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A taste of bush luxury

By Thorn Mulli | Published Mon, November 13th 2017 at 14:40, Updated November 13th 2017 at 14:46 GMT +3
Kicheche, Laikipia

How about a different experience this holiday season with the family? One that the children will talk about for ages and make up one of the family’s most cherished memories.

Glamping, also known as luxury camping or glamorous camping, is that escape any urban dweller needs. It’s that little break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. You get to experience the wild without sacrificing your comfort. It is a way to connect with your surroundings without having to rough it.

If you are a keen follower of this column, then you recall that we recently took a trip to Ol Pejeta Conservancy in a budget guesthouse christened Stables. This past weekend, I decided to head back there with family, but this time for a different experience. We wanted to experience Kicheche Laikipia, located inside the conservancy.   We drove to Nanyuki where we met up with my good friend and photographer Andrew Obaga who offered us the use of his open-roofed customised 4WD Land Cruiser.

The Ol Pejeta gates close at 6:30pm and luckily we made it just in time. We had just enough time to freshen up before we all met up at the dining tent that doubles up as a lounge area. Against the backdrop of a crackling fire, we tore through a fine candle-lit three-course-meal. Grilled sirloin steak, sourced from the pure Boran beef cattle reared in the conservancy was served with mushroom sauce, chicken liver pâté starter and passion fruit-coconut crème brûlée. Later in the evening, I checked out the bar which had an impressive range of wines and spirits.

Tired from the travel and anticipating a busy day the following morning, we retired. The camp site has six luxury tents nestled on the edge of indigenous woodland overlooking a waterhole. The waterhole is wide and deep enough to do canoe rides, an activity my clan revelled in the following day. Having packed light for the trip, we were pleased to find out that there was a daily laundry service available.

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Activities at camp are fashioned from the wild. Apart from canoeing, guided walks and cycling tours are on offer. The star attraction, however, is the wide array of game life in the conservancy that includes the Big Five. Our morning drive began with an al-fresco breakfast on the banks on the Ewaso River as a troop of baboons hovered nearby.

Despite a heavy downpour later in the day, we sighted many wild animals and the delight for the children was definitely the cheetahs. We also had a night game drive where we spotted bush babies, the bat-eared fox and saw my first ever aardvark. The fascinating aardvark has a pig-like face, rabbit-like ears and a kangaroo tail. Interestingly, it isn’t related to any of the animals.

Overall, it was a different experience for us all. Sleeping in the tents surrounded by the wild is something we all need to do once in a while, and for the children, it is the ultimate stuff story telling sessions are made of.