A grass-covered plain dotted with beautiful flat-topped acacias, giraffe loping across the horizon, and a snow-covered mountain hovering above the clouds; and of course the obligatory inclusion of someone lounging in an easy chair, cocktail in hand, gawking at all this splendour: pictures like this cannot be taken seriously. Unless they are your own pictures, that is, and at Tortilis Camp in Kenya's Amboseli your pictures will only tell half the story.
Pictures can't portray the friendly staff, the enthusiastic love for their country, their exceptional wildlife knowledge and experience; pictures can't give you a taste of the light Italian-influenced meals that follow family recipes using home-grown ingredients; and you certainly won't find the most peaceful night's rest in any photo album either. Tortilis has just 18 en suite rooms – enormous tented suites on wooden platforms with a generous stone-floored patio – that look out across the grass-covered plain to the snow-covered Kilimanjaro hovering above the clouds. Lewis will supply the aforementioned cocktail.
Tortilis will leave you charmed. The small and intimate lodge is a successful balance of eco-sensitive design and uncompromising luxury. Built entirely from local materials and employing staff from the local Maasai communities, the lodge is as much a part of its spectacular surrounds as the iconic acacia tree after which it is named. On clear days Mt. Kilimanjaro greets you in the morning when you set off on open safari vehicles for a game drive in Amboseli National Park; she's there when you get back for brunch and she joins you on your walking safari in the 20,000-ha private reserve, for sun-downer cocktails, for a bush breakfast, and even at dinner on a cloudless moonlit night.