Living in the bush gives you a lot of time to wonder and ponder on your work, life and the world in general! It was one of those busy days with a FULL CAMP on the new years week that we had an Eureka moment.
Now to bring you up to speed, a FULL CAMP on the outside is surely all bright eyed and bushy tailed, however the internal machinery is pumping vigorously, to ensure consistency with every logistical resource at its disposal, and add the fact that the closest help is 160kms out, in any form or matter.
Coming back to that day, we had a full entourage of chirpy guests, all in a festive mood and many of them staying with us as long as a week. Keeping in mind our usual length of stay of three nights, we abide by the following rules when it comes to Dining –
Rule 1 – No one dines in the same place ever!
Rule 2 – Refer to rule number 1 in doubt!
Keeping the above rules in mind, as set by our Chief Executive, Mr. Jaisal Singh, who personally takes interest in every guests experience across the properties, my wife and I who co-manage the camp were letting our imagination run wild in terms of creating new Dining Experiences. Leopard and Hyena movement around the periphery of the camp and surrounding areas, had rendered the Boma, Christmas Rock, Jawai Farm, The Plateau and the Cycle Rock off limits!
As always, every problem presents itself with a solution, and in this case, it came from the very top in the form of Alpha Sierra and Alpha1 (fond call signs for Mrs. Anjali Singh and Mr. Jaisal Singh at Camp) themselves. After a brief huddle at the Champagne Pargola, the motley crew made their way towards the Lounge Tent with a pit stop at an area what has come to be known as the “Kraal”; more on the name later. Courtesy the brilliant monsoons over the last two years, the “Wilding” of this section had come along extremely well and had turned into one of the most probable locations (amongst many others) for a campfire!
20 Rabaris, 6 Rangers, 2 Gardeners, 8 bruised knees and one “Melt Down” later, LO BEHOLD, we had our new dining venue ready to host guests!
It then came down to what would this place be called?! A lot of random recommendations later, we relied on Bravo 2’s (Mr. Yusuf Ansari – VP and Director of Wildlife and Experiences) knowledge of the lands history to name the location. Interestingly, the Farmer who owned the land before we came in used this very space as a holding area for his livestock before they would set out every morning! This point onwards, it was quite simple and there was an undisputed winner – “Kraal” (Dutch and Afrikans for a place to hold livestock)
That was one day I always remember, to convince myself that all it takes is some amount of practical thinking and a few hundred lanterns to come up with a great guest experience!!