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This eco-friendly lodge is run by and for the Maasai people, one of the most iconic and ancient indigenous tribes in Africa. You’ll get to stay in comfortable cottages built with traditional materials, enjoy delicious meals made with local ingredients, and learn about the Maasai culture and way of life. You’ll also have the opportunity to explore the vast and diverse landscape, spot amazing wildlife, and join in various activities such as game drives, bush walks, camel safaris, and cultural visits. This is not a luxury resort, but a unique and unforgettable adventure that will enrich your mind, body, and soul.
Unique or special aspects
What sets Il Ngwesi apart from other lodges in Kenya is its intimate connection with the local community. The lodge was created with the aim of preserving the Maasai culture and environment, and empowering them to share their knowledge and traditions with visitors. You’ll be welcomed as a guest and a friend by the Maasai hosts, who will guide you through their ancestral lands and teach you about their history, beliefs, customs, and skills. You’ll also get to participate in some of their daily activities, such as making handicrafts, herding cattle, or preparing food. You’ll gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of this fascinating and resilient people, who have lived in harmony with nature for centuries.
Il Ngwesi is located in a remote and untouched area of the Laikipia Plateau, about 250 km north of Nairobi. The lodge is accessible only by a small plane that lands on a dirt airstrip near the Ngare Ndare River, where you’ll be greeted by your Maasai guides. From there, you’ll take a short drive to reach the lodge, which is perched on a hill overlooking the stunning scenery. The lodge is surrounded by 16,500 hectares of protected land, home to an incredible diversity of flora and fauna. You’ll feel like you’ve entered another world, far away from the noise and stress of modern life.
Il Ngwesi is designed to blend in with the natural environment and respect the Maasai aesthetic. The lodge consists of six spacious cottages that can accommodate up to four guests each. The cottages are built with local materials such as wood, stone, thatch, and canvas, and feature comfortable beds with mosquito nets, private bathrooms with hot water showers, solar-powered lights and fans, and balconies with sunbeds and views of the valley. The main lodge has a dining area where you’ll enjoy communal meals with your hosts and fellow guests, a lounge area where you can relax and read books or play games, a swimming pool where you can cool off and admire the panorama, and a viewing deck where you can watch the wildlife at the nearby waterhole. The lodge has no internet or phone service, so you can truly disconnect and immerse yourself in nature.
Il Ngwesi is committed to sustainability in every aspect of its operation. The lodge uses renewable energy sources such as solar panels and wind turbines to power its facilities. It also collects rainwater for drinking and cooking, and treats wastewater with natural filters before releasing it into the river. The lodge minimizes waste by composting organic materials, recycling plastic bottles and cans, and using biodegradable products such as soap and shampoo. The lodge also supports conservation efforts by monitoring wildlife populations, protecting endangered species such as rhinos, elephants, and lions, and preventing poaching and human-wildlife conflict in the area. The lodge works closely with local organizations such as Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy to promote environmental education and awareness among the Maasai people and visitors.
Il Ngwesi is more than just a tourist destination; it’s a social enterprise that benefits the Maasai community in various ways. The lodge provides employment opportunities for more than 40 Maasai families who work as guides, cooks, cleaners, maintenance workers, artisans, or managers. The lodge also generates income for the community through a fair-trade agreement that ensures that 40% of the profits go directly to them. The lodge also helps improve the quality of life of the Maasai people by supporting health care services, education programs, cultural preservation initiatives, and leadership development projects. The lodge empowers the Maasai people to have a voice and a choice in their own development, and to share their wisdom and values with the world.
Il Ngwesi has six cottages that can accommodate up to four guests each. The cottages are simple but comfortable, and have everything you need for a pleasant stay. Each cottage has a double bed and two single beds with mosquito nets, a private bathroom with hot water shower, solar-powered lights and fans, and a balcony with sunbeds and views of the valley. The cottages are decorated with Maasai handicrafts and paintings, and have wooden floors and walls that create a cozy atmosphere. The cottages are cleaned daily and fresh towels are provided. There is no air conditioning or heating, but the temperature is usually mild and the breeze from the valley keeps the cottages cool.
Il Ngwesi offers delicious meals that are prepared with fresh and organic ingredients from the lodge’s own garden and the local farms. You’ll enjoy a variety of dishes that combine Kenyan and Maasai cuisine, such as beef stew, chicken curry, rice, beans, ugali, chapati, salads, fruits, and desserts. You’ll also have the chance to taste some of the Maasai specialties, such as nyama choma (grilled meat), mursik (sour milk), or honey wine. You’ll have breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the main lodge, where you’ll share a large table with your hosts and fellow guests. You’ll also have snacks and drinks available throughout the day, such as coffee, tea, juice, water, or beer.
Game drives: You can drive through different parts of the conservancy in open-sided vehicles with your Maasai guides who will show you the wildlife and scenery that live there. You’ll see animals such as elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, jackals, zebras, giraffes, antelopes, buffaloes, and monkeys.
Bush walks: You can walk through different trails in the conservancy with your Maasai guides who will teach you about the plants and animals that live there. You’ll learn about their medicinal uses, edible properties, or cultural significance.
Camel safaris: You can ride on camels through different parts of the conservancy with your Maasai guides who will show you the wildlife and scenery that live there. You’ll see animals such as elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, jackals, zebras, giraffes, antelopes, buffaloes, and monkeys.
Cultural visits: You can visit some of the nearby Maasai villages and interact with them. You’ll learn about their history, beliefs, customs, and skills. You’ll also get to participate in some of their daily activities, such as making handicrafts, herding cattle, or preparing food. You’ll gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of this fascinating and resilient people, who have lived in harmony with nature for centuries.
Night drives: You can venture into the conservancy at night with your guides and a spotlight. You’ll discover a whole new world of nocturnal creatures, such as lions, leopards, hyenas, jackals, aardvarks, pangolins, and owls. You’ll also enjoy the sounds of the savannah, such as crickets, cicadas, and howler monkeys.
Sundowners: You can enjoy a drink and a snack at a scenic spot in the conservancy as you watch the sun set over the horizon. You’ll witness the changing colors of the sky and the landscape, and feel the magic of the African twilight.
Il Ngwesi is located in the Laikipia Plateau, one of the most diverse and scenic regions in Kenya. The plateau covers more than 9,000 square kilometers of rolling hills, plains, forests, and rivers that harbor over 80 species of mammals, 400 species of birds, and thousands of species of plants and insects. Some of the wildlife you can see around the lodge include elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, jackals, zebras, giraffes, antelopes, buffaloes, and monkeys. You might even spot some of the rare and elusive animals such as wild dogs, aardvarks, or pangolins. The plateau is also home to several indigenous groups besides the Maasai, such as the Samburu, the Turkana, the Pokot, and the Rendille.
Il Ngwesi is a great place for families who want to have an adventurous and educational vacation. The lodge welcomes children of all ages and offers special rates for them. The lodge also provides cribs, high chairs, and baby food for infants. The lodge has a variety of activities that are suitable for children, such as game drives, bush walks, camel safaris, and cultural visits. The children will have fun and learn a lot from their Maasai hosts, who are very friendly and playful. The children will also develop a sense of respect and appreciation for nature and other cultures.
Il Ngwesi is located in a remote and untouched area of the Laikipia Plateau, about 250 km north of Nairobi. The lodge is accessible only by a small plane that lands on a dirt airstrip near the Ngare Ndare River, where you’ll be greeted by your Maasai guides. From there, you’ll take a short drive to reach the lodge. The flight from Nairobi to the airstrip takes about an hour, and the drive takes about 15 minutes. The lodge provides transportation from Nairobi to the airstrip and from the airstrip to the lodge.
- Actively reduces consumption
- Ecosystem preservation
- Wildlife protection or rescue
- Solar powered or renewable energy
- Employs local people
- Promotes local businesses
- Community led or owned
- Up to 2
- Up to 4
- Cultural visit
- Wildlife watching