I have always held a picture in my head of what it must be like to camp in the wilderness and awake to the sounds of Big Cats calling to one another. As it turns out I didn’t even have to get on a plane to experience it, for Port Lympne have brought Kenya to Kent.
And earlier this month they launched their Pinewood Camping Pods, allowing families to come to the Port Lympne Park and sleep next door to the animals usually found on reserves thousands of miles away. I was invited to attend the opening of the site along with other Kent noteables, and check out the pods for myself.
Built exclusively for Port Lympne, the clutch of ten cosy bunkers are nestled amongst the trees, each pod with it’s own veranda, chairs and barbecue. Inside the ark-shaped pods are two perfectly appointed beds, along with a futon double bed that can be used as additional sleeping, so perfect for a family of four. There are cupboards containing the essentials you expect, which offer great storage and, to be sure you are kept warm in the less-than-equatorial wilds of the South East, there is a radiator. Plenty of sockets as well as wifi allow you to keep in touch with the outside world, so you can Instagram your view of the cheetahs and to your heart’s content.
The shower block is clean and well-equipped, and a short walk across the clearing, and there is a games room on site for those evenings when the weather could be a little better. But with starting prices of £79 per night* it’s much easier to achieve a night of sleeping in the wild, and all without the need to pitch a tent.
There’s no need to worry when it comes to feeding your tribe either:
You can choose to bring your own food and bedding, or travel light and take advantage of the handy and affordable linen bundles and BBQ boxes. Alternatively, drinks and snacks will be served in the onsite Club House and various cafes situated around the reserve.
Which leaves you more time to explore the 600 acre site– home to the UK’s most authentic Safari– and wake up to the call of the wild.
For more information about the animal reserve, visit the Port Lympne website.
*minimum two night stay during school holidays.