Thursday, May 17, 2018

Glamping at Lewa Safari Camp - 14-16 April 2018

Our tent at Lewa Safari Camp
"Glamping" is a new and popular term in the U.S., but it must've been invented in Africa.  The concept is to experience nature without depriving yourself of modern conveniences, such as toilets and kitchens.  Africa's tented game camps fit that description to a "T" with a lot of luxury thrown in.  Lewa Safari Camp consists of 11 safari tents, each with en-suite bathrooms and a spacious veranda.  There is also a viewing blind overlooking a waterhole, a cozy sitting room with fireplace, a nice dining area and, of course, a swimming pool. 

Lewa Safari Camp is a part of the Elewana Collection, a group of boutique camps and lodges throughout East Africa owned or managed by the Elewana Corporation.  Elewana comes from a kiswahili word  that means "harmony" and "understanding" and all of their sites are specially designed to take advantage of the unique and iconic landscapes of Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar. 

Lewa Safari Camp hosts Sacha and Tam see us off on a game drive.
The hosts of each camp establish the mood of the camp, and our hosts at Lewa, Sacha and Tam, were incredibly warm and welcoming.  We felt like personal guests, not paying guests.  It was very much a family atmosphere.  Since it was a bit rainy and cool while we were there (April and May are called the "long rains" in Kenya), we especially appreciated the warm fire always burning in the lodge area.  The food was plentiful and were the drinks.  We were introduced to the uniquely African cocktail called a Dawa (the kiswahili word for "medicine).  The tented camp experience is truly all-inclusive.   Game drives are included and drivers are generally longtime and very experienced employees of the camps.  Drinks and snacks are sent out on the Land Rovers on twice-daily game drives.   Even better than that, the luxury tented camps love to surprise guests with bush breakfasts and evening sundowners (drinks) highlighting morning and evening drives. 
The Chef for the Bush Breakfast 

The bush "loo".
Our bush breakfast offered stunning views of the Laikipia Plains and Mount Kenya.  The table was formally set and we all enjoyed a trip to the bush loo and a hand wash before digging in to pancakes, eggs, bacon or ham, fruit, sweetbreads, and other assorted goodies.  Looking into the valley, we were treated to a herd of elephant working their way through their bush breakfast. 

Our first  day at Lewa would provide us with the most sun we would see during our stay in Kenya, and we appreciated the beautiful views of distant mountains.  Because of the rains, the grass was high, but that didn't prevent us from seeing a wide variety of game, from the numerous herds of elephant, impala, zebra and eland to huge bustard birds, ostriches, and small and delicate crested cranes.  Perhaps most exciting the Lewa Conservancy offered us the rare opportunity to see many rhino, both black and white. 

As travel agents, our group quickly bonded around our shared vocation and the special experience of the African bush.  The total of ten was a perfect number.  A trip is definitely improved if it is shared.  Game drives, tented camps, and the awe-inspiring views of the African bush teeming with game, provide a great venue for making new friends and solidifying older relationships by sharing special experiences.  If you haven't visited East Africa, you should definitely put it on your bucket list!
A morning toast. 

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