For a trip that’s been two years in the making, Borana Lodge, part of the Borana Conservancy, did not disappoint. It seems that our having a baby and conflicting schedules between my husband Eddie and I meant it took us this long to work out the perfect time to make a getaway and boy were we right! On our two year wedding anniversary! After Hellen from the reservations office rebooked us for the umpteenth time, bless her, we booked our Air Kenya flights, made sure Baby Huru was safely dropped off at his grandparents and departed for a trip that was special in so many ways. But here’s the top 5 reasons why:
1. Rooms with a view
Vast, rustic, romantic. We stepped into our cottage for the weekend, one of the eight at the lodge. After taking in the view of the landscape and settling down to a bottle of champagne, we sat quietly next to each other. We reflected, we flirted, we sighed. Maybe it was the fatigue of the last few years or…maybe it was the setting. It allowed us to escape but be present at the same time. The shower, designed like a cave, offers a snapshot look of the hills and exotic trees. A quaint verandah outside our room turned into a startling dining experience on our last night. It almost seemed like the bonfire held out for us a little longer!
2. Pride Rock and breathtaking landscapes
Twenty-three years ago, Rafiki presented Simba to the Animal Kingdom in a pivotal scene of The Lion King. He did this on Pride Rock, a monument that Eddie and I had sundowners on on our first evening at Borana. Yup! Story goes that some Disney writers were on vacation there many years back and were inspired to write in the monument to the story. I wasn’t just thrilled at being a part of history, I was blown away by the sunset view that my husband and I took in that evening. And the next, at a different location.
3. Wildlife and the Borana Special 5
Anyone who truly knows me knows that after too many game drives to count, I’m still intrigued by and in love with wildlife. What makes the wildlife in Borana captivating are the unique animals that are found in the region, most of which I last encountered exactly 10 years ago, in Samburu, during my days as a travel show host. Among them, the fascinating Beisa Oryx, majestic Reticulated Girraffe and solitary Grevys Zebra. While we spotted a very handsome lion, a stunning Cheetah with her cub, a few Black Rhinos and plenty of Zebra and Buffalo, seeing these unique creatures once more just added an extra something to the weekend. I missed out on spotting a Gerenuk! Maybe next time.
4. The Food
For the first time in my life, while staying at a lodge, I experienced a different kind of dining experience while at Borana. It wasn’t the usual buffet offering a wide array of tasty albeit cliche meals. This time round there was quiche, home made chutney, a snack that included dates wrapped in bacon and other delicacies that left my taste buds dizzy. In a good way!
5. The Anti-Poaching Mission
Geared up and ready to protect our wildlife, Borana’s anti-poaching security team now numbers over 100 men, who are continually trained and are deployed day and night to provide the eyes and ears to make sure that our wildlife is safe (from http://www.borana.co.ke/conservation/anti-poaching.html#.WSx1DWnXeEc). Eddie and I joined them on one of their deployment excursions and learnt first hand what these brave men in uniform risk to ensure endangers species are better protected.
Borana offered more than the effortless hospitality of the manager, Eloise, the staff, among them Patrick and Albert. It provided knowledge, romance and a new found appreciation for conservation. I’m not ready to wait another two years to make my return! Borana, take me back ❤
Visit http://www.borana.co.ke/ for more on Borana Conservancy