The Maasai Mara has been the biggest tourist attraction in Kenya, and there is an overwhelming abundance of lodges, hotels and tented camps, all set out to display the wonder of nature’s majesty. Mid-year brings the wildebeest migration and with it comes another urban-rural migration, of tourists flocking to see this spectacle. They are a sight by themselves, cameras clicking, 4×4 vehicles jostling for space as they glimpse a pride of lions, the occasional thought of a tourist about to pass out when a cheetah climbs onto their car rooftop (especially if it’s halfway open), and the endless stream of dust kicked up as the tour guides rush to another cat sighting. And all this time, the animals seem to hide further and further away from the human intrusions making it even more difficult to watch them.
Doesn’t sound like the ideal safari, right?
It was with this in mind that Loyk Camp was built, on a pristine, stretched out piece of land just at the edge of the Maasai Mara reserve. I hadn’t driven to Maasai Mara before, and this was a good chance to test the mettle of the car, as well as experience that wholesome ‘African massage’ on the bumpy roads. Having rained the night before, we expected that the road would be muddy and impassable.
Setting out from Nairobi at around 9am gave us ample time to go through the sights and wonders of the Rift Valley escarpment at the view point. The unbridled magnificence of the rift valley is always breathtaking every time I take in that view. Open, endless space as far as the eye can see. Maasai Mara was somewhere at the bottom of that horizon. From then on, we drove straight through to Narok, via Mai-Mahiu. The towns were bustling with trade and activity as usual, a mish-mash of modern and traditional glimpses as women in bright colorful shukas crisscrossed the town of Narok, while the rest of the town went on about their business.
Soon enough, we were off the tarmac, having taken on the Lemek road, it proved a lot bumpy and at one section we had to drive through what was nothing but rocks strewn across an entire hillside, like someone had just dumped them there. Thankfully, 4x4s can manage some difficult terrain, including this. Throughout the drive, you could catch glimpses of Maasai herders with their livestock mingling with the wildlife; wildebeest could make good livestock, no?
Finally, after the massage on our spines, we drove into the wild and open space that is Loyk Camp. Set on one of the plains, the camp is surrounded by trees; no fence. Waiting for us was a tray-full of refreshing juice, always welcome after a dusty ride.
Loyk Camp is made up of several semi-permanent tents, enough to accommodate 20 guests at a time. The exclusivity and seclusion of the camp makes it a perfect getaway. The next lodge is about 20 minutes’ drive in one direction, and the other, I have no idea. There was nothing but open land.
As I checked into my room, I was startled by the roar of a lion, so close to my tent. Then I understood why there was a Maasai guard assigned to each tent, and if possible, every guest. The wildlife wanders through the camp sometimes, often on the fringe of the forest of trees as they go about their business. Of course, it wouldn’t be wise to run into a hungry or angry cat. But it still thrilled me that I was that deep into the wild.
Loyk does not boast ostentatious luxury, but simple, understated comfort. The rooms and main areas are done tastefully, blending into the surroundings as much as possible. The outside does not boast manicured lawns and flowerbeds, but instead allows you to walk through the area as if you were taking a walk across the plains. There’s plenty of acreage to walk on, and you can be guided for a walking safari through to the ‘sundowner’ tree, up at the top of the hill to catch a sunset. The same vantage point allows you a great unspoiled immersion into a glorious sunrise, but as with all early game drives, you have to be up early! You can make up for the early morning rise by being pampered with a sumptuous breakfast and filling meals – I couldn’t eat dinner as I was too full from the late lunch! Later on, we sat around a bonfire outside, enjoying the crisp air as we chatted and listened to the Maasai warriors sing in their unique blend of voices.
I had to leave the next day, sadly. Such a brief trip, but nevertheless, it was exactly what I needed to clear my head. The serenity of Loyk is unmatched by most camps which are bursting at the seams with hotel rooms and the drawing in of the city into the wild. The staff at Loyk are extra helpful, and with the watchful Maasai warriors, your peace of mind is guaranteed. Try out the ‘Adventure tent’, set a few hundred meters from the rest of the camp. Or the honeymoon tent, set facing the sunset and in private seclusion.
If you want to leave the city and hustle behind, come to Loyk for an unforgettable stay.
Book your stay at Loyk for an extraordinary experience.
Getting there: Click HERE for more
Local flights available from Nairobi and Mombasa, daily.
You can drive through Narok-Lemek route, or the better Narok-Sekenani-Talek road.
Things to do at Loyk Camp: Read more HERE
Swap the usual game drive for an unforgettable walking safari, or a hot air balloon ride.