Most travellers dreams of going on safari in Africa, with their head poking out of a Land-rover, or sitting in a retro truck as it bumps over the orange dust giving their backs and buttocks an African massage.
But like most travellers, we found ourselves seeking a little luxury as well. We had roughed it before in Uganda, and we wanted to finish this section of our world trip in Africa with something really special.
Not only that, we were running out of time in Kenya, and we only had 36 hours to spare, so we discovered something unique, and not only within our timeframe, but also within our budget, yet still luxury. And on top of that, we could get ‘straight under canvas’ within 30 minutes of leaving the Nairobi International Airport.
So we chose the Nairobi Tented Camp – the only accommodation within the Nairobi National Park.
We were chauffeured after our Lamu Island flight landed at the Nairobi Airport to the Nairobi National Park side gate, where we changed vehicles to our retro Land-rover – the official Gamewatchers Safaris vehicle. This delighted me as a secret dream I have is travelling across Africa in an old Land-rover, so “oooh’s and ahhh’s” were coming from me, along with huge smiles across both our faces. Explorason had discovered that the roof opens, and his head could pop out!
When we arrive we are immediately given a refreshing towel – khaki coloured of course!
I am shocked as to how much cooler it is in Nairobi than on theKenyan coast – in fact we are not at all prepared for that.
We are really impressed with the opulence and relaxation of the Nairobi Tented Camp when we arrived.
Leather arm chairs; tasteful interior design; a HUGE vases of fresh roses wafting their perfume into the afternoon air; as well as Maasai beaded decorations; and of course Gamewatchers Safaris fantastic service.
We were then served our welcome drink by another of the friendly staff, as we relaxed into the sumptuous couches.
We were pretty keen to see our sleeping quarters. But I must admit, they really were not what we expected as far as the standard of accommodation we had heard about for this National Park.
Because they were MUCH BETTER!!!!!! This huge permanent tent was decked out very tastefully, and with a lot of little extras that made it feel like home.
It had electricity (in fact loads of lights)and 2 lovely comfortable beds with inner spring mattresses; a desk and chair; beaded Maasai accessories; colourful woven rugs, and a cute giraffe curtain which led to ….
…. a really large bathroom – with – wait for it – a hot shower !!
All we had to do was ‘order’ the hot water, and the staff prepared the shower within 10 minutes. And quite a lengthy hot shower too. Not a one minute bucket and it was all over.
There were essential oil toiletries, and much more.
We were away from the main tent area, with a lovely area to sit outside the tent if we wanted to get away from the main guest area. This would be useful if the campsite was at peak capacity, however we were fortunate that there were only 3 other bookings at the time we were there, which meant we received very special treatment and attention from the staff.
It was great to be a little secluded, because animals could wander around the area, like these female impala with her baby we spotted out of our window next to our tent.
We headed back for some afternoon tea after our first game drive, and prior to our sunset game drive on the first day. As it was getting cooler, we were served hot chocolate for Explorason, and a lovely French Press coffee for myself.
This was fabulous except I forgot about the impending game drive for a moment, and my bladder did suffer during the ‘African massage’. Fortunately our driver found a restroom for me!
When we arrived back in the early evening our lovely guard came to welcome us, and to invite us to sit by the campfire for a pre-dinner drink and to meet the other guests.
Now this really is a salubrious swanky safari camp!
Explorason went with him, whilst I went off to enjoy a fabulous hot shower, and a little ‘me’ time. It is really important for me that we get some time individually. It boosts his confidence to talk with others, and I like a little silence.
I returned to find Explorason having ‘filled in’ the other guests (who worked in tourism) on our world travels, complete with handing out our business card. Quite the little PR man.
They were heading out for an evening drive, so they started with an early dinner whilst we sat and enjoyed the campfire.
All the food here is made fresh each day using locally sourced produce. Considering we were in the middle of a National Park, this is pretty extraordinary.
There is good wi-fi in the main guest areas too, which was an added bonus. But we try to have a time over meals to talk to each other, and not to have our heads in technology. We chatted with other guests at the next table, and also the staff, as we sat on plush sheepskins to keep warm.
Just as we finished dinner it started to bucket down with rain. Our guard came with umbrellas and rain ponchos and guided us to our luxury tent for the night. They are on duty to also keep us secure from any ‘not so friendly’ animals that might wander our way in the night.
When we arrived the lights were on; the bed was turned down; drinking water was supplied for teeth cleaning; and a bonus surprise as we hopped into bed – hot water bottles!
These little touches really made us feel special. It was strange to be snuggled up in with soft fluffy white quilts and a hot water bottle at our feet after having the last few months in the African warmth.
It was even stranger to hear rain pelt down on the tent roof beating like a drum. To me this was a real novelty, and I lay awake just thinking that tomorrow will be my last day in Africa.
Morning arrived and we woke when it was still dark as the guard arrived with hot drinks to start our day. We were heading off for a sunrise game drive – in the rain. Mind you when booking a safari, we can’t choose the weather!
But soon after we started the rain stopped. One good thing about a safari in the rain is the animals stand still in the rain making for excellent photographs!
We headed back for a late cooked breakfast, and then some relaxing time and a walk to the rock pools. Now the sun was shining again, which was lovely.
Soon it was time for lunch, followed by some internet time.
After lunch it was lovely to see one of the staff and Explorason identifying all the animals he had seen that morning on our game drive too.
Before we knew it, it was time to head out for the last drive through the Nairobi National Park.
We departed through the main gate where we met our lovely driver in his mini van who escorted us to the Nairobi International Airport. It felt like we had left there days ago, not the day before.
It was time to farewell Kenya and Africa.
I am so glad we finished our time with the Nairobi Tented Camp. In just 36 hours we had gone from the sunny coast of the Kenya Island of Lamu, to the orange dust of Nairobi, staying in a luxury camp site, and seeing nearly every wild animal left on our ‘check list’. And now we were ready to fly off to our 59th country on our world trip.
This safari was fabulous for us. It is perfect for a business person, or the busy traveller with limited time. Nairobi Tented Camp really is a salubrious swanky safari campsite.
If you’d like to experience this for yourself, here are there details below.
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Gamewatchers Safaris – Nairobi Tented Camp
P.O. Box 388 – 00621,Village Market, Nairobi, Kenya, Africa
Mobile: +254 726705958
Tel: +254 0774 136523/4/5, 7121243.| Fax: 254 (0)20 7120864