The Aberdare Country Club is a deluxe resort set on a private wildlife reserve in the Aberdares mountain range of Kenya’s central highlands. Rooms are in English-style cottages with parquet flooring, fireplaces, private balcony, and en suite bathrooms with separate bathtub and shower stall.
One of the club’s unique features is a 9-hole golf course in the midst of the wildlife reserve. Animals have free reign of the property, and many of them enjoy lingering on the golf course and watching humans at play. They usually keep a modest distance from people, although the baboons have occasionally been known to chase after golf balls.
The club also features tennis courts, a health club and spa, a heated outdoor pool, neatly groomed flower gardens, and an organic vegetable garden that provides fresh produce for the club’s on-site restaurant.
Guests who wish to get even closer to wildlife can stay a night at The Ark, the country club’s sister property in the heart of Aberdare National Park. It’s built next to a watering hole that attracts elephants, camp buffalo, giant forest hogs, bushbucks, rhinos and other large game. Elephants spend hours there each day and can be seen from the viewing decks located on each of the lodge’s four floors.
If you want to be woken for any of the Big Five game (lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros) that appear at the watering hole overnight, turn on the intercom in your room before going to sleep. A spotter sounds the alarm so you can rush out to the viewing decks to watch the action.
The Ark is also a great place for birders. Double-collared sunbirds, turascos, mousebirds, common bulbuls, wild canaries, red-winged starlings, black-headed herons and yellow-billed storks are only a few of the birds seen there.