When we came to Amboseli national park, I was looking forward to my first experience of a safari lodge in Kenya. I’d read about some really nice parks, and also browsed a few websites and seen some really basic ones listed as well. Eventually I’d left the local arrangement to Father of Niece Tatu, because he said his travel agent had always found decent places to stay in and decent wildlife guides. On a stop during the drive however, he looked a little worried and said that he hoped the food was good. The road had been extremely dusty, and there was a pall of dust hanging in front of the hotel’s gate.
Most of the hotel was set some way back from the gate, behind a dense screen of acacia trees. The dust did not penetrate far. When we checked in the reception told us that they have deluxe tents for us. In India we have stayed in tents now and then, and they tend to be a little crowded. It was just one night though, I told myself. But Kenya is different. The tent looked like a big stand alone room from outside; I could see a well painted wooden framework and lath. “Tent?” I asked The Family as our little luggage was deposited in an enormous room of which the four-poster bed took up less than half the area. I forgot to take a photo until we returned in the evening, when the staff had already unfurled the mosquito net. I’m used to the Indian and Chinese style of nets, which are tucked under the mattress. These netted curtains make me nervous, since they seem to have many chinks through which mosquitoes can enter (as indeed one did that night).
The bathroom with its enormous tub was larger than many hotel rooms I’ve stayed in. The photo above also shows why this is called a tent. If you look at the roof you will see that there is canvas there. Why would you have a little touch of a tent in a room which is essentially a stand-alone cottage? It could be a touch of romance, like the not-very-useful mosquito curtain. Or it could be something about taxes levied on classes of rooms. I forgot to ask, and it does not seem worthwhile to work through Kenya’s tourism codes to figure this one out.
We were happy to find that FONT’s misgivings about the food were baseless. The buffets were excellent, as was the bar. One excellent extra were the large number of birds that you could see while sitting in the dining area or the bar. The photo above shows several blue Superb Starlings (Lamprotornis superbus), with their white eyes and a chestnut breast. The other bird is one I haven’t been able to identify yet. If you are an expert on the birds of East Africa, I would really appreciate your help.