Reviews of Tassia Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
A warm heart in a amazing country
In many ways, Tassia was the most exciting of the three lodges we visited on our trip to Kenya. The manager, Martin Wheeler, is completely dedicated to the conservation of the wildlife and the human traditions of Kenya, and runs a lodge that melds a luxurious experience, fantastic interpretation of the landscape and wildlife, Masai traditions and recreation. The tour of his rehabilitation clinic for raptors is a high point of the trip.
We were the first trip that our guide, Michael, had taken on a birding trip, and he was a great guide. As you will find out, the game is not as dense here as other locations, but you can see animals like Gerenuk that are difficult to find elsewhere.
Expert Africa comments
These travellers pictures from Tassia can be seen at https://www.flickr.com/search/?w=34318245@N08&q=tassia
Tassia Lodge review
Tassia is a wonder to behold. The beauty and architecture is simply stunning. The lodge blends in perfectly with the landscape. The managers and staff know how to be professional and warm at the same time.
I arrived from Los Angeles and my first camp extremely tired and needing some TLC. The folks at Tassia seemed to read my mind and provided four days of much needed rest, massage, swimming, and informative walks. One does not feel pressured into anything and yet the staff is ever ready to make suggestions should you inquire about an activity.
Isiah and Michael are amazing guides and I learned so much from them. Martin Wheeler's bird rehab center is remarkable and a testament to how much he truly cares for these majestic creatures. Antonia Hall is also exceptional in the work she is doing with the local village ladies with her bead program.
The rooms are beyond comfortable and the views from each room beautiful. The food is delightful and dinners on the rooftop under the stars one of my favorite parts. Highly recommend!
A 'rare gem' indeed
Moving on from our initial four nights at il Ngwesi, we took a ninety minute leisurely drive to another community-based project in the area, Tassia.
Expert Africa's description of Tassia as 'a rare gem' is, in our view, totally justified. Managed with great expertise and warm hospitality by Antonia and Martin on behalf of the local community, it genuinely warrants 'excellent' ratings across the board.
Our sleeping accommodation was very comfortable, great views across the plain (especially from our tower) and good bathroom facilities. The lounge area is spacious and comfortable. We took meals in a number of different locations around the camp, which was fun, sometimes with other guests, sometimes by ourselves, which was a nice mix. And the food itself was first class, consistent with Antonia's well-deserved reputation (and the camp's own cook book).
In addition to her camp-based work, Antonia is involved in a number of important income-generating projects with the women of the local community, including high-end bead work (handbags etc), which are well worthy of support. The commitment of both Antonia and Martin to the objectives of the project is impressive, as is the expertise which they both bring to their role.
Needless to say, as birders we also commend very highly Martin's work at his raptor rescue centre based at the camp and well worth a tour in its own right.
Our main activity was again walking/birding (indeed, the camp does very little by way of drives - although it does have horses and camels, consistent with the strong focus on eco-friendliness). Especially considering how close Tassia is to Il Ngwesi, we were struck by some significant differences in the local bird population, which made combining the two locales all the more interesting (ie in addition to comparing the way in which the Tassia project runs with Il Ngwesi and, later, Sarara). We did particularly well for raptors.
The major exception to walking was the day trip we made across the mountains behind the camp to Borana Ranch on the Laikipia plateau, where we boosted both our bird (notably water birds) and mammal (notably lion and black rhino) count significantly. Even though time did not permit us as long a walk in the cloud forest on the mountains themselves as we had hoped, this was an excellent day.
We also devoted an evening walk to local culture, visiting the caves which provided shelter to many Masai for much of the 20th century, learning a good deal more about their history and culture in the process.
We were guided at various times by Martin himself (brilliant, especially on birds) and by two Masai, Michael (very good on birds) and, in particular, Isaiah (solid all-rounder), learning a good deal from all three not only about the wildlife and environment but also about the Masai generally, their history and the project.
In sum, we have no hesitation in strongly recommending Tassia both in its own right and as part of a wider tour of the Laikipia region.