The Nomad team heads to Mbweha Camp in Soysambu Conservancy where we go on a camel back ride to Lake Nakuru and encounter a bevy of flamingos before tucking into a bush breakfast.
Photos: Brian Siambi
By road: About three hours from Nairobi. By air: Fly into Congreve airstrip which is only serviced by charter flights.
This rustic lodge is set within the vast Soysambu Conservancy and lies on the southern boundary of Lake Nakuru National Park. Given that it is outside the national park, after tucking into a delicious three- course supper, we set off on a night game drive where we encounter numerous jackals, after which the camp is named, as well as aardvarks- burrowing creatures fondly referred to as the “African Kangaroo”. The conservancy is also teeming with various antelope species, zebras, buffalos, leopards, and more, and is said to have an elusive albino giraffe which we unfortunately didn’t see.
The living areas feel like a contemporary African hut with the signature circular shape and thatched roof. There are two family suites, four double cottages and four twins. Mine, a double with lava stone walls and stone floors had a private terrace, hot showers throughout the day with simple earthy colours in the decor. With only 10 cottages separated by bushes and gravel walkways, it is as intimate as it gets. My cottage came complete with a private outdoor bathtub, and I initially had every intention of ordering some wine, lighting some lamps, running a salt bath and soaking under the starry night sky with my safari playlist playing from a portable bluetooth speaker, but our stay turned out to be more adventure-filled than anticipated.
Of Camels, Lake Nakuru and a Bush Breakfast
It is about 5:15am on our first morning at the camp and I am snuggling by a central crackling fire in the lounge, completely bundled in warm clothing and with a steaming cup of hot chocolate at hand. We have an early morning call time for our first activity of the day and as I wait for the rest of the team to arrive, a waiter mercifully adds yet another thick log of wood into the now ebbing fire.
Everyone finally shows up and we shuffle to a waiting Land Cruiser Van then set off across the conservancy to an open patch where we find our guide Barabara waiting with four camels for each of us. After our last expedition across Laikipia where we went on a similar camel safari, Nomad’s photographer Brian vehemently refuses to ride again. This is with good reason, as I can still vividly recall my legs being sore for the rest of the day after that trek. He chooses to remain in the car for the drive to the lake while the rest of us mount our camels; these saddles are admittedly more comfortable.
For the next hour, I rock back and forth on my saddle as the camels slowly make their way towards Lake Nakuru which seems ever so near, yet so far. Barabara breaks into song and invites us to join, birds and cicadas call out, curious zebras, giraffes and elands stare at us curiously. Cautiously. Eventually, we get to the lake just as the sun is starting to rise over the horizon, its orange reflection glistening in the water.
Lake Nakuru is a haven for numerous bird species, and is particularly a magnet for large flocks of flamingos that paint the water a soft blush pink with their plumage- it is indeed a sight to behold! We collect feathers from the shore and take pictures, but mostly wait for flamingos to gather in one part of the lake so we can sneak up to them before they get alarmed and take off, wings fluttering in unison as though part of a well choreographed ballet dance.
To crown an already perfect morning, we drive up to a clearing where we find that the camp has set up a lavish English bush breakfast, and the entire thing is so well thought out that I half expect them to pop out a ring, get on one knee and ask me to stay at the conservancy forever.
- Bush Walks
- Cultural Safaris
- Mountain Biking
- Guided hikes at ‘Delamere’s nose’
- Visit to surrounding areas, including Menengai Crater, Lake Elementaita Hot Springs and Lake Nakuru National Park