Kenya Trip Report Part 9 – Aberdare & The Ark

Elephants and buffalo at The Ark

We met our driver/guide for the week, David, outside the Sankara around 9am and loaded up our bags for our nine days and eight nights on the road across Kenya. Eventually, we learned that David’s tribal name was Kehara and he preferred to be called that. Just about all Kenyans have a Christian name and a tribal name. Most of them give tourists their Christian names as they are easier to remember and pronounce.

We headed out through Nairobi to the northwest and saw lots of different neighborhoods and developments, some very basic dwellings and some very nice apartments/houses and malls. The contrasts were something we would see again throughout our time in Kenya.

Our first stop after an hour or so was at a fruit stand where Kehara bought some fresh fruit for us to try. Then we stopped at a souvenir place for a restroom break. The highway for the first part of the trip was pretty decent, but after about an hour, there was a lot of construction, detours and dirt road to navigate. This was probably the worst road of all the ones we drove on in Kenya.

We arrived at Aberdare Country Club around 12:30pm. The club has a nice restaurant and bar along with many offered activities for guests like horseback riding, guided walks and a spa/health club. We said farewell to Kehara until the following day. He was going to stay with our vehicle at a local hotel in the nearby town.

We booked a horseback ride for my older daughter and had lunch at the club.

Unfortunately, it started raining pretty heavily after lunch so the horseback riding was canceled. We decided to take the earlier shuttle to our accommodations at The Ark, a special lodge in the middle of a nature preserve. The shuttle ride was about 45 minutes.

The Ark looks a bit like a ship. The rooms are on “decks” instead of floors. At the aft of the “ship” there are large picture windows on the lower floors and an outdoor deck on the upper floor which overlook a natural watering hole and salt lick where many animals come to drink throughout the day and night.

When we arrived, we were given our accommodations which were basic but comfortable.

There was already some action at the watering hole when we arrived as some buffalo and elephants were there.

We had dinner at the lodge and it was pretty good. It was served buffet style. There was also a bar available with reasonable prices where I had a drink with my younger daughter before dinner.

Later that night, we saw hyenas, deer, warthogs, mongoose and a wild cat.

We were still being affected by jetlag so we were up in the night and saw more animals. The lodge is supposed to set off a buzzer in your room when they see animals at night, but I found the spotter sleeping on a sofa on the ground floor so I suppose he didn’t alert anyone.

The sunrise was pretty.

Breakfast was served around 7am and was also buffet style. We took a shuttle back to the country club at 8am. On the way, we saw some more buffaloes near the road.

Kehara was waiting for us and we loaded up to head to our next destination: Samburu.

Up Next: Samburu & Elephant Bedroom Camp

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