Tandala is the ideal retreat for guests who wan to escape and relax or socialise in peace and privacy.  It sits in a secluded position amid 320 acres of private bush land in the Mparasha Hills – just over 100 kilometres south of Nairobi and about 50 kilometres from the Tanzanian border at Namanga.  The house overlooks a waterhole and enjoys magnificent views across the Maasai plains to the Pelewa hills.

Tandala is very much a labour of love and the inspired creation of the Roberts family who have lived in East Africa for many decades. Everywhere there are pieces of antique furniture, photos and prints, family mementos, interesting old books and quirky decorative touches – all reminders that this is very much an authentic family home.  Exposed timber beams, rustic stone walls, shining dark wooden floors, log fires, shady verandas and lily-covered ponds create an oasis of calm and harmony in the bush.

“Tandala is simply beautiful – and it is easy to see the love, care and attention the Roberts family has put into the creation of their home. We stayed there with extended family and it was a perfect, self-contained, socially-oriented space where we could spend time together, reading, swimming, relaxing and eating well… The staff bend over backwards to make your stay comfortable in the way that Kenyan safari staff really can. The house itself is quintessentially Kenyan and full of heritage, taste and consciousness for the environment.”

Kait, Cape Town

Tandala sleeps 10 guests comfortably – up to 8 Adults and 2 additional children.  There are two double bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms and one twin bedroom with its own bathroom in one part of the house, and on the west side of the house is the ‘family wing’ – consisting of a double bedroom with ensuite bathroom and an adjoining twin bedroom which is ideal for children. Some bedrooms and bathrooms have log fireplaces and all the beds have feather duvets and pillows and voluminous mosquito nets.

Meals can be taken in the elegant indoor dining room or outside and al fresco – either beside the swimming pool or on the open dining area on the veranda.  The roof terraces offer far reaching views of the surrounding bush and hills and are a great place for sundowners. There are numerous places to relax and socialise around Tandala including the high-ceilinged drawing room with log fire and beside the lovely swimming pool – the pool house has a log fire, barbecue and brasserie cooker

“This is an extraordinary place! A gem hidden in the bush and a fantastic getaway. The design and attention-to-detail of the whole place is amazing. The rooms are fantastic, the staff are friendly and the owners are beautiful people. Thank you!”

Agata, Nairobi

There are a bevy of experienced and attentive staff on hand to ensure that guests are as comfortable and well looked after as possible – they are particularly good with children and the house is very child-friendly.  Both ‘self-catering’ and ‘full board’ menus are available, and should guests require the catered option the chef will prepare fresh and wholesome food, with homegrown fruit and vegetables. He is also happy to prepare picnic lunches or breakfasts which can be enjoyed in one of a number of scenic hillsides spots nearby.

Many guests just choose to simply relax around the house and the pool, but beauty treatments and massages can also be arranged, as can displays of traditional Maasai dancing.  Guests can also explore the ruins of an old gun emplacement and signal post from World War One on the ridge behind the house, and biking and hiking in the surrounding bush is also possible.

“This is one of the most amazing places I have had the privilege to stay in. Tandala is absolutely gorgeous, with amazing views. The unique bathrooms and decor were just amazing and we were at total peace with the natural habitat… I highly recommend this place for anyone who wants to get away from Nairobi, and is opting for a different ‘out of town’ experience…  I will definitely be back.”

Robert, Nairobi

From the owners of Tandala House on wildlife and conservation in the area –

For the short time we are here on this earth we feel it is of prime importance to try and protect this small piece of Africa. We frequently patrol the area for snares and do our utmost to protect the game. Our neighbours feel the same so we have left fences open where possible to allow the game to roam freely between our properties.

You may see Buffalo, Lesser Kudu, Impala, Eland, Waterbuck, Bushbuck, Duiker, Dik-Dik, Warthog, Hyena, Ostrich, Giraffe and Leopard in the area. Lion have been heard at night and we have spotted Wild Dogs, Aardvark, and the occasional Wildebeest and Zebra. At night guests can enjoy the star-studded African sky.

The sounds of Africa are not like those of other places. A whole range of noises fill the days and nights here and adds to their mystery. The bird life in the area is superb. Kenya has more than 1000 different bird species while in all of North America there are only 703. As a result it is very easy to spot 100 different species here in one day

Summary

  • A beautiful, comfortable and luxurious bush home with pool
  • Peaceful, private, popular and highly recommended – book early!
  • Attentive staff and excellent cooking
  • Two hours’ drive (or less) from Nairobi on good roads
  • Sleeps up to 10 guests in comfort
  • Rentals from ksh 36,000 per night

Detailed information

Location

Countryside near Bisil

Countryside near Bisil

The little town of Bisil, its population largely Maasai, sits approximately 105 kilometres south of Nairobi, 50 km north of the Tanzania border at Namanga, and 150 km north of the major Tanzanian town of Arusha.  Bisil was a base for British troops and was named by Somali prisoners of war and loosely translated means “Place of Nourishment”.

Bisil sits at the foot of the Emisinga Hills, part of the Maparasha Range which are on a migration corridor for Amboseli National Park. During the dry season, there is insufficient grazing to support Amboseli’s wildlife population and as a result, there is mass migration of animals out of the park as far as Bisil and beyond.

Road near Bisil

Road near Bisil

Bisil is a small and sleepy place with basic shops and services available, along with one large petrol station. There are bigger supermarkets en route at Kajiado and Athi River, but we recommend doing the bulk of your shopping in Nairobi before setting off for your trip.

Bisil Town

Bisil Town

Amboseli National Park – famed for its elephant population and spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro – is about 100km and an hour and a half’s drive away from Bisil. The easiest route is to take the main A104 road to Namanga and to turn left immediately before the Tanzanian border post and take the murram road to the park. For the more adventurous a cross-country route on fairly rough roads is also possible.

Amboseli Elephants

Amboseli Elephants

How to get there

A104 Road to Bisil

A104 Road to Bisil

Access to Bisil is quick and easy along the excellent, scenic and uncrowded A104 main road which runs from Athi River to the Tanzanian border at Namanga, passing through the small towns of Isinya and Kajiado along the way.  The Athi River junction is approximately 25 km south west of Nairobi along the A109 Mombasa Road.  

From Bisil it is approx 8.5 km to Tandala and we will send guests detailed instructions and map showing how to get there.  It is possible to get to the camp with a 2 wheel-drive car although the access road is rough and steep in places.  You should allow 2 hours to drive to Tandala from Nairobi, or 1.5 hours from JKIA.  

Nb  Driving from Karen or south west Nairobi it is possible to avoid Mombasa Road and Athi River entirely and to access the A104 at Isinya from Kiserian (on the Magadi Road beyond Ngong Town and Ongata Rongai)  This is via the road that goes to Orly Aero Park and Ololoitikosh – but please take advice as to the state of the road which can be very poor.

Visitor’s Book

“This is one of the most amazing places I have had the privilege to stay in. Tandala is absolutely gorgeous, with amazing views. The unique bathrooms and decor were just amazing and we were at total peace with the natural habitat… I highly recommend this place for anyone who wants to get away from Nairobi, and is opting for a different ‘out of town’ experience. We heard there were hiking activities but we spent most of the time sipping on wine and whiling the hours away by the pool. Thanks Tandala House for a great start to the New Year. I will definitely be back.”

Robert, Nairobi

“Tandala is simply beautiful – and it is easy to see the love, care and attention the Roberts family has put into the creation of their home. We stayed there with extended family and it was a perfect, self-contained, socially-oriented space where family (including a 6 month old) could spend time together, reading, swimming, relaxing and eating well. There is sufficient space that everyone is not on top of each other, each of the bedrooms has something unique of its own to offer, and the staff bend over backwards to make your stay comfortable in the way that Kenyan safari staff really can. The house itself is quintessentially Kenyan and full of heritage, taste and consciousness for the environment.”

Kait, Cape Town

“Our second round at Tandala and we will return again. I am almost reluctant to write a sterling review in order to keep the crowds away! This peaceful and tastefully-done home is the perfect family retreat. Two hours from Karen makes it a great option for a weekend getaway. The staff at Tandala are warm and welcoming – the chef was superb and willing to learn new recipes. We took bicycles and rode alongside the river – plus bird watching, a walk to the top of the hill, sundowners, a spa, a bath under the trees, a pool and plenty of space to hide with a book. One of our favourite spots!”

Jessica, Nairobi

Rates

  • Weekday rate (Monday to Thursday) – Ksh 36,000 per night (1-6 guests) additional guests – ksh 5950 each per night.
  • Weekend rate (Friday to Sunday) – Ksh 42,000 per night (1-6 guests) additional guests – ksh 6950 each per night. Additional infants under 3 stay free.
  • All rentals are on a “self-catering” basis and include the services of a chef and house staff.
  • Maximum occupancy – 10 guests
  • Minimum stay – 2 nights

These rates are for Kenyan residents – please contact us for non resident rates and for further information.