Field Study Centre is fantastic, with nice grounds right next to the lake. They
feed the birds and colobus monkeys so it is a good place to relax in the
gardens and watch the wildlife. There are also hippos on the lawn close to the
rooms, at night!
The whole place is run with a focus on the conservation work started by the Adamson family, with a museum and room you can watch related films in.
There is a somewhat
colonial feel to the place in terms of the way staff dress, the decor and
dining "family style" with other guests in a big old-fashioned dining
room. It took us a bit of time to break down the rather formal approach of the
very hard-working staff; but in the end they seemed more relaxed.
We loved that they have a museum with a lot of Joy and George’s belongings, and they show a fascinating documentary film that includes interviews with both of them.
The Elsamere property is very pretty – large green lawn with the main house and several cottages on it – but the style is a bit run-down and feels like it’s stuck in the 1970s.
Still, we thought it was a great place to stay – as long as you aren’t expecting a 5 star fancy hotel. It feels more like staying in someone’s guest house. The main house has 1 guest room in it and 1 attached to it, then on one side there are 2 more guest cottages and on the other there are 6 cottages in duplex buildings.
We stayed in #8. Each has a small terrace and a view of the lake. Our room had 1 double bed and 2 single beds and a full bath.
The bathroom was outdated but functional. However, there isn’t much to see of the lake at the moment – we were surprised and a little disappointed that in fact most of the water near the property is overgrown and is more like marshland now.
In fact, you cannot use the Elsamere boats to go out onto the lake since they can’t get through the overgrowth.
Still, it’s a lovely setting. Meals were plentiful and tasty and served in the main house.
“Full Board” includes the snacks at tea time, which was nice. Drinks are not included in the price, but there is drinking water available from a dispenser for free.
We enjoyed sitting out in the lawn playing cards, reading, watching the birds and the black/white colobus monkeys (though we only saw 2 when we were there).
We wanted to go on a boat ride so the staff at Elsamere arranged for one of their guides to go with us to the connecting lake (Lake Oloiden, I think), about a 10 minute drive down the road, where we went on a nice boat ride and saw thousands of “lesser” pink flamingos (apparently they’ve moved from Lake Nakuru to this lake, so we were lucky!).
We also went to nearby Hell’s Gate national park and enjoyed a 2.5 hour guided hike through the gorge.
The neatest thing about our stay at Elsamere was that during the night we were awoken by the sound of hippos ripping up the lawn outside our window – they come up out of the lake at night to eat and they graze the whole night.
It was amazing to be so (safely) close to such large, dangerous animals, and to watch and hear them eating.
One night a giraffe was grazing outside our window too. And people in the cottages on the other side had zebras grazing nearby. so it wasn’t a problem – rather, we thought it made staying at Elsamere even more special.