There are myriad perks to working in tourism and we could probably debate a few, but most everyone would agree that traveling is tops. Julian Camm from Albatros East Africa spent last weekend in Nairobi and squeaked in a visit to Kusini favorite The Emakoko. Jules has written up his experience, along with a gentle reminder that we should consider Nairobi and its amazing national park a destination, not just a place to pass through. Here are his notes…
This Sunday, I was lucky enough to have visited the Emakoko lodge; the boutique property on the boundary of Nairobi National Park. Many of our clients have stayed at the Emakoko and we always get fantastic feedback and I can see why!
The property is made up of 8 stand alone cottages and 1 family room with 2 rooms. There is the main dining area, bar / lounge area, small shop and a swimming pool. They also recently added a private house that has 2 rooms, lounge, bar and dining facilities as well as its own private pool.
Getting to the lodge is very easy. From Jomo Kenyatta International Airport you enter the Nairobi park at the East Gate entrance, which means you cut out a whole chunk of the Nairobi traffic. It is about 20 minute drive through the park to the Emakoko Lodge. Within 45 minutes of leaving the airport you will arrive at the lodge and know that your safari has already begun, as you hear the sounds of the bush with the laughter of the hyenas and the low grunts from the lions in the distance.
I feel it really is the perfect place to spend your first 2 nights, especially if your flight arrives in the late afternoon or evening, as it allows you the time to enjoy the actual property, but also recover from the long flight and enjoy the Nairobi National Park and a visit to the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. The lodge has also made a special arrangement with the park that will allow clients arriving on a late evening flight the right to pass through the park to the lodge.
There is one thing to be aware of when booking Emakoko – if you have elderly clients or clients who are unfit or not so mobile, 5 of the stand alone cottages do require you to walk up some steep flight of stairs, although I did see the start of a open seated lift system being put in. At the moment please be sure to let us know if any of your clients would find walking up stairs an issue, as we will need to request for rooms 1 to 4.
Something else that I realized on my visit is how we seem to overlook the Nairobi National Park and rather get clients out as quickly as possible. Nairobi National Park has a lot to offer and getting the iconic photo of an animal with the city as the backdrop is always quite spectacular. Here are some interesting facts about Nairobi National Park:
- Nairobi is the only capital city in the world with a national park.
- Nairobi National Park has the highest density of black rhinos in Kenya, with 76 black rhino and 13 white rhinos, making it one of the best places to see these rare animals.
- There are over 400 species of bird in the park.
- You will find the Big 4 in Nairobi National Park – lion, rhino, leopard and buffalo – only elephants are not found in the park.
- There are more than 40 lion in the park.
- You will also find cheetah, giraffes, hippos, antelopes, gazelles and crocodiles, making it a fantastic game viewing park.
- It is the oldest park in East Africa – gazetted in 1946