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Aberdares Country Club is the base lodge for The Ark. You leave your main luggage in storage here, taking only an overnight bag up to the Ark. After a buffet lunch, you are bussed up to The Ark. As an extra-cost option, you can take a game drive through the Salient on your way up to the night lodge.
Aberdares Country Club (35k)
You may see some game on your way up - on the occasion I took a game drive (which was rained-off) Duncan saw a leopard (briefly) on the drive up. We've twice seen Black-and-White Colobus monkeys on the way down.
You are met at the entrance, given a few house rules, and then you walk over the 'gangplank' to The Ark. Afternoon Tea will be waiting for you. Don't miss the bird-feeding on the 'gangplank' around the same time - I missed it on my first visit - and watch the ground under the feeders too, to see what has come to pick up scraps.
Rooms are small, but have ensuite facilities. You are wakened up early, but breakfast is taken at the Ark before you are bussed back down to Aberdare Country Club to continue your safari or to return to Nairobi.
The Ark (22.5k)
You can also spend a day at The Ark if you stay for two nights (or more!). You have options of going down to Aberdare Country Club to take part in activities there (but if you want to do that, why not stay there?), staying in The Ark for the day, which is what we did, or taking a whole-day or half-day game drive in the Aberdares. We had lunch on the balcony (we were the only ones staying on). An elephant walked just underneath and stayed for the duration of lunch, then a Rhino stayed for most of the afternoon. We also enjoyed watching the birds from the windows and from the gangplank. Profile of adult Male Rhino: M4 (20k*)
You are not allowed to use flash on your cameras for fear of scaring the animals. There are big floodlights at night, but even with fast film, your speeds are quite slow - you can see the blur on this rhino's head. There is also a colour cast to your pictures.
There is a large window - almost a complete wall - facing the main waterhole, and a lowered 'photo-hide' with slits through which you can get a direct view of the action.
This photo is also M4 - on a different visit to when the above photo was taken during the day - he is easy to recognise because of his tusk.
Rhino under the night lights (11.5k)
A buzzer goes whenever new or unusual animals appear. This is generally for elephants, rhino, buffalo, lion or leopard. You can switch the buzzer off if you don't want to be disturbed. You can observe a lot of interesting behaviour and interaction through the night.
Sometimes, it seems incredible that elephants usually have manage to retain both eyes!
Bushbuck are forest antelope, a group distinguished by their rounded back and hunched appearance. The females and young are a bright reddish-brown in colour, and the males get darker as they get older.
They are often seen at the night lodges, picked out in the spotlight, as was the one on the left, or in the early morning before breakfast.
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