The Sweetwaters Serenade

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The Sweetwaters Serenade

The savannahs seemed to close in on us as we walked from our tent to the reception lounge of Sweetwaters Tented Camp in Kenya. Beyond the electric fence that encircled the camp the plains seemed to stretch forever. Out here, a wildlife film unspooled as a line of giraffes loped by to have a drink at the waterhole. With the delicate grace typical of their ilk, they splayed out their legs and like giant preying mantis dipped their heads for sporadic sips. This was a quintessential Kenya spectacle that the country dishes out and that too on the doorstep of our tented camp.

Soon the giraffes were joined by zebras and wart hogs that barrelled up to join the water fest and lend their forms to an unforgettable wildlife tableau, a throwback to the time when life began on earth.

Image result for zebra warthog at waterhole

Indeed Sweetwaters offers a grandstand view of the wild – its tawny grasslands and riverine forests that border the Ewaso Nyiro river teem with wildlife. The 24,000-acre reserve straddles the equator and offers magnificent views of Mount Kenya’s snow-capped peaks. It was a private world of understated luxury that pulsed in unison with the uncharted outdoors. Elaborate lunches and dinners raised the experience to another level – with cutlery and crockery on gleaming napery adding an almost surreal touch.

Early next morning we set off on a game drive into a gently awakening forest. We drove down roads that had never seen tar, past huge castle-like anthills and herds of elephants that lumbered to a stream for a refreshing dip. Bumping along, we arrived at the protected rhino sanctuary where 46 such behemoths roam in a slice of paradise.

We drove along a pebbled river where hippo wallowed. Lined with yellow fever trees whose jaundiced trunks glowed eerily in the wan morning sun, we cruised under liana vines that hung overhead like lifeless anacondas.            Enveloped in the fresh moist fragrance of the earth and the river, the muted green of the forest quivered with unseen life. Suddenly the water in the river rippled and was cleaved by the emergence of an enormous head and open cavern like jaws of a three-ton hippo that heaved himself half way above the water.

Beyond the rhino sanctuary unravelled a 200-acre chimpanzee sanctuary that is home to abandoned, orphans or injured specimens rescued from the illegal pet trade across the African continent. Back to the camp we enjoyed dinner in the candlelit restaurant, sipping broccoli soup, a spectrum of salads and a filet of Nile perch… Outside, at the waterhole, there was another wild party. The wart hogs were doing a kind of jig and the giraffe and zebra were having their fill while the Grants gazelle and Thompson’s gazelle tripped up with the delicate grace of ballerinas. It was an elusive glimpse of a perfect world; the world as God intended it to be!

Fact File

Nairobi is the gateway to a Kenya safari.

A popular safari circuit would start and end in Nairobi, and include Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru, Shaba, Sweetwaters Tented Camp and the Mt Kenya Safari Club. One could also consider the game parks of Tsavo and Amboseli south east of Nairobi, the Aberdare National Park to the north.

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Gustasp & Jeroo Irani