P.O. Box 499
Aberdare National Park, Kenya
Opened in November 1969, the Ark overlooks the Yasabara waterhole, perhaps the largest salt-lick in the Aberdare Mountains and the haunt of a variety of forest game. This unique lodge is shaped to resemble the actual Ark, designed with decks from which numerous balconies and lounges provide superb vantage points for viewing the animals visiting the salt-lick and waterhole. The Yasabara waterhole and salt-lick is frequented by great numbers of animals including elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion, leopard, bushbuck, and other rare creatures such as the suni, and genet cat. To enable guests to continue watching late into the night, the waterhole is floodlit from 6 pm until dawn. Spare blankets are available for guests' use in the lounges.
The 60 guest rooms are all en-suite. All cabins have bedside lamps, carpeted floors to ward off the evening and morning chill, small luggage racks, and views of the forest or waterhole. Cabins are provided with water flasks and glasses, hot water bottles and extra blankets. The bathrooms contain 115/240v shaving socket, shower stall, washbasin and flush toilets.
The Main Dining Room has long softly lit tables and the far side of the split-level room has a glass wall, enabling a superb view of the dense forest. The menu is a cosmopolitan combination of European and Kenyan dishes, made from an abundance of fresh Kenyan produce.
The Lounge has a fireplace lit from the afternoon until late at night. Comfortable leather settees surround the fireplace, while the bar sports leather-padded stools. The walls are graced with paintings of wildlife. Above the fireplace in the lounge hangs the preserved head of a black rhino which was trampled to death by an irked elephant at the waterhole. The bar is open until last requests in the evening or 11:00 p.m. Liquors, beers, soft drinks, fresh juices, wines, spirits, and cocktails are served here. Tea, coffee, hot chocolate, pastries, and cookies are all served here.
In each room, a buzzer system will alert you when there is something special to see, such as a leopard who might sneak to the floodlit waterhole in the dead of night. The ground level viewing area provides incredible photographic opportunities as the Elephants come almost close enough to touch. The whole experience at the Ark feels slightly unreal as there is so much going on, and all you have to do is wait on the balconies with your camera and binoculars.