On Island Camp, Lake Baringo, The Great Rift Valley, Kenya
After a little, interesting and beautiful drive (1.5 hours from Nakuru) dipping down and down into the Great Rift Valley, we arrived at the Island Camp jetty. Nothing fancy, just a jetty in fact, lovely and warm. The moment I get ‘happy inside’ is the moment we jump into a boat and get driven to the island; it’s warmth, there are birds everywhere, a croc skulking under the reeds and we didn’t see another soul (apart from the local fisherman in their canoes) …. and relax!
Arriving at Island Camp is always that of mixed emotions, we are always so, so happy to arrive, but I know I have to walk up 100 steps to get to our room/tent. There are endless porters who help with our luggage but invariably there is a child in arms….sweaty and knackering.
This is when the fun starts though.
Our days were spent in the warm air, chilling on the sunbeds by the pool-with-a-view, splashing around in the pool playing piggy-in-the-middle, water polo, human Eiffel-towers …..
Lunch usually consists of delicious home cooked white bread rolls, a cold soup, a warm dish such as pasta, curry or moussaka with a selection of salads and then something like mandazi’s with honey and fruit salad. The highlight of lunch is invariably the weaver birds coming for their share of fresh bread and the little mongoose that likes to share your lunch too.
After a bit of quiet-time (sounds idyllic, in reality is always stressful!!) in the room, we either went back to the pool or took a little boating excursion in the early evening (with refreshing sundowners for the adults and kids supper for the kids). We saw so much!!! Excitable Njemps children washing, playing and fishing, incredible scenery, the worlds most beautiful birds (we even fed the fish eagles), monitor lizards scuttling along the island shores, the evil crocodile sunbathing, the yawning hippo and even a giraffe on Ruko Conservancy…. What a brilliant way to spend ‘unhappy hour’ with toddlers… whilst the Dad’s slipped in a little waterskiing!
This was enough for the kids to fall straight to sleep so the adults could have a great evening, with a little wine, too much food and lots of giggles.
The highlight of our Baringo break was the boat trips, which are so always entertaining and teaching the kids to waterski, either around the swimming pool, on the grass or in the swimming pool.
Island Camp – I love it, it reminds me of everything fun, from my childhood through my teenage years and now my children love it. It is essentially still a wonderful product but not as well kept as it was, the new rooms are beautiful but quite expensive, the old (cheap) tents are a little shabby, not enough space for more than two of you, but affordable. The pool is great. The food is tasty. The owner, Perry doesn’t love kids but does have his own and is hilarious. The staff are amazing!
Lake Baringo – Is an excellent place to visit for birders (458 species) and for families (it’s always warm and there’s lots of fun to be had in the pool and on the lake).
For those travelling to Kenya with kids – I highly recommend you spend some time on a Great Rift Valley lake and this is the best place for families & birders.
For those who live in East Africa – get a few families together and GO!!! You’ll have a scream.
Weather – It’s beautifully warm during the day and usually warm but windy at night.
What to Pack? – High SPF sun cream, hats, swimming costumes, sarong/Kikoy and light clothes for the day. Mossi repellent, long trousers and shirts for the evenings… and light pijamas. Remember life jackets if you have them.
Price – From USD285 per person per night, sharing or Kshs14,000 for residents sharing in a triple…. Including full board accommodation (wake up coffee and biccies, breakfast, lunch, tea and cake, supper).
My advise – There are hippos and crocodiles in the lake but people do water-ski/banana/donut here. If you love watersports, take your kit and have fun. Take pool toys as there aren’t any here. Don’t forget to have a ‘Baringo Special’ drink .. it’s packed full of sugar, so maybe share one with the kids.