If you want to feel like you are one with wildlife and nature but don't want to travel too far from Nairobi CBD, Masai Lodge is a beautiful surprise that falls squarely within the current pandemic travel restrictions in Kenya.
Masai lodge entrance
Overlooking the Nairobi National Park, the drive to Masai Lodge will surely yield a few sightings of one of the Big Five, if you're lucky. On our drive over, we saw plenty of baboons and a couple of buffaloes grazing just outside the lodge.
I'm the kind of traveller who likes to be immersed in my surroundings when I travel - I want to see, sense, smell, touch and taste things that are different from my day-to-day. Masai Lodge definitely conjures the feeling of immersion and oneness with nature.
View from our room
The room designs are inspired by the traditional Maasai manyatta
and therefore retain heat. In the warmer months, it's advisable to call ahead and reserve one of the rooms with split cycle air conditioning (not all of the rooms have this feature), or be mentally prepared to be warmer than usual.
Our room had a fan in it though, which worked perfectly to cool down the room when it was a tad too warm.
Masai Lodge Reception
The staff were extremely friendly, professional and helpful. I love it when the people match the vibes.
Masai lodge Pool
Obscured by majestic plants and trees a few levels down from the reception is an open secret - the Masai Lodge lap pool, accessible through winding stairs. Given its size, it's hard to imagine that it can't be seen from the higher levels, which gives the illusion of utter privacy - as if a pool appeared mysteriously amidst a rainforest.
The original plan was to stay there one night, but having sat on the balcony in our room and witnessed a giraffe take a leisurely stroll in the not-too-far distance, it only made sense to extend our stay.
Fish fingers and chips
My favourite dish throughout our stay was the fish fingers and chips. A simple meal that I ordered from the kid's menu with low expectations - we all know kid's menu items are not the most mind-blowing meals. However, I was thoroughly impressed by the freshness of both the fish and the chips, specifically the precision that had gone into the preparation of the fish fingers. So we gladly ignored the fact that the fish fingers were not shaped like fingers.
Diablo burger with chips
My companion had the Diablo beef burger which was really juicy and tasty. For dinner, we ordered pork ribs and lentils with chapati.
Lentils with chapati
Pork 'ribs' with rice
The pork ribs were... not ribs, but tasted great as did the rice and lentils with chapati. Unfortunately, there were inconsistencies with the food during our stay - breakfast was fresh and tasty, lunch was the most enjoyable meal we had there, and their dinners were lukewarm and in some instances, cold.
I ordered the chocolate gateaux for dessert on our last night and was quite disappointed. The cake was very dry, the literal opposite of moist. If I were to hazard a guess, I'd say it had been baked many days if not weeks prior to being served. We only managed half a bite each.
Overall, I would certainly return to Masai Lodge, and we left some feedback during checkout in relation to their meals. It was a marvellous escape that made me believe I was hundreds of kilometres away from Nairobi, save for the prominent Nairobi skyline in the horizon that acted as a reality check every now and then.