Elephant Bedroom, Samburu National Reserve, Kenya *****

Q: What is it? A: A fantastic, amazing, incredible place in the absolute middle of nowhere, (or actually on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River in the Samburu National Reserve). Among the top three places I’ve stayed in. Ever.

Please note: This is a tent. In the middle of a national game reserve in Kenya. Here’s where you sleep.

Please note: This is a tent. In the middle of nowhere in a national game reserve in Kenya. It’s a tent and here’s where you sleep.

Once again: Here’s where you wash your hands plus more. Two sinks. Running water. Behind the curtain to the right is the shower (yes, it comes with hot water). Not visible in this picture: The flushing toilet. It is still a tent.

Here’s where you wash your hands plus more. Two sinks. Running water. Behind the curtain to the right is the shower (yes, it comes with hot water). Not visible in this picture: The flushing toilet. It is still a tent.

In the middle of nowhere in a national game reserve in Kenya. Here’s where you sleep. It's a tent.

Here’s the same location as the two photos above, but shot from the outside. It’s still in the middle of nowhere in a national game reserve in Kenya. It’s obviously a tent.

This picture is taken from the bar counter. While you shouldn’t expect frozen strawberry daiquiris, it is a stellar place to hang out and watch the elephants mucking about on the bank across the river.

This picture is taken from the bar counter. While you shouldn’t expect frozen strawberry daiquiries, it is a stellar place to hang out and watch the elephants mucking about on the bank across the river. Note that even the bar/lounge area is a tented one.

In this picture: Half of the fantastic staff at the elephant bedroom. They could teach managers at more posh establishments a few things about service. Not visible: Nicholas, the gourmet chef.

In this picture: About half of the fantastic staff at the Elephant Bedroom. These guys could teach managers at posher establishments a thing or two about service. Not visible: Nicholas, the gourmet chef.

Dinner time at the Elephant Bedroom – Nicholas doing what Nicholas does best.

Dinner time at the Elephant Bedroom – Nicholas doing what Nicholas does best.

This image was taken very close to the camp, which has no fences. Therefore, you will always be escorted to and from your tent. If you smell an animal it’s most likely because it’s there!

This image was taken very close to the camp, which has no fences. Therefore, you will always be escorted to and from your tent. If you smell an animal it’s most likely because it’s there!

Welcome to… Nowhere.
There are no gates. No signs. No buildings. No nothing. When the jeep stops on the little road loop under the doum palms (Hyphaene thebaica) you know that you’ve arrived at Nowhere. You see just a couple of tents. At that point, you don’t really know what to expect of your stay.
The staff will tell you that you are on the south bank of the Ewaso Nyiro River in Samburu. They will then take you to the dining area for a welcome drink and some fried vegetarian snacks. From that point, the stay is nothing but fantastic. Adding to this is the fact that there are no fences, so animals are free to walk around and through the camp. While sipping on the drink, my eyes stopped on the piles of elephant dung not far away from the couches. “We had some by-passers here last night”, the staff told me. It sounded as dramatic as if the bus would be running three minutes late.

Face the fact: You will be staying in a tent.
There are actually 12 of those tents. There will be electricity, running water (hot and cold), flushing toilet, king bed, writer’s desk… You will be lacking exactly nothing. At night-time you will be escorted to your tent by the staff at the camp. When you put out the light you will smell and feel Africa. Any downsides? Umm… it can be noisy when it’s windy.

Three course lunches and gourmet dinners… How do they do it?
I am being told that Nicholas, who is the head chef, has more than 15 years of experience from different luxury hotels. Still, I’m puzzled by the level of the culinary wizardry at the Elephant Bedroom Camp. Lunches are three-course meals. Dinners are four-course candle-lit gourmet extravaganzas. Ingredients are fresh. Cooking out here, in the middle of Nowhere, is first class.
I know, I know… This sounds like a paid advertisement. It is not. The camp was just a wonderful surprise on my Kenya visit. What you should not expect though, is a fully stocked bar. I asked the bartender if he had a signature drink. “Well, we have beer, rum and whiskey”, he said. So I ordered a Johnnie Walker and continued to enjoy it along with the sounds of the bush.

Atua Enkop Africa
Jasmine Centre – Suite B2,
Parklands Road off Waiyaki Way,
P. O. Box 42475 – 00100,
Nairobi, Kenya.

reservations@atua-enkop.com
Phone: +254-20-4450035/36
Fax: +254-20-4450037


Not Kenya’s most well-known park. And that’s a good thing.
The Samburu National Reserve may not be mentioned together with parks like the Masai Mara, Tsavo and Amboseli, but that is part of what makes it attractive. As the park is not very big – it’s a mere 165 km² – and not yet over-exploited, you will see other jeeps but traffic jams are unlikely. This may sound odd, but if you’ve been to places like the Mara and Serengeti, you will surely appreciate the difference.

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