Safari Part IV. Lemarti's Camp
Tent number five at Lemarti's Camp
My next stop was Lemarti's.
A relative newcomer in the world of camps, but already legendary, Lemarti's is beautifully secluded on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro.
Imagine Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn floating down the river in The African Queen and you have set the scene.
This is one of the most romantic, authentic and beautifully designed camps I have ever seen, which comes as no surprise when you know that Anna Trzebinski (an internationally renowned Kenyan designer) and her husband Lemarti, a local Samburu, are the brains, brawn and brilliance behind it all.
Anna and Lemarti
The first thing you notice are the exquisite interiors. The main mess area has cushions and love rugs galore. All the better to lounge around on.
There is a real sense of slowing down, of pausing and quietening the mind and the immediate sense of calm is quite overpowering. From the moment you arrive you totally disconnect from the 'real' world, (an odd sounding statement given that to me at least this world is far more real than anything we create in cities and 'developed' countries round the world.)
The mess area, with the fig tree behind
The camp was actually built around a sacred fig tree, blessed every year by the local Samburu. It is believed that all those who come to it are blessed in return and perhaps it is this that lends the camp its sensation of total calm.
This is not your standard safari camp in any way, and although wild dog sightings are plenty and elephant are never far away, the emphasis here is not on the wildlife, but of immersing yourself entirely in the Samburu way of life and seeing the world through their eyes on their land with local tribesmen as your guides. You are reminded that every time you see a local honey gatherer in rags, it is his land that you are staying on, as the land is all community owned.
Bush exploration takes place on foot with your guides armed only with the traditional Samburu weapons. Strangely I have almost never felt safer in the bush.
A local Samburu
Days are spent exploring the local area. Bush-walks in the early morning, or a trip to the market (mountain biking if you dare -- you are at 6000ft -- or a drive if you prefer), wild-dog tracking, or simply relaxing in incredible peace and quiet and stunning setting. A visit to the local school is fascinating, the sundowners spectacular, curated, as you can imagine, with Anna's inimitable style.
Sundowners, Lemarti's style
Lemarti's nourishes mind, body and spirit and the attention to detail is impressive. Food at the camp is carefully crafted and intentionally light which after a few days of safari food, believe me, is a welcome change in pace.
Frankly, in my humble opinion, this camp is one of the all time greats and I look forward to returning very soon. As, according to the guest book, do Daniel Craig and Naomi Campbell.
I will leave you with my favourite part of the camp -- the bathrooms!
Next stop, Sirikoi -- currently home to a two-week old cheetah orphan, Sheba!
The bathrooms at Lemarti's
Lauren Scott was a guest of Lemarti's camp.
Photo credits Lauren Scott and Calliope