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About JakeGC

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    Lodge Owner/Manager
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    Protection of wildlife habitat and conservation of wildlife species through partnerships with local communities to establish wildlife conservancies on community-owned land.

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  1. @CDL111: you're welcome to email me any bird pics if you'd like help with ID. If I know the answer I'll be happy to help! The hornbill is a female Von der Decken's hornbill (Tockus deckeni). Great pic of the baby elephant showing that it can still fit under the mother's tummy which is generally taken as a sign that it is under a year old.
  2. I'm enjoying your images of your game drives in Olare Motorogi Conservancy from Porini Lion Camp with Jackson Sayialel. Your description contrasts the privacy of being in a Conservancy compared with the Reserve! Just a quick comment on 2 of the birds: the first is a female Coqui Francolin (looks rather like a Yellow-neck) and the second is a Woodland Kingfisher. Jake
  3. Great selection of pictures! Regarding your question mark by the Agama lizard: it's not a juvenile but a Blue-headed Tree Agama (Acanthocerus atricollis) and your photo shows it on a tree. The rock agama found in the Mara, with the red head, is the Mwanza Flat-headed Agama (Agama mwanzae). We recently had herpetologist Stephen Spawls at our camps in the Mara training our guides on recognition of lizards, snakes and frogs and have published a guide by him to Amphibians and Reptiles of the Maasai Mara which includes these two.
  4. Don't forget the Loita migration in Kenya. Although it covers a smaller area than the massive Serengeti-Mara migration, in February it is in Ol Kinyei Conservancy and calving takes place there. I took this shot of a calf on 13th February in Ol Kinyei. The Loita migration is in the Conservancies now, although the main migration went back to Serengeti last month. Here is a shot today as they move into Olare Motorogi and they should be in Ol Kinyei by February when they calve.
  5. I'm very pleased to read all your positive comments about your stay with us at Porini Lion Camp and to know that you were happy with the services of our guide Meshack who helped you to get some great shots and that you found the Camp Manager, Patrick, and his team to be so friendly and welcoming. I'm so glad that your first safari was such a success and many thanks for saying that we may share your images with our own customers. I was also glad to get the chance to meet you and your wife while I was at the camp and we hope to welcome you back again soon! Very best wishes Jake PS Here is a shot taken in front of the camp a couple of days ago!
  6. For @offshorebirder : Yes, as mentioned previously, we have now fitted the folding shelves on most of our open-sided Toyota Landcruisers.
  7. Dear @KCAZ, glad to hear that you are visiting our Porini Camps and I confirm that we have bean bags at all the Porini Camps. However we don't have one for every single guest as not everyone wants one, so If you let your Gamewatchers Safari Adviser know that having a bean bag is important for you then we can let the Camp managers know in advance so that they have one ready for you at each camp. Or if you email me (jake@gamewatchers.co.ke) with your name and date of stay then I will do so. We have also fitted folding shelf supports for cameras to the sides of most of the vehicles now. I use a monopod myself but a much lighter one than you mention and find it works well for me in the open-sided vehicles: mine is a Velbon Ultra Stick L50 Aluminium Monopod which weighs 300g or 10 ounces. Being lightweight it will not be as robust as your heavier version though! Jake Grieves-Cook Gamewatchers Safaris
  8. Great that you continue to be a fan of Porini Camps @AmyT and we will be glad to welcome you back. We acted immediately to deal with the issue that you highlighted to me and I believe that it is now resolved.
  9. For @Tulips I note and understand your concerns. Over the years I think we may have had a total of 3 instances mentioned on Safaritalk about a negative experience with one of our Porini guides including the one that you have referred to about a guide asking a guest to “shush” while he shot a video clip himself at a sighting and which we dealt with immediately. This seems to have created the impression that our guides are likely to give poor service but in fact we receive very many enthusiastic comments from guests who come again and again and who say it was the excellent guiding that keeps bringing them back. We take our customers’ feedback very seriously and I personally contact every one of our returning guests who have booked with us at Gamewatchers Safaris after they return home, to check that all went well and to see if there are any areas that need improvement. I am pleased to say that the overwhelming majority reply that they were 100% happy with their safari experience with us and many come back to book with us again and again. However if we are alerted to any negative aspect then we always give this our immediate attention as our customers’ satisfaction is extremely important for us and will always endeavour to take action to put things right. There have been numerous positive comments about the Porini Camps guides on many other Safaritalk posts so we will just hope that helps to create a better appreciation of the safari experience which we offer - the evidence being the stunning photographs that many of our guests share on Safaritalk and which our guides have helped them to capture! So if you do decide to stay at any of the Porini Camps we will do our best that you are well looked after! Jake Grieves-Cook Gamewatcxhers Safaris
  10. Dear Amy Once again, may I say that I am really sorry that our guide said “Shush” to you as he took a video clip on his phone of the hyena snatching the baby impala. As you know, I was very concerned to hear about this from you at the time and immediately took it up with the guide himself and the camp manager. You had told me that the guide had already apologised to you in the vehicle as soon as he realised how upset you were, and again at camp after you had informed the manager about it. I went on to discuss this in detail with the guide and, as I had said to you before, I believe he was genuinely remorseful and he wrote you a letter of apology which he asked me to send to you, expressing his regret. You responded to let me know that you accepted his apology. I had also mentioned in my emails to you that he has been a popular guide with many guests over the years and is frequently requested by returning customers and also that he is very committed and dedicated to the Olare Orok Conservancy as it was his father and I who were involved in originally starting it over 10 years ago. He looks after the guiding of many professional photographers and film crews and I have received numerous accolades about him from previous guests so it was disappointing that he let himself and the camp down on this occasion. I believe he has learnt his lesson and we are all very sorry that you were upset. In the past we have often shared video clips or shots taken by our guides on game drives, on our Facebook page or in newsletters, alongside images shared with us by our guests. It would seem that many former guests enjoy seeing these as we receive many favourable comments from past clients about them, together with requests to pass their best wishes to the guide. However there is absolutely no way that we wish guides to give more attention to their own photography than to guests! They know that their key role is to ensure that the guests have a great wildlife viewing experience and have the chance to see some memorable sightings and take some excellent photographs. The evidence of that is the stunning series of images that many of our guests, including you, often share with us. I have taken your comments very seriously and especially the issue of the guide positioning his vehicle to take his own photographs. As a result of this incident we have reminded all our guides of their key priorities and I have asked all the Camp Managers to discuss this with them to ensure that our objective is always to delight the guest. I will continue stressing this to our guides as I go round the camps myself. However from the daily feedback I get from our guests, I can see that the vast majority rate their experience with our guides as excellent and many come back every year to stay again and again. Your guide has told me that now he would prefer not to take any more photographs himself and will be putting his total focus on seeing that his guests can get great pictures for themselves. We do not depend in any way on photos from our guides to use in our marketing as we already have a huge amount of photos and videos from many of our guests who have given these to us to use. For example @amybatt kindly allowed us to use one of her images in a newsletter after her first safari with us and very many others have done so too - the latest example being a series of Fig the leopard leaping on an impala, shared with us by one of our regular guests, Matt Caldwell, which can be seen here: https://www.porini.com/blog/amazing-images-of-a-leopard-ambush-near-porini-lion-camp/ I was pleased to note your comments in your last email to me that you had a marvellous time and plan to return and we would be very happy to welcome you back in the future when I sincerely trust that you will enjoy a great safari experience. With best wishes Jake Grieves-Cook Gamewatchers Safari & Porini Camps
  11. Dear Pam, as mentioned in my emails to you last month after receiving your feedback in response to my "Welcome Home" message, I had given careful attention to the points which you had highlighted to me and I discussed these in detail with the camp manager to see that lessons were learnt so as to avoid causing any disappointment in future. I had apologised and asked you to accept my assurance that your comments were being taken seriously and that I had followed up to see that action was being taken. I'm always keen to hear from guests after their stay and to have their observations and suggestions. If ever there are any negative aspects which we need to take on board to address and rectify to improve our guests' experience then we do take these seriously and endeavour to see how we can do things better. I personally discussed this issue with the guide concerned and he is sorry that you were disappointed that he had been checking messages on his phone. He has asked me to apologise to you and he has promised me that he will not do this again. We had previously received similar feedback from @amybatt regarding another guide at the camp who had been using his phone and I had made clear to him then that this should stop. We have now re-visited this matter of mobile phones and our Camp Manager, Jimmy has held a further meeting with all the guides to stress that their focus of attention should be helping our guests to enjoy viewing wildlife and that mobile phones must not be used for their personal messaging. Generally I receive excellent feedback from the overwhelming majority of guests about their wildlife viewing experience and the way in which our guides are able to find great sightings for them, which is evidenced in some of the great photographs that guests share with us. One thing to mention is that rather than use the vehicle radios to communicate sightings between vehicles, as continually blaring radios is something I would really prefer to avoid, we instead have an Ol Kinyei WhatsApp system for guides to give a brief alert to others in our vehicles on game drives in Ol Kinyei and Naboisho, using their smartphones. This helps to share updates on the sightings and is intended to help the guides to achieve good viewing for their guests. WhatsApp messages are also copied to the cheetah researchers who are monitoring the animals' movements. To control the use of the messaging, all the WhatsApp messages are copied to me personally so I can see at a glance what is being communicated between our vehicles. For example, looking at the latest stream of messages: Jacob: 15 elephants at Olmantirirong Nelson 11 lions on the plain at Oleniol Bill Kupai wild dogs at Ol Seki airstrip Jimmy Simon the hippo leaving his pool! Nirmalya 5 lions on a kill by white rock Bill Kupai 2 females and male on kill 300M from PMC Jacob On road from Ilturot towards Lookoit hill lion mating pair Jacob Serval cat with kill near the Lappet faced vultures nest Nelson Naiborr and her cubs along road from PMC to rangers post. Nelson Naiborr made a kill Nirmalya Aardwolf just 50M from PBC Having noted your comments, I am going to ask Jimmy Sengeny our Camp Manager to explain in his briefing to arriving guests that at Ol Kinyei our guides share sightings with the researchers and their fellow drivers from the Porini Camps using WhatsApp messaging on their phones but that they should not be using their phones for any other purposes. And perhaps when they type and send a message while at a sighting they should briefly mention this to their own guests so that it is not thought that they are doing something else. We want to use mobile technology as a way of improving sightings for guests at Ol Kinyei as there are fewer vehicles in the 18,000 acres there so text messaging by phone is a good way of sharing updates on sightings. The key is to do this without causing any annoyance! If this turns out to be something that guests do not like then we will have to re-think. Apart from your disappointment about this at O Kinyei, I was glad to note from your emails to me that the rest of your safari experience with us went well and that you plan to be back - we would be delighted to welcome you on another safari soon! Over the last 20 years I have been very involved in trying to provide a way of expanding the area of protected habitat for wildlife beyond the government-run parks and reserves which account for less than 8% of Kenya's land area. Our mission has been to use small-scale tourism as a way of paying to lease land from communities adjacent to the parks and to set up wildlife conservancies where the wildlife species have more space to roam and increase in numbers beyond the parks. The conservancies are owned by the community who earn an income from the rents paid directly to each family and who have employment opportunities as rangers and camp staff in our small Porini Camps. We depend on tourism to keep the conservancies going and so it is important to us that our guests have a great experience and that they keep coming back to enjoy the wildlife viewing and recommend our camps to others. With best wishes Jake Grieves-Cook Gamewatchers Safaris & Porini Camps
  12. @@AmyT, I noticed that you were asking about temperatures at our Porini Rhino Camp. The Nanyuki area is at a fairly high altitude and so It can get VERY CHILLY on early morning and evening game drives. We provide ponchos in the vehicles on game drives and hot water bottles in beds at night. This is what we say in the pre-departure info that you will receive from us before you travel: "Ensure you bring some additional warm clothing for chilly early morning or evening game drives (fleece, sweater). Although Kenya is on the equator, you may be surprised at how VERY cold it can get at night and in the early morning, especially in the higher locations!" And Ol Pejeta is often even chillier than most of the safari destinations in Kenya as its altitude is higher, so it is a good idea to have several layers of warm clothing that can be peeled off during the day once the sun comes out and it gets hotter. We have other answers to Frequently Asked Questions on our website here, which may be helpful but you are welcome to email us anytime if you need any information and we will be glad to help: https://www.porini.com/travel-information/faqs-and-recommendations/ Best wishes Jake
  13. Greetings all, Cosmic Rhino many thanks for your interest but please note that Porini Cheetah Camp has no connection with the link that you have posted! Our Porini Cheetah Camp opens in June and is located in Ol Kinyei Conservancy. The correct link for the camp is here on our Gamewatchers Safaris website where you can see all the details: PORINI CHEETAH CAMP: https://www.porini.com/kenya/porini-camps/porini-cheetah-camp/ Ol Kinyei is 18,700 acres of conservancy and has 2 small non-seasonal camps of 6 guest tents: Porini Mara and now Porini Cheetah open year round apart from May and 2 small seasonal mobile camps Porini Bush Camp and Gamewatchers Adventure Camp which are open during the high season period. I hope this helps to answer the questions and many thanks for the interest shown! Right now Ol Kinyei is teeming with animals as the Loita wildebeest migration is in there and the females are calving (just as this is the time the calving takes place in the southern Serengeti plains).
  14. Many thanks for the message @@dlo and I'm delighted to hear you enjoyed the safari that we arranged for you. We were very sorry that you were so unwell during the trip but glad that you were looked after well and hope that you have now made a complete recovery. Recently our guests have been having wonderful sightings in Selenkay/Amboseli and Olkinyei/ Mara and I'm pleased to hear that you had some excellent wildlife viewing and that our guides did a good job for you. Our big challenge right now is finding a way to keep the conservancies in existence! After first having been involved twenty years ago at Selenkay in starting the concept of leasing land from communities to set up conservancies wit the aim of expanding the area of protected habitat for wildlife, it is becoming harder for us to keep finding over $1 million each year from our tourism income that we need in order to pay the lease costs and conservancy running costs for all the conservancies in which we are involved. Selenkay and Ol Kinyei Conservancies are supported single-handedly by Gamewatchers Safaris while at Olare Motorogi and Naboisho Conservancies we were involved in their start-up but had done so with a few other like-minded "Tourism Partners" who pay their share of the costs but we still pay for nearly a third of all the costs of the 100,000 acres comprising Ol Kinyei, Naboisho and Olare Motorogi. We need to keep attracting visitors as it is tourism that provides us with the income to pay these costs. Our latest blog gives more details: https://www.porini.com/blog/an-open-letter-to-potential-safari-goers/
  15. Thanks Antee, Great to read your report on your stay at our Gamewatchers Adventure Camps in Selenkay and Ol Kinyei Conservancies and I'm delighted that you enjoyed your experience. I note that you mention the 4 young cheetahs and can confirm that 3 of them are Naiborr's cubs and the fourth is another youngster which has teamed up with them. This is a post from my Facebook page picturing them together and mentioning how they have been joined by a newcomer - in the first week of July. We have had a researcher from Oxford Brookes University monitoring the progress of Ol Kinyei Conservancy over the last 3 years since we doubled its size and her report may be of interest - here is a link to our blog which gives more details: https://www.porini.com/blog/university-research-in-ol-kinyei/

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