On our last trip to East Africa, my partner and I were delighted with the abundance of wildlife everywhere we went. We were also thrilled with our accommodations! We stayed at three different “camps” – each with a unique flavour. The new term is apparently “glamping” – a portmanteau of “glamour” and “camping”.
All three resorts were luxurious beyond our expectations. Happily,they all had ensuite bathrooms with indoor toilets, showers and hot and cold running water.The decors were colourful and rustic with delightful African artwork and sculpture. All meals, picnic lunches for safari, non-alcoholic beverages and snacks were also included.
Generally, two safaris each day were scheduled as well as visits to the local communities to see how each camp is supporting education to build the economy. The camps employ mostly indigenous people who are extremely friendly and love to practice their English.
ELEPHANT BEDROOM CAMP, SAMBURU, KENYA
Northern Kenya is home to the spectacular scenery of Samburu National Park. Elephant Bedroom Campis a little piece of heaven nestled in the midst of the rustic African plains. Majestic Mount Kenya looms in the distance and wildlife is everywhere.
This particular camp has 12 spacious tents with all the usual amenities as well as private “plunge pools”where you can take a dip to escape the afternoon heat. Our tent had a large veranda that jutted over the Ewaso Nyiro river. The night-time sounds were deafening yet delightful!
The common area of Elephant Bedroom Camp is inviting with open-air views of the river and animals. The European/African decor includes comfortable lounge chairs, sofas, and a large dining area. Below, near the river’s edge, there are tables and chairs set up for breakfast and lunch, as well as hammocks and a fire pit. Wi-Fi is only available here.
Elephant Bedroom Camp also has a “spa tent”where you can indulge in a relaxing massage for an additional charge.
Elephants, monkeys, and impalas are regular visitors to the camp. We had to make sure the zipper on our tent was locked as the monkeys would sneak inand steal any shiny trinket they could get their paws on!
During one lovely al fresco lunch, served next to the river, diners actually had to get up and move to make way for an elephant and her calf that were within a few yards of the tables. This is, apparently, a regular occurrence.
Check availability of Elephant Bedroom Camp and book your stay HERE.
RHINO RIVER CAMP, MERU NATIONAL PARK, KENYA
Rhino River Campis also in Northern Kenya in Meru National Park.This boutique resort is on 80 acres of privately owned wilderness. This camp is located just outside the Rhino Wildlife Conservancyand your safari time here will acquaint you with these magnificent, enered animals.
Rising at the crack of dawn, you will be given a light breakfast and a warm blanket as you head out in the open Range Rover to find the night animals stalking their prey. It’s a great time to see wildlife on the savannah. The sunrise in Kenya is breathtaking!
Evenings at Rhino River Camp are a lot of fun. As soon as the sun goes down, tin plates of sliced banana pieces are put down for the “bush babies” (Galagos) that would scramble down from the treetops and roofs. These cute little rascals are small nocturnal primates that are only found in Africa.
One evening, my partner and I were treated to a lovely private candlelit dinner for two down by the pool. Lanterns were lining the path that led to a table set up with linens and flowers. We enjoyed a 4-course dinner with a chorus of African night creatures serenading us!
Rhino River Camp takes pride in minimizing its impact on the precious natural resources of the area and maintaining a good relationship with the Meru people.
To that end, solar panels provide most of the energy needed to heat the camp’s waterand energy-efficient light bulbs and devices help to minimize generator hours. All garbage is recycled or composted. The local village receives a share of the camp’s profitsand the skills of the townsfolk are employed wherever possible. The delicious meals provided at the camp utilize the produce grown locally.
NABOISHO CAMP, MASAI MARA, KENYA
My favorite Kenyan resort was Naboisho Campin the Masai Mara National Conservancy.Here you will experience the very best of Africa in an exclusive camp offering both solitude and serenity. There are just nine tents at the camp; all wonderfully appointed with creature comforts and a few funky additions – like an outdoor shower!
At first I wasn’t too keen, but actually, it is kind of fun. You tell the staff when you would like a hot shower, usually after your early morning safari, then a Masai Warrior brings a huge barrel of hot water to the outdoor shower. All you do is pull the chain and enjoy a gentle rain of water in the sunshine. For more privacy, you can do the same thing inside your tent.
Naboisho Camp is particularly special because it is INSIDE the game reserve.The animals are free to roam in their natural habitat. The wildcats were passing right outside our tent one night – such a scary feeling to hear the pride grunting and roaring on their way to hunt! We were as quiet as mice while they were passing through.
Delicious meals were served at a long-house style tablewhere you had the opportunity to share the day’s safari stories with other guests. We had some fascinating conversations with people from all over the world. One gentleman was a photographer for National Geographic. He had some incredible shots of the leopards in the area.
Naboisho offers two safaris per day, much the same as the other camps. However, Naboisho has the flexibility to also offer walking safaris to explore the smaller ecosystems that you miss in a Land Rover– accompanied by an armed Masai tracker, of course!
In Africa, there are termite hills as tall as giraffes and fascinating insects, birds, reptiles and small mammals that you can only appreciate on a walking safari. We had a charming South African naturalist as our guide.
Other ways to enjoy a safari include hot-air balloon rides and horseback riding. For an extra fee, you can sail over a tower of giraffes or ride through the open African plain on a stallion.
Finally, Naboisho is one of only two Kenyan camps that offer its guests “fly camping”.You fly into a remote part of the conservancy to camp in a basic tent overnight. Your meals are cooked over an open fire and the sounds of the African night will lull you to sleep.
We enjoyed a bush picnic lunch as well as a nighttime safari – particularly fun because that is when you see the predators in action.
Naboisho Camp endorses environmental protection, wildlife and crucial habitat conservationas well as the education of local communities and sustainable travel practices. They promote increased appreciation and value of biodiversity and nature andhave been recognized for making a difference in their Kenyan community.
Check availability of Naboisho Camp and book your stay by visiting the website HERE.
The magic of our East African tour was made possible by Enchanting Travels, an agency that specializes in African safaris. We were chauffeured, guided, wined, dined, and educated by extremely knowledgeable Kenyan guides who were fluent in English.