Tortilis Camp

Tortilis Camp: Our full report

Rooms
16 tents
Traveller's rating
Excellent (94%) From 14 reviews
Children
Best for 8+
Open
All year

Slightly outside the southern boundary of Amboseli National Park, Tortilis, named after the Acacia tortilis trees of the area, is a luxury safari camp clustered around a gentle rise. On a clear day, there are fantastic views of Kilimanjaro 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 of Tortilis, you are 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. With chunky wooden furniture and decorated in earthy hues, they make for a comfortable and atmospheric spot to enjoy meals or relax after a day on safari.

Below the main areas, there is a firepit for sundowners and further still is the main swimming pool, tucked in amongst small yet mature gardens. There are a number of loungers and a poolside bar here too.

The camp’s 16 tented rooms wind their way through the acacia trees and look out in the direction of the mountain. Under a makuti thatch roof, a canvas tent is suspended and this houses the bedroom and ensuite bathroom to the rear. The tents are largely traditional in style, with the usual lockable wooden chest, desk and all be configured as doubles (with king beds) or as twins. The wooden flooring and brightly coloured throws may once have looked rather smart, but now do look like they are in need of a refresh. At the front of each tent, there is a paved terrace with a day bed and lounge chairs, a perfect spot to enjoy your morning coffee.

To the other side of the main areas and completely separate from the rest of the rooms, there is a family tent and private house. These rooms are really well-designed spaces and are excellent choices for families: there is enough separation for everyone to have their own space (and 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, plus a sitting/dining area. These two rooms share their own private swimming pool and are afforded possibly the best views of Kilimanjaro of anywhere 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 – over 1,000 individuals within the ecosystem – as well as being home to some of Africa’s last ‘big tuskers’. In the dry season, it’s not uncommon to encounter hundreds of elephants, in many different families, in just one vista. Amboseli is also known for its birdlife, as the lakes and wetlands provide an ideal habitat.

As well as game drives, Tortilis offers guided walking on the conservancy as well as visits to a local Maasai community just outside the park (for a donation made to the village). Back at camp, there are also spa treatments available for an additional cost.

Our view

With its well-appointed tents and slightly elevated central areas, offering glorious views across the camp towards Kilimanjaro, Tortilis is one of the Amboseli ecosystem's best bases, even if it could do with a bit of a refresh internally. Having access in minutes to its own exclusive conservancy makes this one of the region's top choices.

Geographics

Location: Amboseli and the Chyulu Hills, Kenya

Ideal length of stay: 3 nights

Directions: Most guests fly into Amboseli Airstrip, in the heart of the park, and then game drive out to Tortilis over the course of a couple of hours. A direct drive takes around 45 minutes. Tortilis does have its own private airstrip next to the camp for charters.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Cheli and Peacock

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

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 hill.

Some will choose to have breakfast out in the bush, but if in camp there is a good spread of cold options such as yoghurt, cereals, fruit and cheese and cold meats. 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 a butternut soup and fresh bread, steak with peppercorn sauce and vegetables, finished with crème brulée.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: Most drinks are included in stays at Tortilis, with the exception of premium wines and spirits.

Further dining info: Room Service is not possible.

Children

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.

Equipment: None.

Notes: The camp is fenced but it is best that children are always supervised by their parents.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Solar Power

Power supply notes: There is a back up generator and charging facilities in all rooms.

Communications: WiFi is available throughout camp and there is good cellphone reception.

TV & radio: There is a television in the staff quarters if guests want to watch big sporting events.

Water supply: Borehole

Water supply notes: Bathrooms are fully plumbed.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

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 extinguishers, reels and klaxons throughout camp.

Extras

Disabled access: On Request

Laundry facilities: Laundry is included and is hand washed and line dried. Underwear is not accepted.

Money: 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, Euro or Kenyan shillings.

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