By Pattarawadee Saengmanee
The Nation Weekend
STARING OUT of the window of the Land Rover Defender taking me from the Loisaba airstrip to the five-star Loisaba Tented Camp, I feel like I’m right in the middle of an Indiana Jones adventure. The bushland here in North Kenya’s Laikipia County stretches out seemingly forever and I am enchanted to spot a group of dik-dik (small antelope) grazing peacefully not far from the narrow track.
Courtesy/ Loisaba Tented Camp
Open for two years, the Elewana Collection pitched camp on an escarpment of Northern Kenya’s Laikipia Plateau is the ultimate escape from city life for anyone wanting to see African wildlife up close but without foregoing the luxury of home.
Part of the Loisaba Conservancy, the camp is secluded from the outside world and focuses on sustainable living by using a state-of-the-art solar power system backed up by an electric generator to reduce carbon footprint and ensure there’s enough power to keep guests happy.
Surrounded by electric fences to ensure guest safety, every corner is designed as a vantage point from which to enjoy breathtaking views of the lush landscape that stretches all the way to Mount Kenya.
I drop my luggage at the reception and follow a staff member to an open-air dining area with a large deck that serves as the outdoor lobby where guests can relax and watch the sunrise and sunset. Nearby is an open lounge and bar, where I’m greeted with a refreshing herbal drink while other guests have fun splashing in the infinity swimming pool, the bottom of which is covered with black tiles to absorb the sunlight and keep the water warm.
With year-round cool breezes – the temperature drops to 13 degrees Celsius at night – the camp offers 12 elegantly decorated tent suites without air conditioning but with a shower and water heater. Perfect for both those travelling alone and with families, the options include six en-suite tents, Family Combinations and Three Family Combinations.
“We use 100-per-cent solar power here and we also have an electric generator so guests have hot water and lighting all day. Guests are provided with a strong flashlight for the night and the path is dimly lit too,” says Patrich Dessy, general manager.
“We also provide complimentary Wi-Fi both in the rooms and main area so you can stay connected.”
Each custom-built tent occupies 49 square metres with floor-to-ceiling doors and windows that create airflow. Popular with big groups, the Three Family Combination suite features a double tent and convertible twin/double tents connected by a walkway.
It also includes exclusive privileges like a personal butler, private swimming pool, separate kitchen with a chef, a mobile bar and a separate entrance, where a guide will drop guests in front of their tent when returning from a game drive.
I spend two nights in a tent number 12, which has a towering wood door that allows entry without a key – you just push it with all your strength. Decorated in chic African-modern style with a European twist, it has a high ceiling, polished wood floor and leather-like carpets.
The furniture and partition are made of solid wood, while the closet contains plenty of hangers, slippers, a safety box, and additional pillows and blankets. Purified drinking water is available in the room though there’s no mini bar.
My tent has a working desk and twin beds with a functional headboard equipped with several USB hubs and square three-pin plugs of the type used in the UK, which is handy if you want to recharge the batteries of a smartphone, camera and mobile power pack at the same time.
There’s a separate toilet and double washbasin counter with two mirrors complete with lights, a hairdryer and all the amenities you could possibly need. The en-suite shower is luxurious and comes complete with a compact seating area and a water heater that allows you to choose between rain fall and rain shower.
There’s no phone but I’m woken by a staff member bearing a choice of coffee and tea plus cookies, which I enjoy the comfort of a lounge chair on my private deck, disturbed only by a domesticated kudu, which comes to graze a few metres away and doesn’t move away even when I start taking photos of her.
Soon after I head out on the Samuru villagers’ camel riding tour to watch dik-dik, elephants and giraffes. We reach an open area after about 30 minutes and settle down to enjoy a western-style breakfast of eggs, cereal and more right in a bush.
The camp offers a range of outdoor activity programmes like a cultural tour to Samuru villages, safari game drives, fishing, horseback riding, a visit to the sniffer dogs who perform an anti-poaching demonstration, bush walks, lion tracking and mountain biking.
AT A GLANCE
High point: The location is private and surrounded by unspoilt nature. A hot water bottle is placed in the bed every night to ensure guests don’t feel chilly.
Low point: Laundry service is available but relies on the weather so clothes don’t always get dry on time.
Pay for it: Check out the website for the best rates.
Find it: Loisaba National Park, Laikipia region, Kenya.
Call it: (+ 254 71) 347 4171, |(+254 73) 170 0084
Browse it: www.ElewanaCollection.com.