“Safari on the beach: tented cabins perched on the golden fringes of the Indian Ocean, with game watching in bush, river and coastal settings”
Sitting on the beach under the fringes of the casuarina trees are the 9 original Classic Bandas, which are simple but elegant, with wooden frames supporting grass roofs. Polished wooden floors and swathes of white cloth create a bright and airy feel, with large Zanzibar-style carved beds (double or twin) surrounded with romantic nets, and chunky, sun-bleached wooden furniture.
Each banda has an ensuite bathroom with solar-heated shower and flush lavatory, livened up by sand floors, shell mosaics and the odd fist of driftwood. You also have a full-length veranda, with unrestricted sea views. Double Bandas have a daybed out here, which can be made up if you fancy sleeping alfresco under the star-splashed skies; Twin Bandas have a couch.
The newer Siri Suite (meaning 'secret' in Swahili) was built especially for honeymooners and romantics. Set apart from the other cottages on top of a sand dune, it offers ultimate privacy, awesome views of the Indian Ocean and National Park - plus one of the largest beds we have ever set eyes upon! It comes with its own plunge pool, an outdoor kitchen area with chef, a bar and a personal butler. When it comes to safaris, a boat will collect you from your private beach to take you to the Wami river and the small coral garden at the end of the sand bank; or a vehicle will wait for you at the end of the pier to take you on a private safari.
Newest of all are 5 standalone Maridadi Suites, perched on short stilts directly on the beach and close to the newest-built pool and restaurant. A teak-wood balcony runs around the outside of each, with a couple of cushioned steamer chairs. Inside, under a thick thatch roof, is a stylish double bed of chunky dhow wood, with nets and vibrant red cushions / runner; there's also a desk, a sitting area and an indoor shower with solar hot water as well as an outdoor courtyard shower room.
Two of these connect, via a shared lounge area, to create a generous family suite for 4-5, with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.
Meals are served in the spacious restaurant, set on stilts above the beach with amazing views of the Indian Ocean and a deliciously cooling breeze. Menus are fixed (and all included in your tariff) but can take account of your dietary preferences so long as you tell the lodge managers, Graeme and Candy , in advance.
Unsurprisingly the focus is on fresh seafood, including feasts of prawns which are netted every day; these, served with a juicy tomato and avocado salad, could do me for weeks! But there's also a strong Indian influence - think chicken coconut curries, crunchy vegetable samosas - and some European standards like succulent beef with potatoes, along with my favourite: spiced banana cake for dessert.
Whatever your daily programme, you're well looked after with picnic lunches, afternoon tea and coffee at the treehouse and, at sunset, passion fruit cocktails around the beach bonfire. In the morning, tea, coffee and fresh juice are brought to your veranda at dawn so you can come to gently before setting off on a game drive - or tucking into a full breakfast.
All ages are welcome here but note that the Lodge does not offer amenities for families and is not a family oriented lodge; the majority of guests are here for tranquillity and to get close to nature. There are no extra beds.
Teens (over 12)
No rooms can take an additional bed. Families either stay in the Family Suite, which comprises two Maridadi Suites combined, to consist of two bedrooms and a living room, or they can book two rooms.
Babysitting can be arranged with advance notice
Special requests can be accommodated and smaller portions can be created
Rooms are close to the beach and children will need supervision at all times