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Finch Hatton's Lodge
is located in the Tsavo West
area of Southeast Kenya
At 9,065 square kilometres, Tsavo West is a this very substantial conservation area is best know for its broad red plains, whose endless acacia scrub and open plains sustain dispersed populations of wildlife, which clusters around the few sources of permanent water, especially during the Jul/Oct dry season.
Set around a network of verdant waterholes, off the beaten track on the western side of the ridge of volcanic hills that characterise the area, this lodge is undoubtedly the most upmarket in the reserve. It was created by a German ex-manager at Hilton Hotels, something which is betrayed in both its style and very reliable levels of service. Stylish public areas comprise an open-sided lounge leading out to a campfire area, a more indoorsy lounge and dining building and a separate pool, spa and gym facility. Guest accommodation is in a total of 17 beautifully presented tented rooms, including fourteen Luxury Rooms, two Two Bedroom Suites and the much larger Finch Hatton Suite which can function completely independently of the rest of the lodge if needed.
Activities are centred on vehicle safari in the local area and further afield. The landscape in this northern sector of the park is impressive, with distant mountains and volcanoes providing the backdrop for undulating acacia covered hills and open plains, with a good range of wildlife, notably including lions and leopards along the ephemeral Tsavo River. Two particular sights of interest are the well known Mzima Spring, where an underwater hide sometimes provides views of swimming hippos and the world's longest continuous lava flow at Shetani, formed millions of years ago by outflow from the Ol Doinyo Sabuk volcano. It is even possible to explore further afield, with day-trips to Chyulu Hills and Lake Jipe. Additionally the lodge offers guided bush walks, some excellent hiking up the local volcanoes, cultural visits to local Maasai villages, bush meals and sundowners, as well as a range of spa treatments back at base.
The main potential downsides are the extremely high prices for this area, the slightly corporate feel of the lodge, this is a very long way from kind of earthy bush camp in which explorer Denys Finch Hatton would have entertained Karen Blixen of Out of Africa fame. There is also the potential for encountering high volumes of budget safari traffic down in the main reserve and the wildlife during the Nov/Jun green season can become very dispersed and difficult to find.Prices