I have always desired to visit the Amboseli National Park and earlier this year my dream came true.

I could easily have camped out in the wild without a care but I was fortunate enough to stay at Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge.

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge is situated within Amboseli National Park, which lies approximately 250 kilometers from Nairobi and close to the Tanzanian border. The lodge is set against the magnificent backdrop of Africa’s highest mountain, the glittering Mount Kilimanjaro.  Located in the acacia filled Karawane Forest, it is one of the only 2 lodges inside the park.

It had been quite the journey to the lodge but the warm welcome by the staff really lifted my spirits.  We were each handed a cold towel and a glass of fresh juice which unfortunately happened to be on the sour side, so it was not as refreshing.

Once you walk in to the reception it is hard to ignore the effort that has been put into decorating the lodge. The décor borrows heavily from the local Maasai culture. The lodge is very colorful, exuding warmth and charm.

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_reception

 

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_bar

 

The hanging beaded Maasai necklaces are a nice touch.

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_lounge1

 

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_lounge

The hanging gourds really stood out

 

There are beautiful murals throughout the lodge mostly depicting wildlife.

Without a doubt my favorite area was the work space. The laptops provided however are ancient and you’re better off carrying your own if you want to get some work done. However, if you are interested in holding a corporate event they have a well-equipped conference room.

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_office

 

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_office1

 

Located right opposite the reception desk is a charming gift shop. They stock a variety of locally made goods which would make the perfect souvenir.

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_gift shop 1

 

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_gift shop

 

 

After a short briefing we were handed our room keys and shown to the rooms. To my dismay mine was at the end of the lodge. It was quite a walk from the reception and restaurant and I would advise against taking a room that far away.

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_roomsMy room was at the end of this path

 

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_bed

 

There is a fan which comes in handy as it does get a bit warm at night.  My room did not have much of a view, the back of it faced some trees and all I ever saw were monkeys. I did love the decor though; I was particularly taken by the beaded lampshades and the mirror in the bathroom.

There’s a hot water kettle and provisions for preparing tea or coffee if they tickle your fancy.

I had trouble plugging in my phone and camera to charge. Only 1 socket, inside the closet worked.

Overall I loved my room; the decor really won me over. The other thing I loved was the master switch located by the bedside and by the door. It controlled all the lights in the room and saved me the trouble of getting out of bed to switch off the lights.

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_bathroom

 

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_view from room

 

I was not able to take any proper photos of my room. I’ll share some taken by Maneno, my room was pretty similar except for its size as it was a single.

It was almost lunch time and after the long journey I was eager to fill my stomach. I dropped by the restaurant for a buffet lunch. There is a set menu daily and the options are varied. The menu has lots of options for vegetarians too. The waiters were attentive and helpful.

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_resaurant

 

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_restaurant2

 

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_restaurant3

 

 

My favourites were the desserts

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_mousse1

 

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_mousse

 

After lunch and a short dip in the pool we were off for an evening game drive – I’ll write about it in another post.

When we got back we had a sun downer by the pool with a variety of drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) plus some hors d’oeuvres. The pool area faces a natural spring right outside the lodge and provides a relaxing location for game viewing.

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_pool daytime

 

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_pool nightime

 

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_view from reception

 

 

Soon it was time for the bush dinner. We were advised to dress warmly and cover up.  The night was pretty warm so no need to layer up, what you do need to do though is apply insect repellent liberally.

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_bush dinner1

 

Were it not for being so exhausted I would have thoroughly enjoyed the bush dinner. We were served 7 courses and at some point I had to decline any more courses as I felt like I was drowning in food. I have to say there was nothing special about the food, nothing really stood out to me. The overall experience was amazing though.

The highlight of the dinner was the Maasai dance. They invited us all to join in and I was able to learn a few moves.

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_bush dinner

 

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_bush dinner2

 

After the dinner I just hang around for a bit talking with my companions. There is a beautiful lounge area facing the back of the lodge and if you’re lucky you can catch some animals quenching their thirst at the water hole.

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_lodge at night

 

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_lounge area

 

My plan for the next day was to catch the sunrise. I knew I would have trouble getting up as I had had a long day so I arranged for a wakeup call. Promptly at 5:45am I got a call from the reception and then they sent someone to come to my room to make sure I was awake. I found this to be rather thoughtful seeing as I had only been expecting a phone call.

Our driver Nadhifo who we’d arranged the drive with the previous day was right on time.   The sunrise was glorious and well worth the early morning. If you’re hoping to catch the sunrise you need to drive away from the lodge as the trees in the compound will obstruct your view. Keep in mind that the mornings are quite chilly so if you plan on going for an early game drive dress warmly.

Having taken in the beautiful sight we then went on another game drive as we had some time to kill before the breakfast that the hotel had arranged for us at Observation Hill.

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_observation hil1

 

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_Walking up observation Hill

 

It is a short walk up the hill and the path is paved all the way. Once we got to the top  we were welcomed with a glass of champagne and the most amazing views of Amboseli with Mt. Kilimanjaro in the background. This was without a doubt one the highlights of my short stay.

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_breakfast

 

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_breakfast (2)

 

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_breakfast at observation hill

 

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_breakfast at observation hill2

 

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_breakfast at observation hill1

 

There was a wide array of options in terms of food and I had more than enough. After the meal I walked around taking photos and then sat down to enjoy the view. Once the sun is up its rays will hit you hard so if you plan on having breakfast at Observation Hill do carry a hat.

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_view from observation hill

 

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_view from observation hill1

 

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_view from observation hill1 (2)

 

There is a swampy area right beneath the hill that is a favorite haunt for the elephant herds and you’re sure to spot them feeding there .

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_elephants at observation hill

 

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_elephants at observation hill1

.

After the wonderful breakfast the lodge had arranged for us to receive 30 minute upper body massages. I have never had a proper massage therefore I have nothing to compare my experience to but it was amazing. The massage therapist untangled all the knots in my muscles and by the end of the session I was so relaxed that I fell asleep.

Soon it was time to depart but we had time for one more activity.  All the trees surrounding the lodge have been planted by either staff of guests from 1990. The lodge offers all their guests a chance to do their part in conserving the environment. Once upon a time Amboseli was forested (hard to picture now) but the water table rose and the soil became too alkaline. Most of the trees began to die and the few that remained standing were felled by elephants.  The lodge in conjunction with KWS has been working towards the reforestation of Amboseli. They fence off a particular area, plant trees then once the trees are old enough the fence is torn down.

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge_tree planting

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They encourage all their guests to plant trees and for an extra ksh 800 ($8.5) you can get a plaque with your name put next to the tree you planted.

Unfortunately there is no Safaricom (Kenya’s largest mobile phone provider)  network throughout the park. If you have a Safaricom line your only option is expensive roaming. I wasn’t too bothered though, the lodge is equipped with really good Wi-Fi the speeds were really fast.

All other phone providers have strong network.

How to get there:

Distance from Nairobi is approximately 270 km via Emali and 280 km via Namanga.

By road: Transfer by road from Nairobi takes approximately 4 hours.

 

By air: Flight time approximately 30 minutes from Wilson Airport Nairobi. Amboseli Airstrip is 11 km from the lodge, ‘meet and greet’ and transfer services can be provided

 

Useful info

All info on how much it costs to enter the park can be found here

Cost per game drive Kshs 4500 per person per game drive

Breakfast at Observation Hill Kshs 2800 per person

Bush dinner $35-$40

Serena hotels rates

Serena hotels rates

A huge thank you to Maneno for allowing me to use some of his images for this post.

 

This trip was facilitated by Serena hotels as part of a media tour. I received no monetary compensation for this review. All opinions are my own

 

I NEED YOUR VOTE ….

For the 2nd year running, Safari254 has been nominated for a Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) award in the best travel category. Please spare a minute of your time and VOTE for me.

 

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20 Comments

  1. March 8, 2015 at 1:17 am — Reply

    wow!all these photos are beautiful.Seems it is a great place.Very attractive.
    Amila recently posted…Visit Pulau Ubin Island to Escape from City Life in SingaporeMy Profile

  2. March 8, 2015 at 1:51 am — Reply

    Hi Rachael, you have no idea how much I needed a post from you today. And bingo…my higher power answered. I’m not in my usual chatty mood today. Please know I read everything and grasped every single picture in my mind. I wanted an escape to a far away land and there could be no perfect blogger to provide that. I DID vote for you on the poll. Sending all my best to you always. Now, I’m going back to escaping with your photos. Bad day here but you made it soooo much better, my friend 🙂
    Mike recently posted…SkyCity Restaurant in Seattle, Washington – My Bucket ListMy Profile

    • March 9, 2015 at 11:59 am — Reply

      Thank you for voting. Good thing your higher power answered your request.I hope your day improves.

  3. March 8, 2015 at 2:41 pm — Reply

    Wow – amazing photography.
    Paula McInerney recently posted…Eat : Singaporean Chili Crab #wkendtravelinspirationMy Profile

  4. March 9, 2015 at 7:53 am — Reply

    I voted!

    I think that Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge is one of my favorites of all the places you’ve shown us on your blog. It’s a hotel that really seems to capture the spirit of the area, and I can’t believe that you can see elephants right from the hotel grounds. The bush dinner and the Masai dancers look amazing, and the room you pictured is beautiful. If I’m visiting the area, I think this would definitely be the place where I’d stay.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted…Create Your Own Treats at Goofy’s Candy CompanyMy Profile

    • March 9, 2015 at 11:55 am — Reply

      Thank you Michele. I’m glad it is your favourite, it is one of mine too and I am looking forward to going back.

  5. March 9, 2015 at 12:52 pm — Reply

    Lovely place…
    Muza-chan recently posted…Old and spectacular Shidare Sakura in KyotoMy Profile

  6. March 9, 2015 at 3:50 pm — Reply

    What an exciting adventure. That lodge looks gorgeous, Rachel. I really need to get to Kenya!
    Corinne recently posted…Tiniest Hotel Rooms – A Capsule Hotel in JapanMy Profile

    • March 9, 2015 at 9:28 pm — Reply

      Yes you do Corrine.

  7. March 9, 2015 at 4:20 pm — Reply

    Africa is the one content we haven’t touched yet, and it does intimidate me a little. But these photos look wonderful! clearly i need to get over my fear and plan a trip.
    eileen @ FamiliesGo! recently posted…Weekend Travel Inspiration: A Family Samples Lake Placid’s Winter SportsMy Profile

  8. March 9, 2015 at 6:24 pm — Reply

    I voted! I hope mine is the one that puts you over the top :-). This place looks awesome. Your pictures as usual, are amazing. Loving them!
    Kemkem recently posted…Maria Luisa Park in SevilleMy Profile

    • March 9, 2015 at 9:27 pm — Reply

      Thank you KemKem..I’ll be sure to let you know once the awards are held.

  9. March 11, 2015 at 5:39 am — Reply

    Your pictures really do belong in Nat Geo! I don’t know how many times I’ve probably said that or at least thought it to myself. Especially the picture of the solo Maasai warrior in blue. Stunning! And the elephant pictures – wow! This lodge looks incredible – I’d certainly love to stay there when I come to Kenya.
    Dana Carmel @ Time Travel Plans recently posted…Love, Loss & Traveling OnMy Profile

    • March 12, 2015 at 7:29 pm — Reply

      Thank you! I will keep that in mind the next time I think that my pictures are crap.

  10. March 11, 2015 at 7:48 am — Reply

    I am so hungry from looking at your post now 🙂 All of that food looks delicious! They really treated you well. I would definitely stay at Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge if I was in this area. I love the decor, the vibrant colors, surroundings and activities. Most of all, those views and just seeing that elephant herd. Wow! I voted! Stunning photos!
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted…Visiting A Sigatoka River Village in FIJIMy Profile

    • March 12, 2015 at 7:28 pm — Reply

      Thank you for voting. I would definitely recommend a stay at the lodge or if not a visit to Amboseli, even for a day.

  11. March 12, 2015 at 9:29 am — Reply

    Your pictures are wonderful. You are making me want to leave right now!
    Michelle recently posted…$23,758 in February Income – My Monthly Online Income ReportMy Profile

  12. March 21, 2015 at 8:29 pm — Reply

    […] an  account of my trip to the park, a bonus from my stay at the Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge […]

  13. March 21, 2015 at 9:43 pm — Reply

    ooooohhhh what a stunning, stunning place! I swear that if I ever go to kenya your blog would be my guide book. You have a flair for finding beautiful places all over the country. I mean, that alfresco lunch! that’s what dreams are made of!
    Margherita Ragg recently posted…Two Seasons in SuomenlinnaMy Profile

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