Reviews of Elsa's Kopje
Wildlife sightings and reviews
15 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited Elsa's Kopje and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa
"Elsa's Kopje review"
On the way to the lodge we saw many animals and birds, and on arrival staff were there to welcome us with hot towels and drinks. The lodge manager gave us a briefing, where everything was and on safety about the camp. During the day we could move freely abut the lodge but after dark there was always staff readily available to accompany us around the lodge.
All cottages have been built along a hillside although having similar facilities are all different in design. Our cottage was at one end with wonderful views out onto the plain below where we could see animals passing below from time to time. The cottage housekeeping services were excellent from wake-up calls with hot drinks and cookies, cleaning, laundry, to setting up mosquito nets around the bed each evening.
Being the last cottage along the hillside we had to walk on paved paths, for a few minutes, through the reception area/lounge and then on past other cottages to get to the restaurant/bar/swimming pool area. The position of our cottage suited us as we heard very little noise made by other guests moving about the lodge.
We saw lots of rock hyrax (can be a bit noisy), black faced vervet monkey wandering around the lodge and occasionally impala.
We went out on drives from about 6.30am to about 11am each morning and then again from around 4pm to dusk. We had breakfast out in the bush on two mornings. Our guide Joe was excellent in finding us multiple sightings of all the mammals normally to be seen in Meru (with four lion sightings) except for leopard and black rhino. Joe was so quick in seeing things we could have missed completely ourselves. Joe filled us in habits of the wildlife and the names of the many birds we saw. Joe was attentive to our safety, stopping at sighting for as long as we wanted and ensuring we saw as a wide range of wildlife as possible. Towards the end of the afternoon drives we stopped for sundowners and saw some wonderful sunsets.
Our lunches and dinners were served at individual tables in the restaurant where the waiting staff were fantastic. We particularly enjoyed the lunches where we were served a buffet of small dishes to choose from.
There is a small infinity pool with sun loungers around it which I just had to use!
In summary the accommodation fully met our expectations, the services in camp were of a high standard and Joe was a wonderful guide." See all these reviews: 10n in Kenya
"Elsa's Kopje review"
Again, the main focus of this part of our trip was birding and the specialised mammals, which we saw, but it was also lovely to see rhino somewhere other than in South Africa. The park is really beautiful and deserves more visitors. Drives were quieter here, but we expected that. However, our guide was very engaged and knowledgeable. This was the only camp where we had time for proper sundowners.
The camp is gorgeous. The rooms are amazing and make you feel that you are a part of the kopje, looking out over the plains. There are resident hyrax, which are very cute. There is a fabulous infinity pool on top of the kopje, which we planned to use, but never got around to (maybe to do with the long uphill walk to get there...). The food was excellent, but not quite on a par with Tortillis Camp. Meals were served to individual tables, which again meant that meal times were flexible." See all these reviews: 14n in Kenya
"Fabulous Elsa's Kopje"
It was the first time we had visited Meru NP and we will certainly return. The park was great and the camp itself was quite lovely, very well run by Taro and his team. The camp setting was epic, on top of the Kopje with sweeping views. The food was excellent and well presented and served in quantity. Lastly the camp was not at all busy during our stay which was nice from our perspective. And the camp team looked after us extremely well.
We were in Room 2 which had a wonderful view across the plain below the Kopje from the large deck. This was accessed via a rope bridge which took a little getting used to but was great for privacy. More generally there were plenty of paths and steps so this isn't a great camp if you have mobility issues. But great for exercise.
Covid-wise, as with everywhere we travelled, staff were punctilious about protocols, with masks, sanitizer and temperature checks as required. Much more so than at home in Amsterdam.
Our guide, Wilson was excellent and very professional and we were lucky to have our own vehicle for the duration of our stay. He took his lead from us and although no doubt surprised when we said we didn't want to see lions (given we were staying at Elsa's Kopje!) he took the request very seriously as we hoped he would.
We did have a couple of brief encounters but he asked us in advance if we wanted to look and moved on quickly when asked to do so. But there are definitely plenty of lions around for those that want to spend time with them.
We also saw the "Big 5" (white rhino in the enclosure) as well as the "Specialist 5" (huge numbers of Reticulated Giraffe, some Grevy's Zebra (beautiful), Gerenuk, Oryx and Somali Ostrich). And there was a night time visit from a leopard and cub, drinking at the pool in camp.
The setting for the camp is lovely as mentioned and the bonus is a fabulous infinity pool with a sweeping view across the plain below the camp. A great place to spend a little time given the heat during the day.
Meru itself was beautiful with ample permanent water and very large numbers of game, including big herds of elephant and buffaloes.
After having been unable to get to Africa for nearly 18 months it was a treat to be back. We only stayed four nights at Elsa's and wished we had stayed longer." See all these reviews: 9n in Kenya
"Surprising Meru; Elsa’s Kopje review"
The rains were generally intermittent light showers, mainly in the morning, and they didn’t particularly interfere with our drives. Interestingly, our guide Moses mentioned that the lions had taken to climbing trees to avoid the soggy ground and numerous insects that were flourishing (but few mosquitoes), and we did indeed find a lioness and several cubs up in trees, which were special sightings for me. The protected rhino sanctuary is also well worth a visit. A cordoned-off part of the National Park, it is completely wild in feel, and there are points within the fenceline that are designed to allow animals other than rhinos to traverse freely between the sanctuary and the rest of the Park, so there is plenty to see in the sanctuary besides just rhino. Reticulated giraffes browsing amongst the Dr. Seuss-like palms, gerenuk, a few Grevy’s Zebra (at a far distance), and Vulturine Guinea Fowl were a few of the Northern specialties that we saw. We also saw a lot elephants.
The chalets at Elsa’s are huge (ours was split-level), and the facilities are spread out. If you are mobility-challenged, it might be a bit daunting. The place is also a bit more formal in tone than we normally prefer, but I must say that the management did an excellent job in pairing us up with other guests who, like us, wanted to emphasize time on game drives rather than time in camp. Picnic breakfasts were prepared for us so that we could stay out all morning. There definitely were other guests in camp who preferred more pampering, and I have only praise for the balancing act that the management pulled off. A chef-catered bush breakfast and a few chef-catered sundowners with other guests were nice touches, and fortunately they blended in nicely with our game drives. If we had been required to abandon a sighting in order to make those, however (and we were not), I might feel differently." See all these reviews: 14n in Kenya
My expectations for a safari lodge were more than met. The room was spacious and always clean and comfortable. I had a wonderful thoughtful poem on my bed each evening: food for thought. I could hear the animals in the evening and did not see any other cabins once I was in my lodgings in the evening.
The manager and assistant manager took the time to visit with me and talk about the charity work that the lodge supports. The lodge used environmentally friendly materials every day and tried to lesson their impact on the environment.
My only suggestion would be to not use those juice boxes with the plastic wrap and straws - just put some juice in a glass jar and call it good. Cloth napkins were used and thus very little waste throughout the trip." See all these reviews: 9n in Kenya
"Excellent property in need of some updates"
From the moment the plane landed, we knew that we were in a special place.
Our excellent guide Moses was there to greet us and his keen eye and really pleasant personality was a great asset throughout our visit.
Tonny, the manager, upgraded us to room #1, a larger size unit with a stunning view.
Food prepared by Chef Philip was excellent and service throughout was great.
However, Elewana should definitely invest some money in needed upgrades however. Screens and mosquito netting had holes, the room’s white decor had lots of marks and signs of squashed bugs, etc.
Looking at the big picture though, we really enjoyed our stay. Game drives were surprisingly interesting and productive especially given the weather and we left with lots of good memories" See all these reviews: 15n in Kenya
"Stylish with substance. "
Meru had experienced heavy rain for two weeks prior to our arrival so the game had dispersed deep into the bush. When you did see game on a drive the animals were very skittish. This is largely explained by the fact that Meru NP has a history of poaching which is still current though we were told the level of poaching is lower than previously experienced. We also found some of the game drives quite frenetic in the search for elusive game!
The relief manager had an excellent knowledge of both wildlife and birds and also the structure of the national parks and reserves in Kenya.
In summary, Meru is an interesting and attractive NP to visit but you have to be prepared for limited game sighting. That said on two separate occasions we had very good sightings of both white and black Rhino." See all these reviews: 10n in Kenya
While it would be fair to say you need to concentrate on game drives to get the most out of them, we were delighted with the game we saw, particularly the 'northern specials' including very many of our favourite reticulated giraffes, plus several lesser kudu which we had not seen before. And it was also great to be able to visit the rhino enclosure where we had several close up white rhino sightings and an excellent if brief sighting of a black rhino mum and baby. We also very much liked the landscape, complete with doum palms and the way in which the hill on which Elsa's is located was such a dominant feature.
But perhaps what made the visit extra special was getting a sense of the strong commitment there has been to restoring the park and to maintaining it as a beacon of conservation, as was evident from things such as the condition of the roads under foot to the presence of KWS/IFAW surveillance planes over head. Many thanks to our guide Anthony who was great.
The camp itself was beautifully and cleverly moulded into the hillside and the accommodation was extremely comfortable though a little bit more clothes hanging and storage space would have been good. The camp seemed to be no more than a maximum of half full during our stay, which suited us fine but I would anticipate that the atmosphere (and number of vehicles departing down and returning up the hill for game drives) would be pretty different during high season when they are much more busy." See all these reviews: 7n in Kenya
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