruba is a large camp spread over several acres. Paved pathways lead to the rooms which are beautifully lit at night. I slept in a room with twin beds which was spacious with a glass encased shower and a small balcony. I must say the food was a bit of a let down. The buffet at dinner barely had any options however, breakfast, which is my best meal of any hotel stay, was good and I had my fill. The pool looked great though, I wish I had time to take a dip. Fun fact: the lady who checked us in is my namesake! Both names! How cool was that 🙂
Located just 11kms from the Tsavo East gate, Sentrim Tsavo sits on a small acreage of land which means that it comprises a cluster of compact tents, which may not be ideal for people who love their privacy. However, it’s location, very close to a waterhole that attracts lots of zebra and elephant, is every reason to book this camp! From the restaurant, one can enjoy clear, ground-level views of the wildlife. The rooms have four-poster beds with mosquito nets which is a good protective measure though I didn’t experience any mosquitoes during the trip. I appreciated the the small pool which offers guests respite from the sweltering Tsavo heat.
Voi Safari Lodge
Voi Safari Lodge is one of the oldest hotels in Tsavo with the foundation stone having been laid in November 1967 by Kenya’s founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. From its location high upon boulders one can enjoy fantastic views of Tsavo East. I loved the huge restaurant which has 180 degree views of the park as well as the three bars Nyati, Tembo and Hyrax – which give an option of where you want to enjoy your favourite tipple. A series of staircases lead to a wildlife spotting bunker from where you can check out elephants as they quench their thirst from the nearby waterhole. The steps are quite the workout though and people with mobility challenges may not be able to enjoy this unique experience!
While the public areas of the lodge such as the restaurant and the lounges have such ample space, the rooms are rather small with compact bathrooms, not ideal for people who prefer sizeable rooms.
Voi Wildlife Lodge
Voi Wildlife Lodge and Voi Safari Lodge (above) are the two oldest and largest hotels in Tsavo. However unlike Voi Safari Lodge, Voi Wildlife Lodge is built on flat terrain and has maximised the use of its large grounds. Its 88 rooms are housed in the three-storied buildings in the Acacia and Baobab wings. The spacious rooms feature double, twin and triple beds with roomy bathrooms that feature a curtain drawn shower and a vanity sink. Accommodation at the lodge also includes the Manyatta wing which has several tents for those who prefer that ‘safari feeling’.
You will not run out of places to hang out at Voi Wildlife Lodge with its terraces, lounges and bars. Looking to work out during your stay? The fully equipped, in-house, gym will keep you busy as will the three swimming pools. The spa will help you relax after a day of elephant spotting in the wild. And if you wish to worship, there is a church, temple and mosque to help you get closer to your deity.
WHERE TO STAY IN TSAVO WEST NATIONAL PARK
A dam dominates the grounds of Voyager Ziwani in Tsavo West National Park. A jetty juts out over the dam where one can get a closer view of the hippos that are found in the water. The camp’s tents, restaurant and other public areas are scattered around the perimeter of the dam amidst tall trees that litter the camp grounds. The tents, which I felt are a tad too close to each other, feature mosquito-draped bed, an en-suite bathroom with red towels and a red-tiled vanity sink. After a long drive, we settled in for dinner at about 9pm and had Maasai dancers entertain us as we dined which is always fun to watch – and participate!
The property is managed by Heritage Hotels, the same people who manage the popular Voyager Resort in North Coast, Mara Intrepids and Mara Explorer in the Masai Mara and Samburu Intrepids in Samburu.
Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge
Serena’s Kilaguni Safari Lodge serves delicious food in a huge open restaurant with views of the park. I loved the food so much I had to get that off the way first! It has 56 guest rooms and suites in several building blocks which feature tea and coffee facilities and plenty of sockets to charge your gadgets. As with the other camps and lodges the restaurant is open with views of a nearby waterhole. You can expect Serena’s high standards at Kilaguni.
Severin Safari Camp
As you walk into Severin Safari Camp, you get to appreciate the open layout of its main area. The small lounge, flows into the bar and to the restaurant under the makuti roofed building which is open on one side to give guests views of wildlife. The star attraction of Severin Safari Camp, however, is its Ken Bali Spa. In the hot Tsavo weather, the uniquely designed spa, which features a swimming pool and a massage area is a fantastic place to cool off and to relax. The camp also has a small gym for anyone who’d like to work out while on safari.
Finch Hattons Luxury Tented Camp
Luxury by any other name is Finch Hattons Luxury Tented Camp! Finch Hattons is all about opulence and you can tell from its sparkling chanderliers, to its high backed seats to the copper bathtubs in each room. The camp is named after Denys Finch Hattons, a conservationist who loved his creature comforts; so much so that he would go on safari with a bathtub, a gramophone and the finest French wines!
Following in its namesake’s footsteps, the camp is all about vintage splendour which begins from the moment you step into the camp. A long lobby area welcomes you to Finch Hattons. At the end of the lobby is the dining area and to its left is a swanky lounge and bar, with a star gazing area above. We had dinner at the star gazing area and it was the most gorgeous dinner set up I have ever been on!
The 14 luxury tents, two-bed-roomed suites and the impressive Finch Hattons Suite circle the spring-fed pools found on the camp. The rooms are sumptuous – all of them!! They have in-door and an outdoor shower, a glorious copper bathtub, a bed so comfortable you don’t want to get up and an awesome deck with views of the pools.
Everything at Finch Hattons Camp blew me away! But what I loved most were the activities that we took part in. We had a 30-minute yoga session at the Chyulu Spa and drove out to a sundowner spot for a time of enjoyment as we watched the sun disappear over the horizon.
There is no better point to end this blog. Have you been to Tsavo East or Tsavo West? Did you go to any of these places? Let me know in the comment section below!
Thanks for reading!