Amboseli National Park, Kenya - Kilimanjaro's Kingdom
Set against the magnificent backdrop of Africa's highest mountain, the glittering Mount Kilimanjaro, Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge enjoys a uniquely privileged position at the heart of this world-famous national park.
Secluded within a grove of acacia trees, the lodge looks out over the golden savannah plains, with uninterrupted views of the mountain itself. Close by are a series of emerald green swamps, which are fed by the melting snows of Kilimanjaro. These, the only sources of water in this otherwise starkly beautiful but arid park, attract huge numbers of wallowing elephants, hippos, buffalos and plains game. Meanwhile, from the prehistoric site of Observation Hill, the sunset over Kilimanjaro is magnificent.
At the centre of ‘Maasailand', the lodge's décor reflects the brilliant primary colours and iconic shapes representative of these legendary warriors. At the heart of the lodge, shaded by palm trees, is a free-form swimming pool; to either side of which stretch the rooms. Each room is housed in a single storey building opening directly on to the grounds, each reflecting a Maasai manyatta theme: each with its own hand-painted wall frescos.
The central dining area is reached by a timbered bridge over a melt-water stream, while the lounge and bar feature a broad terrace and a blazing fire-pit where evening cocktails can be enjoyed. Activities include three daily game drives in custom-built traditional safari vehicles, ‘sundowners' on Observation Hill, bush breakfasts and exotic Maasai bush suppers, Maasai dance performances, visits to Maasai villages and tree-planting programmes.
Location Amboseli National Park is 250 kilometres from Nairobi.
Kenya hotels and accommodation Amongst the wide range of Kenya hotels, some make the ideal Kenya safari destination. Choose a safari lodge, safari hotel, bush camp, luxury lodge, safari camp, tented camp or bush lodge. National park accommodation usually takes the form of a traditional safari lodge or tented camp, but numerous other options exist on the park boundaries. Luxury lodges and luxury camp options are also offered in the private wildlife conservancies.
The Background Amboseli National Park, Kilimanjaro's kingdom Towered over by the magnificent bulk of Mount Kilimanjaro (5,896 m), Africa's highest mountain, Amboseli is one of Kenya's oldest, famous and most-visited parks. Endlessly panoramic, yet comparatively compact, it is dotted with emerald green swamps in which great herds of elephant wallow; half submerged in the papyrus grasses. The permanent marshlands also provide a potent draw to hippos and buffaloes, while offering a haven for the abundant water birds. An International Biosphere Reserve, the park largely constitutes the usually dried-out lakebed of Lake Amboseli, which is surrounded by flat grasslands relieved by very few trees. On the plains are numerous antelopes, spotted hyenas, jackals, warthogs, olive baboons and vervet monkeys. Lions are rare. Observation Hill, a conical peak, which is easily climbed, offers stunning views of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Wildlife highlights The ‘Big Five' (elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard and rhino) hippo, cheetah, plains zebra, spotted and striped hyena, Masai giraffe, oryx, wildebeest, gerenuk, impala, Grant's and Thomson's gazelle, gerenuk, jackal, olive baboon, vervet monkey. Birds: 425 recorded species.
Accommodation Our luxury ensuite rooms are accommodated in two single-storey dedicated buildings, which lie to the right and left of the main reception and dining areas. Each tastefully-appointed room features a Maasai-inspired, hand-painted, wall fresco, king-sized bed or luxurious twins, lavish all-encompassing mosquito-curtaining, bathroom (with walk-in shower), writing/vanity unit, and private verandaDining and bars The central dining area is reached by an internal timbered bridge over a melt-water stream, and is flanked by water gardens. The walls feature hand-painted wildlife murals while the décor reflects the traditional artefacts of the Maasai people. The spacious lounge and bar feature a broad terrace and a blazing fire-pit where evening cocktails can be enjoyed.
Breakfast and lunch Breakfast and lunch are presented in buffet-style and feature a wide range of international choices. In typical safari style, we offer a ‘full English Breakfast' as well as European options while our lunch menus will typically include meat, poultry, fish and vegetarian options.
Dinner Our table d'hôte dinner menus feature a salad buffet, soup, entrée, pudding, cheese and biscuits and tea or coffee. Vegetarian options are always available. The majority of our meat and dairy products, as well as our fruits and vegetables are sourced from the communities that surround the reserve.
Theme nights We offer three special ‘theme' nights, which as well as offering a broad range of international options also feature a central ‘theme'. Pasta Night: features a range of home-made pastas and traditional Italian sauces. Mongolian Night: presents a fusion of oriental stir-fry, BBQs and spiced roasts. Kenyan Night: features such Kenyan favourites as ‘Nyama Choma' (traditionally roasted meats), ‘Sukuma' (local spinach cooked with tomatoes, onions, garlic and coriander), ‘Posho' (maize) and other delicious cultural specialities. Wines, beers, spirits and soft drinks Our wine list offers a broad selection of old- and new-world wines, and local and imported beers and spirits. We also offer a wide range of soft drinks including an array of freshly-made local fruit juices. We serve only the finest Kenyan coffee and tea; we also offer a wide range of fruit and herbal infusions.
Bush dining We are expert in arranging breakfasts, lunches, dinners and cocktails in the bush. We have dedicated ‘bush dining' site immediately adjacent to the lodge as well as a number of panoramic sites within the park, such as ‘Observation Hill' which looks directly towards Mount Kilimanjaro. These areas are typically presented with tables, safari chairs, ‘bush bar' and a ‘bush kitchen', where a broad range of meats, poultry, fish and vegetables are cooked on-site (supplemented by fresh soups, salads and puddings from our hotel kitchens). In the evenings, ‘sun-downer' cocktails are traditionally served around a campfire and can be followed by a lamp-lit ‘bush dinner'.
Child-friendly We offer 3 family rooms, each with a private entrance, two separate bedrooms and a shared bathroom. We can also provide baby-sitting services (prior notice appreciated). All our meals are generous buffet-styled presentations with something to suit absolutely everyone. High-chairs can be provided, as can baby-friendly food. We are also delighted to offer slightly earlier children's meals (as early as 6.30 pm) - tailored to suit your children. The lodge offers its own swimming pool (supervised by a qualified life-guard but not suited to small children other than under parental supervision). We also offer a wide selection of board-games and books on Africa and the wilderness. Our professional nature guides also offer nightly talks and video presentations on wildlife. Added to this, we can offer:-
Guided nature walks or bird-spotting in the grounds. Family game-drives in our custom-built open-sided safari vehicles, which are ideal for children. Family breakfasts on safari or at Observation Hill. Maasai dancing and cultural displays in our dedicated cultural display area. ‘Edutainment': learn how to do Maasai beadwork, about Maasai warrior-hood, and learn Maasai tracking for beginners. We can also arrange for culturally-interactive trips to local Maasai villages and/or schools.
Conference and event facilities The Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge has its own dedicated conference facility, which is located immediately adjacent to the reception area. Uniquely presented with hand-painted wildlife wall frescos, it offers:
A generous, air-conditioned room to accommodate up to 120 guests. A separate reception and registration area. Integral break-away area for workshops, coffee, tea and cocktails. Modern, modular events furniture, which can be tailored to your specifications. PA system, LCD overhead projector, podium, flip charts and marker pens. Delegate pads, pens/pencils, individual mineral water supply. Business support (secretarial services, photo-copying, WiFi and a full range of global communications). ‘Meet and greet' services. Team-building programmes.
Weddings and honeymoons Garden or Kilimanjaro-view wedding ceremony. Individually themed champagne reception - at the lodge or in the bush. Sumptuous floral arrangements, bouquets and buttonholes. Tailor-made wedding cake. Private candle-lit honeymoon dinner for two: in the lodge or in our private wilderness area adjacent to the lodge. Luxurious suite (with private rooftop terrace) supplied with tropical fruit, chilled champagne and your own personal ‘honeymoon cake'. Cultural dance performance for you and your guests. Colourful range of guest entertainments - choirs, guitarist, disco. Photography and videoing of your special day. Special accommodation packages for the entire wedding party. Maasai guard of honour.
What to do and see Take 2 game drives daily (6.30 am and 4 pm), both in our custom-built open-sided six-person safari vehicles (professional guides, refreshments on-board, radio-links for fast location of game) Have ‘sun-downers' on Observation Hill Enjoy a unique ‘exotic Maasai dinner' with campfire, hurricane lamps and Maasai warriors Learn more about the fascinating Maasai culture by visiting a local manyatta (village). Learn more about the wilderness; wildlife talks and video-show nightly. Take in some professionally-guided nature walks around the lodge or in the park. Plant a tree for Africa as part of our eco-programme Learn more about Amboseli's unique birdlife - professional ornithological tours - for amateurs or professionals Do some swimming or sun-bathing. Sample our Serena ‘Maisha' Mind, Body and Spirit Spa services; massage, facial, manicure or more...
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