Travel Review: Nature and history converge at Elsamere

Elsamere rooms
Elsamere rooms

Elsamere Lodge is a small lake retreat with a long history.

Situated on the shores of Lake Naivasha, Elsamere was the home of the conservationists George and Joy Adamson. They became famous for hand-raising and releasing an orphaned lion cub called Elsa, featured in the book and film

Born Free.

The main building of Elsamere, which was the Adamsons’ home, now feels a little dated. Still, it has a cosy ambience and contains many of the Adamsons’ original pieces of furniture, as well as reprints of some of Joy’s botanical and cultural paintings. George Adamson’s Land Rover, called The Nightingale, sits in the backyard.

A fireplace takes up one wall of the sitting room. An adjacent room is the museum that houses an interesting collection of memorabilia, photos and personal items that belonged to George and Joy.

The rooms are in cottages. They are not elaborate and the bathrooms could use an upgrade, but they are clean and contain all the amenities you need.

Meals are not extravagant, but fresh and with plenty of food. In the mornings, they serve an English breakfast spread with eggs made to order. Sometimes they will arrange a barbecue dinner outdoors served by friendly staff.

Next to the lodge is the Centre for Education in Sustainability, where visitors learn about local conservation. From the lodge you take a packed lunch and go visit Crater Lake, Hell’s Gate National Park, Lake Oloiden, Crater Lake and Crescent Island Game Sanctuary.

Alternatively, it is nice to enjoy the lake views from the garden under large, yellow bark acacia trees, the sound of fish eagles ringing through the air. One afternoon, we watched a movie on the life of the Adamsons.

A troop of colobus monkeys that live at the lodge was brought here by Joy.

Occasionally giraffe, zebra and impala stroll through the gardens, while kingfishers and other birds flutter near the water. In the evenings, hippos sometimes come to graze on the grass. You can book an afternoon visit to Elsamere that includes tea and snacks served in the garden, and they also take dinner reservations.


Moi South Lake Road, Nakuru county


+254 ( 0 )50 2021055, +254 ( 0 )722 648123; [email protected]


Two-hour drive on Nairobi-Nakuru highway/A104