Tulips

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Tulips last won the day on September 12

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  1. The Weather Gods smiled on me today as it seemed to rain all around, but not in the area we were. Yay! Once again, I asked for a 5:30am wake up call so we could get going by 6:15am. Right off the bat, we had to stop because there was a giraffe sitting down. I don't think I've ever seen one like this and Paul says it quite rare for them to sit. So I had to get a photo. It really gives a perspective of how big they are because they are still very tall when sitting. This morning we saw a bounty of wildlife as we drove along: Black Chested Snake Eagle I was thrilled to spot my first ever Jackal. At one point we were radioed and told by security that a large male lion was spotted. Paul put the vehicle in gear and we drove like a bat out of hell, but unfortunately, it had disappeared into the bush. I hoped we would have another chance. My disappointment didn't last long as nearby was a large family of ostrich. I'd never seen so many and so many chicks. What a wonderful sight! We stayed and watched them quite a bit. We kept our distance as we did not want to upset the parents where there were so many chicks. And then we were off and spotted some birds: White-Bellied Go Away Bird Male and Female Lilac Rollers - I had never seen these two together either. Finally we spotted some cape buffalo. There was a whole herd of them and I like to refer to it as my own little mini migration. We started to make our way back to the lodge as I was getting hungry and wanted to have some breakfast, but not before taking some photos of beautiful giraffe with the paddock house at the lodge in the background and enjoying their breakfast. After a quick meal, we were right back out. Hadada Ibis - These birds make a lot of noise White Browed Robin Chat As I had wanted to do something cultural while I was in Kenya, Paul was taking me to a see a women's group which specializes in beading. He said it would take about 40 minutes to get there. They reside in the village of Jerusalem, which is just outside the Segera conservancy gate. The women belong to the Satubo Women Group and consists of women from the Stub, Turkana and Borana communities. The women do bead work and then sell their wares. The money is used for their education and their health. The amount of work that goes into the jewelry is incredible and they sell the items for next to nothing. I bought several bracelets and fell in love with a necklace. They only had one, but when they saw how much I liked it and I inquired about more, they quickly offered to make more and said they could start them that day. I wondered if it would be enough time as I was leaving the day after next. Paul said it would be no problem, the lodge would send someone to pick them up. So I ordered two more necklaces in various colours and then picked up a different style of bracelet as well. For all of that, I paid about $60. The women also allowed me to ask questions, although some of them didn't really speak much English. I was really pleased with my visit and I was happy to support an initiative that empowers women. After the visit, we re entered the conservancy and I hadn't yet had a chance to switch my lens and almost immediately there were three lion cubs. I got one shot with my wade angle, but they ran into the bush before I could get my lens changed. Wahhh! We tried to follow them, but that area was extremely muddy and Paul was having trouble maneuvering the vehicle without getting stuck to we had to leave them. But, at least I got to see them. I kind of lamented the shot that got away, but this didn't last long as we came upon a Secretary Bird, one of my listed species. My friend at home pointed out that it looks like the bird is wearing black leggings. She does have a point. I just love these birds. I couldn't believe how much this one walked. We followed it for quite a while, but keeping out distance of course. While we were watching the bird, we realized there was a leopard tortoise right by the vehicle. We spotted some hippo. I love these animals, but I've never seen any so stubborn. They would not come out of the water even a bit. All I saw were bits of there heads and eyes popping up. LOL! As we were along the river, we saw a bevy of birds: Red-Billed Hornbill African Fish Eagle Little Bee Eater Striped Kingfisher Martial Eagle As we were unsure about the weather given the forecast, we decided early in the day that we would go back to the lodge for lunch. By this point, it was quite late in the afternoon, but no matter. It was worth it to stay out. As we were nearing the lodge, we saw that a plane had landed. There were some other guests that were departing shortly. The airstrip is right by the lodge, which makes it convenient. After a bit of a break for lunch, it still wasn't raining. So back out we went. This part turned out to be the best bit of the day. We headed back out in the direction of where we were earlier in the day in hopes of seeing lion and we hit pay dirt. A female appeared trying to hunt a warthog. The warthog was hiding in a hole. We could see that the lion had tried to dig it out. At one point while we were watching, it dig pop it's head out and quickly ducked for cover. Part of me hoped it would stay in the hole as i really didn't want to witness a violent end. We watched and watched for quite some time and the lion eventually gave up. This little area was a wildlife mecca. So many parents with babies and other animals as well: Look at the little Jackal pup! And the little giraffe baby. Pumba and piglets The jackals follow the lions in hopes of getting a share of the food. When the lion looked like she was going to get the warthog, the jackal came running, but then she gave up and the jackal appears to be asking what gives as he/she has not got their meal yet. LOL! It started getting dark and quite cool and then it started to rain, so we headed back to the lodge after a very successful day! It rained all through dinner and all night. Paul said that if there was a lot of rain, we might not be able to go out first thing, so I asked that if we could't go out, not to have someone wake me at 5:30am. I may as well sleep in. So we agreed that if the roads were good, I would get wake up call at 5:30am and if the roads were bad, I would not.
  2. Oh, what a beautiful morning, oh, what a beautiful day! I've got a beautiful feeling, everything's going my way.......!!!! I had asked for a wake up call at 5:30am the night before and right on time, there was a knock at my door. I was up and dressed and out by the vehicle by 6am. There were some pastries laid out along with coffee and fresh squeezed juice. The sky was beautiful as it was just starting to get light. As we set off, I mentioned to Paul that I had looked at the weather forecast for the rest of the week and rain appeared frequently and so I wanted to make the most of today as there was no rain scheduled until the evening. Paul agreed and said that at breakfast, he would arrange for a packed lunch and we could stay out. We headed out in a different direction today. The view did not disappoint and a giraffe walked into my shot at just the right moment. The sun was still coming up. Some guinea fowl also wanted to get in on the action. Our main goal today was to try to find a leopard and Paul advised that at this time of day, they were more likely to be on the ground as they would still be out hunting. We kept our eyes peeled, but no luck. However, there was no shortage of wildlife and birds in particular. I love birds, so the more the merrier for me. Black-bellied Bustard Cardinal Woodpecker Grey Crowned Crane - the national bird of Uganda Von der Decken's Hornbill Lilac Roller Northern White Crowned Shrike Baboons Vervet Monkey Augur Buzzard After about three hours out in the field, we came back so I could have a quick breakfast and then we would head right back out for the day. Breakfast was different types of pastries, eggs done anyway you like, fruit, yogurt and granola, coffee, or expresso and fresh squeezed juice. Yum! The temperature was reasonable. Not too hot, but definitely not cold either. We were still on the lookout for the elusive leopard. Paul was telling me not to be discouraged. We still had a couple of days. He suggested that now it would be better to start looking for them in the trees. He said it is sometimes hard to spot them as they blend in. And so, we continued on our quest. This was one of the items on my list. The male Agama Lizard T We were lucky enough to see a female Agama as well. She was a bit away on a different rock. Funny how in wildlife, the male is generally the more colourful species. Yellow Billed Stork My spider sense says I am about to be lunch. Didn't realize the bird has a spider until I zoomed in on it later. I don't like spiders, but was thrilled to get a photo of a bird with something in its mouth. Steppe Eagle Woodland Kingfisher - He moved before I could get a shot with all of the colourful plumage. African Hoopoe The ostrich was upset at the crane After a while Paul spotted a vehicle and looked through his binoculars. He suggested we go over and see as they might have found something. Fine by me. So we went over. As we approached, I saw this beautiful set up and one of the staff from the lodge. It turned out a whole fabulous picnic had been set up by the river. Oh my God! I was shocked. Paul and I had a beautiful pasta lunch with breads and wine (for me). I was pleased that Paul was able to enjoy the same food. I took a few minutes after the meal and sat by the river just enjoying the peacefulness. Afterwards, Paul asked if I wanted to go back to the lodge. I said no. I still felt there was more to see and wanted to take advantage while the weather was good. Paul agreed and we continued on our way, thanking Violet and Peter for setting up the surprise picnic. It sure beat a boxed lunch. So, we were driving along, and along, and we stopped by some water, some bushes and some trees, and we were looking in different directions and then......OMG, there it is!!! The leopard. OMG, OMG, OMG!!!! Tears literally started running down my face. Some may think this crazy, but I had wanted to see a leopard in the wild so badly and this one was in a tree to boot. The excitement was real! We sat there watching for quite a while. I wasn't rushing away form this sighting and I had it to myself the entire time. Looking at it, I could see why they are hard to spot in trees. After it left the tree, it went into a bush and we waited for a long time to see if it would come out. Paul says it is not yet totally used to vehicles and might be shy. So we decided to leave it be and we would come back again another day and see if we could spot it. That was the highlight of my day and my trip so far. It took hours for the euphoria to wear off. We spotted a mama and baby. So cute! Striped Kingfisher Eventually, I was getting tired and I am sure Paul was as well as we had been out in the fresh air for so long. We decided to head back to the lodge. Dinner was a lovely meal in the wine tower and then it was off to bed ahead of another day tomorrow. I was praying to the weather gods!
  3. Wonderful article. In addition to seeing the gorillas last week, I got a chance to visit the research centre.
  4. Thanks @offshorebirder, that was my first instinct,it started doubting myself.
  5. I hemmed and hawed over it for quite a while because if the price, but in the end, I didn't think I would be happy with anywhere else so I decided to choose it. I don't regret it for a second. It basically gave he total choice and flexibility over the day, my own vehicle and guide and complete choice over my food.
  6. It probably depends on how many places in each country you intend to visit. I didn't do the migration or Tanazania. I stayed in one spot in Kenya (Laikipia) and did basically one spot in Uganda (Queen Elizabeth Park). So two weeks was enough for me to do three countries. Three weeks is a lot of time, but could be easily eaten up if doing multiple destinations in each country.
  7. On my first full day in Kenya, I was picked up at my hotel for the trip to Wilson Airport. I have to say this is a very different airport. Buildings everywhere. The terminal building doesn't resemble one to me, at least from street side. The driver contacted the airline and a representative came to help me with my bags. I had arranged a private charter as i was advised that driving to Segera would have involved a long drive on dirty dusty roads and wasted a full day. In the end, I was so glad I flew. As I had a charter, no one bothered with the weight of my luggage, which was good as my carryon full of my camera gear was quite heavy. I did come with a non wheeled duffle bag prepared too store things at Wilson if need be. I was taken straight to the plane, a little Cessna, which had an interesting sign for passengers. Take note of the last tow points especially. Despite the signage, the pilot, Peter, was really nice and the flight was smooth. The Flight took about 50 minutes or so from Wilson to Segera. Plane, Plane, Everywhere a Plane, Plane! I was struck by the different scenery as we were flying. From the obvious poverty in Nairobi, to lush greens further out to total arid conditions as we approached Laikipia. After the relatively short flight, i arrived at Segera Retreat, where i has an opportunity to take a photo of the plane. Some of the staff where there to great me. The manager Helena, my guide Paul among them. I was also advised that the owner, Jochen Zeitz was in residence and he would be coming by later to see me. I was given tour of the property and then shown to my villa. I was asked what time I would like lunch and I suggested 1pm and then talked to Paul about doing my first game drive, which was agreed to do at 3pm. I got settled in and unpacked and then took a leisurely walk around the grounds. I then went back and enjoyed by deck for a bit as there were quite a few giraffe out at the watering hole, which my villa looked out on. There was also a tree which hosted a number of birds. I believe this is a Bronze Sunbird Speke's Weaver Speckled Mousebird Either a Hunter's Sunbird or Scarlet Chested Sunbird Lunch was massive. I couldn't believe the amount of food that was brought out for just me. I sampled it, and it was delicious, but I couldn't eat it all. On to the game drive. Paul and I hit it off immediately and we were on the same page. I gave him a list of some of the animals I hoped to see, so he would have an idea. It wasn't a long list, but I really wanted to see a leopard and the Grevy's Zebra and also some birds including the Secretary Bird. We were out for a bit and saw some animals and then it poured. It poured to the point where the roof wasn't protecting us and so we headed back to the lodge. The rain lasted maybe 45 minutes and then the sun came back out and we were right back out looking for animals. I thought I saw a good variety for one day. These are Grevy's Zebra. To be the Grevy among two Common!! Grevy The zebra could care less about the Kori Bustard Jackson's Hartebeest White Bellied Bustard Oryx Spotted Hyena Tawny Eagle Kenya Rufous Sparrow Thompson's Gazelle
  8. At the end of August 2017, i embarked on a week long trip to Kenya and then a further week in Rwanda and Uganda. Info on the latter two countries will follow in other reports. For Kenya, I wanted something special. After a couple of months of mulling my options, I went with Segera Retreat in Laikipia County. Shorty after booking this, I learned of the problems and violence in the area and wondered if I would actually get to go. By the time August came around, the concern was not about Laikipia, which seemed to have died down, but for the election and the results. Luckily, this event occurred and there were no events that led me to consider changing my plans. I travelled to Nairobi from Canada via Zurich Switzerland. I flew with Swiss Airlines, which I really like and the Zurich airport is nice and small. You don't have to walk miles and you can be downtown on the train within 10 minutes if you so wish. Makes it easier if you have say a 5 hour layover. You can't really leave Heathrow airport, for example, with such a short layover. My flights were all on time and I arrived in Kenya shortly after 7pm in the evening on August 27, 2017. I already had my visa ( in July I sent my passport to the High Commission to get the East Africa Visa since it covered all three countries I was going to and also because I could not get the Rwanda visa on arrival, being from Canada), so was through all of that process fairly quickly. There wasn't much of a line up. Then came a slight snafu in that my arrival transfer was nowhere to be found. I waited about 20 minutes and got fed up. I went back into the terminal to ask if there was anywhere else a transfer would be waiting. They said no, but offered to arrange a taxi for me. Having just come from 3 flights and all night and day travel, I just wanted to get to my hotel, so I paid the $20 USD and took the taxi. It turned out this was perfectly safe and in future, I would just do this. The company who my agent had arranged the transfer through agreed to refund the money I had paid. I spent the night at the Nairobi Safari Club, a cheaper hotel as I was only spending the night. It was nice and clean and the room was spacious. I sent out a couple of emails letting people know I had arrived and then was off to bed. The hotel has a full hot breakfast buffet including made to order omelets, which was included in the price.
  9. 1) Name of property and country: Segera Retreat, Kenya 2) Website address if known: Segera.com 3) Date of stay, including whether Green Season, Shoulder season or High season pricing (if known). August 2017 so the High season. 4) Length of stay: Four nights 5) Why did you choose this camp or lodge to stay in? Based upon what? I was looking for somewhere special to stay and this was provided to me as an option. It had everything I wanted, but it did come at a price. 6) How did you book the property, direct or agent? Were your enquiries dealt with quickly and efficiently? My agent booked it and yes, everything was well handled. 7) How many times have you been on Safari? Last year and this year. 8) To which countries? South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda 9) Which properties have you been to previously that you are comparing this one to? I'm not comparing to this to other properties. I will list the other properties I'd people are interested. 10) Was the camp/lodge fenced? It's got cactus around the villas, but not fenced per se. 11) How many rooms/tents does it have? 6 villas, another bigger villa and two larger houses. 12) What tent or room did you stay in? Did it have a good view? Was it overlooked or private? I had villa 6. It was private and overlooked a watering hole frequented by giraffe and zebra. I also had a tee frequented by birds. 13) How comfortably furnished was the room/tent? Very comfortably furnished. 14) Did you like the food? If yes, please state why. If no, please state why. Loved the food. The chef, Elizabeth is an amazing cook. Everything is fresh. 15) Was there a varied menu offering multiple choice? If vegetarian was a suitable alternative offered? (Did you have to request this in advance?). There is no set menu. You just tell Elizabeth what you would like and she will make it for you. You just have to tell her the day before. 16) What is the default dining arrangement? Single tables or communal dining? Do the guides/managers host at mealtimes? It was private dining in a different location for every meal. 17) How good were the packed breakfasts/lunches if staying out on game drives? Very good. 18) What are the game drive vehicles? Please include photo if possible. I had a vehicle to myself. There was plenty of room. The vehicle has a roof, but is otherwise open. 19) How many guests per row? There were 3 rows with room for two guests. 20) How long were the game drives and were they varied in the routes taken? Yes, the routes were varied unless we had a sighting and wanted to revisit. The drives could be as long or as short as you want. 21) What are the standard game drive times? Are game drive times flexible: i.e., if agreed in advance, can you go out earlier than suggested and stay out later, i.e., not returning for lunch but taking supplies with you? There is no set schedule. You can go out whe you want, for as long as you want. 22) Is this a private conservancy/concession, and what is the vehicle/lodge density like? As it is a private conservancy, other vehicles are not an issue. 23) If in a National Park, what is the vehicle density in the immediate vicinity? N/A 24) Are you able to off-road? Absolutely as it is a private conservancy. 25) Are there rotation policies for sightings i.e., You face the risk of queuing or being bumped from a sighting. N/A 26) What wildlife is this property known for? Did you get good sightings? Grevy's zebra, birds, cats and yes, I saw them all. 27) How was the standard of guiding? Fabulous 28) If you had a bad experience with a guide, why? Did you report the issue to management, and if so, how did they deal with the issue? 29) If you had a very good experience with your guide, please give reasons why: My guide and I really hit it off from the start. We we on the same page. I wanted long drives and was immediately told that would be no problem. Together, we saw a huge variety of wildlife. 30) Were staff attentive to your requests/needs? Absolutely. 31) Does the property support a local community conservation initiative. If so, please provide brief details and website address if known. The Zeitz Foundation, Katubo Woman. 32) Safaritalk trip report link: 33) Any other pertinent details you wish to add: My stay was exceptional and I really hated to leave. 34) Please add your photographs of the property below, with headings. This was my villa This is the outdoor swing bed on the ground level Art work in the gardens My Villa from the outside
  10. Thanks. I think the issue is that I,load the photos from my iPad.
  11. I'm back from my trip and have to sort through many, many photos, but wanted to get something started. I will be providing lots of detail. I have to say that the variety and abundance of wildlife far exceeded my expectations and I certainly saw a lot more than in South Africa last year. I also can't get over what a birding mecca Kenya is. Coukd someone please enlighten me as to how to put text between photos so I can caption some of them? Here is a photo to start things off.
  12. @Alexander33 not back quite yet. Sitting in a Entebbe airport. I had a fantastic trip and got some lovely shots of the golden monkeys, gorillas and a couple of the chimps, even though they were rather uncooperative. I'm completely exhausted though. LOL! @Kitsafari I can confirm that the $200 for someone to take you up is correct. There was a woman over 80 who found she couldn't do any more and she paid the $200 and got to see the gorillas rather than missing out.
  13. Wonderful photos! i also did the golden monkeys first and am glad for that. I ended up with numerous examples like yours with the, behind branches and leaves etc.
  14. Thanks everyone. Flying out of Entebbe, so will will make sure to allow lots of time.

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