The Sleeping Warrior Lodge is situated in private Soysambu Conservancy which is 19,433-hectares (48,000-acres) 140km from Nairobi, 27km from Nakuru. Featuring volcanic hills, rolling plains, and dense acacia woodlands, the Conservancy also includes a substantial part of Lake Elmentaita. This lake is placed right between Naivasha and Nakuru and fluctuates seasonally between 19 km² and 22 km². When the water is not that high it is all pink of thousands of Flamingos.
Within the shelter of the crater, wander Rothschild Giraffes, Buffaloes, Leopards, Hyenas, Jackals, Elands, Zebras, Impalas, Thompson’s and Grant’s Gazelles, Defassa Waterbucks, Reedbucks, Warthogs, Steinboks, Klipspringers and Colobus Monkeys.
It took us about 3 hours to get there, though one must prepare for a real off-road drive that you would need a 4x4 car. I am not sure if a beginner driver can manage it since there are really rough parts of the roads. Fortunately these parts are only 10% of the whole distance, though it was the worst road that we have ever driven in Kenya.
So when we reached the entrance of the park I felt relief. However it was very early to relax. You will need more 30 minute drive to the Lodge itself, so you can call it a mini game drive as you will enjoy lush greenery, numerous animals, and beautiful scenery.
World Heritage Status
The Kenya Lake System of the Great Rift Valley was added to The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s World Heritage List in 2011. The citation reads;
‘The Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley (Kenya), a natural property of outstanding beauty was the first to be added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List during the current Committee session. It comprises three inter-linked relatively shallow lakes (Lake Bogoria, Lake Nakuru and Lake Elmentaita) in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya and covers a total area of 32,034 hectares. The property is home to 13 globally threatened bird species and some of the highest bird diversities in the world. It is the single most important foraging site for the lesser flamingo anywhere, and a major nesting and breeding ground for great white pelicans. The property features sizeable mammal populations, including black rhino, Rothschild’s giraffe, greater kudu, lion, cheetah and wild dogs and is valuable for the study of ecological processes of major importance’.
There are 8 separate huge cottages with their own balconies/terraces all decorated beautifully. Each room has its own colour scheme and has been named after the fabulous birds that flit around the individual gardens that surround each cottage. Ours was called a Yellow Bishop. Big lodges are fully furnished, they are perfectly designed and highly convenient. There are plenty of hot water and security all around so they are comfortable and safe. From the lodges one can enjoy amazing view of the crater and the Sleeping Warrior Mountain and other unique Rift Valley landscape features, Lake Elementeita can also be seen in the distance.
The place is family oriented and privacy is the the main distinguishing thing here. Every lodge has its own parking spot for a car.
We walked around to see the grounds and the pool was gorgeous, with another great view. I also loved Zanzibar-styled reception area which is open to the dining area. The restaurant also has a huge welcoming baronial fireplace and sofas. Beyond the dining room lies The Warrior Bar.
Meals follow a set menu, which typically features three courses and a choice of vegetarian options. As for us the food was really delicious. The service was quick and friendly.
The lodge also features an outdoor terrace with fire pit (that was lit in the afternoon), safari seating and a safari bar.
Just after lunch we went hiking to the nearest hill just next to our lodge. We spent not more than 30 minutes and it can be easily done by everyone, including kids and elderly people. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes and clothes. On the top you will enjoy the great view of the area, reaching Lake Nakuru, Lake Elementeita and The Great Rift Valley.
The best thing about this mini hike is that it can be done upon your request for free.
After our mini hike we stayed in the lodge due to the rain and waited for the dinner. We did not want to take the guide to make a game drive in the park during the rain. Notice, that only guided game drives are allowed inside the park.
The dinner by the fireplace was not only very romantic but also very delicious.
Jaqueline and Jean-Francois Damon Founders, owners and managers of The Sleeping Warrior Eco Lodge and Tented Camp come and greet their visitors and they have a table just beside them.
When you are ready to walk from the restaurant to your room at night (impossible without 2 Massai warriors company) the chance that you meet a Buffalo on your way is very high. Also remember that it is not allowed to wander around your lodge at night at all, kids are not allowed to play far from the lodge.
Next morning we climbed to take a closer look at the Sleeping Warrior Mountain. We were given 2 guides: the first one was a scout and he went ahead of us to make sure that the way is clear from all possible animals and especially buffaloes, and the second guide explained the heritage of the Masai and the initiation of young warriors in this crater. He also told us the legend why is the mountain called The Sleeping Warrior.
If you option for this hike among other activities in the Conservancy, you will also have a nice but short game drive on your way from the Lodge to The Sleeping Warrior and on your way back.
To sum up our stay in The Sleeping Warrior Lodge was marvelous and unforgettable. It is a wonderful place that I would love to come back some time in the future. Among all nice things that we appreciated was the sunrise that one can appreciate just from the terrace of his lodge with a cup of a hot coffee or tea.
If you decide to come to The Sleeping Warrior Lodge here are my tips:
- do not underestimate bad roads toward the Conservancy. Make sure your car is in the best possible condition.
- Guests are required to pay a contribution towards the upkeep of the private Soysambu Conservancy.
Price per person per day: Non-Resident (adult) $40 (child $20 and student $20).
East African Resident (adult) Kshs 1,000 (child Kshs 500 and student Kshs 100).
- One could easily do a couple of nights at the lodge, including drives to Lake Elmentaita, Lake Bogoria and Lake Nakuru National Park, and a hike up Sleeping Warrior itself.
- Lodge is family and kids friendly place, offering baby-sitting services and a range of children’s activities that include; guided nature walks, an orchid trail, bush breakfasts, visits to Lake Elmenteita, visits to Lake Nakuru, Bush craft and tracking lessons, Learning from the Maasai, specially tailored school visits or weekends, local community visits.
- Bring warm and comfortable clothes and shoewear for hiking.