Al-Ahram Weekly Online   6 - 12 November 2008
Issue No. 921
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Wild and modern

On his first African night, Mohamed El-Hebeishy opts for Keekorok Lodge

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When I first realised I would be spending a couple of nights in Kenya's renowned Masai Mara National Park, the first thing that came to mind was safety. If in the Mara you can see the Big Five, and that by default includes lions and leopards, what are the odds of one of them straying into my tent, even if it was just out of curiosity? Naïve me; I thought I'd be sleeping in a tent.

Founded on 80 acres back in 1962, Keekorok Lodge is perfectly located in the heart of the Masai Mara, with your choice of game only a five- minute drive away. If you are not in the mood for another early morning game drive, preferring to stay in for the day, you can grab a book and relax by the pool and enjoy some quality time basking in the African sun. Still, if it gets too lazy and you want to go for a short walk, it's possible within the boundaries of the lodge. There is a designed walkway that goes through a small bush and further leads to an open hut. The hut actually overlooks a hippo pool. Yes, you read that right, a hippo pool where a small herd of hippos call the place home. Turning your face in the other direction you might be greeted with the sight of elephants or buffaloes wandering in the distance.

You might think that being in the middle of the wilderness heartland would automatically translate being cut off from the world. I beg to differ as Keekorok Lodge doesn't only offer clean, tidy and luxuriously furnished African style rooms and huts, or just a tasty international cuisine with its delicious open buffet three-meal course. Keekorok Lodge takes it one step further, providing the personal needs that might crop up. Do you need to check your e-mail? Wireless connection is available. Forgot to withdraw money in Nairobi? Your credit card will do just fine. What to do if the kids go to bed early and you want to grab a bite? A listening service to warn you in case the children wake up is available. Even if you get a stomachache in the middle of the night, which happened to me, there's no need to worry. An experienced resident doctor is available around the clock.

Africa's wilderness is experienced without compromising your comfort, luxury and above all, safety. And don't panic by the small family of Vervet monkeys in the lodge's garden. They're all friendly and cuddly, especially if given a banana.

Keekorok Lodge, along with Samburu Game Lodge and Larsens Camp, both located in Samburu National Reserve in northern Kenya, are managed by Wilderness Lodges. For cost and further details, check or call (+254 020) 650 392. You can also send an e-mail to

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