Thursday, May 24, 2018

Elephants, Camels and Sky Beds

Spot the Leopard
 We found more wildlife in Loisaba than I had anticipated.  The Loisaba bush lacks the tall grasses of the plains of the Lewa Conservancy; it is rockier and more purely bush country.  At a man-made water hole, we saw the largest herd of elephants I can recall seeing so up-close and personal in all my years of game viewing.  A leopard lounging in a tree provided a rare viewing of that animal, although I have no photographic proof that the leopard exists unless you count a photo of a tree with a long dotted branch swaying the breeze.  One negative factor in the Loisaba bush is the presence of an invasive species of prickly pear cactus that was originally imported into Africa to provide fencing.  The cactus plants now outnumber the African thorn bushes.  I remember going on hunts in this area when I lived in Kenya in the early 70s.  Almost all of the Laikipia plains were private ranches and many of them leased hunting blocks. 

Camels and lunch
Game viewing is hard and we were relieved to round a bush and find a table set for food and libation.  Our bush lunch in Loisaba offered the opportunity to take a camel ride.  The camel rides, as well as the the mountain biking expeditions and horseback rides offered by Loisaba, are possible because Loisaba is a private conservancy.  Wildlife viewing is more closely regulated in Kenya and Tanzania's national parks which require closed vehicles for tourists.  Loisaba is hoping that the more active wildlife viewing options, along with the elegant tented camp, will draw millennial travelers. 

Loisaba Sky Bed
One of the unique offerings of Loisaba is their sky beds.  Comfortable double beds with feather duvets are built on car tires and rest inside a thatched shelter.  The beds (and their occupants) are rolled out at night on to an open platform where two lucky people spend the night under the clear African skies, counting the innumerable stars and locating the Southern Cross.  They wake with the sun to a cup of hot tea or coffee delivered to their bed while they watch the elephant bath in the water hole below.  The Sky Bed units even have one made for families with two double beds and a small "crib".  Each unit has its own "facilities", and there is a comfortable central lounge and dining area where guests can gather and share their safari experiences.
Sky Bed washroom, family room and viewing platform overlooking the waterhole.
In the afternoon, the Camp host treated us to a "back of the house" tour of the Tented Camp.  The most amazing things there were the ONE (yes, only one) washing machine that providing clean sheets, towels and laundry to the entire camp, and the water treatment and storage area.  If you'd like to try glamping in Africa, think of Loisaba!

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