Tassia Lodge

Step into a Hemingway story (but hold your fire)

Mar 1, 2003
Outside Magazine

IN THE LAST FEW YEARS, indigenous small-scale tourism has been providing an alternative to the traditional luxury safaris run by old colonialists and staffed by underpaid tribespeople. Set on a rocky bluff a bumpy six-hour drive from Nairobi, Tassia is the newest of a growing group of community-founded eco-lodges.
Owned by members of the semi-nomadic Laikipiak Masai tribe, this six-banda (bungalow) open-plan lodge, which sleeps up to 12 people, sits inside the tribe's 60,000-acre ranch, giving you access to lands that run from the Mokogodo Escarpment across massive plains to the Ngare Ndare River, along which gazelle and buffalo roam. The Laikipiak are renowned for their hospitality—the losers of Survivor Africa were sent here to lick their wounds—and their guest lodge has a laid-back, all-natural vibe: thatch roofs, wood floors, hand-carved furniture, paraffin hot-water heaters, and half walls in the bedrooms, which are designed to let cool breezes in without impeding the views of Lolokwe Mountain.

Visitors can accompany their Masai hosts on game drives to see hyenas, leopards, lions, and waterbuck. Or they can hike up to the 7,300-foot summit of neighboring Mount Lossos and paraglide back down. At the end of the day, Tassia guests usually end up wallowing like happy hippos in the lodge's stone-floored swimming pool. Contact: Let's Go Travel, Nairobi, 011-2542-4447-151 or -4441-030, www.tassiakenya.com. Cost: $360 per person per day; includes lodging, all meals (excluding alcohol), and all activities.

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