TRAVEL DIARY

Rekindling the love of Old Africa

You are immersed into the sights and sounds of the bush in this camp

In Summary

• The intimacy of a small boutique with the luxury fittings of high-end lodge: that's Leleshwa camp for you

View of the horizon at Leleshwa camp
View of the horizon at Leleshwa camp
Image: SIMON MARSH

Escaping the smoke-belching fumes of decrepit trucks and erratic matatus is one of the benefits of living in this amazing country we call home. The Masai Mara stirs up a passion for wide open spaces, picnics under acacia trees and epic life and death battles between the prey and the hunter that most of the world will only ever get to see on their television.

Leleshwa mobile camp provides the intimacy of a small boutique operation with the luxury fittings of the most high-end lodges in Kenya. You are immersed into the sights and sounds of the bush, savouring the evening fireside recollections of the day's sightings with the difficult choice between a gin and tonic or a perfectly chilled glass of wine and debating whether the epic descent of the fireball like sun was as dramatic as the previous day.

Joe and Gillian Charleson have been working in the safari industry for decades and are very particular about where they site their camp, ensuring there is a perfect combination of privacy as well as outstanding views. The fittings are all individually chosen to match the environment and the staff have mastered the art of providing unobtrusive five star service. Hot water is always ready when you want it, the beds are comfortable and inviting and everything is designed with the comfort of the guest in mind. It is quite remarkable that such a sophisticated set up can arise where 24 hours early there was purely bush.

Leleshwa camp
Leleshwa camp
Image: SIMON MARSH

Safari makes you hungry and the chefs can create something in the bush kitchen that would rival the world class restaurants of Nairobi frequented by the social elite. Dietary needs are carefully catered for unlike so many places with not just the basics but checking that the ingredients themselves do not themselves contain even a trace or that there is a risk of cross contamination.

The Mara is of course renowned for its abundance of wildlife, from the herds of elephants who roam serenely over such wide spaces, to the auburn maned lions that majestically disregard everything and the cheetahs who demonstrate speed can sometimes overcome size. The highlight, even for the most experienced wildlife aficionado is often the always elusive leopard. This master of disguise knows how to blend in and to avoid detection but the prospects of a sighting here are possibly the best in Kenya and a good photograph will surely earn pride of place back home.

It’s not all about the big five however, for many the appeal lies in escaping the hustle, reading a good book devoid of stress, enjoying guilt free post lunch snoozes or maybe taking a cold beer to the river to watch the antics of the hippos. For the children, its about rediscovering honest and innocent adolescence, making a bow and arrow, learning how to make a matchless fire with wood and dry elephant dung or finding the perfect lion footprint to make a plaster imprint, these are memories that will last forever.

Leleshwa camp
Leleshwa camp
Image: SIMON MARSH

The 2020 high season in the Mara will long be remembered for many reasons, one of which is that its possibly the first time in decades that the annual migration from the Serengeti into the Mara will take place largely devoid of international tourists. This will make it the most unique of opportunities for Kenyan residents to enjoy the spectacle without the crowds and at an affordable rate.

With the resumption of international visitors being some time away, the Mara national reserve in addition to the various community conservancies which together make up the Mara ecosystem, face unprecedented challenges to maintain their operations and every shilling from visitors will help them to survive the effects of the pandemic and subsequently  ensure that both the communities and the wildlife can continue to preserve this important and unique place.

Leleshwa mobile camp is available on an exclusive use self catering basis (staff provided) rate or on full board basis which includes meals and game drives, ideal for extended family group or group of friends. Contact [email protected] or call 0715931471

Leleshwa camp
Leleshwa camp
Image: SIMON MARSH