Sleep in rooms without walls
I saw Memories of Africa with thirteen years. When I left the cinema I had three things clear: I needed khaki clothes, for an adventurer to wash my hair in the sheet and sleep in a place without walls with wild animals stalking. Fiction made me a precocious girl. It was an epiphany: I had to go to Kenya.
A few months ago I stepped on Kenya for the first time. Since the plane landed in Laikipia and I could see the horizon (yes, the horizon, that I had not seen for months) I gave myself. I put my neck to let Africa bite me and inoculate its virus.
Every day I was in Africa I slept in places without walls. I could cross out something on the "Things to do before you die" list. The ritual travelers that Kenya are very marked. There man is invited, Nature sets the pace. At dawn the first safari begins. In the central hours of the day you rest. By the way, how easy it is to read in Kenya, occasionally raising the view of the book to focus the view and discover, I don't know, elephants? In the afternoon there is a second safari that usually ends with a cold wine just at the time when the sun sets instead of scenic view. That was my Kenya.
In Kenya there is plenty of time to enjoy the hotels. We will call them hotels to summarize, but they are camps or lodges*. These places are not exclusive to the country, but here or there (depending on where our mind is) they are very evolved. They have achieved something commendable: to be, truly and at the same time, sustainable and luxurious. Or maybe it's all part of the same. These are the ones that I met. On the one hand I do not want anyone to go, on the other, what is not shared does not exist.
Lewa Safari Camp: everything ready for your eyes © Lewa Safari Camp
Lewa Safari Camp (Lewa Wild Life Conservancy).
This reservation is difficult to reach and, therefore, so few arrive. I arrived, Prince William and Kate Middleton arrived and few others. The benefits of camp They reinvest directly in the community. For example, recently guard posts for guards and a water canalization system have been built at the Engilai school. Part of the staff is Masai and works between hotel and its village. They seem happy to have this double life. Cheli & Peacock, the seal to which the camp, has incorporated hot water by solar energy and to optimize electricity and recycling. This effort is common in many places in Kenya. The fact that the nights in which it cools slide a hot water bottle between the sheets, demonstrates an eco-considered personality.
There are twelve cabins and they are very separate from each other. Privacy is important. This is the luxury that promotes this place: to make you feel that everything is ready just for your eyes. Here live 10 percent of the rhinos of Kenya and it seems that everyone is waiting for you. After the first day in this place I understood something that I did not have and I got off the hook: that place was terribly romantic. The curtains of the cabins, the terrace where to see the dawn wrapped in a blanket, the play of spaces, the balance between noise and silence, the human scale, the rituals. We had to shout it to everyone. I gave up: it was hard to understand and they were going to take me crazy.
Joy's Safari Camp: sleeping without walls in Kenya © Joy's Safari Camp
Joy´s Safari Camp (Shaba National Reserve):
I knew the legend: here lived Joys Adams, the author of Born free. As a story, it wasn't bad, but (I'm sorry, Joy) I stopped caring when I entered my store. That beauty. This hotel has won the award for the Best Sustainable Hotel in Africa at the International Hotel Awards Africa 2012/2013: I'm not the only one who is excited about him. It also belongs to Cheli & Peacock and that is perceived in the elegance of the design and in the delicious Italian cuisine eaten there.
Samburu, the region where the reserve is is known for having the Big Five, but the Special Five: Grevy's zebra, the reticulated giraffe, the oryx, the Somalia ostrich and the gerenuk, a gazelle-giraffe. I didn't know there were so many animals. The landscape seems to be created by computer (Kenya is a Pixar movie). And life in the hotel? Too good, thanks. There is a pool surrounded by trees of magical forms, the dinners last until dawn making you feel Karen Blixen and the terrace of the shops invite you to look at the infinity without missing the Internet. Internet, what was that? That place, besides being romantic, was sexy. But neither were we going to tell anyone.
Joy's Safari Camp: the Best Sustainable Hotel in Africa © Joy's Safari Camp
Elephant´s Bedroom (Samburu National Reserve).
Here I spent the last days I was in Kenya. My room, shop, cabin or whatever that delight was, it didn't have walls either. In front of her was the Ewaso Nyiro River. It seemed biblical or lunar, half brown, like others I knew in the country. There the elephants roared while I tensed all the muscles in my body. They are peaceful, my poor: we are more dangerous. The sunset of this place, by candlelight with stars like large moons, should be illegal. And the place was also sexy, and romantic and exciting. But, again, I shut up and gloat over my memories.
And I am a proud African virus owner, the famous one has bitten me Africa bug. I do not want vaccines. I want to come back. I want to sleep in rooms without walls. In Kenya it seems that the world is about to be released.
Elephant's Bedroom: sunset should be prohibited © Elephant's Bedroom: