Think of a little wooden lodge at the edge of a watering hole in the middle of a forest.
Now add to it the comforts of a three-star, with cosy rooms, buffet meals, fantastic open as well as enclosed viewing galleries from where you can spot a diverse array of wildlife 24/7 and you have The Ark Lodge at Nyeri, in the Aberdare national Park, Kenya.
My friend and I loved the concept and enjoyed the experience.
Some tips/thoughts for would-be visitors...
* You are instructed to leave your large bags behind and carry only the bare essentials for an overnight trip.
We did just that but were dismayed to see other travellers being allowed to take large suitcases with them.
I felt that was unfair, especially when I missed my moisturiser and shampoo. They should enforce rules or then not make them.
* On the way to and from The Ark, you should make sure that you get inside the mini-bus quickly, else you will have to sit on uncomfortable makeshift seats in the aisle as we had to.
* There's coffee in the lounge through the night so that you can stay alert to see the animals.
* The small rooms have no locks, so it's best not to carry any valuables, especially jewellery, etc. Camera equipment is unavoidable, but try and keep it on you.
* Every room has an alarm installed, which goes off when the big game arrive at the watering hold that The Ark faces. It CAN be turned off if you want to get a good night's sleep!
* We enjoyed the thrill of rushing to the hide to get a good view of the wild elephants, hyenas, water buffalo, etc, up close.
* Since the flush in the room didn't work as well as it should, we had to resort to using the common loos which were much better equipped.
* A very cute wild cat comes to the stairs outside the lounge for dinner every night. She is given a large dish of meat and a runny egg and it was really fun to watch her darting here and there as she gobbled up the food delicately.
* The staff kept trying to get us to extend our stay there, saying that one night is nothing. Since our holiday was pre-booked, that made us feel dissatisfied and unhapppy, when in reality, the one night was a lot of fun.