9 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
FABULOUS SAMBURU BASE
"If you want an authentic safari experience in Samburu Northern Kenya look no further than Ashnil Tented Camp. We went for 3 nights as part of a 12 day trip including the Maasai Mara & Zanzibar. Being November and the "short rainy season" it was very quiet but the staff were very friendly and they would do anything within their power to make your stay memorable. One thing to be aware of the camp runs on generated power and the lights all go off at certain times during the day ( to coincide with safari game drives) and then overnight from 11 and once the lights do go off boy is it dark !! ( The lack of a fan overnight may be problematic to some who like to be cool) Breakfast was self service with eggs & omelettes available to order. Lunch was either buffet or a 5 course set menu. Dinner was also a set menu but there were several options for each course. The tents were excellent with a superb shower room. Worth trying to get a tent overlooking the river so you can watch the wildlife from the comfort of the verandah of your tent. If I could fault it at all I would have to say that it lacked a bit of atmosphere due to the low number of guests and that there should be some sort of communication between the reception area and the tent. There is a guard to escort you back to your tent but not one to get you up to the reception dining area. Also there was not a single sugar free drink available from the bar. But on the whole the camp is clean, well run, friendly, and a great place to use as a base for a genuine safari experience away from the main lodges and their creature comforts"
- Travel date: 27th November 2009
An absolutely amazing experience in a first class surrounding
"I stayed at Ashnil Samburu Camp for 3 nights in September 2009 as part of a 14 day tailor made safari. This tented camp is relatively new having opened around November 2008. I have never written any reviews before but really felt i had to tell everyone else about this amazing place. Location, location, location. Set on the bend of a river this place could not be in a better position for viewing wildlife both during the day and in the evening. Each tented lodge is siruated along the river bank and although there is an electric fence the abundance of animals that walk right past your window is simply amazing. The surrounding area is amazing for game viewing as well with most of the big 5 viewed during the 3 day stay (only the rhino was not seen) The service and food was outstanding as well and unlike some of the more popular lodges on the safari circuit you are not just a number squeezed into a table in the corner. There are only 22 rooms in the complex so its really quite exclusive, even if its full. There were only two other couple there when we stayed. I would highly recommend this place and will definately be going back myself."
- Travel date: 6th October 2009
Paradise found... Dont miss Ashnil Samburu
"Wow, having travelled up from Nairobi on a bumpy and tiring 6 hour journey, we were just relieved to finally have stopped. However, Ashnil Samburu made the journey entirely worth while. Its location is beautiful and right amongst the wildife. On game drives we not only spotted but witnessed incredible animal behaviours including elephant and a mock charge from its calf, lion with their kill, cheetah grooming each other post kill, giraffe 'knecking' each other in combat, as well as spotting zebra, oryx, ostrich, gerenuk, gazelle, waterbuck, buffalo, vervet monkey and baboon. Arriving back from game drives we were without fail met my friendly, helpful and accommodating staff who could not possibly do enough for you. This service was maintained by all throughout our stay. The food was buffet style and was incredibly tasty and varied. It was probably the best food we sampled whilst in Kenya. A nice touch was when the head chef came out to meet the guests and rather than wanting to take praise was very interested in how they could improve the food. Unfortunately there was nothing we could offer to him because it was so fantastic. Like wise we also had the manager come and chat to us to ensure our stay matched expectations. The rooms were utterly faultless. Beautifully and tastefully decorated. Large comfortable beds. Spacious showers with good power and always hot water. They were unlike the tents elsewhere in that they were much sturdier and less likely to allow insects in. Our balcony looked out over the river and the multitude of wildlife, each evening we were entertained by vervets and baboons. It does get hot at night though and the fan was a very nice touch. Our stay at Ashnil was the beginning of our honeymoon and quite likely the highlight! It had a feeling of isolation about it and had a very intimate personable feel. Simply perfect!!"
- Travel date: 16th September 2009
"This was our first stop on a week's safari with Somak, and by far the best. The room was fantastic. The staff are brilliant, and the setting is out of this world. We drove from Nairobi (about 5 hours on horrendous roads) but when we got there it was worth it. As everywhere you were greeted with a fruit drink and cool towels, but it seemed just a bit better than everywhere else. We stayed 2 nights here, doing 3 game drives. One day we had waiter service, with a choice of meals from a set menu, and the following day it was buffet service. The menu was much, much better than buffet. I'm not sure why they changed - I think possibly there were only a few people staying the first day. The "tent" rooms are set in their own gardens, with the electric fence at the bottom of the garden, and a river beyond. One day we were sitting on our verandah and an elephant wandered along the end of the garden. It was awesome! This lodge is wonderful - all praise to the manager. We spoke with him one day while walking the perimeter, and its amazing how much they have to know. I guess when you are out in the middle of nowhere you have to be adaptable. They did have their own kitchen garden, but the baboons ate everything! The only (and I mean only) hiccup was one of the waiting staff. You had to pay for your drinks at lunch and dinner, and he had a habit of not bringing back your change. One day we paid with a 1000 KS and he told us the till was down - could we use the change to settle up our drinks bill at dinner? Only when dinner came he pretended to have forgotten. But my husband didn't! He only paid the balance. But he was the only "dodgy" character we met on our whole trip. If anyone is doing a safari, can I recommend: 1. The day you are travelling between lodges, it gets rather "sweaty". You will need a change of clothes. But doing the game drives, since the top is open, you can wear the same clothes a couple of days. Also, because you are standing a lot of the time, wear comfortable shoes. I wore sleeveless T-shirts, shorts, socks and trainers. In the evenings you will need "smart" clothing. Long trousers for men. It's not compulsory, but you would feel silly. The restaurants are smart. 2. If you are a lady - wear a well supporting bra! The roads are incredibly bad, and VERY bumpy! Even a sports bra!!! 3. The lodges all provide soap and shampoo. Samburu also provides mossy wipes and body lotion. We actually didn't see one mosquito the first week. The only time I got bitten was when I went to Haller Park."
- Travel date: 16th September 2009
The best place to stay
"We stayed at the Ashnil Samburu Camp for two nights as part of a Safari tour organised through Somak travel agents. We were a party of 8 family members ranging from 82 to 15 years. We found the Ashnil Samburu Camp to be superb - wonderful location, great games drives and also possible to see a wide range of animals from the camp itself. The tented accommodation and food were of a very high standard. Great swimming pool too but best of all was the friendly and welcoming service from everyone we met. We had the most fantastic holiday and this was definitely the highlight. Jan - Dorset UK"
- Travel date: 19th August 2009
Absolutely fantastic start to our holiday
"Our family with 4 teenage kids wanted a Safari holiday and we selected 4 locations, with Ashnil Samburu as the first. Our three night stay with Ashnil in Samburu was just faultless. Our guide Josephet met us at the landing strip and we enjoyed a 2 hour game drive on the way to the camp. Over the next 3 days he introduced us to all the game there was to see with a quiet and incredibly informative manner that left us hanging on every word. The camp is new and the "tents" are very comfortable with hot showers that really work, flushing toilets and wonderfully comfortable beds. There's a pool for those hot afternoons when the animals are sleepy and you need to cool off. All of the staff were absolutely committed to making our stay as enjoyable as possible. The food included choices of local or "European" recipes and was fresh and well presented. Wines were reasonable. Our older children enjoyed very late nights in the bar with the staff (most other guests went to their beds quite early) and gained a real appreciation of the lifestyles in Kenya from them. After 3 days we all felt we had learned so much and made new friends. I am so grateful to everyone at Ashnil Samburu for giving our family such a fantastice start to our holiday."
- Travel date: 7th August 2009
One of the best ever holiday experiences!
"Stayed here for 3 nights before moving on to Little Governors in the Masai Mara. From the moment we stepped off the plane to the moment we departed we received personal and extremely friendly service from all the staff at Ashnil Samburu. The first game drive begins on your way to the camp. Our driver/guide was Shukri who was accompanied by Kenneth, a Samburu tribesman dressed in traditional dress, who spotted game for us. Both were very informative, especially Shukri, and excellent company. This is a great area for giraffe, zebra, elephants, water buffalo and much more. There were big cats, but not as many as when we moved on to the Masai Mara. The food was excellent and plentiful and is served in beautiful surroundings. The swimming pool at the camp was great for relaxing around after lunch. The perimeter fence is very close to the balcony of your tent and you therefore get lots of visits from giraffes,elephants, water buffalo, baboons etc. The baboons have managed to overcome the electric fence so they wander freely through the camp. We visited a Samburu village where we were given a warm welcome by the villagers who danced and sang for us and encouraged us to join in. The downside to this though was that as well as paying to go to the village (1500 shillings per person) you felt pressurised to a certain extent to donate further to the nursery school and to buy arts and crafts. Nevertheless, it was extremely interesting to see how they lived their nomadic lives and to view the inside of their homes. This holiday was to celebrate our Silver Wedding Anniversary and everyone at Ashnil went out of their way to make our visit there a very memorable and special occasion with lots of surprises! The staff are amongst the friendliest people I have ever encountered and always greeted you with a big smile and a 'Jambo'. I cannot recommend this camp highly enough and there was a tear in my eye when we departed."
- Travel date: 5th August 2009
The most fantastic place we stayed in Africa, it is pure paradise
"We stayed at this tented lodge for 4 nights. There is NOTHING we could fault about our stay, I wish we had stayed there for the whole 2 weeks. The level of service we experienced while we were the sole residents (for 2 days) did not diminish at all when they filled up for the Easter Break. As a new venture this place really deserves to excel on all fronts. It is exactly how it looks in the photos' and the staff, the cleanliness, the game drives etc etc were all unparalleled. I can't wait to go back someday!"
- Travel date: 20th April 2009
Great service and accomodaation at Samburu
"During a 2 week holiday in Kenya we spent two nights at Ashnil Samburu Lodge. This had only opened three weeks prior to our stay and only half the accomodation was open. It was very quiet with only three other parties staying there. The accomodation was lovely with balconies overlooking the river bank. Good viewing of the elephants that came to the water and plenty of monkeys. The staff were very attentive, in fact we found a ratio of about three staff to each person. The manager was very pleased to share his enthusiasm for the future with us and we found them all charming. The food was superb. We had 4 game drives in landrovers all to ourself with an excellent guide and a Samburu tribesman acting as a spotter. Some of the animals found here are unique to the area such as Grevys zebra and reticualted giraffes and the landscape is different to the Masaii Mara so very interesting to see. Lots of elephants and this area is featured on the current programme on TV. We visited a Samburu village which was welcoming and safe. They were charming and we even tried to join in there dancing causing much laughter. There is a small swimming pool on the site and an open dining and bar area. Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our stay and although the landscaping on site is still growing it is very clean and well cared for. We actually spent New Years eve here and had a lovely time with the staff as at this point we were the only guests. My only point would be that it may not be situated in the best position for clear uninterrupted viewing of the river but this is a small point as we saw a huge variety of animals including cheetah and lions during our stay. I would recommend asking for the lodges at the ends of the pathways if you like a little more privacy."
- Travel date: 23rd January 2009