Walking into the lobby after a long day of game driving, to an amazing view of the Nguila Hills, is breathtaking. The welcoming arrival at Rhino Valley Lodge was lukewarm, with one shining exception. We arrived just in time for lunch and to check-in for one night. Lunch was served at the table and check-in was completed after lunch. We were then escorted to our rooms by 2 Maasai tribe members.
Our game drive schedule for Tsavo was designed to maximize being out on the savannah. The quick and streamlined check-in, coordinated with lunch, was cool. After lunch, we went out for our second game drive, until dusk, before returning to the lodge for dinner. Dinner was served buffet style. The food selection was limited and not very memorable.
Random Travel Story: The sole of one of my sandals decided to come apart during the morning game drive. So, I walked into this beautiful setting with the sole of my shoe flapping. Not my proudest fashion moment! Talk about a serious vibe killer. This area is mountainous and can easily carry an echo…Not cool with a shoe sole flapping, lol.
The energy and moment was regifted by one of the ladies that worked at the lodge. She saw my shoe situation and offered to repair my shoe. I had a spare pair of shoes in my suitcase that I could have worn, but she offered a pair of flip flops to wear while she repaired my shoe. Later that evening, this wonderful woman returned my repaired shoe and refused my offer to pay her for her services. I expressed my gratitude, as she obviously did this out of the kindness of her heart. Later, I was informed that she also tends to the rooms. I decided to surprise her with a tip and thank you aromatherapy candle, which was left for her in our room. Her energy and help was sincerely appreciated.
There are a few things we wish we knew regarding this lodge prior to selecting it. This quickly became an unexpected, unplugged, roughing it in the wilderness experience. The Rhino Valley Lodge limits the use of its electricity, and has no electric fence for protection. The electricity was scheduled to be available from 5am-8am and 6pm-10pm daily. As explained earlier, we arrived just in time for lunch which meant we were unable to charge any devices. There is also no WiFi available anywhere on the premises. The phones signals do not work. Reality is setting in, as we are unplugged, and deep in the Tsavo wilderness.
The beauty of the view from the lobby, and lobby decor were misleading compared to our room accommodations.
We were informed a Maasai would walk us to and from our room for safety. This is not required during the day. However, it is best to stay in your rooms during the early morning hours and after nightfall unless escorted by a guide. Wildlife, including hyenas, roaming the valley can wonder on the lodge grounds. After nightfall, the area becomes pitch black and there are no lights or security fences. Only basic wooden lodge shelters, stars, wind, and the unforgiving African safari wilderness.
The room we were assigned was not very far from the lobby area, and about midway toward the front entry to the premises.
After traveling in a van on rocky terrain, being engulfed by red dust for hours, we were in the mindset of the cool camp accommodations we received at our previous camp. We were not ready for the meh conditions and accommodations of our room at The Rhino Valley Lodge.
The decor is not very appealing; you can review the pictures and form your own opinion. The room is similar to a log hut with a opening covered with a partially torn screen. There are a lot of small critters and lizards living in the environment. The protection from the small critters is minimal, due to the large holes in the screen and patchy insulation. It definitely provides a feeling of camping on the wilderness if that’s what you are going for.
Once the power is off, darkness surrounds you. The wilderness takes center stage with its musical. The wind at night has high gust thru the valley. The gust are followed by silence then grasshopper type melodies. Owls and night predators can be heard in the sky. Eventually growls enter into the wilderness symphony. It is truly crazy to hear some animal powerful enough to growl so loud it sounds within feet of your window. And you have no real idea of where the animal really is; only that you hope it never comes through that window. The growls are followed by high pitched laughs of hyenas communicating. The wind then takes center stage with really powerful gust sweeping thru the valley. Sounds of a windstorm soothe my nerves, blew away my fears. Once the wind calmed there was silence. Sleep for me, stealth for them.
Sunrise was welcomed and stunning to witness. Morning meditation is truly amazing having such a wonderful view. This space provides awesome direct access to the abundance of prana on the valley. The silver lining of the window screen is that it unzips for full access to the outdoors. This scene can be taken in its entirety, not thru the glass of a window. This air was soul fulfilling and rich with nourishing vibration. Deep breathing in this space was enriching and rejuvenating. Awaking after unplugging, and experiencing a different type of fear is a growth lesson. Being subject to the wilderness removes false senses of security. Acceptance that elements cannot be controlled, and something more powerful than you always exists.
The room accommodations at the Rhino Valley Lodge were modest to say the least. I would say this is the closest we have come to “roughing it” while on a trip. Humbly staying in line with the authenticity of the unplugged wilderness experience. Simple needs and requests, such as toilet paper, were not met. This could really take a humbling experience, back to just to a bad hotel lodge, lol.
We, fortunately, travel with basic necessities such as wipes to avoid to much inconvenience. It is a good idea to keep a basic needs kit in your suitcase when traveling. The Rhino Valley Lodge states it offers hot water to shower. The hot water is very limited; it requires the cold water to drain in the shower bucket for a while. It was a quick and unique showering experience; nice addition to the roughing it experience.
Travel tip: It is a good idea to travel with your own toiletries, hand and butt wipes, and emergency first aid kit.
If you are seeking a minimal accommodation wilderness lodge experience with awesome views, the Rhino Valley Lodge located in Tsavo National Park may be a place of interest for you.
Thanks for reading. We continue our safari journey through Tsavo to the Diani Beach coast. With more beautiful wildlife sightings and Circle of Life experiences to share.
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