Eliye Springs Resort is located in Eliye Springs also known as Ille Springs in Turkana county, Kenya. When I ventured into Turkanaland as part of a solo backpacking mission, I was overwhelmed by how beautiful it is. I think I can best liken the area to an oyster. From the outer shell, it seems to be made of hard bare rock, that has been exposed to harsh conditions for a long time. If you are bold enough to touch it, rub its shell and be bold enough to open it up via exploration, you will be met with beautiful pearls in various forms, shapes and sizes. For more on my “Oyster” experience, check out: https://www.wangechigitahitravels.com/the-best-kept-secret-that-is-eliye-springs-turkana/ and https://www.wangechigitahitravels.com/my-homecoming-to-turkanaland/
As I hardly knew much about the area, I was psychologically prepared to sleep in the open space, as I had done in my younger years-the joys of youth :-). However, as we drove off the main road towards Lake Turkana shores, towards the source of Eliye Springs, I was fascinated by the forest of doum palm trees that swayed from side to side as if Welcoming me Home. It was also great to actually see the source of Eliye Springs that has beat the odds of its environment, to offer fresh water that supports the animal, plant and human life of the area. That my people is how I found myself at the gate of Eliye Springs Resort, which is right next to the Eliye Springs source.
This facility is another pearl hidden within the oyster and should be your home whenever you are in Eliye Springs. I recommend a minimum stay of 2 nights, to experience more of what it has to offer. The resort gets an A for their accommodation options with the unique Bomas taking the crown. The Bomas are built along the beach of Lake Turkana, with each veranda facing the lake. They have double bed and family bomas available, which are luxurious, spacious, ensuite and the best version of beach front luxury living as all have a view and direct access to the nearby Lake Turkana. To top it all, you do not even have to leave your boma in order to hear the soothing sound of the waves crushing on the beach or to actually see the lake and beach
My home while here was Boma five and it was snooze at first sight. 🙂 I particularly like the fact that they have incorporated the culture of the Turkana community in making replica Turkana Bomas albeit with a few modern trimmings. The homes are made using reeds and sticks and are shaped similar to the traditional ones. First up is the verandah that allows you to relax, enjoy the cool breeze from the lake and the doum palm trees, as you gaze into the beach and lake before you. Yes, you officially have unlimited free access to the beach and lake.
My biggest surprise was however awaiting me behind the curtain. When I lifted it, I was met by a welcoming, come hither double bed. My previous looking traditional boma had converted into a luxurious room right before my eyes and to top it off, I could still see lake Turkana from my bed as I listened to the waves crashing on the shores-magical I tell you.
When I thereafter progressed to the bathroom, I felt like I had taken a time travel machine into the future. The bathroom is huge and a true definition of modern meets traditional. It has tiles on the whole floor and shower area, which complements the rest of the room which is made of reeds and sticks. The washroom also has a white porcelain flushable toilet and wash basin-imagine that.
At first I was intimidated and worried that the actual room did not have a door. However, as the night wore in, I came to appreciate this factor very much. The room felt very cool as the breeze from the lake and trees lightly blew and the gushing sound of the lake waters acted as my sweet lullaby. However, being woken up by the warm, red glow of the sunrise peeking through the curtains tops any wake up call. It officially proves doors are overrated.
The other accommodation options like the manyatta are also favourable as they give one a feel of culturally integrating with the Turkana community . They have however added extra perks in the manyattas that include beds and mosquito nets to ensure you enjoy staying in a fancy manyatta at a lower price.
The other option is the rooms for those who still want to feel like they are back home with walls. Their tents take adventure to an all time new as they are made of a mattress covered by a mosquito thus allowing one unlimited access to stargaze, moon gaze and watch the sunrise.
The dinners here are quite unique as they you enjoy candle lit dinners in the open space. That thus allows you to enjoy a scrumptious meal as the candle flickers, the moon shows off and the whistling sounds of the wind blow among the doum palm trees. Their food is made on order and is thus fresh and very very sweet. .
The lounge area will fit different tastes and preferences. One can enjoy chilling in the open space, the tented space, the restaurant or the well stocked bar.
The staff here deserve an A for for not only offering great service, but for going over and above their call of duty to ensure one (read me), had an amazing time. They are all smiles very friendly that soon they felt like my long lost friends. The night I arrived, there was a beach party happening close by and after their official working hours, the ladies and gentlemen working at this facility went beyond their call of duty and took me to my First Ever Beach Party – Scream! Yes, Turkana has Beach Parties and this team had me howling over in laughter with their stories, singing along to the music some of which was in Turkana language and basically gave me an amazing, fun filled night. Thank you Team Eliye Springs Resort.
I also greatly enjoyed the various activities that they have available. One, they have a gym that allowed me to try work on my arms and abs as well as an exercise bicycle among others. The resort offers amazing boat excursions to the Central Island found in Lake Turkana, about 45 min ride. It is home to three Islands created from volcanic craters namely Tilapia Island, Crocodile Island and Flamingo Island. I was unable to do the excursion but are planning a return trip to experience it. I however opted to enjoy the boats near the shores.
The last but not the least activity which officially is one of my favourite things to do there is to relax on the beach, take a dip in lake Turkana and enjoy the beauty that is Eliye Springs. I loved my stay so much that I named part of the beach, “Sheshi Island” after my nickname as indeed, this is my home. The beauty of this beach for me is that it does not have many people thus feels like a private beach, the waters are clean and warm, the sand soft and varies in colour from brown to bleach white at different parts of the beach.
Then to cap it off, I had the privilege to find the owner Mr. Rolf Gloor on location, who was gracious enough to allow me to hang out with him for some time. This gentleman is a Swiss by birth, but a Kenyan by choice, having lived here for over 30 years. As he shared with me stories of Eliye Springs and Turkanaland as a whole, I could sense how fond he was of the area. When I asked him whether he ever misses home, he looked into the yonder, a smile spread on his face and he answered,” How can I, yet I am home.”
Eliye Springs Resort, it was a pleasure to have been your guest and now new found friend. It was amazing to find such an amazing facility tucked within this area. Indeed I had an amazing time and will definitely be returning soon, you are yet to take me on the Central Island Excursion. I will thus be returning “home” soon for the Turkana Cultural Festival dubbed, TobongLore which means “Welcome Home” and if you would like to join us, contact me on the contacts page shared.