Redefining the Luxury Safari Lodge
luxury safari lodge has forever changed the traditional relationship with its Masai
landowners—and the experience for its visitors.
are bats hanging over my bed.
discover them the morning I arrive at Shompole, when I’m escorted to my private
sleeping loggia, which can’t quite be called a room because it has no walls.
The sheets on my king-size bed are freshly ironed, eucalyptus-scented, and
cooled by a solar-powered fan, but all that separates them from the surrounding
landscape—a sweeping panorama of East African veld, thorny scrub, and sky—is a
framed cube of mosquito netting and a steep thatched roof.
of squeaking and fluttering ensues from above as I heft my suitcase onto the
bed. I look up, and there they are: about a dozen small, mouse-colored bundles
suspended from the rafters like crumpled handkerchiefs. As I watch, one bundle
twitches and extends a long filmy wing before rewrapping itself.
bats are good,” says David, a tall young Masai I meet in the main lodge, when I
describe my unexpected bunkmates. “They are yellow long-eared bats. Vesper
bats. That means they eat mosquitoes.”