The fire was red hot, gleaming brightly as we sat around it watching the omnipotent sun find its way down into a gap deep in the distant hills. At this point I felt like Sydney Pollack, sitting on my directors chair on the escarpment, taking in the alien sights, sounds and smells surrounding me.
But I wasn't controlling the story, our host, the Big Friendly Giant, or Steve Carey from Zimbabwe as he is more formally known, sat with us, discussing the possible activities available to us on our stay - and it wasn't only game watching - rafting, rock jumping, fishing, camping under the stars - these were all possible too.
We weren't dining alone in this magical place. Our hostess Annabelle's cousin Olly and a group of friends had come out to the camp a couple days before us and were diving into their last meal, washed down with the statutory Tusker beer.
Dad being Dad, a deep conversation with cousin Olly was underway who was excited to hear that we had encountered a pride of lions earlier that day as we drove into the site - the boys from London and Oxford, who had not been so lucky in their quest to view these glorious cats - leapt out of their director chairs and charged for the 4 wheel drive like a heard of Buffalo running from a predator.
Moments later, my younger brothers Toby and Sam decided to follow for the 'night drive' - Barend our South African guide ('drop dead gorgeous' according to the female members of our party) typcially as excited as the rest of the group about going to track down the lioness and her cubs.
Supper was served on the escarpment, a miraculous buffet of lamb, cous cous, and a delicious aubergine and tomato dish - all food carefully hunted down in the supermarkets of Nanyuki, or grown on site. Olly and the gang had returned and we all tucked into our meal like wild animals after a kill. And as if that wasn't enough, sticky toffee pudding was on the dessert menu, a real triumph, and as we were to discover just one in a repertoire of delicious cakes and puddings!
Having devoured our meal we found ourselves in the warmth of our 'tents', although these were a far cry from family camping pop-up affairs . The four youngest were in one tent, equipped with one bunk bed and two single beds, and Mum, Dad and big sister shared a separate tent furnished with a double and a single bed. These tents were master class, designed with an open air bathroom at the back - they had everything thing you needed and Annabelle's artistic touch was in evidence here as much as everywhere else - fresh roses in the bathroom and Kikoy bed covers helped to remind us we were indeed in Africa.
We had met the director, the cast and the crew, the location was perfect, catering facilities top class and accommodation dreamy. As long as the wildlife performed as expected, this was going to be an Oscar winning stay.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Small and personal 10 bed tented camp in Laikipia, Kenya offering real adventure, walking safaris, game drives, excellent wild dog, leopard, elephant, giraffe and special Laikipia species. Homely atmosphere, family run, comfortable tents with en suite facilities and at a good price. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Laikipia Wilderness Camp Kenya/Nanyuki Town