is located in the Tsavo East
area of Southeast Kenya
Tsavo East is a very large conservation area which protects the arid savanna areas to the east of the Yatta Escarpment. Survival for the wildlife in this harsh semi-desert environment is really challenging. Larger animals such as elephants, zebras and buffaloes tend to migrate between these few water sources and the surrounding grazing on a daily basis throughout the Jun/Nov dry season, dispersing more widely should rains materialise during the Dec/May green season.
Ithumba Hill is a remarkable place, owned by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, who are the operators of the famous baby elephant orphanage in Nairobi. This is the location to which the young elephants, after they have been hand reared, are transported and are gently encouraged to join the wild herds that frequent the local waterhole.
It represents one of the most fabulous and uncommercial wildlife experiences in Africa, a superb option for passionate elephant lovers and experienced safari travellers.
The lodge is really unusual, in that it has been constructed to the very highest standards and yet is only offered as a self-catering facility. So we provide you with a vehicle and driver-guide in order to get you there and help you shop for supplies on the way in, the substantial costs of which are additional to the guide price shown here. The camp provides a cook and other staff.
The place itself is absolutely gorgeous, with open-sided public areas leading through the to the kitchen area and along a network of boardwalks raised up above the domed rocks of a prominent kopje to four fabulous guest rooms. The maximum number of guests is 8 and the minimum child age is 6 years.
Activities are centred on the elephant project, with guests having access to the stockades morning and evening, as well as being able to watch the youngsters enjoy a mud bath late morning. Vehicle safari an be done around the northern part of Tsavo, although this is a very arid area, so wildlife can be very widely dispersed. It is also possible to do trips further afield, to the Tiva River and Yatta Plateau, as well as guided hikes up the nearby Ithumba Mountain and along the Tiva River.
The main potential downsides include the fact that, although the lodge looks east over a vast wilderness stretching over 200km to the coast, to the east considerable human habitation is only five kilometres distant, which does detract a little from the sense of wilderness. It is unfortunate that the place can only be booked out in its entirety, which makes it pricey for smaller groups and it would be much better if the lodge were fully catered and guests did not have to go through the palaver of buying supplies every time. Other wildlife in the area other than the elephants can be very sparse and activities around the reserve can be hot, dusty and may be rather too subtle for some people.