Main and Private Galdessa Camps
Tsavo East National Park - Kenya
The Galdessa Camp sits in Tsavo East National Park, on the banks of the Galana River overlooking the Yatta Plateau, the world's longest and oldest fossilized lava flow, just 15 km upstream of Lugards Falls.
"The bedrooms are timber bandas with swooping, thatched roofs and white canvas walls, open during the day for God's air-conditioning. The seven-foot-square beds are handmade, and there are huge verandahs, an impeccable laundry service and an in-camp tailor. Tatler, November 1999
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.
Tsavo East National Park is easily accessible by air and road, and is approximately 160 kilometers from Mombasa, and 326 kilometers from Nairobi. The camp is in the park, on the banks of the Galana River overlooking the Yatta Plateau, 15 km upstream of Lugards Falls.
ACCESS: By air, Galdessa is close to both the Malindi/Mombasa coast and the Chyulu Hills, which by private charter are approximately 35 minutes away. The Camp is 1 hour's flight from Nairobi. Galdessa has an all weather strip 15 minutes away but park entry must be first made at Manyani Airstrip from where clients are either picked up or can take off to the Lugards Airstrip once park fees have been settled. Manyani Airstrip is 30 minutes drive from camp.
By road, the camp is easily accessible, 3 ½ hours from Mombasa and 4.5 hours from Nairobi.
Galdessa works closely with Kenya Wildlife Service with the black rhino re-introduction project. Within Galdessa's vicinity there are 51 black rhinos, Africa's largest unfenced black rhino population. The camp has been built with great care not to adversely impact the environment and recycles its waste, uses solar power for electricity and has installed a water treatment plant. Galdessa's founder, Pierre Mourgue d'Algue, is a trustee of the TUSK Trust which works to protect the environment and habitats of Africa and distributes in excess of 90% of the funds it raises directly into the field.
The joint mass of Tsavo West and Tsavo East National Parks forms one of the largest national parks in the world and covers a massive 4% of Kenya's total land area. Tsavo East, the larger of the two, lies equidistant between Nairobi and Mombasa and is one of the last great wilderness landscapes on Earth. A dramatically presented theatre of the wild, Tsavo East offers a vast arena of parched scrub and heat-shimmering bush which is washed by the azure waters and emerald-fringed meanderings of the Galana River, guarded by the limitless lava reaches of the Yatta Plateau and patrolled by some of the largest elephant herds in the world. Tsavo achieved notoriety in the 1900's when ‘the Man-eaters of Tsavo', a pair of rogue man-eating lions, preyed gruesomely on the builders of the Uganda Railway
Wildlife highlights: Larger mammals include lion, leopard, elephant, black rhino, hippo, giraffe, lesser kudu, oryx, Cape buffalo, zebra, yellow baboon, waterbuck, gemsbok, Coke's hartebeest, gerenuk, and gazelle. Birds: The prolific bird life features 500 recorded species.
Accommodation is in 15 comfortable and spacious bandas (thatched, semi-tented bungalows on wooden platforms) each of which has en-suite bathrooms, verandas and are situated a good distance apart to provide privacy.
The Galdessa Main Camp offers 12 of the 15 bandas while the other 3 are exclusively situated a short distance from the main camp. Known as the Galdessa Private Camp , these allow guests absolute privacy, an own dining room and lounge, as well as the freedom to plan their days and meals as and when they wish.
Two of the bungalows have separate sitting rooms and large, private verandas on stilts. Both of these bandas are recommended for honeymooners. The bathrooms are large and have traditional bucket showers, flush toilets and basins with running water.
What is included: ( Full Package clients only) Non-alcoholic drinks, accommodation, transfers to and from Manyani airstrip, game drives, activities and laundry.
Dining and bars
The lodge welcomes children.
What to see and do
Aruba Dam is an 85-hectare man-made dam built by the Parks authorities in 1952 to staunch the waters of the seasonal Voi River, which flows down from the Taita Hills in the southwest. It usually holds water throughout the year and is frequented by huge numbers of ibis, many grey heron and a kaleidoscope of other water birds.
It is also part of the territory of a large pride of lion, which can often be seen in the dam's vicinity.
The Kanderi Swamp lies near Voi Gate and during the dry months provides one of only two drinking areas in Tsavo East, thus attracting large herds of buffalo, impala and antelopes as well as yellow baboons and lion.
Kenya's answer to Ayer's Rock of Australia is called Mudanda Rock, a massive 1.5km whale-backed rock which rears out of the shrub between Manyani Gate and Voi and is famous for its photo-opportunities, offering marvellous light, panoramic vistas and an excellent chance of prime wildlife shots. It is also an excellent vantage point from which to look down on the natural dam below, which can at times attract hundreds of elephant. This area is also known as a favourite leopard haunt, though daytime sightings are rare.
The Galana River
The Tsavo and Athi Rivers join above Lugard's Falls to form the Galana River, which then flows down to the Indian Ocean. A major feature of the park, the serpentine reaches of this river are fringed by riverine forests dominated by Acacia elatior, the Doum Palm Hyphaene compressa and the shrub Suaeda monoica.
Named after Britain's first proconsul in East Africa, Captain (later Lord) Lugard, the falls are better described as rapids than falls progressing from foaming cataracts to narrow cascades that gouge deep into the gneiss bedrock creating fantastic shapes that have been surreally rounded by thousands of years of rushing water.
Mighty when in full spate, the falls gush through a small fissure, narrow enough for the foolhardy to leap across, before plunging to the pool below, where massive crocodiles bask motionless in the sun. There is a parking area at the falls and visitors either climb around the bizarrely eroded rocks or walk down the river to view the rapids. 1km east of the falls another short diversion takes you to Crocodile Point where hippos and buffalo wallow and zip-jawed crocodile grin.
The Yatta Plateau, an ancient valley frozen in time
The Yatta plateau is a ridge or tongue of lava about 300km long and a maximum of 10km wide, which forms a seemingly never-ending backdrop to Tsavo East. One of the longest lava flows in the world, the Yatta affords fabulous views across the rolling reaches of the Park, is an ornithological paradise and makes a peerless sundowner or picnic spot. It is made up of a form of lava known as phonolite, which is between 11 and 13.6 million years old. Current thought suggests that the Yatta Plateau was formed when a stream of lava flowed across the land until it found its way into an ancient river valley. The lava then flowed down the valley; taking on the shape of its contours, until eventually it cooled and solidified. Thereafter the surrounding land was gradually lowered by erosion leaving the frozen river of lava standing up as a ridge.
Highlights and special features
Game Drives, nature walks and medicinal plant discovery
Tsavo East offers miles of open plains, bushy grassland and semi-arid scrub. What is more, once you depart off the few ‘beaten tracks' that exist, you can explore one of the last remaining wildernesses on earth in almost primeval solitude. Experience the real safari - morning and afternoon game drives through the park with our trained driver-guides. Picnic lunches and sundowners can be provided.
Highlights and special features
Activities: Game drives in open vehicles. Walking safaris along the Galana River and sand rivers. Sundowners, bush breakfast. Rhino Camp (conservation project), 15 minutes from Galdessa. The camp's direct area is a home to over 51 black rhino. Tsavo East National Park is a Wilderness area and the game can be shy but it offers great bio-diversity. Uncommon species seen there include lesser kudu, gerenuk, fringed eared oryx, hirola and Peter's gazelle. The area is renowned for elephants particularly during the dry season; the last count (1999) recorded 8100. Tsavo is particularly rich in birdlife.
What the press had said:
"The bedrooms are timber bandas with swooping, thatched roofs and white canvas walls, open during the day for God's air-conditioning. The seven-foot-square beds are handmade, and there are huge verandahs, an impeccable laundry service and an in-camp tailor." Tatler, November 1999
Annabel Heseltine , The Mail on Sunday, September 1999 " ... I had been told of the beauty of Galdessa ... and that the managers would do everything to make me comfortable ... at Galdessa, the animals come to you."
Conde Nast Traveller, September 1999 " ... Galdessa is all about animals in every form. In the days we had been at Galdessa we had seen so many animals ... that it had begun to seem like a fairground in which everyone was a winner."
Travel Africa, Spring 2000 "Galdessa is not just another camp in which to relax: it directly involves you in the interest of wildlife conservation ... the simple but very stylish and elegant decor is inviting ... the food is exquisite ... the staff, always looking after you, ensure a perfect service."
Lucia van der Post, Financial Times, July 1999 "There is scarcely a nicer place to be in the world than sitting on the deck outside your banda, looking at the southern sky and listening to the sounds of the African night."
Safari Style, Tim Beddow, Natasha Burns "Red elephants, elegant Hirola antelopes, man-eating lions, and flocks of vividly coloured carmine make Tsavo their home, and tourism here is tightly controlled in order to preserve the area's unique mix of species ..."
Galdessa is featured as one of Africa's top 10 lodges by Lucia van der Post for UK Vogue, January 1998.
Selected as one of the world's top destinations for the Millennium and the only one in Africa by Harpers & Queen, January 1999.
Galdessa Camp - Tsavo East • Exclusive Safari Camp • Kenya Hotels, Safari Lodges & Tented Camps
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