Ngerende Island Lodge Mara, Kenya
Kenya and the Masai Mara, in particular, are known as the heart beat of the safari, the origins of which date back to the early 1920’s.
Ngerende Island Lodge strives to capture the excitement, style and good living of those times but in a contemporary style and keeping with its environment.
Ngerende Island Lodge is the first luxurious boutique lodge in the Masai Mara set on a 12 acres site on an oxbow on the Mara River and is surrounded on all sides by the river except for a 100 yards section where the river has not cut through to make a true island.
The boutique lodge is situated 120kms from Narok town (a two hour drive or 4 hours drive from Nairobi) on the Olchoro – Oirogua Conservation Ranch which borders the Masai Mara Game Reserve and the Mara North Conservancy.
The Olchoro – Oirogua Ranch which is managed by Mara Conservancy covers more than 17,400 acres and is mainly open savannah except along the banks of the Mara River which are heavily wooded and are an ideal habitat for wildlife.
The lodge lies at 5300 feet above sea level and is serviced by its own airstrip at a distance of 2kms with scheduled flights from Malindi, Mombasa, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi and Wilson Airport, Nairobi. The flight time from Nairobi is approximately one hour.
Accommodation: There are 7 luxury en-suite canvas and wood suites all with raised platforms giving panoramic views of the Mara River and the woods on the opposite bank. Each suite has polished Mahogany floors (including the terrace) and is very spacious providing an open plan sleeping and living area complete with wood fire, a separate bathroom providing both Villeroy & Boch massage shower, open air bath (if desired) hand wash basins and flushing toilet.
Comfortable seating is provided both in the living area and on the terrace so that the true tranquillity of the boutique lodge can be best appreciated.
The distance between each suite has been maximised to reduce any disturbance that may be caused by other guests. Lovely touches as flowers on the bed, fire in the suites, and a bubble bath with essential oil prepared by your personal butler and a hot-water bottle in your bed in the evening, set Ngerende Island Lodge apart from the rest providing a memorable experience.
Description: Ngerende Island Lodge has been designed to complement the safari experience so as to give comfort, luxury and service naturally. There is an abundance of wildlife both on the Conservation Ranch and of course within the Masai Mara Game Reserve to include Lion, Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo, Hippo’s and many others.
A feature of the Conservation Ranch is an exclusive project to rear the White Rhino so that they can take their place back in the Mara society to which they belong in greater numbers. Over 180 varieties of birds have been spotted within the lodge itself and there are 3 Hippo Pods strategically located around the boutique lodge.
Ngerende Island Lodge can sleep up to 14 guests in individually designed suites. There is one honeymoon suite isolated from the main lodge, which has a private plunge pool and a Jacuzzi and stunning views of the Mara River. The public area is also raised on stilts with a large open terrace overlooking a Hippo Pod which normally has more than 20 resident hippos.
There is a library, sitting room all with log fires, a small bar and dining area.
There is also a craft shop stocked mainly with locally produced items created by Masai women who rely on the lodge for theirs and their family’s livelihood. The boutique lodge is pleased to provide them with an outlet for their fine goods.
Facilities: A new addition to Ngerende Island Lodge is a traditional Masai thatch hut spa offering indulgent pampering through a range of therapeutic massages and treatments. The stilted hut offers excellent holistic treatments in beautifully wild scenery.
Two local in-house masseuses, trained by Thai teachers in Nairobi, offer the treatments which can be taken individually or in pairs, overlooking the Mara River proximate which is a regular spot for hippos and crocodiles basking in the midday sun. The construction of an infinity pool themed” swimming with the Hippos” is ongoing which will have stunning views of the Mara River and the Hippo Pod.
Ngerende’s ‘Big Five’ treatments include:
Safari Soother: The holistic treatment begins with a full body exfoliation followed by a deep aromatherapy back massage. Essential oils products are then applied generously all over. Guests are wrapped and treated to a scalp massage to de-stress. Finish with a facial aromatherapy massage using Rose and Sandalwood oil.
Treatment takes 90 minutes. Kshs 7,000 ($100)
Sensual Africa: This luxurious treatment relieves muscular aches and pains for guests and is ideal for sleep rejuvenation. A full body exfoliation, followed by warmed oil is massaged into the guests’ body paying particular attention to the neck and back.
Treatment takes 90 minutes. Kshs 8,500 ($120)
Ngerende Restorer: This holistic treatment is designed to restore and re-balance the guests’ body’s energy. A full body exfoliation is followed by a feather-light crystal massage sequence which works in synergy with the meridian lines of the body. This soothing treatment evokes feelings of peace and contentment. A head and facial massage completes the final stage of relaxation.
Treatment takes 90 minutes. Kshs 7,000 ($100)
Indulgent Mara: The holistic treatment begins with a full face and body exfoliation. This powerful anti-oxidant face and body massage, conditions and hydrates the skin whilst working rhythmically into tired muscles or sluggish lymph’s using massage techniques. Choose between warming cinnamon and ginger balm that stimulates circulation and works deep into stiff muscles.
Treatment takes 90 minutes. Kshs 8,500 ($120)
Ngerende Teaser: This wonderfully indulgent combination of exfoliation, body and scalp massage leaves you feeling relaxed, soothed and nourished.
Treatment takes 90 minutes. Kshs 8,000 ($115)
Cuisine & Drinks: Ngerende Island Lodge has an excellent reputation for its nouvelle cuisine. Menu’s are internationally inspired by our executive chef who uses whenever possible organic vegetables and herbs grown in the lodge garden. The executive chef discusses menus with the guests daily and will easily adapt the menus to suit individual tastes and requirements. The management team has identified different locations for luxurious dining all with stunning views to include the lawns, the island, Hippo point view and the beach where bush breakfasts, lunches and dinners may be served. No meals are served in the same location twice subject to weather conditions. Candle lit dinners are also served in the main restaurant with a fireplace for cosy evenings. Soft drinks, house wine, bottled water, local beers and selected spirits are included in the room rates. Champagne, non house wine and luxury spirits/liquors are an additional extra.
Community: 70% of the staff at Ngerende Island Lodge is recruited from the local Masai communities. Management accepts applicants by recommendation and for those who they believe have the potential, are provided with rigorous on- the- job training in-house. Normally trainees will start as personal butlers helping to meet the high standards set at the boutique lodge for both the suites and the restaurant .The lodge has sponsored Rosemary who was a stewardess in the kitchen for formal training in Nairobi to be a masseuse and currently she is training as a supervisor in the house keeping department. There are plans to send the Masai staffs that have had in-house training for more formal training at Utalii College, the prestigious school for the hospitality and service industry in Kenya. This will ensure staff from the local communities have proper training and will enable them to achieve supervisory and management positions in the lodge or indeed in the diverse and dynamic tourism industry in general in Kenya.
Ngerende Island Lodge is committed to empowering the local communities by providing sustainable employment including purchasing wherever possible supplies locally, by providing in-house and formal training and on a very practical note has donated a beautiful canvas and thatch Rondel at Ngerende Airstrip, in the same style as the boutique lodge, for the local Masai women. The craft shop is an outlet for the Masai women to sell their crafts to guests arriving and departing from the airstrip and enables them to derive direct revenue from the project. The Management at Ngerende Island Lodge firmly believes luxury, comfort and style go hand in hand with conservation and community empowerment.
Activities: There are a wide variety of activities at Ngerende Island Lodge to include morning, afternoon and full day game drives, bush walks guided by our local Masai naturalist and safari drivers with a minimum bronze certificate of KPSGA (most have silver), night game drives, bird watching, tree planting ceremonies and visits to the local Masai villages. Volunteer work in the local schools and dispensary can be arranged. Activities during game drives uses 4×4 safari land cruiser vehicles which have been adapted for luxurious game viewing in Masai Mara Game Reserve- the 7th wonder of the world. Bush breakfast, lunch, dinners and sundowners are available weather permitting.
Eco-Friendly Initiatives at Ngerende Island Lodge:
o Opposite bank of the Mara River has been leased and fenced to protect the Hippos.
o Providing the local Masai women with a retail outlet for their goods.
o Providing employment to the local communities surrounding Ngerende.
o Training local Masai in-house for the butler service.
o Tree planting activities for guests.
o Solar panels are used for heating water.
o A Solar pump is used for extracting water from the borehole.
o We have invested heavily on inverters for lighting of the lodge and running the kitchen equipment and the use of inverters has reduced the generator use to only 4 hours in 24 hours and also minimised the noise level from the generator.
o Boutique lodge is in the process of investing in solar panels to work with the inverters and so that we phase out the use of the generator in the long term.
o Most vegetables and herbs are grown in Ngerende’s own kitchen garden and others purchased locally from the community.
o Harvesting of rain water for re-use for irrigation on the lodge lawns.
o Boutique Lodge is in the process of setting up a recycling water plant for the garden.
Rates: Prices at Ngerende Island Lodge start from nett $624 per person per night. A three night package including internal Kenyan flights starts from $1641 pp and includes:
o Return domestic flights to Ngerende Island Lodge ex Nairobi
o Full board accommodation
o Airport and airstrip transfers
o House wine, soft drinks, local beers
o Refreshments on game drives
o Two extended game drives per day in the Lodge vehicles with other Camp guests
o Bush breakfast / lunch / dinner weather permitting
o Guided bush walks accompanied by our resident Masai Naturalist
o Game viewing at Olchoro Conservancy
o A visit to the Masai village (entrance fee extra)
o Half hour free massage per person per stay
Prices may change without notice.