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Ngulia Safari 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 in a dramatic hilltop location in the heart of the national park, this remarkable lodge is a definite contender for ugliest safari lodge in Africa, a completely inappropriate and insensitive monstrosity which leers over the poor elephants which are obliged to drink from the pumped and floodlit waterhole out front. Cavernous public areas are complemented by 52 bland guest rooms. The two main redeeming features are the incredibly low prices and the fact that around November time the lodge operates a programme of netting and ringing migrant birds, which might be interesting to ornithologists.
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.
The main potential downsides are the aforementioned shortcomings in lodge design and the fact that it tends to appeal only to the lowest level of safari traffic. There is also the potential for encountering high volumes of budget safari traffic out in the main reserve and the wildlife during the Nov/Jun green season can become very dispersed and difficult to find.