Desert Rose Lodge is a unique eco friendly lodge located at 5,500 feet above sea level on the verdant cedar forest slopes of Mt Nyiru which towers majestically above the Elbarta plains, between Karisia Mountains and Lake Turkana in North Kenya.
Desert Rose Lodge Accommodation
Desert Rose Lodge consists of five unique houses accommodating up to twelve people, two cottages with double beds, two twins and a family house. The houses are entirely secluded, which guarantees comfort and intimacy. All are hand-made and individually designed around various natural features. Each suite has its own private flush toilet and an open air en-suite bathroom with a bath. It also has its own patio.
The main lounge and a pool area have been hand crafted to blend with the indigenous gardens, landscaped to enhance the dramatic views. In the main lounge guests have at their disposal a fully stocked bar, a sitting room and a fireplace. If they wish, they can also make a bonfire outdoors in a specially prepared fire site.
Desert Rose Lodge Local Community
Desert Rose Lodge has been in close cooperation with Samburu community from its beginnings. Most of Desert Rose Lodge’s employees come from the nearest village, Waso Rongai, located at the bottom of the sacred mountain – Oldonyo Nyiru.
The lodge has been supporting community through many development initiatives. Desert Rose Lodge has already built a vital medical clinic and piped the local primary school with water.
Desert Rose Lodge Nomad Tribes
One of the most colorful African ethnic groups. Bodies and hair beautifully painted with red ochre, bead collars, meticulously crafted hairstyles, interlaced with flowers, beads, buttons, everything that’s within reach. Despite the omnipresent modernity which aggressively tries to reach every place on our planet, they are still very attached to tradition which they cherish and cultivate. When visiting Desert Rose, where they serve you coffee to bed, you can’t be closer to it.
The lords of the stony world, incredibly black, clothed in leather, decorated with scars and colorful necklaces. Every day of their life is a struggle for survival, for the water which becomes the purpose of their life.
The smallest and the least-known ethnic group in Kenya numbering about 300 people. According to some historians, the ‘pure’ El-Molo may number only forty! Shrouded in mystery and legends. Nobody knows exactly how they reached Turkana. Some say they could walk on the bottom of the lake and talk to crocodiles.
True desert nomads, for generations evolved their livelihood in symbiosis with camels. They appear suddenly like ghosts in the middle of nowhere. Aliens. Tightly covered with black cloth, they drive their camels to water holes roaming through the galaxies of hills, dunes and river beds. Absorbed in their wander, that they run away at the sight of an approaching car.
Desert Rose Lodge Fossils
Almost every stone lifted from the ground turns to be a million-year-old fossil, as if it was a sign sent to us by the ghosts of our ancestors.
Desert Rose Lodge Activities
‘There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign’– Robert Louis Stevenson
As Desert Rose Lodge is located at the foot of a Samburu holy mountain, Oldonyo Nyiru, Desert Rose Lodge have a unique opportunity to be part of the most important celebrations of the community which traditionally take place at the top of the mountain. They are inaccessible to outsiders but for Desert Rose Lodge guests Samburu people make an exception.
After more than a decade of close cooperation with Samburu community, Desert Rose Lodge have become an integral part of local life. As well as employing 30 local people, Desert Rose has built a small primary school and a vital medical clinic. The depth of Desert Rose Lodge’s bond with the community means that Desert Rose Lodge guests are always invited to local celebrations from circumcisions to colorful wedding parties, granting the guests a rare insight into Samburu life and their distinctive sense of style.
‘Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson
There are also journeys by road, either to the north to the Turkana Lake for fishing and an adventure into this rugged part of the world or towards the Ndoto Mountains for some wild rock climbing. Dinner at sunset, a visit in a Turkana and Samburu village where it’s you who would be exotic to others or the safari in search for wild animals and gems.
‘For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return’ – Leonardo da Vinci
Breathtaking views and vistas, colors and shapes that will stay with you forever.
This is a time for letting go all the trappings of our modern world…
You start the safari when the first light seeps over the horizon and the first birds begin to call. Your home is a tent or only a mosquito net hung on a tree in a river bed. You begin your day with fresh aromatic coffee served straight to your bed and finish it looking at the stars with a glass of whisky at a fireplace.
‘Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference’ – Robert Frost
The stunning landscape and interesting vegetation provides great inspiration on a variety of our abundant walks. Game in the area is shy and scattered. It is a home for genets, bushbucks, warthogs, ostriches, hyenas, jackals, cheetahs, vervet monkeys, zebras, gerenuks and soon also elephants which in the past used to live in the cedar forest of Oldonyo Nyiru and now start to migrate back to Desert Rose Lodge’s area.
Baboons and leopards are often heard close-by in the granite rock cliffs and the fig trees that abound with bird life. In very close proximity to the lodge we have an exciting natural rock slide and a perfect picnic site, a fun spot to spend the midday hours. There are a multitude of walks one can take from the lodge in the dry rugged country on the valley floor or high in the Cedar and Podo forest.
Desert Rose Lodge’s standard camel walk takes half a day or a full day but on request we can organize a multi-day safari. In this vast timeless terrain it is easy to walk with our camels for a week or more and not see any sign of a car or another non ethnic person, so you can actually feel quite lonely with the bowl of the universe as night time company.
Desert Rose Lodge Nearby Attractions
African hottest and most inaccessible valley
Available mainly from the air. But if you wish to be one of the few who got there by car we can arrange it for you. Cosmos. Sahara like dunes, tongues of black lava running down into the water, flocks of flamingos painting amazing patterns on the water surface, the explosion of pastel colors. It can’t be described in words.
The biggest desert lake in the world.
‘A gleaming surface of the lake stretching far beyond the reach of the eyesight, the deep blue, beautifully framed, suspended between the sky and the earth’, said Ludwig von Hohnel who discovered the lake in 1888, when he first saw the incredible landscape of the lake.
“The beginning of the world”. Here under the waters of the lake where the continental tectonic plates overlap, Europe, America and the rest of the continents were born.
The kingdom of stones, thousands of square kilometers of lava, the Mars scenery.
Landscape here is severe but full of sophisticated colors, as if taken straight from painter’s palette. The sinister scenery commands respect and seduces with its beauty and harmony.
Not more than 200 people a year reach this place, the real end of the world, completely off the beaten track.
“The cradle of humanity” – a place we all come from, where the first human being settled down 3 million years ago. It’s here, in an archaeological site founded by the Leakeys’ family, where the skeletons of the oldest men, Homo Erectus and Homo Habilis, were found.
The harshest place in Kenya.
Endless sun-cracked earth, sprinkled here and there with the snow-white soda. During the wet season, for a few days, it changes into a lake. When it’s dry you can drive across at 120 kph. Only ostriches and the Gabra people roaming in camel caravans remind you that you are still on the Earth.
The dawn of imagination.
Many small, generally fairly crude engravings of giraffes, antelopes, cattle, camels, people and symbols. One of the oldest and most extensive records of human thought on earth. Priceless treasures shrouded with mystery. Nor the author nor their age are certain.
At the foot of the Kulal Volcano 3 springs spurt streams of water – the gift of the Creator to the Kingdom of Stones. 3 springs within just a few meters. One with alkaline water – Turkana believe in its healing power, second with cold sweat water and the third sweet but hot.
The ground conceals the dozens of gems. Malachite, ruby, rose quarz, garnet, agate, rock crystal and tanzanite for those with a bit of luck.
Desert Rose Lodge Eco-Friendly
‘I believe in God, only I spell it Nature’ – Frank Lloyd Wright
The whole philosophy of Desert Rose is GREEN. It uses only the natural sources of energy, from a gravity fed water system to solar water heating and power. It’s made of organic materials, stone and cedar. Not a single tree has been cut for its construction. It’s the only lodge in Kenya where all the design elements, from furniture and fireplaces to baths and toilet paper holders are hand-made.
The closest supermarket is 2 hours’ flight from the lodge. There is no network. Phone calls can only be made on a satellite phone. The remote location and closeness to nature creates a unique atmosphere of spirituality and attracts not only people but also wild animals, like the friendly leopard which lives nearby and can be heard from a distance in the early morning and at dusk.
The close attention to detail and isolated serenity makes Desert Rose absolutely unique compared to other tourist spots. Desert Rose does not dominate over nature, it’s an integral part of it.
Desert Rose Lodge Gallery
Desert Rose Lodge Reviews
” Why such a lodge here? That was the first question popping up after climbing what probably is the steepest road I have seen. Fantastic accommodation, great staff, unique surroundings should position this eco lodge on every discerning traveller’s bucket list.” – Gilles G
” Astonishing place and deco. Beautifully located in the forest. We climbed Mount Nyiru for a breakfast at the top, an absolute must. What a view. Kind Joseph Chege, the manager was always available for us to make sure all was OK. Lunch at the waterfalls just next to the lodge is magic. A great romantic stop for a couple of days in combination with other safari lodges in Kenya.” – oskarslingerland
” If you dream about “remote destination” or n need of “reset”, i don’t know better place in the world. 5-star lodge, excellent food, great great great views, hidden in northern kenya, in the middle od nowhere. Not easy to get in (unless helicopter or a private plane) but worth every effort, especially thet the road from maralat is great itself. Only five cottages, so you are almost alone. ” – Anafesto