Elewana Tortilis Camp Amboseli

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Elewana Tortilis Camp Amboseli, Amboseli National Park, Kenya

Amboseli is also known for its magnificent elephants – a population of over 1000 elephants reside in the parks eco-system that features some of the largest in Africa. Game drives, walks, sundowners and bush meals all take place both inside the Amboseli National Park and within a private 30,000 acre game concession, offering fantastic opportunities for wildlife photography.

The tents are all spacious, with king or twin beds and elegant en suite bathrooms. There is a main lounge, bar and dining area, all exquisitely built with natural materials and thatched roofs, with magnificent Views of Kilimanjaro.

Tortilis Camp was designed and built by Stefano Cheli in 1993, the first “eco-lodge” in Kenya, it won the coveted Tourism for Tomorrow award. The Cheli’s were invited to build a small tented camp on the site by the Masai community. The site had been earmarked for a 200 bed lodge and Kenya Wildlife Service (under the direction of Dr. Richard Leakey at the time), insisted the project was scaled down to a more eco-friendly size and design.

Tortilis joined the Elewana Collection in 2015, a group of 16 boutique lodges and camps in some of the most iconic sites in Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar, and Stefano and Liz Cheli continue to participate in conservation work, guiding and lodge experience (including the food!) at Tortilis Camp.

Game Drives

The Tortilis Camp guides are based at camp in Amboseli and know their backyard intimately. They know the individual elephants and their family histories. More than half of the guides at Tortilis are Masai, and have between them 80 years of guiding at Tortilis! All the guides are Bronze or Silver level Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association certified.

Tortilis Camp has open gamedrive vehicles, the first camp to use open vehicles in a National Park. The current fleet are new, specially fitted, 4×4 Toyota Landcruisers. The vehicles are unrivalled with feature enhancements specifically designed for comfort and photography – open sided with 3 rows of seats, photographic equipment stands, and charging sockets. Clients will share gamedrives unless “exclusive use of vehicle” has been prebooked at an extra charge.

With only 10% of Amboseli National Park utilized by most safari vehicles, combined with Tortilis Camp’s unique location on the western edge of the park (most lodges are outside of the eastern gate of the park), guests can enjoy an almost private Amboseli. We also have private gamedriving within our own 30,000 acre Kitirua Conservancy, which is the western part of the Amboseli ecosystem.

Guided Walks

Tortilis Camp’s walking guides are Masai from the local community, who have been walking over these plains since childhood.

Take the time to leave the car behind and enjoy the small things – tracks, dung beetles, micro-ecosystems. The guides are happy to share their knowledge of the terrain, traditional uses of wild herbs and barks, and the Masai way of life.

Swimming Pools

Enjoy the cool waters in the heat of the day! Within the lush green gardens, the pool is shaded by palms and acacia Tortilis, and a haven for tropical birds. The swimming pool has bar service and board games.

Bush Breakfast and Sundowners

Take a moment to sit back, enjoy the spectacular views, the smells, the colours, and the gentle breeze.

Bush breakfasts are a chance to enjoy a full breakfast, al fresco, in the middle of the plains, surrounded by wildlife.

“Sundowners” are a safari tradition – after a day of safari; stop, watch the spectacular sunset; traditionally with a gin and tonic in hand!

Massage, Manicure and Pedicure

Safari is also a holiday and a rest – a break from today’s frenetic lifestyle.

Tortilis Camp offers:
Massages – a wonderful way to ease the stress out of tired shoulders and backs.
Manicure and pedicure – compliment those tanned limbs!

Cultural Visits

In the heart of Masai country, Tortilis Camp offers visits to local Masai homesteads. The Masai live in semi-permanent huts known as Manyattas and it is the role of the wife to construct the hut from cattle dung and grass. The families will show you round their home for a fee (payable separately, ask reception for details), and will want to take the opportunity to sell their traditional handicrafts – bargain hard!

Tortilis Camp works with closely with the Masai community, and there are ways that you can get involved.

Known for their beautiful beadwork, spear in hand and bright red coloured “shukkas” (blankets worn as clothes). The Masai co-exist with wildlife as they are traditionally nomadic and pastoral, they live off their cattle and goats; this is their lifestyle, jobs, and currency – it is thanks to this lifestyle that vast tracts of wilderness teaming with wildlife have been preserved

Weddings and Honeymoons

Over the years, Tortilis Camp has hosted very many beautiful weddings, blessings, and renewal of vows for our guests.

From small simple ceremonies involving merely a glass of champagne at the end of a gamedrive; to elaborate three day events, with over 30 guests taking over the whole property. Options include legal marriages conducted by the local commissioner or religious minister, or Blessing by the chief of the local tribal community.


Tortilis employs around 60% of its staff from the local community, training them from scratch to become professional guides, barman and waiters. With each employed individual in Kenya supporting an average of 8 dependants, our 40 local staff members potentially support between 300 and 400 members of the community.

Walking safaris with local Maasai guides are encouraged at Tortilis so that guests have the oppotunity to find out, first hand, about the intricacies of Maasai culture, stimulating a pride and desire among the community to preserve their traditions.

In 2010, Tortilis Camp donated KES 1,000,000 towards the building of Esiteti Primary School, which opened its doors with great ceremony in August 2011. Since the Cheli & Peacock Community Trust was launched in March 2011, Tortilis clients have donated nearly US$11,000 for sports equipment, books, stationary and construction work for Esiteti Primary School.


Without fences demarcating National Park boundaries, Kenya’s wildlife roam freely between protected areas and surrounding privately owned land where their security largely falls into the hands of the community. To promote wildlife protection and conservation among these communties, it is becoming increasingly recognised that they should receive tangible long term benefits from wildlife-based tourism.

In full partnership with the community, Tortilis Camp is one of two tourism operators paying fixed rent to local Maasai landowners to preserve the Kitirua Conservancy, a 30,000 acre wildlife corridor bridging Amboseli and Tanzania. In 2011 alone, Tortilis paid US$ 36,145 in fixed rent for the Conservancy, 70% of which was paid directly to the community, while the remaining 30% was allocated to funding conservancy management.

Conservancy fees of US$30 per person per day paid by most guests at Tortilis fund conservancy management, anti-poaching and wildlife protection within Kitirua Conservancy. To achieve our conservation goals, we are working in partnership with the Big Life Foundation, whose efforts are widespread across the 2 million acre Amboseli ecosystem and are crucial to securing a successful future for Amboseli’s wildlife. We would like to encourage you to visit the Big Life Foundation website to find out more about their conservation efforts and additional operational funding requirements.

Prior to their involvement with Big Life, Tortilis supported the Amboseli Tsavo Game Scouts Association for many years, donating US$0.50 per person per night towards their community training and anti-poaching work. ATGSA recruits its Game Scouts from the local Maasai community, training them to provide wildlife security and conservation awareness within the vast Amboseli and Tsavo ecosystems.

If you would like to contribute further to the conservation of the greater Amboseli ecosystem by supporting Big Life’s efforts, you may make your donation via the Cheli & Peacock Community Trust. Contact us to find out how.

An African elephant is second only to man in changing its environment. During the 1970’s, poaching and drought encouraged elephants to seek refuge in unnatural numbers within the core of Amboseli National Park, devastating the woodlands.

Observing the rapid depletion of the elephant habitat, the internationally renowned African Conervation Centre, together with the Kenya Wildlife Service, have created fenced “elephant exclosures” to allow woodland wetlands to naturally rejuvinate in the absence of these immense mammals. In support of their efforts, Tortilis Camp rehabilitated and maintains the 2.2km squared Olengaiya Swamp elephant exclosure just 15 minutes from camp.

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