We had our first long lie on our final morning and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast in camp. We had been very impressed by Elephant Pepper Camp – particularly its ethos toward sustainable tourism. The camp has won awards in recognition of its efforts in maintaining environmental responsibility and its work in supporting and integration with local communities. According to the camp’s own website, the camp’s owners have designed and built Elephant Pepper Camp in such a way that “despite being an elegant and comfortable camp with substantial tents, Stefano has maintained the ethos of non-permanence and designed it so that it can still be completely removed to leave a virgin site.”
Lounge tent and Dining Tent Our tent
Camp managers, Patrick and Sophie, both grew up in various countries in Africa and regard it very much as home. They are now passing their love of Africa on to their son Alexi, who was born last December and they and their entire team have succeeded in making the camp a very happy, welcoming place where nothing is too much trouble and where everyone is looked after wonderfully.
The camp is named for the Elephant Pepper tree which grows throughout the camp grounds. The fruit and leaves of the tree are fiery in flavour and enjoyed – not surprisingly – by elephants. Although different in flavour to chillis, it is worth pointing out that chillis are also much beloved in Elephant Pepper Camp and they feature as condiments on the table at meals in many guises – such as a very pleasant chutney, a hot chilli pouring oil and as a particularly hazardous preparation which is presented in a tiny dropper bottle and goes by the name of Genocide! I didn’t try it myself but I was reliably informed that one or two drops are more than enough… It makes an appearance at every meal… even breakfast!
After finishing off our packing and saying our farewells, Francis drove us back to the airstrip in order to catch our plane back to Nairobi but en route he had another treat in store for us – a final look at our lions. As the local guides all keep in touch with each other via radios, it is possible to find out very quickly where all the action is and this morning Francis had been told that the lions had brought down a buffalo earlier. He drove us out to where the entire pride were enjoying a very substantial breakfast.
We watched for a long while, whilst they all tucked in – apparently oblivious to us – but one or two of them had already eaten their fill and were settling down for a lovely snooze in the sunshine.
It was time to continue on our way although we did have time for an extra stop for some opportunist photos of a few more zebras, warthogs, hartebeest and a giraffe who were all just hanging around together!
We arrived at the airstrip in good time… too good, in fact – because our plane was late in landing to pick us up. Francis waved us off and dutifully waited until we were airborne before driving back to the camp and we flew on to the next part of our big adventure.