For my birthday, Phil whisked me away on a mini break to El Karama Eco Lodge, Laikipia, only an hour or so drive away from Nanyuki. El Karama is an eco lodge set in 14,000 acres of African bush and is actually a private working cattle ranch but it is also plays host to Africa’s wonderful wild life. Indeed, on the drive to El Karama, we saw a giraffe stood in the road, and elephants in the bush and this was even before we had got to the ranch itself. We came to realise that there were no fences to contain the animals, nor enclosures, and that this was how the wild life was meant to be – just that, wild – free to roam wherever they chose. This only served to add to our excitement!
Upon arrival at El Karama, we had the warmest welcome and we were shown to our home for four days, a Banda close to the river. There are a mere 8 cottages (and the most amazing Hobbit House) at El Karama so privacy and intimacy were a given. There is a lovely pool and whilst this looked inviting, I could not be tempted to take a dip. Phil braved it and reported that it was most refreshing and invigorating after burning in the African sun.
We were well fed with a wholesome hearty meal made from the fresh food produced at the farm on the ranch itself and we were offered a game drive. Given the late hour of our arrival, darkness had fallen but we accepted the opportunity to go out into the bush on a night drive. Whilst eating dinner, rustling was heard in the bushes across the river and shining a torch revealed that not even 50 metres from where we were dining was a herd of elephants who had ventured down to the river to drink! We were informed that the wild life freely roams through the camp and it was a regular occurrence to have elephants visit the river, and to have the odd hippo on the lawn!
This place felt incredibly special from the start….
We ventured out on the night drive, accompanied by our trusty guide, Robinson, and a rather large lamp to search out the wild life. We were provided with blankets and we settled into the ride with excitement and trepidation. It was a matter of minutes outside the camp when we spotted some of the wild life. We were lucky enough to see two lionesses stalking through the long grass, impala, zebra, elephants and amazingly, hippo’s! This really was an absolute treat – to see a large Hippo out of the water and just stood in the road, staring at us! He was incredibly shy and soon darted away but he gave away the position of other hippo’s loitering in the bush! Phil and I could barely contain our excitement and had to be hushed by our guide! We could not obtain photographs of this fantastic sight (because it was VERY dark) but we just knew this was the start of a magical trip…..
#what dreams are made of