Il Ngwesi – The People of the Wild. When I first heard about this place, I thought it would be a typical lodge in Laikipia. But boy was I wrong. Nobody can truly understand the uniqueness and magic of Il Ngwesi until they actually visit the community and the lodge!
About 1 and a half hours into Laikipia past Isiolo, Il Ngwesi is really heaven on earth. 9.740 hectares that completely run wild, and in the middle of it all, an exquisite lodge, the Il Ngwesi Lodge! The Laikipiak Maasai own the conservancy, and they have a symbiotic relationship with nature – rather than killing lions to become a moran (Maasai warrior), they protect the lion instead now.
The first time I went there in 2009, I was on a work mission – to help improve services at the lodge, and all day long I took photos, tried food and hung out in the pool – *sigh* what a hard life!
The community itself has trained its own to run and manage the lodge – everything from manager and tour guide to chefs and room stewards. And all the service is provided in line with the tradition of the Laikipiak to welcome guests home.
More recently, the conservancy has started allowing groups in to camp on the vast wild. Unlike in gazetted parks, here you can walk around in the wild (but it is MANDATORY to have a ranger with you!). All the big five (lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffaloes) can be found here!
Nights are entrancing, as you spend them in the village , having dinner with the community!
Hikes up into the ranges are such an adventure – and when in season, the natural spring pools are great for swims!
For more details on the lodge check out http://ilngwesi.com/
And their Facebook page rocks too! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Il-Ngwesi-Eco-Lodge-Group-Ranch-Community/135655483150996
To get to the ranch, drive up to Isiolo, and the lodge team can meet you and take you in. A four-wheel drive is needed in the ranch – if you don’t have one, the lodge can arrange for one dedicated to you for an extra cost.