Loldia House: Our full report
Loldia House is a comfortable lakeshore lodge on the northwest side of Lake Naivasha in the heart of the Rift Valley.Built by Italian prisoners of war in the early 1940s, it consists of a main house and three further cottages in the gardens and a newer top cottage up the hillside. For many years, the house has been managed by Governors' Camps.
Arriving at Loldia House, your vehicle approaches the lake shore through bush and farmland. A herd of impala is often seen grazing just outside the grounds and several hippos favour a pool at the bottom of the garden, where the edge of the lake is sheltered by papyrus. The house itself is a simple structure of reddish lava rock and wood, with a green mabati corrugated iron roof. A veranda runs along the front, and inside there’s a comfortably furnished lounge with a dining room behind.
There are six guest rooms in the main part of the property (#1 and #4 in the main house, #5 and #6 in a separate cottage nearby and #10 and #11 in another cottage further away (there’s no #2 or #3). Two rooms and a loft room (#7, #8 and loft) are located in a separate cottage 400 metres up the hillside from where guests are usually driven to the main house for meals.
In the main house, Room #1 is probably the nicest on the property, with plenty of space, but being so close to the veranda, lounge and dining room makes it is somewhat less private than the others. Main house Room #4 is the best one for people with mobility difficulties: it’s a triple, with flat floors throughout, wide doors and a walk-in shower. In 2018, Expert Africa had Room #6 in the first cottage north of the main house, which was very comfortable. Room #5, adjoining #6 with a small, shared veranda, is a smallish twin. A little to the north, through the gardens, is another, newer cottage, built of grey stone and brick, with a thatched roof and two distinctive tall chimneys for the fireplaces in each room. While still furnished in traditional style, the bathrooms here are a little more modern and spacious, though still with single basins and showers over bathtubs. All four cottage rooms near the main house have lovely views out across the lawns, flower beds and mature trees to the lake.
The top cottage, a 400m drive up the hill, is a separate part of the property, near the house of the owner of Loldia House, Betty Hopcraft. On a fine day, there are magnificent views across the lake from up here. This top cottage is ideal for families and has two main bedrooms and a loft room, two bathrooms, and a kitchen for staff to prepare snacks and breakfast. A swimming pool near the top cottage openend in 2018, and is for the use of all guests.
Activities and excursionsLoldia House offers a surprisingly wide range of activities and has enough 4x4 safari vehicles to make it a great base for exploring the Rift Valley. Day and night game drives in the bush of Loldia Ranch can be quite productive, with zebra, giraffe and impala invariably seen, hyenas, mongooses and spring hares quite common, and leopard and aardvark seen more rarely. Morning drives usually leave around 6.30-7am and night drives after dinner, at about 8.30 or 9pm. These drives are included in your room rate.
Around the house itself, you can: go walking, jogging or running (accompanied by a guide); explore the garden’s birdlife (with a bird guide); visit the working farm; play tennis (book in advance); or do a school visit to Loldia primary school. Again, these activities are free of charge.
Loldia’s free boat trips are a very popular activity, and on a clear morning or late afternoon there’s nothing nicer than puttering along through the papyrus on the quest for water birds and hippos. The guides are adept at luring fish eagles to fish thrown for them, which can get you great photos in the right conditions.
In the neighbourhood and around Lake Naivasha, you can also play golf (US$20 green fees, plus club and caddy charges), go horse riding (US$20 per hour – booked in advance), visit a flower farm (US$5), visit Elsamere – the former home of Joy Adamson and now a conservation museum and shrine to her work (US$10) – and explore the Crescent Island Sanctuary (US$30) on the southeast side of the lake, which has some of the highest densities of plains mammals in Kenya.
For keen birders, Green Crater Lake is a must (US$25), with its huge numbers of species and a highly habituated troop of Colobus monkeys. Just to the southeast of the lake, and easily accessible from the lake road, lies the scenic, cliff-bound landscape of Hell’s Gate National Park (US$26), which has a good range of plains mammals, though nothing dangerous enough to rule out walking or cycling (bikes are available to hire) which are both permitted. The Ol Karia Geothermal plant is located inside the park, and they’ve set aside an area as a kind of natural spa (US$18) where you can bathe.
Beyond Hell’s Gate rises Mount Longonot National Park, a dormant volcano you can climb (US$26). The expedition, circling the rim and returning to the gate, is nearly 14km and takes about 5 hours. With a 630m (2000ft) vertical difference, and a narrow path to follow, that pitches up and down, this is quite a tough, physical day.
Booking Loldia House on a full board and activities basis through Expert Africa means you have use of the 4x4 safari vehicles and guides for trips further afield in the Rift Valley at no extra charge (entrance fees extra). You may be lucky and have a private vehicle and driver-guide, but you should be prepared to share with other guests, so compromising on where you visit may be necessary. If you prefer you can opt to pay extra for a guaranteed private vehicle. These trips can include full-day trips to: Lake Nakuru National Park (black rhinos, southern white rhinos and the full roster of plains mammals, with the exclusion of elephants); Lake Elmenteita and Soysambu Conservancy (flamingos, plains grazers, lions, leopards); Lake Bogoria National Reserve (flamingos, greater kudu); and Aberdare National Park (montane rainforest, Afro-Alpine scenery and spectacular waterfalls).
We've long wanted to stay at Loldia House, but didn't have the opportunity until 2018. The lodge did not disappoint. Despite the chilly, windy weather blowing off the lake, the welcome was warm and our whole stay was infused with enthusiasm and glowing hospitality. We found the rooms comfy, in an old-school way, like a reliable English country bed & breakfast that hasn't had a huge design makeover. And we loved the activities that we managed to pack into an overnight stay. The chance to stay here again for a bit longer – and relax – is one we will relish.
- Rift Valley, Kenya
- Ideal length of stay
- 2–3 nights
- Loldia House is located off the recently hard-surfaced North Lake Road, on the northwest shore of Lake Naivasha. It's a 1.5–2hr drive from Nairobi. You can also fly by private charter flight to Loldia Airstrip, a 15 minute drive from the lodge. The scheduled airline Safarilink usually makes a daily, morning flight from Wilson Airport, Nairobi to Loldia airstrip, which continues to the Maasai Mara airstrips. This flight is one-way only: it doesn't stop at Loldia airstrip on the way back to Nairobi.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- The food is good at Loldia House, and there's a good choice of house wines, too. Senior chef Ndegwa has been with Governors' for many years. When we stayed in 2018, lunch included avocado salad, red snapper and fruit salad, while dinner started with tomato soup and croutons, followed by little beefsteaks with a pepper sauce and finished with ice cream and fruit salad. They served us a really good Pinotage to accompany the meal, and several other reds and whites are available.
- Dining style
- Group Meals
- Dining locations
- Indoor and Outdoor Dining
- Further dining info, including room service
- Breakfast and lunch are usually taken on the lawn when the weather is good, and dinner in the main dining room. Room service is available if guests want that.
- Drinks included
- Drinks are not included, but they are reasonably priced, for example US$5 for a glass of house wine (from a choice), US$5 for a beer or US$3 for a tot of spirits.
- Lake Naivasha is a beautiful spot for birdwatching. Dozens of woodland, garden and water-loving species can be seen in and around the lodge grounds, while slightly further afield, at the Green Crater Lake, Lake Oloiden (both satellites of Lake Naivasha) and Hell's Gate National Park, you can encounter hundreds more.
- See ideas for Birdwatching
- Attitude towards children
- Children are welcome, but the atmosphere is fairly adult. The private cottage up the hill is recommended for young families.
- Property’s age restrictions
- Special activities & services
- Baby cots and high chairs are available.
- Generally recommended for children
- Loldia House doesn't get many guests with young children.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Loldia House
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Loldia House 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's a backup generator. Firewood water heaters and immersion heaters are used for the hot water supply to the rooms. There are no solar panels or solar water heaters in use.
- Most networks have a reasonably good cellphone signal here. The house also has Wi-fi throughout.
- TV & radio
- There is no TV in the guest rooms or main house, but the staff have a TV which guests are welcome to watch when major sporting events are taking place.
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- There's a borehole for the main house water supply, plus lake water is pumped up to water the garden. Drinking water is supplied from a reverse osmosis system and large plastic bottles of water are also bought in and decanted.
Health & safety
- Medical care
- The lodge has a first aid kit and three staff have first aid qualifications. All staff are periodically given Red Cross first-aid training. There are good medical facilities in the district, including Kijabe Hospital (80–90 minutes by road). Flying Doctors can be accessed within an hour in an emergency.
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- Security staff are on duty around the property at all times. The lodge is surrounded by a discreet electric fence to deter large mammals from entering. However it can't completely prevent hippos, waterbuck and buffalos from occasionally grazing on the lawns.
- Fire safety
- There are fire extinguishers and smoke detetectors around the lodge. Fire drills and fire-training are carried out regularly.
Guided walking safari
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- Laundry is included in the rate, however ladies' underwear is included.
- There's a safe in the lodge office, but no safe boxes in the rooms.
- Accepted payment on location
- Cash is accepted in all major currencies, as are MasterCard, Visa and Amex, with no surcharge.
Other lodges in Rift Valley
Alternative places to stay in this same area.