Set in 200 acres of private land, and with a rustic charm all of its own, Amboseli Sopa Lodge nestles in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro which, at almost six thousand metres, is Africa’s highest and most famous snowcapped mountain.
All forms of wildlife still abound in this wilderness which continues all the way to the Amboseli National Park, an easy twenty minute drive away from the lodge.
While the park conserves over six hundred breeding species of birds as well a host of rare and wonderful wildlife, this is also home to the Maasai people, perhaps the world’s most renowned African tribe.
Amboseli Sopa Lodge is set within mature wooded gardens with a wide variety of trees and plants which include thorn trees, Acacias, fragrant Frangipanis, colorful bougainvillea and giant cacti which all thrive in these surroundings. The gardens are also home to numerous species of birds as well as monkeys, mongooses, squirrels, duikers, the occasional gazelle and, once in a while, even an ever inquisitive leopard.
Rustic, well spaced cottages meander through the vast expanse of the mature gardens and house 83 guest rooms. These are all brightly decorated with Maasai themed wall murals, and each room has been purpose built to contain either one or two queen sized beds as well as a veranda.
There is also a luxuriously appointed, extremely spacious, two bedroom Presidential suite with a private dining room and an attached kitchenette, and also with a huge lounge and vast terrace.
Interconnecting rooms are available – ideal for families – and triple rooms are on request.
The Mawenzi Bar is divided into two by a massive central fire place – the inner section has suspended wrought iron, shaded chandeliers, beautiful furnishings made of authentic African driftwood, and its walls are decorated with a multitude of Maasai handicrafts and artifacts. The outer section is surrounded by a semicircle of glass walling which allows guests to look out over the gardens and Mount Kilimanjaro beyond, and is furnished with comfortably cushioned, woven hyacinth sofas and chairs. At the centre of this area there is an ornamental tree with a table and high bar stools set around its trunk.
The long, freeform bar counter – lined with high wrought iron bar stools – has a timber top and a multicolored timber fascia below it. The recessed, back-lit wine and spirits display shelves provide an extremely warm atmosphere.
Hemingway’s Bar is perched on top of massive boulders at the highest point of the property, it offers uninterrupted 360o views of the surrounding landscapes and is the perfect place for an evening sundowner. Dedicated to the memory of Ernest Hemingway, who died in 1961, the bar is furnished and decorated in period style. Photographs of Hemingway adorn the walls, as do posters of the films of his books.
Steps lead down from the bar to a grotto with a sand floor and African wooden stools, and it is from here that you can get a closer view of the spotted and striped hyenas, the white tailed mongooses, and the Genet cats which come to feast on the food the lodge put out for them every night.
The Kibo Restaurant is named after the tallest peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro, and is a round structure with a thatched palm frond roof following the design of traditional African huts. The glass windows and doors face the mountain.
The restaurant has a small but attractive recessed bar and there is also an outdoor terrace from where the views of Kilimanjaro are quite simply majestic. Just beyond this there is a camp fire used for sundowners and after dinner drinks, and to one side of this there is a large, freeform fishpond.
The Mawenzi Terrace is an outdoor dining area set beside the Mawenzi Bar and named after Kilimanjaro’s second highest peak. The terrace is shaded by an enormous Acacia tree whose branches also spread out over the natural stone-topped buffet table used for alfresco barbecues.
There is a swimming pool – ideal for cooling off in the heat of the day – and a pool bar.