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.
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,
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.