TSAVO EAST – RECOLLECTIONS OF A VISIT BY ANGELA NDAGANO
(Posted 12th April 2016)
I reviewed the Galdessa Camp a while ago on my TripAdvisor platform and had plenty of positive feedback since then. I touched on the visit in some of my trip reports filed late last year in connection with the Magical Kenya Travel Expo, held by the Kenya Tourism Board, and the media trip KTB had organized at the time.
Angela, who normally writes for a Ugandan publication, did her own recollections but strangely enough it seems her publishers opted to keep this piece in their drawers.
Good news that is for my own readers who can now enjoy Angela’s narrative of her visit to Galdessa, a camp right on the banks of the Galana River. Pictures were added from the collections of yours’ truly.
A Date with Nature’s Gentle Beasts
The sight of a cheery elephant roving next to the camp! Cheeky little monkeys dotting the pathway to your rooms! The splendid scene of hippos whirling in the Galana River on a scorching afternoon! After dealing with hectic schedules that dictate the modern world, the atmosphere at Galdessa Camp is what true nature enthusiasts need!
The Camp is located at rims of Tsavo East National Game Park, which forms the largest protected area in Kenya. The Game Park is home to animals like elephants, rhinos, buffalos, lions, leopards, hippos, crocodile and waterbucks. The setting at Galdesa brings some of these wild animals as your constant guests. You see, the camp has no enclosure or any form of boundaries so the born-free of the wild roam freely. It was designed to preserve the beauty Mother Nature has to offer.
Upon arrival, our eyes feasted to the sight of an elephant idling next to the camp. Unmoved by our presence, strolling around in its majesty.
That is the way of life at Galdessa, wild animals walk in as they please. After all, isn’t us who are invading their home?
To ensure safety, we were briefed about guides who were available to walk with us from the rooms to the dining area. As I strolled around with my jovial Masai guide, I felt safe and yet engrossed in nature. No matter how daring you are, do not move without your guide. My guide was kind enough to share with me a tale of a tourist who was almost trampled by an elephant because she was walking alone. I gladly extend the same kindness and beckon you to receive it.
The accommodation is a perfect blend of camping and luxury. It is a semi tented/ semi-permanent campsite – so you have the fun of sleeping out in the traditional tented feel, but with your own bathroom facilities. Each room is unique, and can suit most situations from someone traveling on their own, to those in a couple or family group. Each room is built on timber floor under thatched roof, with canvas front that opens into a Veranda during the day and zipped at night to ensure security.
My tent was exquisite with a huge comfortable bed and petal- smooth pillows, draped in mosquito netting to keep mosquitoes at bay. But it was the rustic bathroom that captured my heart. Jagged wood formed towel rails, while bone vertebrae formed the soap dish. A canvas tank hangs above the shower and it’s filled with warm water.
A stay at Galdessa will not just give you an intimate encounter with nature but it will ensure you bond with you loved one. This is because there is no mobile phone network or connection to the internet. However there is a constant flow of water and solar electricity. The absence of internet and Mobile phone network is a deliberate attempt to detach guests from the pressure and shoves of the Modern world. We were a group of 11 journalists from all walk of lives. Initially we were glued to our phones, constantly communicating with those we had left behind. But, it was at Galdessa where the magic happened. In the absence of the internet, we were no longer a group of journalists, we became a family. We shared tales, dreams and laughter.
If you plan to visit Galdessa, Make it a point not to miss the nature drive and walk offered by the lodge, accompanied by rangers. It presents the opportunity to see the beautiful surroundings and also have close look at the animals that do not come to the camp. We were lucky to witness a Cheatah devoured its prey. With half of it already eaten and the rest covered in blood, it was difficult to identify the prey. But, I would definitely bet on a gazelle. They were many of those roaming the park.
You can also enjoy the walking Safari along the Lugard Falls and visit the Crocodile point. Standing on the rocks close to Lugard falls, we were treated to the amazing sight of the Masai warrior lighting fire out of Elephant dung.
The Sundowner is a must for a Couple on a honeymoon or just on holiday. Watching the sun set while you dine at the peak of the Game Park is magical. They are memories that will be with you forever.
What to carry with you
· Drinking water, picnic items in case you plan to have your own Sundowner.
· Binoculars, camera, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses.