Emakoko Lodge

Located in Kitengela, Kajiado, on a 17-acre plot, this 1500 sqm development is for an exclusive lodge at the edge of the Nairobi National Park, overlooking Mbagathi River. The site slopes steeply towards the river with excellent views over the park and Nairobi city skyline. The brief called for a restaurant, bar, recreational facilities, a kitchen, and ten cottages on a steep, narrow site. Visitors’ access is through the Nairobi National Park, taking advantage of the game drives over the Mbagathi River. PLANNING, with the guidance of Structural Engineer I.B. Patel designed this footbridge that would ferry visitors from the edge of the park, over Mbagathi River, and to the lodge.

The main buildings comprise of the public rooms and 10 cottages (2 double cottages and 8 single cottages). These are planned across the site’s rocky and steep terrain. The swimming pool is positioned at the bottom of the cliff while the manager’s house, service buildings, and staff housing are situated on opposite ends at the top of the cliff.

The dominant use of gum poles for the public rooms, cottage roofs, and columns was inspired by the indigenous yellow fever acacia and fig trees on site. Yellow quarry stone that was in abundance on site was gathered by the builders and used for an external finish.

The lounge and dining spaces in the public rooms are entirely open to the elements, focusing on the charming views. Rain is kept at bay with large overhangs from the low-pitched roof. Cottages blend into the surrounding, which are dominated by the yellow fever acacia thorn trees and boulders.