Loisaba camp with a view of Mt Kenya

Mount Kenya

An early morning view of Mount Kenya from the tents.

Photo credit: Pool

The Loisaba Tented Camp is perched on the high edge of the Laikipia Plateau. The view is staggering, down to a plain a thousand feet below and, in the far distance, there is Mount Kenya – when it throws off its veil of clouds.

Talking of staggering, I wasn’t yet up to joining the rest of the family on all their compulsive morning and late afternoon game drives in Andreas’ safari vehicle.

I was still in recovery mode after a bout of pneumonia. That was also a convenient excuse for enjoying a lie-in and a leisurely breakfast on the camp’s viewing deck.

Also, as I keep telling my restless family members, sometimes if you stay quiet and still, the animals will come quite close to you. I often remind them of the time in Ol Pejeta, when the others had gone for a drive and I was sitting alone outside my tent at the Sweetwaters Serena Camp, watching giraffes and a mix of plains game, and a cheetah came from the fringe of trees and made a kill. Mind you, at Loisaba Tented Camp, one morning on my way to breakfast there were two great kudus watching me less than a cricket pitch from the path.

In bed, on the first of our three nights, we heard the roaring of lions down on the plain. And in the morning, still warmly tucked up in bed while the others had charged off before sunrise, I heard the lions again. There must have been two prides challenging each other somewhere down there.

Mind you, I was a bit jealous when I heard that they had twice encountered a leopard on that first early morning drive. It took me two years and many game drives, in different parks and reserves in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, before I saw my first leopard. It was in the Serengeti and it was lazing on a branch of an acacia tree, where it had dragged up its impala kill.

Loisaba is a very good area for seeing leopards, it seems. And there are also a couple of black leopards around. When we talked with managers, Mark and Marie-Claire Evans, they said this has attracted a number of clients.

But all leopards, whatever their colour, are elusive, so there can be no guarantee of seeing one. There is much more wildlife to enjoy.

On the game drives I missed, there were also many sightings of elephants, a hyena den, lots of plains game, and even an aardwolf. On the final evening drive and after sunset, one of the small prides of lion that we had heard every night was seen prowling close to the camp gate.

One other attraction of the camp is the food. When Mark and Marie-Claire took over they decided that the menus should be drastically changed. The result is the best food I have tasted in any lodge or camp over 30 years of safaris. The style is what used to be called ‘nouvelle cuisine’ – an emphasis on freshness, lightness, variety of flavours and imaginative presentation. Also, it was remarkable that for each meal of a four-day cycle, there is a separate menu for non-vegetarians, vegetarians and vegans. Every day the meals were superb.

We benefitted from a special offer for Kenyan residents – three nights at the price of two, and children under twelve are free. This holds till the end of May. If you would like to know more about the Loisaba Tented Camp or the Loisaba Conservancy, I suggest you check out the Elewana Collection website.

If you go by road, we discovered that the route via Rumuruti, which we took on the way back, is a bit longer but smoother and faster than the one via Nanyuki, which we took on the way out.

John Fox is Chairman of iDC Email: [email protected]