Tortilis Camp: Our full report
Just outside the southern boundary of Amboseli National Park, Tortilis is named after the Acacia tortilis tree.The trees dominate the area and this luxury safari camp clusters around a gentle rise overlooking lightly wooded plains. When the skies over Kilimanjaro are clear, there are fantastic views of the mountain from the lounge and dining area. The camp is located in the 120 square-kilometre Kitirua Conservancy, which is exclusive to guests of Tortilis.
Part of the Elewana collection of properties, which includes Elephant Pepper, Elsa’s Kopje and Lewa Safari Camp, Tortilis is a well-established camp with a long heritage. Arriving into the reception area, you're greeted with lovely views across the bush below you and out towards Kilimanjaro. The high-ceilinged, thatched lounge and dining area are open-sided to make the most of the views, decorated in earthy hues and set with chunky wooden furniture. The area makes for a comfortable, atmospheric spot to enjoy meals or relax after a day on safari.
Below the main areas, there's a sundowner fire pit and beyond, down the slope, is the main swimming pool, tucked among mature gardens. There's a number of loungers and a poolside bar here too.
The camp’s 16 tented rooms are set among the acacia trees and all look out in the direction of Kilimanjaro. Each tent has a makuti thatch roof, sheltering the bedroom and ensuite bathroom to the rear. The tents are traditional in style, with the usual lockable wooden chest and writing desk. All of them can be configured either as doubles (with king beds) or as twins. The wooden flooring and brightly coloured throws may once have looked rather smart, but they do now look somewhat in need of a refresh. At the front of each tent, the paved terrace, furnished with a day bed and lounge chairs, is a perfect spot to enjoy morning coffee.
To the other side of the main areas and completely separate from the rest of the rooms, Tortilis has a family tent and private house. These accommodations are very well designed and make excellent choices for families, with enough separation for everyone to have their own space and en-suite bathrooms, while still being under one roof. The family tent has two bedrooms and two bathrooms, with a large terrace to the front. The private house is larger, comprising a double room, a twin or triple room, plus a sitting/dining area. The family tent and private house share a private swimming pool and have possibly the best views of Kilimanjaro in camp.
Activities at Tortilis are predominantly game drives, both in the private conservancy and in Amboseli National Park. This area is particularly famed for its large elephant population, with more than 1,000 individuals in the ecosystem, including some of Africa’s most impressive big tuskers. In the dry season, it’s not uncommon to encounter hundreds of elephants, in many different families, in just one vista while out on a game drive. Amboseli is also known for its birdlife, as the lakes and wetlands provide an ideal habitat in what is essentially a dry region.
It's worth noting that Tortilis is around 45 minutes drive from some of the most productive areas of the park around the swamps, and as the park's opening hours are strictly enforced, afternoon drives in the park have to leave well before sunset. You can still drive after 6pm in the Kitirua Conservancy itself. As a result, game drives from Tortilis often focus heavily on long, morning drives, sometimes with a bush breakfast half-way through. The early mornings are a wonderful time to be out in the park, but your sundowners are likely to take place close to camp.
As well as game drives, Tortilis offers guided walking in Kitirua Conservancy as well as visits to a local Maasai community just outside the park (a donation is made to the village – you can ask the camp management for guidance). Back at camp, spa treatments are also available at additional cost.
With its glorious views of Kilimanjaro, well-appointed tents and slightly elevated central areas, Tortilis is one of the Amboseli ecosystem's best bases. Having access in minutes to its own exclusive conservancy makes this one of the region's top choices.
- Amboseli and the Chyulu Hills, Kenya
- Ideal length of stay
- 3 nights
- Most guests fly into Amboseli Airstrip, in the heart of the park, and then to Tortilis while game-driving over the course of a couple of hours. A direct drive to or from the airstrip takes around 45 minutes. Tortilis also has its own private airstrip for charters next to the camp.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- Meals at Tortilis are very good, based partly around produce grown in Tortilis' own vegetable garden, and with a light Italian influence. Meals are served at individual tables in the central dining and lounge area at the top of the low hill.
You might well choose to have breakfast out in the bush, but if you're in camp they offer a good spread of cold options such as yoghurt, cereals, fruit and cheese and cold meat. There is a chef on hand to cook your eggs to order, as well as pancakes and other specials of the day.
Lunch begins with a plated starter and then is generally a buffet of hot and cold dishes. When we last stayed in 2019, we enjoyed a selection of homemade pizzas, spaghetti with meatballs and aubergine parmigiana, which were accompanied by spinach roulade, three bean salad and cucumber salad. The variety of dishes on offer made lunch our favourite meal of our stay.
Dinner is a three course menu, with a number of choices for each course. We enjoyed the butternut soup and fresh bread, steak with peppercorn sauce and vegetables, finished with a crème brulée.
- Dining style
- Individual Tables
- Dining locations
- Indoor and Outdoor Dining
- Further dining info, including room service
- Room Service is not possible.
- Drinks included
- Most drinks are included in stays at Tortilis, with the exception of premium wines and spirits.
- Situated just outside Amboseli National Park, Tortilis offers quick access into Kitirua Conservancy with 400-plus bird species. The Amboseli ecosytem’s marshes provide ideal habitats, while the terraces around the camp offer great spots to watch birds.
- See ideas for Birdwatching
- Private villas & houses
- With some of the best views available of Kilimanjaro Tortilis private house consists of two bedrooms, a lounge area and a private pool shared with the camp's family tent. One of the bedrooms can be made into a twin or triple, making this suitable for larger families or groups.
- See ideas for Private villas & houses
- Attitude towards children
- Children are welcome at Tortilis.
- Property’s age restrictions
- There are no age restrictions.
- Special activities & services
- No special activities or services are in place for children, but the managers are happy to arrange activities with the Maasai around camp.
- Generally recommended for children
- Tortilis has excellent family rooms and the swimming pools and individual dining are great for families. We feel that the camp is best suited to slightly older children who will enjoy the facilities and the wildlife.
- The camp is fenced but it is still best that children are always supervised by their parents. There are no lifeguards at the swimming pools.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Tortilis Camp
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Tortilis Camp have kindly recorded their wildlife sightings and shared them with us. The results are below. Click an animal to see more, and here to see more on our methodology.
- Power supply notes
- There is a back-up generator and battery-charging facilities in all rooms.
- WiFi is available throughout camp and there is good cellphone reception.
- TV & radio
- There is a television in the staff quarters if you should happen to want to watch a big sporting event.
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- The bathrooms are fully plumbed-in.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- Tortilis has links with the Flying Doctor service, as well as its own airstrip for emergency evacuations. There is a clinic 20 minutes away that can deal with minor issues.
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- The camp is fenced so guests can walk around on their own, in daylight or when it’s dark. There are askaris on duty 24 hours a day.
- Fire safety
- There is a firebreak around camp and fire extinguishers, hoses and klaxons throughout camp.
Guided walking safari
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- Laundry is included and is hand washed and line dried. Underwear is not accepted.
- There are safes in the bedrooms and the camp can offer limited currency exchange.
- Accepted payment on location
- All major credit cards are accepted, with no surcharge. Payment can be taken in US dollars, GB pounds, Euros or Kenya shillings.
Other lodges in Amboseli and the Chyulu Hills
Alternative places to stay in this same area.