The Ark Lodge

The Ark Lodge

3rd Floor Vision Towers, Muthithi Road Central Reservations Office, Aberdare National Park 00100 Kenya
Traveller (1019)
One of the many observation decks
Room & Suite (140)
The Dining Room
Dining (30)
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About

4.0
#1 of 4 hotels in Aberdare National Park
4.6 of 5 bubbles
Location
4.3 of 5 bubbles
Cleanliness
4.3 of 5 bubbles
Service
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Value
Tripadvisor gives a Travellers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travellers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.
Set in the heart of the Aberdare National Park, iconic and yes, quirky, The Ark overlooks a floodlit waterhole and salt lick, which attracts a host of awesome wildlife. Resembling and named after Noah’s Ark, The Ark comprises of three decks from which numerous balconies and lounges provide a superb location for wildlife to be seen. The Ark has four viewing areas for observing the ever-present animal activity. There is also a ground level bunker – the perfect hideout for the discerning photographer. This is a circular pillbox-like structure, and it is from this vantage point that pictures of animals on the salt lick only yards away may be taken through the view holes in complete safety. As Monty Brown describes in his book, “Haven Under the Hill”:
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Property amenities
Free internet
Public wifi
Restaurant
Breakfast available
Baggage storage
Gift shop
Non-smoking hotel
Shared lounge / TV area
Breakfast buffet
Room features
Housekeeping
Wake-up service / alarm clock
Complimentary toiletries
Room types
Non-smoking rooms
Family rooms
Good to know
HOTEL CLASS
Star ratings are intended to indicate the general level of features, amenities, and services to expect. This property is classified according to Giata.
4.0 of 5 stars
HOTEL STYLE
Quaint
Park View

Location

3rd Floor Vision Towers, Muthithi Road Central Reservations Office, Aberdare National Park 00100 Kenya
Getting there
Nanyuki Airport
40.8 km
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Jomo Kenyatta Intl Airport
108.5 km
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1 Attraction
within 10 kilometers
742Reviews16Q+A100Room tips
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Detailed Reviews
mitchell0417 wrote a review Feb 2022
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
4.0 of 5 bubbles
I have long wanted to visit the Ark and was so happy we could include it in our trip.

Lunch at the Aberdare Country Club prior to departure to the lodge was wonderful with the views of the lovely gardens and out across the valley adding greatly to the overall experience.

The short trip into the park and up to the Lodge really gave a great sense of the world we were entering with thick bush and little paths winding into it. The stop to view the Lodge from the road also really added to the sense of arrival to our spot in this magical place.

The lodge is exactly as i expected. The rooms were small but very comfortable and more than adequate. BE WARNED though it is not a joke when they say to pack a small overnight bag and take only the essentials as there really is no room for large bags. We had a chuckle as an American group were discussing how they had to stow their bags in the shower and were not sure how to use the bathroom when it full of bags.

The viewing from the decks was very civilised and we watched as Hyena and buffalo circled the lake and the marsh in the clearing in front of the hotel. We watched an elephant from close quarters form the "open air" viewing hide at ground level and saw a lovely little genet from the comfortable of our seats while finishing our wine from dinner. Really lovely.

The rooms have buzzers that can be turned on or off depending on whether you want to be woken in the night to see the new arrivals at the water hole. Which we used but it was a quiet night so we were actually happy to have been able to have full and undisturbed nights sleep.

I would recommend the hotel invest in some mosquito nets as although the staff were keen to say that there were no mosquitos at the Ark I can confirm categorically that there are.

That said a true bucket list item that lived up to expectations.
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Date of stay: February 2022
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
4.0 of 5 bubblesService
3.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Room Tip: Rooms are very small take essentials only and leave the rest in the Aberdare Country Club as...
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Nicola D wrote a review Apr 2023
Dublin, Ireland
4.0 of 5 bubbles
We arrived at the Ark to be told we had to check in at the Aberdare Country Club.. which from reading reviews I was aware of but our driver wasn't. We arrived at the Country Club before 11.30am and lunch wasn't served until 12.45pm with the drive to the Ark or the game drive commencing at 2pm. The Country Club itself has lovely views although seems to be stuck in time. The swimming pool is quite small and the tennis court are quite dilapidated. The kiddy play area could also do with some modernisation
On the plus the club has deer and peacocks roaming around and birds constantly chirping in the trees which adds a nice ambience. The food was mediocre.. if you're fussy you'll really struggle.. even the rice wasn't plain. The plus side.. the club has free wifi

The Ark:
• Staff are exceptionally friendly and helpful.
• Tea and coffee is laid out complimentary. from the moment you arrive and available throughout your stay no matter what time.
• Dinner was nice with a good selection.
• Viewing areas are great however we didn't see much bar some Buffalo.
• The 'captain' was very knowledgeable about the park and animals and sat at the fire telling us about it's history.
• There are Viewing areas on all 4 levels of The Ark so plenty of space to see the action.
• They turn down your bed during dinner and place a hot water bottle inside which was a nice touch.
• Outlets in the bedrooms were at the head of the bed behind our pillows.. not a great place there are some in the communal areas also.
• The rooms are basic but I felt my room was plenty big (A deck) with a small ensuite including shower and towels provided.
• A bottle of water per person is also left in the room.
• Bathrobes were also provided for them late night dashes to the viewing areas not that we had any bells during our stay.
• Overall, I was impressed with The Ark and the facilities on board.
• There is wifi in the main common area but we couldn't access this from our room.
• There were only approx 26 participants on our night and I felt that was actually enough.. with more people I'd say it could get crowded very easily. Was an interesting experience however for the price we could have done a full day game view in the Massai.. game viewing in Aberdare is extremely limited and just not worth it. I don't feel this is a must stop but pleasant if you choose to go.
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Date of stay: March 2023Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Robert M wrote a review Jul 2022
3.0 of 5 bubbles
We had a long road trip from the Amboseli National Park in southern Kenya to the Ark at Aberdare which including lunch consumed the better part of 12 hours. Needless to say we were tired but looking forward to the idyllic lodging advertised for this place. We were to be disappointed. Firstly you have to catch a shuttle bus from the Country Club to the Ark which takes about 35 minutes on a loud rattling bus that I know was at least 20 years old. To say the lodge is dated is an understatement. The furnishings and decor were straight out of a 1980's church camp theme. The door to your room closes with a latch and if you want to lock it, you have to use the deadbolt which doesn't quite fit the door frame so you have to use quite a bit of effort to get it to work. The bedding is about what one would expect from a budget hotel in the US and the size of the room itself is what I would call "extremely cozy". Food is served in the dining hall buffet style and the evening we were there was quite crowded. Long lines for lukewarm food. The waitress we were assigned was having a bad day, week or year and seemed rather annoyed that we were even there let alone asking her for drinks. The wildlife viewing rooms and the balcony over the water hole were great and we had a nice time watching the elephants and buffalo stop by. We were even treated to a Civet Cat consuming an egg that the staff had put out on the steps for just such a purpose. Breakfast the next morning was another chaotic scene of crowding and then we were all packed off to the shuttles for the ride back to the country club. Bottom line, if you have one night of your trip to fill - find somewhere else or add another night to one of your other destinations. Not worth the effort to stay here.
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Date of stay: June 2022
2.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
3.0 of 5 bubblesService
3.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Pam T wrote a review Mar 2020
Las Vegas, Nevada
5.0 of 5 bubbles
we only stayed one night but it was a pleasant respite from our busy safari schedule. Rooms are small but we were warned of this. It didn't matter as staying in the room was not why we came. You can view the animals on three decks, two with glass and one open. They say that they buzz you in the middle of the night , one for elephant , three buzzes for leopard, etc. and you can turn off this feature if you don't want to be disturbed. We were never buzzed , even for elephants, which was fine because there were plenty of elephants, caped buffalo, hyena, warthogs and bush buck during the daylight hours. video opportunities are high as you get to see animals in their natural habitat instead of the rushed atmosphere of a jeep safari. The buffets were nice but the food was average. The lack of a reception desk was a little disconcerting but there was always someone around that could help you. The lecture given the evening we were there was awesome in a comfortable cabin type setting and with a glass of wine,,we were happy.
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Date of stay: March 2020
3.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
4.0 of 5 bubblesService
4.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Room Tip: ask if your room is toward the front of the ark so you can look out your window at the action.
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
mermaid1981 wrote a review Feb 2021
Nairobi, Kenya
4.0 of 5 bubbles
It takes you about 3 hrs drive from Nairobi by car. The location is great, surrounded by pure nature, away from everything. The cottage is designed like a boat(Noahs Ark), meaning its standing on wooden pillars partially and has long halls and very small rooms. There are several very good parts of the lodge for observing animals, especially the ones coming to the waterhole, which is located directly in front.
The check in is a bit annoying, since you have to check in at the km away Aberdare Country club, and normally leave the vehicle there too .The hotels are connected, but unfortunately due to lack of the information at our booking we lost 2 hrs just getting the different tickets to get to The Ark.
There is practically no staff at At the Ark, just a security that will show you your room and the restaurant staff- i cannot say the that you really feel welcome. Its more a doomsday welcome.
The food was an average, the restaurant staff nice, but certainly way too much glued to their mobile phones watching loud videos or playing music while the guests are close or eating.
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Date of stay: February 2021
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
3.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
2739emma wrote a review Nov 2021
Inverness, United Kingdom
5.0 of 5 bubbles
We stayed at The Ark on the first night of our trip. The drive to the Ark was exciting and our first glimpse of the building had elephants and buffalo drinking from the waterhole.

There are COVID protocols in place, temperature checks and sanitising stations.

Our only disappointment was the guests we had to share with. They had little or no respect for others or the animals.

Video calls on the decking, showing off to friends/family at home. Problem was the animals don’t like the noise so kept moving further away. Although there were a couple of signs asking people not to make noise they were ignored and none of the staff intervened.

Our best time was when the rowdy guests were eating, we escaped to the hide and watched the elephants.

Highly recommend having a look at the bird feeding, we were surprised by how many animals appeared to share the bird’s fruit.
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Date of stay: November 2021Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Jeaninn A wrote a review Jul 2021
Maryland
3.0 of 5 bubbles
I liked The Ark! I even liked the Aberdare Country Club which is the starting place. So I arrived at the country club a little early, I believe around 11:30 am so I toured the grounds before lunch was served. Luckily when I arrived, there weren't many people. Lunch was then served which was delicious. More people started to arrive and have lunch as well. After lunch, it was time to board the bus to be brought to The Ark. I was told by a couple I met that you could horseback ride on the country club grounds with the giraffes! So I did and it was the best experience ever! And I did it on my birthday which was the best! I loved the country club and the staff there were so friendly and nice and accommodating. I was the last to leave the country club since I stayed to horseback ride with the giraffes so it was just me and the driver, which was nice. Once I got to The Ark, I was showed to my room. The rooms were tiny lol very much like a dorm but maybe a bit smaller. Thank goodness I came by myself lol but I loved the experience! Cute little bathroom that had hot water. This hotel is cold cold cold cold cold! Abadere is cold or maybe it's just cold in July but it was freezing cold. They did put a hot water bottle in my bed which was so wonderful. I only saw an elephant and hyena and a few birds but not too much action. The Ark is very lovely though. Beautiful furniture and lots of rooms where you can view the animals. I'm happy there weren't too many people because it was nice to sit out on the viewing decks and not be disturbed by talking. The food was sooo good here! Very delicious! The staff were so kind to me which really made this experience the best. Not too many solo female black Americans come all the way to Abadere and they were nothing short of loving towards me. I love them! I recommend The Ark hotel for the staff and the views and the food and the experience. It's one of a kind. And riding horses with the giraffes at the country club was the best experience of my life! I love giraffes! I recommend this place.
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Date of stay: July 2021
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
4.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Room Tip: the room walls are thin lol I'm sure people heard my phone conversations but it was a great...
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
willgo79 wrote a review Jan 2021
Exeter, United Kingdom
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I had read the reviews about children running wild and crowding and was a little worried. However, travelling during the pandemic meant that only 3 (of about 70) rooms were occupied the night we stayed. This meant we pretty much had the run of the place. We could go downstairs to the hide for an eye-to-eye look at the elephants, go up to the terrace for a birds eye view of the herd or just lounge around the bar. I reckon this must be what it must be like being royalty, having a hotel cleared for (almost) our personal use!

The food was also excellent, lunch was at Aberdare Country club with dinner and breakfast at the lodge. The lamb I had for dinner was excellent and could have been served in any restaurant anywhere in the world.

Only slight downside was the rooms are a little small. But for a single night they are fine.
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Date of stay: January 2021
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Room Tip: Rooms are much the same, the best views are from the communal areas
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
ankeet_sinha wrote a review Mar 2022
Nairobi, Kenya
+1
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Wonderful experience and very different from normal hotels. No reception and a direct checkin to the rooms

It has three viewing decks and the rooms are small like a ship cabin.

The service seemed to be better than the aberdare country club.

Can stay for a night only and to be avoided if one is claustrophobic.
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Date of stay: March 2022Trip type: Travelled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Emily M wrote a review Nov 2021
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
4.0 of 5 bubbles
While not luxurious, this was a really fun part of our trip because it was so unique. The stone room at ground level is an amazing way to see the animals up close. We enjoyed the activities offered by the staff -- including a talk about the park and feeding the birds.

Pros: good food, very friendly staff, fantastic view of sunrise next to Mt. Kenya (it's worth it to get up early to watch the sunrise!), exciting to see the animals up close, a triple room with three twin beds was a great accommodation for us.

Cons: lighting in our bathroom was very dark. There wasn't an option to eat outside (which could be an issue for some people depending on their covid precautions) mask wearing wasn't enforced indoors in tight quarters common spaces.

I'm so glad we visited The Ark and highly recommend it. But I can't imagine spending more than one night here.
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Date of stay: November 2021
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
jantoby1 asked a question Jun 2024
Chigwell, England424 contributions52 helpful votes
Do they take credit cards in the gift shop? Trying to work out if I need to take any currency.
Answer from Michael F
Birmingham, United Kingdom307 contributions401 helpful votes
Can’t recall there being a gift shop tbh. I think you could settle bills on card but the WiFi was often patchy and sometimes the card machines didn’t work. We took currency and paid for everything in cash
jantoby1 asked a question Apr 2024
Chigwell, England424 contributions52 helpful votes
Do the rooms have a hairdryer?
Answer from Michael F
Birmingham, United Kingdom307 contributions401 helpful votes
No , the rooms are very small and basic.
mcquaim asked a question Aug 2018
Monaghan, Ireland57 contributions20 helpful votes
Hi there, Do you have mosquito nets over the beds? Thanks, Mac
Answer from phillipg196
Bengaluru, India630 contributions45 helpful votes
No - mosquito nets are not provided at the ARK but, there were no mosquitoes buzzing around us.
Megan W wrote a tip Feb 2024
Somerset, United States274 contributions22 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Don't forget to sit outside at night"
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Culture32887104381 wrote a tip Dec 2023
3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Definitely do a day safari around the Aberdares National Park. It was deserted apart from us and the animals."
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B M wrote a tip Nov 2023
25 contributions2 helpful votes
3.0 of 5 bubbles
"Definitely have an 'Open Mind' when seeing your room"
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Nadunshi Maladeniya wrote a tip Nov 2023
Nairobi, Kenya190 contributions5 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Do early reservation to avoid any disappointments "
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GlobeTrotting28663 wrote a tip Oct 2023
Vevey, Switzerland8 contributions1 helpful vote
1.0 of 5 bubbles
"If you can, just visit for the animals around but look for another place to stay overnight "
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Not the right property for you?
There are more places to choose from in the Aberdare National Park area.
PRICE RANGE
R 3,917 - R 5,108 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
ALSO KNOWN AS
the ark hotel aberdare national park, ark aberdare national park, ark hotel aberdare national park
LOCATION
KenyaCentral ProvinceAberdare National Park
NUMBER OF ROOMS
60
Prices are provided by our partners, and reflect average nightly room rates, including taxes and fees that are fixed, known to our partners, and due at time of booking. Please see our partners for more details.
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THE ARK LODGE - Hotel Reviews & Price Comparison (Aberdare National Park, Kenya)

Frequently Asked Questions about The Ark Lodge
Which popular attractions are close to The Ark Lodge?
Nearby attractions include Kereita Cave and Waterfall (3.9 km).
What are some of the property amenities at The Ark Lodge?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include an on-site restaurant, breakfast buffet, and free internet access.
What food & drink options are available at The Ark Lodge?
Guests can enjoy an on-site restaurant and breakfast during their stay.
Does The Ark Lodge have any great views?
Yes, guests often enjoy the mountain view available here.
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