About Amboseli Sopa Lodge
- high speed internet in room
- swimming pool
- free internet
- bar lounge
- free parking
- non smoking rooms
- laundry service
- family rooms
- breakfast buffet
- free breakfast
- russian amenities
9 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Great Views of Killimanjaro
"This was the first lodge of 3 Sopa Lodges on our Best of Kenya Safari booked through Virgin holidays. The lodge itself is in a fantastic location, the roads to get to this and other lodges on this safari are rough and ready, you will be in for a very bumpy ride! The lodge is approx 5 hours drive from Nairobi.
The downside to this lodge is the guards who walk you to your rooms at night whether you wish them to or not. The may say it is for your security but this is debatable, mainly for the tip! The porters also will insist on carrying your rucksack to your lodge and will be waiting outside on your departure to carry again - always expecting a tip. I would suggest 50 to 100 kenyan schillings is plenty.
You can visit Hemmingways Bar at this hotel and at 9.15pm nightly you will see the hyenas, mongoose etc being fed, this is worth a visit.
Message for the ladies, the weather isnt humid here, so your hair will stay straight! No hairdryers, tv's etc in your lodge. Take hairdryers etc with you, voltage is same as UK, which is handy.
In the main bar there is satellite tv so you can catch up with sport and news if you wish.
The views from the restuarant are breathtaking, Mount Kilimanjaro is the backdrop and when the skies are clear this is stunning.
Worth noting the electricity and hot water at this lodge are off at various times of the day, most of the time you will be out on a game drive so this isnt really an issue. The room we stayed in had candles and a torch provided but I presume this will be in all the lodges."
- Travel date: Tue 19th of June 2007
Roads From Hell
"All the Sopa Lodges in Kenya have a reasonable standard of accomodation with good food, helful and friendly staff. The Kenyan Government do not deserve any tourism to there country. The roads are the roads from hell, 10hrs to travel 300kms over roads only ever suited for off road 4wds and then at speeds of 5kms per hr. These roads are used by normal 2wd cars and vans. The van the tour co used was a toyota 2wd 9 person van. After every safari the vans suspension has to be replaced or repaired. The park entry fees vary from $30 to $50 USD for every person per day. The government of Kenya are raping the tourists and are not putting any thing back into the parks and roads. I am told by local people, that the government officals are corrupt. The animal life in the parks is very good, and in good numbers. Only just makes up for the endurance test in getting there."
- Travel date: Mon 30th of April 2007
"We stayed here for the first 2 nights of our safari and it was lovely! It is quite basic, with hot water and electicity rationing, but you need to remember where you are and it certainly exceeded my expectations of a safari lodge.
Lovely views of kilimanjaro and a lovely pool, bar and restaurant with nice food.
Hemmingways bar was a real treat, where you could watch the animal feeding, and we even had an elephant wander past one night! It is a way from the national park, but there are still PLENTY of animals to see on the way to the park on the game drives.
A special note also regarding the Masai cheif who works in Hemmingways bar - I think his name was Eugine, a really fabulous interesting character who loved his culture and people - do look out for him."
- Travel date: Wed 25th of April 2007
Cut to the bone
"Never mind that it takes a while to reach the park for outings: The location is wonderful, with a picture-postcard view of Mount Kilimanjaro, an overwhelmingly deep sky at night (Northerners, read up on this hemisphere's astronomy before you go, or you may be hard pressed to find anyone able to point out where exactly the Southern Cross is!), and a reasonable swimming pool in a nice setting. The grounds are well kept, with a number of animals frequenting them, mongoose being a most welcome sight, and quite enjoyable to watch. Vervet monkeys often play on the roofs of the huts, as I found out during a lazy siesta when most other tourists would be away on their point-and-shoot safaris, leaving at least these animals in peace for a change.
If one times it well, it is possible to escape the Sopa hallmark, prefab entertainment. It also helps some animals have learned the trick of not turning up for show at night when they are supposed to be fed. With a good deal of luck a day may go by without a Masai dance, too.
This Sopa is noticeably better than the one at Masai Mara, and rooms do get sprayed with insecticide as a matter of course. A little mould in the shower can be taken as part and parcel of being in the tropics. But one thing is a bad letdown: the food. Quite simply, the meat here tends not to be cooked well enough; not to recognize it would involve both a numb palate and failing eyesight. Should the taste and texture not alarm you, closer inspection will - unless blood at the bone leaves you unphased. Grilling and serving the dishes, buffet-style, on the spot may have its visual appeal but it needs to be done properly, which it is not. (Admittedly this is an all-too-frequent failing in Kenya, and it transformed me into a vegetarian on most occasions, not to mention a temporarily regular, prophylactic whisky drinker.) The meatless, Indian cuisine stuff is OK, and seemed perfectly innocuous if not exceedingly tasty.
The ubiquitous dawa drink (vodka/lime/honey) served at the bar was the worst on tour. The barman here obviously had no clue but I should not blame him. Labour is abundant and dirt cheap here, the audience captive, so why train the staff? What makes it really bad is that, if I disregard some vacuous Eurosporting events on the equally ubiquitous big TV screen, a good tipple was the only entertainment one could hope for at night. What with no Heather Cooper to guide you through the skies."
- Travel date: Mon 12th of March 2007
Great end to the holiday of a lifetime..
"We stayed here for 2 nights as part of our âKenya Classicâ safari. It was amazing.
When we arrived we were greeted by very friendly porters and receptionists (and the tallest man that I had every seen, who was one of the nicest people we had met) we were provided with drinks, hot towels and a quick check in.
The porters showed us to our room which were in Masai style.
The room was brilliant lovely dÃ©cor, really big, with 2 double beds and a large bathroom. Also a little veranda with two chairs to sit and watch the monkeys and mongoose playing. Perfect.
Like the Masai Sopa Lodge electricity and hot water is powered by a generator, so is sometimes turned off, but again this should not effect you because they stagger the time to co inside with times that the guests are on game drives, or asleep. So it is fine and they do provide a torch in the room. Hot water was never a issue for us either.
The hotel is in a beautiful location, although it is about 20 minutes to the actual park, it is perfect with the most stunning views of Kilimanjaro from the pool and restaurant. Just the sight of Kilimanjaro when you are eating your breakfast has got to be worth every penny of the holiday.
The food was fantastic, with a wide choice. Our first evening meal and breakfasts were buffet style, but on the second day both lunch and dinner were waiter service which was very nice especially the last night when our group had a meal all together.
The hotel also has 2 large bars, one opposite the restaurant and one that over looks the animal feeding area.
On our first night at the hotel the staff carried out a Masai dance, it was very good, and we were advised by one of the team exactly what each dance represented which was really interesting.
We were then invited to watch the animals being fed at the platform. Unfortunately they could not have been hungry that night because they didnât turn up! But we did have a laugh talking to the staff who were Masaiâs we got one told off for talking to loud be it was really funny, and he just smiled!!
As always in the hotels we stayed in we felt very safe . The security guards walked us to the room each evening even though we were quite close to the reception area.
I was a bit worried because this was the only lodge we had stayed in that didnât have thick mozi nets around the bed, so imagined being bitten to bits in the morning but we were fine. Only got bitten once in all the time we were in Kenya anyway.
Amboseli game reserve was fantastic, especially if you love elephants like I do. We must have seen near to 500 elephants in the two days. It was spectacular.
At Amboseli we also visited a Masai Village. I really thought that it was all going to be for the tourist, but really it was fantastic, at no time did we feel uneasy, they were all so friendly and were proud to be Masai people, which I thought was great. We did have to pay to go into the village but it was worth it.
We were met by one of the younger Masai me called Benjamin, our guide for the time at his village. He spoke brilliant English. He explained about the village and then we were greeted with a dance by about 30 of the villagers it was brilliant.
We were also given a blessing from the Masai which brought a tear to my eye, wishing us a safe safari and journey.
We were led into the village and taken on a tour around their huts, the cattle area, and we given a talk about the way they start fires, and medicines that they used.
We were then led off to a makeshift market, basically run by the other people in the Masai village. Before leaving I had read on some reviews that people felt that they we pushed in buying thing from the Masai village, but I really didnât think that this was the case. You are expect to barter, but I think that we got some really nice presents from here and to say that you brought them from the Masai makes them even more special I think. Should have brought more there because it was far less expensive than the shops on the way home or at the airport!!!
We were advised that the money for our entry was feed back into the community, and we could see for ourselves evidence of this in the form of water pumps and a school for the children. The money from the market was shared in the village.
The hotel also had a shop in the style of a Masai market. The man that sold the wooden objects was great and the price was even better. Donât get anything before you go to this hotel, because the price is so much less than the shops out side. I brought a large wooden elephant which only cost Â£10, and two beautiful Masai statues that only cost Â£40.
We spent our last afternoon relaxing at the hotel around the pool. I even ventured into the pool, which was lovely. We were served cocktails around the pool, whilst we looked at stunning views of Kilimanjaro.. Was in heaven.
All in all we just loved staying here it was brilliant and finished off our best holiday ever perfectly. Did not want to leave Kenya, it really is magical."
- Travel date: Sun 25th of February 2007
Excellent location and accomodation
"After a long bumpy ride from Nairobi anything would have been good as long as it had a comfy bed! As it was, we were more than pleasantly surprised! Greeted by very friendly staff who showed us to our room which unfortunately was a bit out of the way but other than that, couldn't be faulted. Spacious bedroom area and shower room with a small veranda to watch the monkeys playing! We were full board and the choice of food was again better than we had expected. All in all, an excellent base to explore Amboseli park.
Oh, just one thing though, be prepared for lack of electricity and hot water late at night!"
- Travel date: Mon 5th of February 2007
Quaint lodge with views of Kilimanjaro
"We stayed here for one night along our safari route. As soon as got to the lodge we were greeted by friendly porters and receptionists. Each room was a separate dwelling almost in the style of a masai hut with rustic internal decor. Being practically located in the middle of nowhere, electricity is limited. The restaurant has fantastic views of Mount Kilimanjaro but there is limited dining space and we were asked to wait in the bar until a table was ready. There was however, a great choice of food available. All in all, a great treat at the end of a long day on safari."
- Travel date: Fri 13th of October 2006
"The accomodation are independent cabins scattered across beautifully manicured grounds. The site is stunning, with views of Mt Kili. Vervet monkeys, mongeese and various ungulates play in the garden. The rooms are confortable and clean. The pool (unheated) is a great place to relax.
Because this Lodge is outside the park, it takes about 30-45minutes to drive to the park gates. This is okay, but being in the park would be easier.
My only complaint about this Lodge is the food. Inconsistent in quality and unfortunately we were food poisoned on our first night. In fact, several other guests were also sick in the morning. It was unpleasent and disappointing to miss a day of game drives. Thankfully, all had a speedy recovery."
- Travel date: Fri 6th of October 2006
Fantastic View of Kilimanjaro
"We stayed here for 2 nights whilst on safari in Amboseli and loved the place. We had a lovely warm welcome on arrival, and enjoyed every aspect of the lodge, especially the mongeese near the small pond, the bird life, but most of all the gorgeous view of Kilimanjaro each morning at breakfast.
The food was inconsistent in quality but always edible, and our packed lunch which we ate on observation hill was very tasty. The only potential downside was the distance from the park gates - however we found that this added to the enjoyment as we saw the real Masai way of life whilst travelling between the lodge and the park, and also a troop of baboons just at the side of the road."
- Travel date: Mon 14th of August 2006