TAITA, October 31 – Last week, I took time to indulge you in the Sarova Salt Lick Game Lodge. This week, let me expose you to yet another treasure in the Tsavo, The Sarova Taita Hills Game Lodge
It is located within the Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary just about seven kilometres from the Salt Lick Game Lodge. The stark difference in the architecture of the two lodges cannot simply pass you by.
Taita Hill’s structure reminds you of a beautifully kept “English boarding house” constructed of wood panelling and grey walls with large windows on the lower floor, giving it a totally homely feel.
The entrance is not what you would describe as grandiose, which makes me think that this may have been popular about 40 years ago when the hotel was put up. The hotel lobby is also a bit more conservative compared to the Salt Lick Lodge with décor that has borrowed a lot from the Taita Culture.
The lobby is more enclosed but with huge French windows and seats right next to them allowing visitors to soak in the view of the surrounding lush gardens.
An aspect that really stands out in this lodge is that it was built with the intention of creating a homely feel for its patrons. Ephantus Maina, the lodges’ Assistant Manager confirms this, saying this lodge is more popular with families unlike its sister lodge.
The flower gardens and creepers that beautifully hang all over the lodge walls are quite luxuriant. That is considering that it’s the dry season and vegetation within the conservancy is very dry. Standing within these grounds you get the feeling I would imagine a desert man gets when he suddenly comes across an oasis.
I get to better understand why this lodge is obviously more popular with families as I walk through its grounds. It has a pool, a lawn tennis pitch and offers quite a number of out door activities especially for the children.
More so, next to the perimeter wall that divides the grounds from the larger conservancy is a watering hole that allows patrons to watch animals quench their thirst as they enjoy a swim or drinks by the pool.
The lodge boasts of 62 rooms each with a balcony. The rooms are simply and tastefully decorated with the Presidential Suite being the highlight of them all. Obviously much larger than the standard hotel rooms, it has a bigger balcony and unlike the dominant blue hue used in the décor of the other rooms, here red and a sprinkle of green floral additions is the colour of choice. Mr Maina proudly informs me that the lodge has in the recent past hosted President Kibaki in this very room.
As we move on, Mr Maina can’t help but mention that the lodge already has 80 percent confirmed bookings for next year. He explains that the Sarova Chain of hotels has aggressively marketed the lodge both in Nairobi and Mombasa making a success story of the new additions to the chain.
I must say after visiting the two lodges, I quite appreciate why the Sarova Chain of Hotels felt the need to add these two assets to their line. Despite the hardships currently facing the tourism industry the jewels are likely to deliver returns.
Next time you’re within the Taita Hills area, please take a peak at these two gems in the wild.