Joys Camp attracts a different kind of safari-goer. A Kenyan family arriving on their private plane, a Nairobi student with her Parisian boyfriend both on break from their Swiss university, European honeymooners, writers and adventure seekers all make for a lively mix and great dinner conversations.
My first impression as we drove through the Shaba Reserve was ‘wild Africa, this is it.’. We drove hours into a remote corner of this already remote region to arrive at an exquisite lodge constructed with Somali and Swahili architectural influence. The tent was ridiculously tricked out but what surprised me the most was entering after dusk to find the staff had turned on the power just enough that I walked onto illuminated floors and soft blue lights inside the internal walls. This is true ‘glamping’ at its best.
Joys is named for Joy Adamson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joy_Adamson), who chose Shaba as the locale to study her leopard, Penny, where she wouldn’t come into conflict with humans. In addition to an incredible safari library, the lodge also has many original letters and newspaper clippings about her life. This corner of Shaba is the spot where Joy conducted a lot of important conservation work, and was also murdered by one of her staff in 1980.
The glamour of the camp and the history of the reserve, of Joy Adamson’s life, and the wildness of the place itself gave me an experience I’ll be bragging about for quite some time.