Touches of wonderland at this Gaudi-esque gem in the wilderness
Tucked among thorn trees, Lewa rises from its hillside setting with a distinctly organic style. Thatched and intriguing, the main area is outdone in the quaintness stakes by its cocoon-like cottages—aptly called Earth Pods. The lodge lies at the very heart of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. The main building, once a private home, is set on a hill, so the views across the landscape are uninterrupted – southwards to Mt Kenya and, to the north, the rugged Mathews Range and the sacred mountain of Ol Olokwe. Lewa has some of the best game viewing in East Africa.
At the lodge
The thatched main house has a comfortable lounge, warmed at night by a roaring fire. The dining area, with its large table, is considered the heart of the house, where guests share their sightings and a friendly genet occasionally visits for a treat. The menu combines European dishes with Kenyan, Indian and Asian cuisine – and very successfully too. Have breakfast or lunch in the garden, relax on the veranda or in the pool overlooking a waterhole. Wi-fi is available.
There are three cottage-style rooms, part of the original house, spread out on the hillside. Each has two en-suite rooms, a veranda and beautiful hardwood furniture, and is perfect for families. There are also four recently added single-room earth pods that were designed by Sophie's father in a distinctly organic, Gaudi-esque style. Ecologically sound, they're also exceptionally comfortable and spacious, with wonderful views. The pods are en suite, with an indoor shower and, in three pods, a sheltered outdoor bath.
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy has some of the best game viewing in East Africa, with 350 bird species and 70 mammal species, including the Big Five (you'll find 12 per cent of Kenya’s black rhino and 20 per cent of the world's Grevy's zebra here). Look out for specialised northern species: reticulated giraffe, Somali ostrich, gerenuk and Beisa oryx. Take a guided drive or hike to a waterfall, explore on horseback, interact with the poacher-detecting bloodhounds or visit the local communities.