One of our nights at Apoka Safari Lodge was particularly special; one, because it was Laren’s birthday. And two, because we had one of the most unique and memorable dining experiences of our lives.

The day itself had already been incredible. We went on an early safari on-foot, had a mid-morning coffee break in the bush, had a leisurely lunch back at the lodge, and then spent the rest of the afternoon poolside. When we strolled over to the main dining area for supper that evening, we were told we’d be eating somewhere special — and sure enough, we spotted a private table situated under a huge tree in the distance, just as the sun was setting. The staff had picked fresh flowers for the table, and there were lanterns placed everywhere; hanging from the tree itself, and on the ground surrounding it.

One of the things that makes Apoka Safari Lodge so unique is its location in the park. And by that I mean — it is smack dab in the middle of it. Animals that you typically have to go by car to seek out and find, are spotted just steps from lodge throughout the day. When you stay at Apoka, you’re in their¬†territory.¬†And truly, there is no separation or fence between you and the beautiful region that these animals call home.

As we sat down for our delicious three-course meal (which was made from scratch using super fresh ingredients), we realized just how isolated we were. Besides the lodge, there was nothing touched by man in sight; just miles of endless savannah, the chatter of the birds and bugs, the touch of a cool breeze and the soft glow of candlelight. (Can you get any more romantic than that?)

As we finished our meal and last glass of wine, we heard it; The deep roar of a male lion in the distance, calling out for his pride to join him. It’s hard to say how close he actually was, but the sound was enough to send a chill down my spine. The very, very best kind of chill. It was a moment of realizing how infinitely special the setting was, how small we were in such a big world, and how blessed we were to celebrate another year of Laren’s life amongst the natural beauty of a country we love so much.

Definitely not a birthday either of us will ever forget.dinnerwiththelions_001Apoca_DinnerUnderTree2 Apoca_DinnerUnderTree5


One Comment

Kirabo Byabashaija

So stunning!!

PS: so there is a similar tree in Masai Mara and the guide called it the beer tree – saying that whenever elephants ate it’s fruit, they could be seen stumbling about. So most animals, just plain avoided the tree.


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