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“Fantastic Experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Galdessa Camp

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Galdessa Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Denver, Colorado, USA
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Fantastic Experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 7, 2013

We chose Galdessa for our first safari based on TripAdvisor reviews (we booked independently). We spent 3 nights at the camp and then went to their sister property Alfajiri along the coast. Galdessa was fantastic. Syvlia the manager was incredibly attentive, and the game drives and walking safaris were unforgettable. The lodge is small which makes it very intimate, and its location ensures you rarely if ever see anyone else while on a game drive.

Room Tip: Choose the honeymoon suite - it has a rooftop deck that's great for watching the river or starin...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Eric H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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216 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (39)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Chester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 5, 2013

We stayed here in January 2013 and had a marvellous time. We had experienced problems with our car breaking down in Ambrosilia camp and had to wait for another driver to come and collect us from there to reach Galdessa meaning we were late for lunch. Not a problem - a beautiful lunch was served. The evening safari had to be cancelled due to the temporary driver having to leave, however the staff at Galdessa organised for us to join their evening drive which was very kind of them . The lodges are fantastic, with the traditional African showers a great experience. Food throughout the stay was fantastic I don't know how they do it being so remote from everywhere. It is a great experience to enjoy breakfast whilst watching a family of hippo's wallowing in the river and even leaving the water to walk on the banks. Sylvia and her staff went out of their way to help us the following day when we were stranded waiting for our replacement driver and car. My only criticism would be that they do not take credit cards and we perhaps should have been advised of this when the reservation was made. It's a shame as they missed out on selling lots of wine to us - we only had enough cash for a couple of beers. Apart from this a marvellous stay

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank mrsw4travels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
31 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 8, 2013

Stayed here nearly a year ago now,

It is a lovely safari camp site, no fences so you are at one with nature. The owner is Italian and is very professional, she greeted us upon arrival and all the staff were also very professional and helpful. The food here is out of this world! To say it's far away from any shops they certainly do serve hot, delicious and fresh food. We had three courses which were all superb every time, this is important being in the middle of nowhere there isn't any other choice or food outlet. The drinks are reasonably priced although we didn't have any alcohol so don't know about that.

The tents are lovely, with HUGE beds with briliant white sheets. It's amazing how clean this place is to say it's in a National Park. From our tent we could see a range of animals and even at dinner also. It was an out of this world experience which we both wished wouldn't end. At night there we lots of lizards in the rooms which can be a little bit of the scary side if your squirmish but you have to remember this is nature and your the one that's in their territory. We did have a hippo outside our tent for a few hours and my fiancé was very panicky about this but I just went to sleep and in the morning we saw massive footprints outside our tent. The Masai keep you safe as the National park is their home so they are knowledgeable and trained in how to defend against any attacks.

Overall is a lovely place and you won't regret going, 5star luxury in the wild.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Jemima89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stuttgart, Germany
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 29, 2013

The scenery and service were very good! It is nice to be staying a a lodge so closde to the Tsavo river.
The style and architecture are beautiful.
The food was very good.

But sorry: this is a basic place with nice ideas, but far from perfect and thus far from the prices they ask! One may agree that WiFi, Telephone, Credit Cards and aircon are unnecessary services/items when you're in such a magnificient place. BUT not providing all these cannot IMHO make a lodge charge MORE than places of equal quality that do.

However beautiful Galdessa is, for that amount of money; not again!

Room Tip: Book (for no better example) FinchHattons at the same rate.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Krishnagg S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alfajiri, Owner at Galdessa Camp, responded to this review, April 16, 2013
I am not in the picture what you have been charged by the agent that organized your trip to Galdessa, but considering that our rack rates are 196 Euro per person sharing in pick season inclusive of FB accommodation , afternoon tea and coffee and a walking safaris , I can assure you that we are not overpriced. Keep in mind that 70 $ per day have to be added on top as are charged in park fees every 24 hours you are in the park. Galdessa is a wilderness experience, where you travel to enjoy the peace of the nature and the sound of the wild life at night and the roaring water of the Galana river , not to chat on line with the WI-FI or to have a telephone ringing. Also do not expect to find tented camp with AC
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nairobi, Kenya
Level Contributor
36 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 13, 2013

We enjoyed an idyllic couple of days at Galdessa in December. We stayed in the private camp using all three tents, including the honeymoon suite, which were all comfortable and well equipped with large beds. It is difficult to describe the magic of sleeping safely under the stars and feeing so close to the animals. At night the camp is buzzing with a cacophony of animal noises.

The location is fantastic with views over the Galana River where we were able to watch beautiful birds, hippos, monkeys and even crocodile.

The food was fairly basic but good – portions were more than adequate. The staff were excellent and we felt in very safe hands. Dido was especially helpful and attentive to our needs.

From Galdessa we enjoyed some amazing game drives and were able to see a huge variety of animals including three separate lion sightings in one day.

We would highly recommend Galdessa as a good base to explore Tsavo East.

Room Tip: Honeymoon suite is very special with a viewing balcony
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank Carol B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 20, 2012

We can absolutely see why there are slightly mixed reviews of this camp. What is beyond debate is that the location is unbeatable - the camp boasts a magical position on the banks of the Galana River framed by the Yatta Plateau in the background. We stayed for two nights in the main camp before moving to the private side for 3 nights. Main camp highlights apart from the setting were were the staff - fabulous. Lowlights - the somewhat "institutional" welcome on arrival (somewhat akin to arriving at boarding school and being instructed in the School rules) and the position of the family tent. Max occupancy in the standard tents is three so if you are travelling with two children you have the option of booking the two bedroom family tent. Totally impractical if you have young children (under fives) as it is the tent furthest from the dining room. No walking alone (for understandable reasons) allowed to the dining room but also no driving so you are at the mercy of coordinating your every move with your room boy. If you have predictable routines and totally compliant children all well and good. If not, it will totally detract from your stay. We would suggest either booking two tents next to the dining room (request at the time of booking) or upgrading to the private side. If you stay for one night, expect to have no say over the menu. - it is planned first thing in the morning or even the night before. If you are staying longer, Silvia, the Manager, is open to discussion about menu choices if you initiate it - particularly if the camp is quiet and even more so if you are on the private side (within reason you can agree the menu for the day with her which will then be applied to everyone staying). The problem arises if there large groups staying (usually Italian) and, if you don't want to run this gauntlet (or that of a free upgrade) and have the budget, there is a lot to be said for upgrading to the private side. We had some great food during our stay and we thoroughly enjoyed our three nights on the private side. Staff were great again (apart from the waiter on duty during our stay who was awful :-( a total chauvinist). The tents are gorgeous and the dining/sitting area really lovely. The decor on both sides is attractive and in keeping with the location but as others have remarked, the driftwood furniture is a little too omnipresent and totally impractical especially for the elderly. The staff, however, are very adept at rushing with extra cushions and moving it for older guests. It really could do with being complemented by some lighter and more comfortable options. Young children are welcomed and beautifully cared for on a practical level. We arranged for our children to eat earlier but be warned that the staff are not trained to invite you to be seated when the food is ready - you have to take the initiative or they will simply wait (indefinitely) for you to sit down - not something that those from Down Under or the US will appreciate as predominately early eaters. Would we recommend Galdessa - probably...would we return - possibly.

Room Tip: Be careful if you are travelling with more than one young child. They will encourage you to book th...
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank Becky-Tony M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
USA/UK
Level Contributor
15 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 21, 2012

What a fantastic experience.
We (a couple & 5-year old son) only stayed one night due to a very short visit to Kenya. And our only regret is not having longer to stay at Galdessa.
We opted for the extra expense of Private Camp (just 3 'tents') & thus had it entirely to ourselves (I didn't expect to, but it seems that they don't take any more bookings after the first, so you are guaranteed to have it to yourself!). Whether this was luck or not, it was great. Our attendant Dido, guide Thomas, waiter & barman Peter, & Maasai guard (apologies but I have no idea how to spell his name) were all there whenever we needed them - their service could not have been better. They were all especially attentive to our son, showing him things, asking questions, etc.
We were perfectly happy with the food - seemingly the one source of complaint for some other reviewers.
We were a little unsure about the 'game walk' along the river from Lugard Falls, but it was easy, interesting, scenic & exciting - how many 5-year olds can tell their classmates they were just a few feet from a live croc? And when my son tired the guide offered to carry him to give me a break.
The game drive was not the most successful I've been on in terms of the number & range of wildlife seen, but it's worth remembering that Tsavo is a wilderness park plus this was not the ideal season. Unlike in the Maasai Mara or elsewhere, although we didn't see a huge amount of game, we also didn't see a single other tourist in our 24 hours in the park! Having said that though we did see elephant, hippo, crocodiles, a large monitor lizard, kudu, giraffe, zebra, impala, dik-dik, baboons, etc.
We had banda 'A', the largest & the one with a larger front 'porch' with a day bed & an upstairs deck (as seen on the website & some reviewers photos. It was perfect for us with plenty of room for the extra bed.
Although this was a personal visit, I am a professional tour leader & have been very fortunate to stay a many safari camps & lodges in Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe, etc. Galdessa is without doubt my favorite to date. It's expensive but was worth every penny.

Room Tip: Private Camp banda 'A' is the largest, with a large front porch & upstairs deck. Fantas...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank tourleader_uk_usa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Galdessa Camp

Property: Galdessa Camp
Address: Tsavo National Park East 454, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Tsavo National Park East
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 22 Specialty Lodging in Tsavo National Park East
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Galdessa Camp 3.5*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located along the Galana river, in wildest and most secluded location of Tsavo East National park, this stunning camp's main focus is on relaxation and letting the wildlife come to you right in front of your tent. Galdessa sits beneath giant doum palms, 15 kilometres upstream from Lugard's Falls, with its elegant thatch-and-canvas tents, overlooking the meandering waters of the Galana River, Galdessa offers the ultimate 'bush style' safari experience. Game drives in open vehicles, walking safaris along the Galana River and sand rivers. Sundowners, bush breakfast. The camp's direct area is a home to over 51 black rhino. Tsavo East National Park is a Wilderness area and the game can be shy but it offers great bio-diversity. Uncommon species seen there include lesser kudu, gerenuk, fringed eared oryx, hirola and Peter's gazelle. The area is renowned for elephants particularly during the dry season. Tsavo a bird watcher paradise being particularly rich in birdlife. SUGGESTED STAY TO REALLY APPRECIATE WHAT WE CAN OFFER 3 NIGHTS. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Galdessa Camp Tsavo East National Park Hotel Tsavo National Park East
Galdessa Camp Kenya/Tsavo National Park East

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