We arrived safely at The Farm, and while we were aware that we should expect to be flexible with our accommodations, sometimes staying in a safari tent when the resort was busy, we looked upon our accommodations with a little apprehension.
After being greeted by the lovely staff, with jugs of freshly squeezed passion fruit juice and hot towels, we were led off by Andrew, the staff manager. We walked through the colorful cottage garden and just after passing a bank of solar panels, we followed a somewhat steep track down towards a small stream. After about 100 yards or so, we came upon our tent! This was large, pitched on top of a high wooden deck with a tin roof over the top, and a wooden veranda all the way around. We could view the hillside opposite and hear the gushing of the stream below, although it was hidden deep down under the thorny acacia treetops. We entered the tent to see two large single beds pushed together, two shelving units with hanging racks and a set of drawers. These were located in the back area of the tent, with a small sofa located in the front, with a zipper wall between if we needed more privacy. We were a little apprehensive as to how safe it would be from animals, but were assured that the elephants and giraffes could not enter, and that the leopard that seemed to be stalking the area at the moment was unlikely to be able to chew through the fabric! We were told that we would hear the leopard at night, along with the elephants thrashing around if they did happen to venture onto the opposite hillside.
The bathroom was also on the deck. Corrugated iron surrounded the open air, loo, shower and a dressing/storage area. We were a little shocked to learn that the loo was not connected to anything and we would need to throw sawdust down to avoid any odorous build up. There was running water to the sink and shower from the solar panels but tent did not have electricity, which was a surprise as we had been led to believe that we would have everything we needed. We were provided with solar lamps, and after a fleeting introduction to the owner, we were duly left to settle in.
We had expected, from the description and conversations with the owner, that we would have electricity and a flushing loo, but not to be deterred we started to unpack our too many clothes and make ourselves as comfortable as possible. It was not long before we started making a list- more pillows, a mirror, a trashcan, hangers, some rugs (the floor was very cold), an extra duvet, a broom and drinking water.
All these things were provided over the next few days and we settled in. Our first night was a little tense. We snuggled under the duvet, with the sheets up to our noses and listened to all the strange noises outside. The bed was very comfortable and we soon warmed up. The night was quite chilly, with a healthy breeze coming off Mount Kenya, but we were sure we would acclimatize over the coming weeks. We slept well, only waking a couple of times. Marcel did hear the leopard, purring deeply close by. We weren’t scared, the tent was a very well made new safari tent, but the problem was when our aging bladders gave out and we had to go pee in the middle of the night. We had brought our hiking sticks, so armed with torches, and a hiking stick, we both got out of bed, put on a sweater and the freeby slippers which we had picked up at our previous luxurious night’s accommodation, and unzipped the tent. With no leopard in sight, we crept along the deck, with floorboards creaking and while one peed, the other stood on look-out! Business seen to, we almost ran back to our beds, and soon warmed up again, only to be awakened an hour later by the whooping, chirping and hooting of birds. The morning chorus is spectacular and we have come to recognize the ‘regulars’ tooting and whistling at the appointed hour.
Our first morning wake up and it was chilly! It was about 7am and the sun had been up almost an hour, so we walked out onto the veranda wrapped in sweaters and shawls. We went from the pitch black of the tent to the startling brightness of the morning sun, and so bleary eyed and shivering, we scuttled over to the one corner of the deck that the sun caught and stood and warmed ourselves like a pair of old reptiles, waiting for our blood to start circulating. As we stood rubbing our arms to warm up, our eyes slowly opened and adjusted to the brightness, and we were treated to a wonderful sight….a herd of elephants grazing on the ridge with several zebras wandering nearby. We pulled out the binoculars to get a closer look and with the cold now forgotten, we watched for over half an hour as these lovely creatures went about their grazing. Since that first sighting, we have had the pleasure of the company of a mature Colobus monkey in the tree opposite the tent, and we enjoyed watching a group of eight giraffes with a couple of babies munching on an acacia tree during an afternoon. We were going to be okay….this was worth all the minor inconveniences, to see this so close up every day.
As these three weeks have progressed we have had some challenges with hot water, the solar panel that feeds our tent broke, so we have had to use other showers as they are available. But, as of writing, the panel has been fixed so we are just waiting for the sun to heat the water….maybe tomorrow???? We now have two chairs and a coffee table, along with some rugs, so we are making it more comfortable each day. All we need now is a full mini bar!
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