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Little Shompole - Great Rift Valley, Kenya

Pefect for Relaxation, Not so Much for Safari


Little Shompole is situated on a private conservancy at the edge of Nguruman Escarpment in Southern Kenya. It is considered as an exclusive eco-friendly camp that offers stylish accommodations overlooking the Great Rift Valley. It is also located near Shompole Mountain or, as the Maasai calls it, Shompole Hill. (Click here to scroll through all 46 pictures of Little Shompole safari camp.)

Shompole, pronounced as “shom-po-lee”, came from the Maa word which means ochre. Little Shompole is part of a larger lodge, Shompole, but offers more privacy than the main lodge. Located a few minutes from the larger lodge, Little Shompole provides much more privacy. It has only two extravagant spacious suites in the entire camp and during this trip to Kenya, we knew this was one place we just had to visit and review.

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First Impression/Lobby: From Nairobi, we took a 30 minute Yellow Wings flight to Southern Kenya. At the dirt airstrip, we were met by two Maasai, employees of the camp, dressed in traditional clothing. They greeted us jovially, quickly retrieved our bags and we loaded in the Range Rover for the 15 minute drive to the camp. One thing missing was the customary welcome drinks we’ve become accustom to having when we arrive at a camp’s airstrip.

Once at the camp, we were greeted warmly by the staff who then led us a series of steps to the main area where the shared dining room and living room of the small camp were located. Cool drinks were served as we go the low down on the camp and surrounding area.

Set under a high roof, the main lobby of Little Shompole was very simple but exuded the luxurious ambiance the camp was known for, it was almost too gorgeous to take. The whole area was very peaceful and enticed so much serenity.

With blazing white walls and an open-to-the-world design, it had a definite Africa meets Greece feel! The contrast of white against the backdrop of green foliage in the hills and valley made for a spectacle to behold. And, a series of shallow pools of water which flowed around the room, finishing at a long horizontal lap-pool perched on the edge, overlooking the valley below made the serene atmosphere even more tranquil.

The Room/Villa: We were assigned to room number two which was beautiful and breathtaking in so many ways. Placed on the hills above the Great Rift Valley floor, our room was completely open, no doors, windows, or anything to block our view… or to keep the wild from coming in. There was only a canopy high above the room that served as a roof. It honestly took a little getting used to, and I just tried not to think about the multitude of animals that could jump through the window at any given moment! (The camp manager insured us that the location up in the hills kept most animals away and as long as we didn’t leave any food out in our room, there would be no reason for any animals to come bother us.)

The room, painted in the same Greece white, had a huge nine foot wide bed complete with a mosquito net which was dropped at night, a small dining table and chairs, and a couch and coffee table. Out on the sun deck were two lounge chairs and a not so small, plunge pool.

As with the main public area, shallow pools of water cascaded throughout the room adding even more tranquility to the whole area.

Our room had a large, very open shower (this is not a place for modesty), twin sinks and down one level a fairly private room with a toilet and sink.

Again, all room are open to the outside so be prepared for ants and crawling bugs and flying bugs and insects and creepy-crawlers and the occasional spider (or two) plus a plethora of other little creatures. The odd thing is, after a very short time, you forget about all of them and just fall into a relaxed, peaceful state. If I hadn’t experienced it for myself, I wouldn’t believe it was possible.

Room Service: We were able to experience Little Shompole’s excellent room service. Since the camp has only two rooms and because we were the only guests at that time, we had the satisfaction of enjoying the place all to ourselves. We had our butler, Nelson, who took excellent care of us and treated us like we were superstar guests. Nelson attended to all our dining needs. There were days that we ate inside the comfort of our room and there were times we ate in the main dining room. We even managed a couple candle lit, romantic dinners poolside. It was definitely fun to dine anywhere we wanted.

Housekeeping: Housekeeping service of Little Shompole was also on par with a camp of this caliber, stellar. The best part is that we never actually saw it happen. It was like magic. Bombastic!

Restaurant: During our stay at Little Shompole, the executive chef was on his holiday vacation, but the local Maasai chef (who was trained on site) still did an unbelievable job. The local chef prepared and presented the food like the top chefs at many high-end restaurants around the world. Little Shompole has a set menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with continental and local African cuisines. Whether it was a typical breakfast, or lunch of a trio of salads, or the sumptuous three courses served for dinner with main courses like beef fillet and roasted lamb, the food was just astounding.

There was only one downside to the whole dining experience in Little Shompole. Our package was inclusive all food and “house” liquors and wines, but unlike other luxury camps which offer a larger variety of wines, their house wines were limited to just one white, one rose, and one red wine. It was the only thing we could complain about. Overall though, the dining experience was superb.

Pool/Spa/Activities: As above-mentioned, one horizontal pool was shared in the main lobby of Little Shompole. But we also had the pleasure to plunge in our splash pool inside our villa. Massages were also available at the pool side or inside our room.

But the real reason we were there, was for the game drives. However, we ended up being more disappointed that impressed with the amount of game actually seen. The highlight of our drives was the night we saw nine lions out for a hunt. Wow, breathtaking and exhilarating all at the same time!

One big negative, aside from the limited game seen was just how incredibly dusty it was. Each time we went out we knew we’d come back covered head to toe in dust.

Check-Out: The check-out process of Little Shompole was pretty much non-existent since everything had been prepaid. After few goodbyes, we were escorted down to the Land Rover and on our dusty way to the dirt airstrip to catch our flight back to Nairobi where we would connect to a flight to Tanzania for the next part of our African safari.

Overall Impression: Little Shompole was gorgeous, gorgeous, and gorgeous in so many ways. Aside from the disappointing wine list and game drives, the rest of Little Shompole’s services are unbelievably excellent. Great service, fantastic and unique design, sumptuous and well prepared food are just some of the outstanding things about Little Shompole. The place is definitely where I would go at the end of an African safari trip or in between camps for relaxation and to wind down. If ultimate relaxation is what you are looking for, then Little Shompole is the place!

Our rating for Little Shompole is definitely Bombastic!

Just a few side notes: If you have problems climbing stairs, Little Shompole is probably not for you. Also, if you still want to save a few dollars but still want to experience this Bombastic camp, try the larger camp Shompole. While the rooms are not as big or the camp not as private, it still offers the same glorious, open design and relaxing, tranquility.

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