We find ourselves at a distinctively different type of tented accommodation here at Serian Camp in the Maasai Mara region. This is a seasonal wilderness camp with a much more rugged and rustic and masculine feeling since it was designed by owner, Alex Walker, big game hunter turned conservationist.
Eight marquee-style tents are spaced well apart and tucked into the vegetation along the banks of the Mara River. Each is constructed on a raised platform with hardwood poles and heavy canvas. Furniture is minimal with a bed, a clothing cupboard and small desk inside and directors chairs outside on the veranda.
You have to unzip the entrance, step out through the opening and go traipsing along the deck with your flashlight or solar lantern to your facilities at night. The open-air bathroom is to one side with a shower and flush toilet plus the luxury of a long and deep bathtub. The acting manager offered 2 personal recommendations: drawing a hot bubble bath and watching the sun rise while sipping your morning (wake up call) hot chocolate.
There are 3 new larger units with interior bath on the opposite side of the river accessed by a suspension bridge. These tents are on the river bank at ground level, only a few yards from the resident hippos in the water looking back at YOU!
You will hear them grunting loudly, especially at night when they come lumbering up onto the banks. This presents one of the few real dangers. It’s important to know NOT to take a stroll around the grounds without your personal Maasai guard who is posted outside at all times. Since my tent was isolated at the end of a long dirt path, I accepted the escort to and from the main lodge.
Later, when I returned from dinner and slipped underneath the covers, I discovered that someone had thoughtfully placed a hot water bottle between the sheets. I found it cozy and comforting considering there is no electricity and no heat in these units.
I awoke several times during the night and listened to the animal noises outside in the darkness.