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Tassia Lodge

Tassia Lodge, one of our favorite properties, set in a stunning wilderness area within the 60,000 acre Lekurruki Community Ranch, adjoining the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. The camp is dramatically perched on the edge of a rocky bluff that overlooks a valley filled with Acacia and Newtonia trees, with spectacular views of mountains in the background. In every direction the vistas are immense. To the north there is the Mathews Range, and snow-capped Mt. Kenya lies to the south. There is not a sole person or road in view.  It is raw scrub, sometimes green after the rains, often brown between the bushes and trees.  When it is green, thousands of elephants converge to eat the succulent new grass.

Tassia Lodge was built on land leased by Martin Wheeler and Antonia Hall from the Mokogodo people of North East Kenya.  The Mokogodo are Cushitic (Ethiopian origin) people who lived in caves here as hunter-gatherers until the 1920’s when the WaKamba raided them for ivory, killing many.  They came up with a new survival strategy: marrying their daughters to their Maasai neighbors to obtain cattle thru dowries.  Over time they have largely adopted the Maasai culture and traditions and speak the Maa language.  In 1999 the Lekurruki Group Ranch received title deed to 60,000 acres and this is the land on which Tassia sits.

Martin and Antonia want you to feel that you are guests in their home and Tassia's 6 spacious rooms can easily be adapted for families. The rooms have no glass windows, the front is completely, offering open an unobstructed view of the wilderness and wildlife below.  Sitting in your room at midday, the silence is pierced by the call of a hornbill, the rustling of the cool breeze, and the constant chirping of finches and weavers. Common areas of the lodge include a horizon swimming pool, dinning room, bar, deck area and shop with an eclectic mix of jewellery & clothes from talented Kenyan artisans.

Walking is the major activity here. At Tassia the game is not habituated to vehicles and people, and can often be well dispersed, which makes tracking with your guide on foot more exciting. Game in the area includes elephant, buffalo, giraffe, Greater and Lesser kudu, Gerenuk, Waterbuck, Grevy zebra and you may catch sigh of a leopard, wild dog, spotted or stripped hyena. After the rains in November and April, the numbers of games increases; particularly elephant. Exploration by foot takes you along rivers and gorges, across open plains, and into the forest. This is real adventure, far from any tourist route. The knowledge and skills that Martin, a 4th generation Kenyan, and his excellent trackers bring to the experience makes the walks a fascinating experience.  You can also take the rare opportunity of visiting the caves and rock shelters where the Mokogodo Maasai lived for 40,000 years until recently changing their ethnicity. Excursions to explore the Mokogodo forest gives you a chance to see an entirely different ecosystem. Other optional activities include bush camping, camel-back safaris, horseback riding at nearby Borana Ranch and even paragliding.

Return to amazing home cooked food and perhaps a little rest by the pool.  It will be hot – though the camp is beautifully cooled by natural breezes. This is a great place to take some time to just be, and to relish the peace and the beauty of this amazing spot that time has forgotten.

For Martin, Antonia and the Mokogodo Maasai, running Tassia is not a job its a way of life and as such the lodge supports numerous community projects including women's groups, soil and tree preservation, a bird of prey sanctuary and the "buy a brick" and metal bomas projects.

Overnights at TASSIA LODGE. Includes: All meals daily, drinks other than premium wines or spirits, game drives and walks, village visit.

For more information email [email protected]

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Jamie Mehrotra