I was eager to do the year cross-over in a serene environment out of town. Alone. I had certain resorts and campsites in mind but as I was to find out, booking a 31st December trip in the morning of that day is almost a vain effort. About 25 calls later, I found an opening for camping at crater lake lodge that I had earlier visited.
This is in Naivasha, a 10,000 acre game sanctuary that happens to have a ‘secret’ lake. By the lake is the lodge, complete with a floating restaurant. They offer, on request, game drives, room tours and a short guided hike to Leopard rock (just about the best viewpoint I have seen in many months.)
It really exceeded my expectations. The staff was so friendly that at the end of my stay, my biggest concern was how I was going to tip so many people! (This is not a sponsored post by the way)
I had a slight panic on the second night when I discovered (at midnight) that I was going to be alone at the campsite as all other guests had left. There was no guard specifically for the campsite. Now, this wouldn’t be an issue if it was somewhere else, but this was a game reserve! With carnivorous animals! The closest person to my tent was probably 300m away. My conversation with the guide who walked me to the tent went like this;
Me: Kuna mtu ashawahi kulala hapa peke yake? (Has anyone ever slept here alone?)
Guide: Ndio wanalala hata wiki moja! (Yes! Even for a whole week!)
Me: Hata wanawake? (Women?)
Guide: Kuna mzungu mmoja anapenda kupiga wanyama picha usiku, huwa anakuja. (There’s a white lady that likes to take photographs of animals at night. She comes.)
Me: Na wanyama wataingia? (Will the animals enter?)
Guide: (Baada ya kucheka) Aaaah, hapana, labda tu wale wadogo wadogo kama moongoose. (After a short laugh; No, just the small ones like mongooses)
Me: (In my head) I’m not white and they made me sign an indemnity form at the entrance. Surely they must know something I don’t. By this time I had already played out in my head, a baby leopard straying into the campsite and the mother trying to rescue him.
Upgrading my accommodation to the luxurious side would have cost me an additional 7000/= (70USD) a night and I didn’t have that luxury. Suffice to say I slept within a very short time and I was woken up by the sounds of the wild in the morning.
I had an amazing time hanging out by myself, with other guests who I ended up having very interesting conversations with and the staff.
Below are the photos; my tent and everything else that was a 10 minute walk away.