Masai Mara, Kenya
First of all: I did not know that I was going to be glamping. Maybe it was on the itinerary that was in my email, but I had only skimmed it in the last few weeks. I easily could have missed that detail. There were two reasons that I was excited to go to Masai Mara: Seeing the Masai people, and the promise of a safari.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, “glamping” it is basically camping with some modern amenities. That’s right. No peeing in bushes or sleeping on the ground.
I have not been camping since I was a Girl Scout many years ago. I camped, pitched a tent, and all of that good stuff. I guess you could call it proto-glamping because we were at a campsite like we were at sleep away camp. I totally slept in a sleeping bag and made dinner over an open fire with aluminum foil. This was a bit of a different animal though (no pun intended).
Unlike normal camping, I had electricity that ran on a generator from about 5:30pm-10:30pm then 5:30am-7:30am for charging devices. Meals (breakfast and dinner) were served buffet style in a lodge. The fare was typical Kenyan staples like potatoes, chicken, beef, vegetables, rice, etc. however you were responsible for purchasing your own additional items in their small canteen (water, beer, chips, soda, etc).
I stayed in two different tents (I still have no idea why): a deluxe and a standard. The deluxe room had a double bed, carpet, and a nicer looking shower, and a power strip to charge things in the tent. Aesthetically, I get it. Here’s the downside: I had a cold shower and no lights in the morning. My roommates were a mother and daughter from Minnesota. They were pleasant and minimally chatty (my favorite). My bed was nearest to the door which meant I was woken up at 4 am by the Masai security guy giving them a wake-up call for their 4:30 hot air balloon tour. The nicest part of the deluxe tent were the puppies and their mama that slept in front of the entrance flap of the tent.
The next night I was moved to the standard tent which I was shared with a recent college grad from California. She was meeting up with friends in Kenya before starting a six-month job in Uganda (which is super cool!). The standard tent had concrete floors, more critters, and a twin bed that was far closer to the ground.
The way that my mosquito netting was situated made it easier to get around the bed, but I woke up a few times after being hit in the face by the net. The bathroom looked a lot older, however, I had a hot shower; I almost cried. Masai Mara was C-O-L-D in the mornings and after the sunset. All of the tents had Western toilets which was a relief because the public toilets near the lodge were of the squatting variety and aiming ain’t easy my friends.
Overall, my glamping experience was a dope and unexpected bonus. It made me want to do it here in the States as a writing retreat. I think it is a good way to ease into camping if you aren’t really comfortable with roughing it. Check y’all in my next blog!
Love and Light,