Reviews of The Emakoko
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Emakoko. A jewel lodge in Nairobi Park!
Stunning lodge 45 minutes from airport via a game drive in Nairobi Park where we saw Rhino, lion and herbivores on our route out!
Excellent food and drink.
If we had known it was so good we would have stayed longer, not just an overnight stop between flights form Zanzibar to UK!
Why go further?
Nairobi National Park deserves our attention for two reasons. First, it is under increasing pressure in the name of development; more overseas visitors may encourage the government to stop questionable encroachments such as a proposed new railway viaduct right across the park. Second, it is a little gem just right next to JKIA.
Furthermore, in The Emakoko it has an absolutely first rate lodge on its southern border which would grace just about any NP. During our stay the owners were actually on furlough; but the relief manager Rachel is very much part of the Emakoko family and does an excellent job both running the lodge generally and making guests feel very much at home. We could not have been made more welcome or been looked after better by her and the resident team The accommodation was very comfortable; the public areas are welcoming; and the food was so good that we dashed back from Karen on a couple of days for lunch rather than go to one or other of the fine restaurants in town.
As for the park itself, as usual we were mainly in pursuit of the birds. I have still to tot up the final number but we were not far short of 200 species during our five days (quite a bit of which was not spent in the NP per se as we had business and personal reasons to be out and about, this being a hybrid trip rather than 'just' vacation). This despite the fact that we did not do as well for migrants as one would expect at this time of year. My top picks were: the Greater Spotted Eagle; the Gull-billed Tern (probably only the second sighting ever in the park); three different species of Bustard/Korhaan; a Nightingale (always hard to see); the Eurasian Marsh Harrier; the White-headed Barbet; and the Yellow-throated Longclaw.
As for the mammals, it is a downside for many (us included) that there are no elephants (other than at the orphanage). But a plentitude of rhinos - black and white - goes a long way towards making up for this; and we did have some excellent close-up rhino sightings. Furthermore, we regularly stumbled across lions. Most of the major herbivores one would expect to see are plentiful, perhaps particularly notable being Masai Giraffe, Eland and Grant's Gazelle.
In all of the above we were greatly aided by our excellent guide Elizaban, to whom we are indebted not only for his services in the park but also for taking us out and about in Karen (part of The Emakoko's service) and for driving us to the airport for our return flight at 5am (which is another facility which The Emakoko offers, ie being able to ferry guests flying in and out across the NP from and to the airport after dark). And we were also fortunate enough to be able to spend a day in the park with an old friend who is one of Kenya's top birders, Brian Finch.
In short, we highly recommend a stopover at The Emakoko with enough time to do a decent exploration of Nairobi NP and to enjoy some of the additional pleasures to be found in nearby Karen.
The Emakoko review
i only had a brief night there but it was lovely - as beforeRead more about the whole trip
The Emakoko is a unique experience - fantastic location on the southern edge of the National Park giving easy access for game drives. Superb ambiance in the main building with the bar and restaurant area and great food. very friendly and personal welcome and service from the owner and all staff.
The room was also very good with decent (and huge) bathroom and great service including putting mosquito nets etc around the very big and comfortable bed. We were in rooms 2 and 3 which are a short walk from the central building. Number 1 is closer and 4 and 5 are a bit further away but no problem.
However rooms 6 to 10 are on the upper level with great views but it is a serious climb up to these rooms and you have to be fit enough to climb a set of 80 to 100 stairs.
Well what can I say about this place - after driving through the National Park our driver made a turn to enter a very steep hill this was like the steepest "driveway" I have ever seen, a hair raising experience but driven with care for us in the back but worth every scary moment as Emakoko into view.
The welcome we got here was truly amazing, first impression here was what a fabulous place in a great location. The room we had was spectacular, beautiful everything. The food was the best we had had this trip - so pleased to see fresh salad. The service from all the staff was friendly.
After travelling we were more than pleased to see a swimming pool which we made very good use of, a very pleasant way to finish our trip.
We would like to say that Anthony & Emma deserve a 5 star rating for their hospitality.
The Emakoko, Nairobi
We wanted to spend one night in Nairobi before flying home in order to squeeze a visit to the David Sheldrick Sanctuary to visit our foster elephant.
If you need an "overnighter" in Nairobi, then the Emakoko is the place to stay. It is comfortable, friendly, well organised and the food is delicious. Don't research anywhere else!
Great stay on edge of Nairobi National Park
Great experience right from the start.
We were met by our guide, Elisaban, on arrival and had our first game drive on the way to the Emakoko where we were warmly received by Anthony and the staff. We were very happy with everything, the lodge was beautiful, food excellent (had dinner outside by candlelight).
Can't recommend it highly enough.
The Emakoko - luxurious and comfortable
The lodge is in a beautiful setting on the edge of Nairobi National Park, rhinos were our target species here and we were not disappointed! James, our guide made sure we didn't miss anything.
The food and service were outstanding, and Anthony a very genial host. All the staff were friendly, helpful and efficient, even making sure we were checked in for our flight with our chosen seats.
The rooms were huge, and very comfortably furnished, with a verandah as well.
The Emakoko review
Nairobi National Park is a truly remarkable place. As the city grew rapidly from nothing at the end of the 19th century, this originally wild place is now one of Africa's major cities. But a piece of far-sighted city planning meant that a tract of wilderness has been preserved right next to the skyscrapers, airports and congested traffic, a place where genuinely wild rhinos can be photographed with a city back drop.
It's not the bush, of course. But at the wonderful Emakoko, Anthony and Emma have managed to create a genuine safari experience that feels miles away from the mobile phone ads, shopping malls and mini-buses. It's in a secluded corner of the park where a wide open-sided dining room and bar overlooks the pool and river. Arriving from London late at night, we were driven (after a slightly worrying approach through a shabby industrial estate) into the National Park in the darkness (one of the very few times KWS will allow driving in a National Park at night) past grazing hartebeest, and warmly welcomed with a late supper at the lodge. Next morning, a rhino had come down to the river to say hello, and we were out in the park early before the local tours arrived. (Every car would stop and say "Have you seen anything?". We soon realised "anything" just meant "lion". There is a lot more to Nairobi NP than lions. Though they are there).
The owners used to run Elsa's Kopje, a lodge with a strong reputation, in the much more remote Meru NP and have brought a number of staff including guides and chef. The food is certainly excellent and many Nairobi residents come to stay just for that. Our guide, Elizaban, had come from Meru and was knowledgeable on all aspects of the wildlife in the park, including birds as well as mammals.
The rooms and public areas are all well-designed and have the feel of a lodge rather than a hotel. There are lots of nice touches like the old photographs of East Africa and Kenyan roses from a local farm. Each room has a large bathroom with bath as well as shower, and a deck overlooking the river, where birds and mammals can be seen wandering. Emma & Anthony are great hosts and more than happy to share their vast experience of safari life over a Tusker beer or generous gin and tonic (made by the enterprising Patrick, who is also the lodge carpenter) in the bar.
Nairobi NP is not a bush wilderness, but at the Emakoko, as darkness falls and the tour buses leave the park, you'll feel for a while like the city doesn't exist.
Relaxing Stay at The Emakoko
Please see prior comments. [Ed: see below]Read more about the whole trip