Set in the heart of the Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary and overlooking a waterhole and the vast Tsavo plains, the Sarova Salt Lick Game Lodge is a fitting destination for safari lovers. Famed for its warmth, vibrancy and legendary hospitality it is a favorite amongst travelers in search of a slightly different safari experience. I was privileged to spend a night at the lodge, and in this post I will be reviewing my stay.
The lodge’s architecture definitely sets it apart from any game lodge I know of. Having seen photos of the lodge before I had always longed to visit. The Sarova Salt Lick game lodge is unique in that all the rooms are elevated on stilts which in addition to allowing animals to wander freely underneath them offer a 360 degree view of wildlife and the sanctuary. The lobby, restaurant and terraced bar all provide excellent views and photographic opportunities, while an underground tunnel and bunker with ground level windows provides unbelievably close yet safe access to a variety of wildlife as they drink.
The different sections of the lodge are connected by bridges which made for a perfect vantage point for viewing one of the most spectacular sunsets I experienced that weekend.
I finally got to go see my room.
My room was fresh and simple. It had additional elements such as print fabric giving it a pop of color. Overall it was lovely but not quite my style. Probably due to its design the room was not as well lit as I would have loved. I much prefer airy and well-lit spaces.
My room did not have the stellar views of animals drinking water as it was quite a distance away from the main waterhole, I nonetheless still had lovely views of the park.
Having arrived after a 7 or so hour drive from Nairobi, we checked in quite late so I didn’t have to wait long for dinner.
This has to be a first. I have no food pictures at all from my stay! Eeeek! I was too hungry to be bothered. For guests staying at Sarova Salt Lick you will have all your meals except lunch which is served at its neighboring sister property, the Sarova Taita Hillls Game Lodge which is about 8 km away. The meals were varied and sumptuous, there was a wide variety catering to different tastes. I have no complaints.
For those who can’t sleep without a nightcap there’s a bar at the topmost floor of the lodge.
If you’re looking to enjoy your beer there’s an expansive deck that gives you fantastic views of the surrounding hills while enjoying the cool night breeze and of course of the prime spectacle of elephants converging at the water hole.
Of course a review to Sarova Salt Lick Game lodge would not be complete if I didn’t give you a tour of its most popular spot. Right next to the reception there is a viewing deck that overlooks 2 water holes. The water hole is absolutely an animal magnet bringing them all be it large,small, hoofed, toed and clawed!.
One is further out and there is one that is right next to the lodge. The deck offers perfect views of both in addition to lots of photo-ops.
The elephants particularly, are in very close proximity that you could touch them. Obviously this is not advised, neither is taking photos with a flash. The water hole is so close to the viewing areas that you can feel the vibrations when the elephants “trumpet” . Silence is encouraged but clearly the people I was with are not the quiet type.
The area is well illuminated with spotlights so you will have no trouble taking pictures without a flash.
If the chill gets to you there’s a large fireplace to warm those stiff limbs while you enjoy a drink or two.
In addition to the views from the deck there’s also an underground tunnel that you can walk in to get up and close with the animals. I couldn’t take any pics there because it was far too dark.
I could have watched the family of elephants for ever! if it weren’t for an early morning start the next day. For the lucky ones you might be able to witness a night hunt at the watering hole or even go for a night drive safari which is offered by the lodge.
Tea is offered at the lodge before an early game drive. The lodge also offers regular game drives for guests at an extra cost if you’re using any of their vehicles, so that needs to be coordinated with the hotel.
That morning, I opted out of the tea and chose to watch the elephants instead.
By this time the water levels had gone down but the families still kept coming. One of the little ones slipped while trying to reach the water and fell in. Luckily mum was right there to rescue.
Be wary when walking out of the lodge to your vehicle. One of the baboons favorite haunt is the parking lot by the reception near the dustbin. Be careful if carrying anything, I saw a male baboon almost attack one of the guests before it was chased away by staff.
The gift shop is well stocked if you want to get souvenirs for friends and loved ones. They stock lovely leather goods made by Rift Valley Leather. If you’re thinking of getting me anything feel free to get me something from there or from Sandstorm. I have a weakness for luxury leather goods but my pocket won’t let me prosper.
If you are thinking of staying at Sarova Salt Lick then you’re in luck. They’re having a fantastic offer of 5,500 /= ($55) per person sharing. Children under the age of five are not allowed on the property.
Would I go back? Hell yes. The views were spectacular: The sunrise, the sunset, the birds chirping, the animals converging at the waterhole, and the early morning/ late evening game drives. I feel like my one night stay was not adequate enough for me to appreciate all the lodge has to offer.
Disclaimer: My stay at Sarova Salt Lick Lodge was fascilitaed by the Sarova Hotels however all views and opinions expressed are my own