≡ Menu

Review: Ol Tukai Lodge, Amboseli, Kenya

Ol Tukai Sign - Kenya

As a traveler, nothing excites me more than those first days in a new country or city. However, certain destinations have impressed me so much that I find myself returning to a known place to further explore or to re-live my prior travels. After multiple visits, Kenya has entered that realm. The amazing wildlife, the stunning countryside and the attentive service create a perfect atmosphere for anyone who loves to relax and connect with the outdoors. On my most recent trip to Kenya in March, I stayed with family at Ol Tukai Lodge in Amboseli National Park. As with prior lodgings in this country, Ol Tukai did not disappoint.

Ol Tukai Elephant - Kenya

Amboseli is a 3-4 hour drive south of Nairobi through hills and occasional small towns. Once you turn off the Mombasa road, the periodic batches of restaurants and fruit stands disappear and give way to Maasai warriors in the savannah. Twenty minutes after clearing park security, we arrived at an island of trees in the grassland where accommodations are located.

Ol Tukai Lodging - Kenya

The lodges at Ol Tukai are split into a few rooms apiece. Ours was very tastefully decorated with local art and was immaculately clean. The shower has a large window, which allows natural light to flood the bathroom. No need to worry about inquiring eyes, though; a wall outside the shower ensures that only monkeys and birds can peep. When we opened the door to our room, Mt. Kilimanjaro stared down at us.

Ol Tukai Bed - Kenya

Ol Tukai Desk - Kenya

Ol Tukai Mask - Kenya

Ol Tukai Artwork -  Kenya

Ol Tukai Shower - Kenya

After our first evening game drive with elephants dominating the landscapes, we had a sundowner in Ol Tukai’s Elephant Bar. I was in a pretty good place, with the bar’s beautiful chandelier to one side, mountains to the other and a cold Tusker in hand. The staff brought us an array of bar snacks (“tastings”) as soon as we sat down.

Ol Tukai Bar - Kenya

Ol Tukai Fire - Kenya

The grounds of Ol Tukai are filled with vervet monkeys. The lodge warns guests against feeding these animals, as they can turn aggressive when food is in play. In order to keep the monkeys away from diners, a smiling Maasai armed with a slingshot patrols the outside tables. No matter how many precautions are taken, the monkeys tend to find the odd chip or leftover.

Ol Tukai Monkey Warning - Kenya

Ol Tukai Bad Monkey - Kenya

With the animals in the shade during the warmer hours of the day, guests can hang out at the pool in between game drives. As I have trouble sitting still, I spent more time playing ping pong. When a family with children was near the pool, Ol Tukai was nice enough to lend a staff member to play with the kids.

Ol Tukai - Pool

Old Tukai Ping Pong - Kenya

We were exceedingly pleased with all aspects of our stay and highly recommend Ol Tukai for anyone visiting Kenya. The staff was very professional and helpful, especially when my wife tried to befriend a monkey and it bounded into our room.

We arranged the “Road Package” with Ol Tukai, which included pick-up in Nairobi, transfer to and from Ol Tukai, lodging, meals and drop-off at the Nairobi airport. Most importantly, the package included two game drives per day with a very knowledgeable guide. Our guide, John, was excellent at spotting and identifying the animals and bird life as we drove around the park. If you’re headed to Amboseli, you can book Ol Tukai’s website here (affiliate link).

{ 50 comments… add one }
  • Calli June 11, 2014, 4:21 pm

    Sounds like a wonderful place! I love the idea of keeping the monkeys away with a slingshot. As cute as they are monkeys can be mean.

    • Dave June 12, 2014, 11:46 am

      Agreed. Monkeys are not to be trusted as they can be devious little buggers!

  • Lauren June 12, 2014, 12:11 am

    It looks like a lovely place to stay! I love the decor. Those monkeys are quite cute but looks can be deceiving haha! Kenya sounds amazing!

    • Dave June 12, 2014, 11:50 am

      It was one of the nicer places I’ve stayed. Splurged a little, but the memories were worth it :) Hope you guys make it to Kenya sometime soon!

  • Aunt Linda June 13, 2014, 1:59 am

    Hi Dave and Nicole,
    I am thrilled to read about your safari close to Kilimanjaro. Your lodge reminds of the lodge we stayed at, with the rest of the climbers, hours after finally descending from Kili. I appreciate the photos of the mosquito netting around the beds!
    xxAunt Linda

    • Dave June 14, 2014, 9:44 am

      Thanks, Linda! Some shots of the game drives are forthcoming, looking forward to sharing those.

  • Michael Huxley June 14, 2014, 10:11 am

    What a stunning place! As a backpacker usually travelling on a budget I totally believe in splurging and upgrading on occasion too and this looks like it was well worth it! I am assuming/hoping those tusks on the chandelier weren’t real though?

    • Dave June 16, 2014, 5:04 pm

      I’m guessing they weren’t real, but it was a little too high for me to do any in-depth investigating. Definitely worth the splurge!

  • Anu @ Country Hopping Couple June 14, 2014, 12:17 pm

    Looks like an amazing place to stay and experience African hospitality and ambience. We love staying in comfortable places even if it means shelling out few extra pennies from our pocket.

    • Dave June 16, 2014, 5:22 pm

      Yes, the Kenyans really excel at service – very attentive and friendly.

  • frankaboutcroatia June 15, 2014, 9:58 am

    Ol Tukai Sounds like a great place! I love the way it’s decorated, and that shower window is amazing. How was the food there? And Dave, if we ever meet in person, we should have a game or two of ping pong. When I used to work on ships, table tennis was pretty much the only entertainment we had. Played more games than I ever hoped I would :)

    • Dave June 16, 2014, 5:30 pm

      Sounds like a good match to me – I spent more nights in high school playing ping pong than I’ll ever admit. I’m sure you’re pretty skilled since you were honing your game on a vessel.

  • Jeanette June 15, 2014, 10:01 am

    Having never visited Africa, I’m really enjoying seeing it through your eyes. Very nice blog overall!

    • Dave June 16, 2014, 5:34 pm

      Thanks, Jeanette – hope you make it soon!

  • Corinne June 15, 2014, 3:02 pm

    Dave, This sounds like a great place to stay…whenever I make it to Kenya!

    • Dave June 16, 2014, 6:43 pm

      Looks like you’ve not been too far from here with your adventures in Turkey! It’s a wonderful country, such nice people and incredible animal life.

  • Emma June 15, 2014, 6:54 pm

    The monkeys might be dangerous, but they are very sweet! Having said that, we spent a few nights in a forest lodge in South Africa, it sounded idyllic high in the tree tops with no glass or door locks etc. I didn’t sleep a wink in case a monkey got in there were so many! 😀 I need to go to Kenya, it looks amazing, as does that lodge! :)

    • Dave June 16, 2014, 6:51 pm

      Oh wow, that forest lodge in SA sounds like a lot of fun. I feel like I need a month for South Africa when I make it there.

  • Bianca @itsallbee June 15, 2014, 8:22 pm

    This place looks great and peaceful enough to enjoy the surroundings. Although I would be a touch scared by the cheeky monkeys.

    Middle-Eastern Weekend |Tales From Tel Aviv

    • Dave June 16, 2014, 6:52 pm

      The monkeys are fine as long as you don’t open the door to your room or let them get too close to your food. Good thing they’re scared of the Maasai!

  • Christina June 16, 2014, 7:30 am

    Wow. The view from the pool looks awesome. I totally understand why you like to stay at the Ol Tukai Lodge.

    • Dave June 16, 2014, 6:53 pm

      Not a bad way to spend a few hours between game drives.

  • Rachel@safari254 June 16, 2014, 11:45 am

    Thanks Dave, Ol tukai is now definitely on my bucket list.

    • Dave June 16, 2014, 6:56 pm

      Ha, I add new items to mine every time I see a new post of yours. Very jealous that you have all of this in your backyard.

  • Karen Warren June 16, 2014, 11:55 am

    I haven’t been to that part of the world but it looks lovely. And it’s a good job they warn you about the monkeys – they don’t look dangerous at all!

    • Dave June 16, 2014, 7:20 pm

      They are way too cute given their sneaky nature!

  • Rashad Pharaon June 16, 2014, 5:16 pm

    What a romantic place to stay. I visited Kenya as a child and this brings back old memories. I love the rugged furniture and simplistic architecture. Sounds like a great deal also, two game drives, I’m going to have check up on the price. Sounds very tempting!

    • Dave June 16, 2014, 7:23 pm

      You should definitely get back when you have a chance, Rashad. My friends who bring their kids there say they rave about the safaris, that’s great that you got to experience Kenya when you were younger.

  • Emily June 16, 2014, 7:22 pm

    What a gorgeous lodge! It sounds like an amazing experience :)

    • Dave June 16, 2014, 7:25 pm

      It was, Emily – there are lots of great places like Ol Tukai in Kenya, can’t wait to come across the next one.

  • Nomad'er How Far- Taran and Hannah June 16, 2014, 8:36 pm

    Wow! I was sold at the sight of that rustic lodge and then the smiling Massai with a slingshot at dinner, but that view from the pool, so cool. Looks like this perfectly combines the experience of beautiful scenery and culture with relaxation on top. Another one onto the list of must-visit places! ah!

    • Dave June 18, 2014, 8:26 pm

      Loved the pool there – an idyllic spot for a nap, with Kili in the background.

  • Brianna June 17, 2014, 1:23 am

    What a lovely lodge! What animals did you see on your game drives?

    • Dave June 18, 2014, 8:32 pm

      Lions, elephants, hippos, wildebeests, antelopes, cheetahs and many birds. Pretty spectacular!

  • Samantha June 17, 2014, 8:35 am

    Looks like an incredibly relaxing, rustic and simple lodge. I used to sell Kenya and I hadn’t heard of this lodge but it looks like a nice place to stay. Amboseli is a great National Park. Hope to go at some point!

    • Dave June 18, 2014, 8:34 pm

      It’s definitely the place to stay in Amboseli. You get such a nice feeling of being away from the noise and being part of your surroundings.

  • Bob R June 17, 2014, 9:34 am

    The tusk chandelier looks a little over the top –figuratively and literally!– but fun. And oddly enough, that’s the kind of shower I hope to one day at my house. When I have one. :)

    • Dave June 18, 2014, 8:36 pm

      It was a cool shower – at least you will not have to worry about curious monkeys in Ljubljana.

  • Erin June 17, 2014, 2:02 pm

    I am wildly jealous. Not even going to try to hide it. I WILL get there some day. (And I WILL bring my slingshot) ;P

    • Dave June 18, 2014, 8:37 pm

      They sell them at a lot of the roadside markets on the way from Nairobi – you’ll be prepared when you arrive, Erin!

  • Bente Vold Klausen June 17, 2014, 5:02 pm

    Kenya is one of my favorite countries as well. This lodge look very nice and welcoming. I never get tired of safari, hope you never will as well.

    • Dave June 18, 2014, 8:38 pm

      Hi Bente – Always nice to meet another safari fanatic :) I’m ready to explore the other side of Kilimanjaro now.

  • Adelina June 17, 2014, 8:09 pm

    Sounds like an interesting place to stay. I think it would be a good introduction to Africa for someone who has never been there. Love the elephant motif!

    • Dave June 18, 2014, 8:39 pm

      The Kenyans know service incredibly well and take pride in ensuring the guests are happy. Very conducive to making a return trip.

  • Nina June 17, 2014, 8:43 pm

    I have never been to Kenya before but it’s high on my list and this is for sure one place I would love to stay! Jealous! :)

    • Dave June 18, 2014, 8:40 pm

      Having everything arranged on a trip like this was a big plus. I’m more of a DIY-er, so it was nice to have someone else running the show for once!

  • The Brave Dame June 19, 2014, 2:13 pm

    I love that you have so many photo’s on your blog! It really makes me want to go there as well. Very jealous of you being in Kenya!

    • Dave June 22, 2014, 11:11 am

      Thanks! I’ve always had a memorable time there and can’t wait to go back.

  • Brad Frankel June 20, 2014, 9:41 am

    I was meant to go next year but we cut our trip short, so cant wait to eventually head there, Looks great and will remember my slingshot 😉

    • Dave June 22, 2014, 11:12 am

      Good for you, Brad – need to keep those monkeys in line!

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge