Hotel Insider: Sala’s Camp, Kenya



The welcome

After a bumpy 40-minute propeller-plane flight from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport, I’m met by my guide Stephen and spotter David at the stretch of dry sand that makes up Keekorok Airstrip. The safari begins – throughout the 17-kilometre drive to camp, they point out scatterings of wildlife. With a stash of cold drinks at the ready, we pull over midway and I’m invited to “mark my territory”. Arriving at Sala’s, there’s a wet towel and welcome drink ready and waiting.

The neighbourhood

The Maasai Mara Nature Reserve is perhaps the best-known national park in Kenya, with more than 100 camps and lodges spread in and around its 1,000 square kilometres. While most of the accommodation is based in the north, Sala’s has a prized spot at the southern tip, overlooking the border with Tanzania. The closest neighbouring camp is 7km away, and there are just three others within a 25km radius. Such a position means Sala’s can claim first sight of the frantic, peak-season wildebeest migration in July and last sight of the return journey in October. Daily game drives are part of the package, and in three days, I spot napping lions, a prowling cheetah and elephant families.

The scene

Sala’s is spread overlooking the small, calm Sand River, into bordering Tanzania. It’s based inside the reserve, with no fences in place, so it’s not uncommon for animals to wander between the tents. I’m told elephants, hippos and hyenas all happily walked a few metres from my bed while I slept. Guests aren’t allowed out at night without a guard – flash your torch for attention.

The room

I might be sleeping in a tent, but this isn’t the Boy Scouts. They come with 24-hour electricity, including lights (six in total), two power sockets, full toilet, desk and a cosy double bed. Hot showers are available for about two hours in the evening, but can be booked at any time on request, while laundry is fast and free. Nice touches include a sketch pad and paints, and a hot water bottle when you return at night. Sala’s has been overhauled in time for this summer, replacing the current stock with eight markedly more luxurious new accommodation options, further pushing the definition of a “tent”.

The service

All of the staff I encounter are friendly and attentive, without being intrusive, and always ready to greet me by my first name with a smile. Rooms and four-wheel drives are well-stacked with mosquito repellent, sun lotion and water.

The food

Meals are served three times daily from a rotational set menu – there’s no choice, but dietary requirements are taken into consideration. Breakfast is typically served in the bush, midway through your game drive. Lunch is usually a light cold buffet, while the evening meals are of a high standard. The bar is open to help yourself for hot and cold drinks alike.

Loved

Daily game drives are why you’re here, but it would be hard to deny such luxury in the wilderness wasn’t appreciated.

Hated

City types might find the intimacy claustrophobic and the culinary offerings repetitive.

The verdict

If you have the means and the will, this is the way to do safari.

The bottom line

Tents at Sala's Camp (www.thesafaricollection.com/properties/salas-camp) cost from Dh1,705 per person, per night, including airstrip transfers, guided game drives and other safari activities, meals, non-premium drinks and laundry.

This review was done at the invitation of the hotel.

rgarratt@thenational.ae

FIXTURES

All times UAE (+4 GMT)

Saturday
Fiorentina v Torino (8pm)
Hellas Verona v Roma (10.45pm)

Sunday
Parma v Napoli (2.30pm)
Genoa v Crotone (5pm)
Sassuolo v Cagliari (8pm)
Juventus v Sampdoria (10.45pm)

Monday
AC Milan v Bologna (10.45om)

Playing September 30

Benevento v Inter Milan (8pm)
Udinese v Spezia (8pm)
Lazio v Atalanta (10.45pm)

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

Profile box

Company name: baraka
Started: July 2020
Founders: Feras Jalbout and Kunal Taneja
Based: Dubai and Bahrain
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $150,000
Current staff: 12
Stage: Pre-seed capital raising of $1 million
Investors: Class 5 Global, FJ Labs, IMO Ventures, The Community Fund, VentureSouq, Fox Ventures, Dr Abdulla Elyas (private investment)

KINGDOM OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

Director: Wes Ball

Starring: Owen Teague, Freya Allen, Kevin Durand

Rating: 3.5/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Shaffra
Started: 2023
Based: DIFC Innovation Hub
Sector: metaverse-as-a-Service (MaaS)
Investment: currently closing $1.5 million seed round
Investment stage: pre-seed
Investors: Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi and different PCs and angel investors from Saudi Arabia
Number of staff: nine

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

TOURNAMENT INFO

Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier

Jul 3- 14, in the Netherlands
The top two teams will qualify to play at the World T20 in the West Indies in November

UAE squad
Humaira Tasneem (captain), Chamani Seneviratne, Subha Srinivasan, Neha Sharma, Kavisha Kumari, Judit Cleetus, Chaya Mughal, Roopa Nagraj, Heena Hotchandani, Namita D’Souza, Ishani Senevirathne, Esha Oza, Nisha Ali, Udeni Kuruppuarachchi

Dengue fever symptoms

High fever (40°C/104°F)
Severe headache
Pain behind the eyes
Muscle and joint pains
Nausea
Vomiting
Swollen glands
Rash

BIGGEST CYBER SECURITY INCIDENTS IN RECENT TIMES

SolarWinds supply chain attack: Came to light in December 2020 but had taken root for several months, compromising major tech companies, governments and its entities

Microsoft Exchange server exploitation: March 2021; attackers used a vulnerability to steal emails

Kaseya attack: July 2021; ransomware hit perpetrated REvil, resulting in severe downtime for more than 1,000 companies

Log4j breach: December 2021; attackers exploited the Java-written code to inflitrate businesses and governments

Du Plessis plans his retirement

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis said on Friday the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia in two years' time will be his last.

Du Plessis, 34, who has led his country in two World T20 campaigns, in 2014 and 2016, is keen to play a third but will then step aside.

"The T20 World Cup in 2020 is something I'm really looking forward to. I think right now that will probably be the last tournament for me," he said in Brisbane ahead of a one-off T20 against Australia on Saturday. 

'Gold'

Director:Anthony Hayes

Stars:Zaf Efron, Anthony Hayes

Rating:3/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Important questions to consider

1. Where on the plane does my pet travel?

There are different types of travel available for pets:

  • Manifest cargo
  • Excess luggage in the hold
  • Excess luggage in the cabin

Each option is safe. The feasibility of each option is based on the size and breed of your pet, the airline they are traveling on and country they are travelling to.

 

2. What is the difference between my pet traveling as manifest cargo or as excess luggage?

If traveling as manifest cargo, your pet is traveling in the front hold of the plane and can travel with or without you being on the same plane. The cost of your pets travel is based on volumetric weight, in other words, the size of their travel crate.

If traveling as excess luggage, your pet will be in the rear hold of the plane and must be traveling under the ticket of a human passenger. The cost of your pets travel is based on the actual (combined) weight of your pet in their crate.

 

3. What happens when my pet arrives in the country they are traveling to?

As soon as the flight arrives, your pet will be taken from the plane straight to the airport terminal.

If your pet is traveling as excess luggage, they will taken to the oversized luggage area in the arrival hall. Once you clear passport control, you will be able to collect them at the same time as your normal luggage. As you exit the airport via the ‘something to declare’ customs channel you will be asked to present your pets travel paperwork to the customs official and / or the vet on duty. 

If your pet is traveling as manifest cargo, they will be taken to the Animal Reception Centre. There, their documentation will be reviewed by the staff of the ARC to ensure all is in order. At the same time, relevant customs formalities will be completed by staff based at the arriving airport. 

 

4. How long does the travel paperwork and other travel preparations take?

This depends entirely on the location that your pet is traveling to. Your pet relocation compnay will provide you with an accurate timeline of how long the relevant preparations will take and at what point in the process the various steps must be taken.

In some cases they can get your pet ‘travel ready’ in a few days. In others it can be up to six months or more.

 

5. What vaccinations does my pet need to travel?

Regardless of where your pet is traveling, they will need certain vaccinations. The exact vaccinations they need are entirely dependent on the location they are traveling to. The one vaccination that is mandatory for every country your pet may travel to is a rabies vaccination.

Other vaccinations may also be necessary. These will be advised to you as relevant. In every situation, it is essential to keep your vaccinations current and to not miss a due date, even by one day. To do so could severely hinder your pets travel plans.

Source: Pawsome Pets UAE

Sweet Tooth

Creator: Jim Mickle
Starring: Christian Convery, Nonso Anozie, Adeel Akhtar, Stefania LaVie Owen
Rating: 2.5/5

Sunday:
GP3 race: 12:10pm
Formula 2 race: 1:35pm
Formula 1 race: 5:10pm
Performance: Guns N' Roses

How to help

Send “thenational” to the following numbers or call the hotline on: 0502955999
2289 – Dh10
2252 – Dh 50
6025 – Dh20
6027 – Dh 100
6026 – Dh 200

If you go:
The flights: Etihad, Emirates, British Airways and Virgin all fly from the UAE to London from Dh2,700 return, including taxes
The tours: The Tour for Muggles usually runs several times a day, lasts about two-and-a-half hours and costs £14 (Dh67)
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is on now at the Palace Theatre. Tickets need booking significantly in advance
Entrance to the Harry Potter exhibition at the House of MinaLima is free
The hotel: The grand, 1909-built Strand Palace Hotel is in a handy location near the Theatre District and several of the key Harry Potter filming and inspiration sites. The family rooms are spacious, with sofa beds that can accommodate children, and wooden shutters that keep out the light at night. Rooms cost from £170 (Dh808).


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