Il Ngwesi Lodge


Rustic, community owned eco-lodge

Constructed entirely out of local materials, the award-winning Il Ngwesi Lodge is perched on the edge of the Mararoi hills close to the Ngare Ndare river in Laikipia, Kenya, with breath-taking views towards Samburu as far as the eye can see.

Six spacious rooms accommodating two to four people, either tucked away with views up the valley, adjoined to another by rope bridge for families, or overlooking the water hole. All are designed in an ‘open to the bush’ style with opportunities for viewing wildlife, and two have extended verandas for visitors who wish to sleep under the stars in large four poster star beds.

The main house (Il Laikipiak Hall) offers spectacular views to the north and east as well as down to the water hole while the swimming pool area overlooks the valley and provides an excellent spot to relax in during the day. The water hole attracts a wide variety of birds and animals daily and is the life blood for wildlife in this semi-arid part of Kenya. A hide tucked down the hillside in front of the lodge allows visitors to get closer to the water hole and enjoy the bush in utter peace and quiet.


At a glance

  • Six rooms

  • Restaurant

  • Outdoor showers

  • Swimming pool

Il Ngwesi Laikipia star bed1


  • Il Ngwesi Laikipia game drive

    Game drives

    Head out on morning or night game drives with experienced local guides ensure guests have the best possible chance of seeing the wide variety of wildlife this conservancy has to offer.

  • Il Ngwesi Laikipia Walking

    Walking safari

    Take a walking safari with a Masai guide and an armed ranger – you can climb, or part-climb, the Mukogodo Escarpment for some amazing views and sightings of plains game.

  • Il Ngwesi Laikipia bird watching

    Bird watching

    Birdwatching is superb both in camp and on hikes in the surrounding forests and escarpments (more than 350 species have been recorded).

Community & Culture

Il Ngwesi supports numerous health and education projects, and a partnership with VSO Jitolee (funded by the European Commission) has helped local women to market their beadwork both locally and nationally. The six Maasai villages surrounding Il Ngwesi have benefited hugely from the lodge’s presence, and donations from guests have helped fund university degrees for local schoolchildren. The ‘Days for Girls’ programme (in partnership with the Kenya Health Care Initiative) has empowered young women by teaching them how to produce and distribute sanitary packs.


Il Ngwesi has the proud distinction to be the only community owned and operated rhino sanctuary in Kenya, and possibly the world. As a measure and a testament to the successful conservation efforts of the community, the black rhino has been reintroduced to the conservancy. The conservancy spans 16,500 acres and Il Ngwesi has 18 armed rangers to ensure the reintroduced wildlife – white rhino, grevy zebra, and african wild dog are among those who have returned alongside the black rhino – stay protected from poachers.


Il Ngwesi is big on sustainability. The solar-powered eco-lodge has been built by the local community using local materials, and directly benefits the Laipikiak Maasai who live in harmony with this precious land. The Lodge’s design aligns with the Laikipia Tourism Association’s goal to make Laikipia the most sustainable tourism destination in East Africa.

What makes us different

Why Niarra

Niarra Travel is a forward-thinking travel company headquartered in London born out of a passion to do things differently.

In Swahili, a Bantu language spoken by millions in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa, the name Niara means "with utmost purpose" and our team are united by a passion for exploration and a belief that the right kind of travel can make the world a better place.

Our Travel Researchers are here to create incredible trips with a positive impact for you.

  • Unforgettable experiences

    Creating your trip is entirely collaborative and our Travel Researchers are here for every step.

  • Positive impact

    Curated sustainable experiences and accommodation that maximize the benefits to local people and place.

  • Fairness and transparency

    An open, competitive pricing structure that ensures more money goes to where it's needed in the destination.

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