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Voi Wildlife Lodge - Tsavo East, Kenya

Tsavo East National Park - Kenya

Voi Wildlife Lodge was opened in 2003 and stands on a 25-acre site just outside the boundary of the national park. A crescent of workmanlike stone-built, airily thatch-roofed buildings linked by broad timbered walkways, set amongst green grounds and overlooking a large murram-red waterhole that was jointly constructed with the Kenya Wildlife Service. It enjoys spectacular views of nearby volcanic outcrops, such as the Kasigau, Sagalla and Mwakingali Hills. Designed to blend unassumingly into the surrounding environment, the lodge boasts a natural waterhole often attracting big game, including elephant, lion, cheetah, buffalo as well as a rich variety of birdlife.

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, equidistant between Nairobi and Mombasa, is painted on a sprawling canvas of endless skies, emerald hills, liquid lava flows, palm-fringed rivers, teeming wildlife and sparkling oases, set against the unforgettable backdrop of mile upon mile of cloud-shadowed African savannah.

Location
Tsavo East National Park is easily accessible by air and road, and is approximately 160 kilometers from Mombasa, and 326 kilometers from Nairobi. The lodge stands outside the Park boundaries, 5 km from the main Nairobi-Mombasa highway.

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
Theatre of the wild

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, one of the last great wilderness landscapes on Earth, 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 West, land of lions and lava, is painted on a sprawling canvas of endless skies, emerald hills, liquid lava flows, palm-fringed rivers, teeming wildlife and sparkling oases, where rafts of hippo wallow, snort and blow in the crystal clear melt waters of Mount Kilimanjaro. Kenya's largest National Park supports all the members of the ‘Big Five' as well as the country's largest elephant population. 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. Today the Park is more famous for the numerous prides of mane-less lion that patrol the plains and police the herbivore herds.

Wildlife highlights: elephant, lion, hippo, rhino, zebra, hartebeest, lesser kudu, eland, waterbuck, Grant's gazelle, impala, gerenuk, giraffe, dik dik and klipspringer. Birds: 600 recorded species.

Accommodation
The lodge offers 72 rooms and additional tented accommodation. All rooms are ensuite and feature African décor and private verandas. Rooms for the physically-challenged are available. Laundry services available.

Dining and bars
The large central dining room (capable of seating 250) offers buffet-styled meals and boasts an entirely separate vegetarian kitchen. There is also an open-air rondavel bar, and a raised promenade to an out-shot ‘Spa Bar' where soft cream sofas look out over the waterhole, the guardian marabou storks, the acacia-feathered horizons of Tsavo East and, according to the staff, regular visitations from elephant and lion, both of which are attracted by the Lodge's unwavering supply of water to their pond.

Child-friendly
The lodge welcomes children; baby-sitting services available, children's pool area and educational centre.
Conference Facilities

Other facilities
The lodge offers a small gym (charged additionally). The lodge offers a variety of activities for families, including a children's outdoor recreation area, swimming pool and jacuzzi, two badminton courts, a volleyball court as well as table tennis and a pool table. There is also a Discovery Area complete with a mini-library, TV and DVD facilities.

What to see and do
Highlights and special features

Game Drives (in the lodge's own 9-seater mini-van)
Experience the real safari - morning and afternoon game drives through the park with our trained driver-guides. Picnic lunches and sundowners can be provided. Tsavo offers some of the most magnificent game viewing in the world - vast herds of dust-red elephant, fat pods of hippo, giant crocodile, teeming herds of plains game, a fantasia of bird life and some magical flora.

Bush lunches and dinners
Private ‘bush' lunches and dinners can be arranged in the bush, complete with waiters, private bar and private BBQ cooking station, campfires and hurricane lamps.
Sundowners
Game tracking

What to see and do
Aruba Dam
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.

Kanderi Swamp
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.

Mudanda Rock
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.

Lugard's Falls
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.


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