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Found 9 results

  1. This was my longest, four weeks, safari, and the first time I was responsible for leading a group, unless you call my husband and myself a group. There were actually two groups. One group of eight visited three of the four David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust facilities, leaving out the Voi Reintigration Unit, and spent a week in the Mara at Kicheche Bush Camp in Olare Motorogi, and then a more serious group of photographers joined me at Kicheche Mara Camp in Mara North Conservancy for a week followed by a week at Lewa Safari Camp in Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. The first group consisted mostly of supporters of the DSWT who wanted to visit the orphan elephants they sponsor and add in a little safari. None had ever traveled out of the US before, let alone been on safari. I will spare you the details of the joys of managing that and stick to the facts you really want to know about the places we visited. The arrangements were all booked through Bustani Safaris. It is a husband and wife team, the wife being native Kenyan. They only do custom safari arrangements, no pre-packaged trips. You tell them what you want to do and they make it happen. Jambi has a way of getting things done! The safari really started in Karen with a visit to the Giraffe Centre to see the Rothschilde giraffes there. I know we all go to Africa to see animals in the wild, but there is also something about being really close. I mean REALLY close. (My beautiful daughter.) From there we went for a private visit with the orphaned elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in the Nairobi National Park. Our group was allowed to mingle with the elephants at feeding time. Dinner and overnight accommodations were at Karen Blixen Cottages. Highly recommend. The group was in high spirits from the day's activities and in anticipation of the bush flight the next day. The next day it was off to Wilson Airport. The completion of the Southern Bypass has definitely helped eased the traffic congestion. It's a shame though the impact it has had on the park. We chartered a Cessna 208 Caravan from Safarilink to fly us to Umani Springs in the Kibwezi Forest in the Chyulu Hills. There are no scheduled flights near here and with eight in the party plus extra photo gear the cost was reasonable. The even had a sack meal for us for the 45 min. flight! They took special care of my camera gear, two rolling bags, a large Gura Gear backpack and my 400mm in a soft case. They let me keep it in my possession right up until the time it was loaded into the cargo hold. Our two guides and vehicles and Jambi and Peter had left in the wee hours of the morning with the food and the ALCOHOL in time to meet us at the grass airstirp. The DSWT properties are self-catering in that you provide food and beverage. They provide everything else, including a chef named Peter at Umani who in my book could cook at any 5 star restaurant. The waiter, another Peter, was friendly and attentive. Housekeeping and laundry was done with a smile by Lefty and Michael patrolled the unfenced grounds at night to make sure wildlife didn't cause any trouble. It's about a 20 minute drive through Chyulu National Park and the Kibwezi Forest to the lodge, but it's not really a game drive. The bush is very thick and other than a few bushbuck and a squirrel that kept playing chicken with our Land Cruisers, we could spot very little wildlife. Tse tse flies were also in residence at the time, so the vehicles had to remain closed up. In other words, we were there to see the elephants, not go on game drives. The lodge itself rivals some of the finest in Kenya, as long as you enjoy outdoor showers and commodes for some of the units. Showers are running water, solar heated. Hyrax right outside my balcony As guest of the lodge you have exclusive rights to visit the orphans at the Umani Springs Reintegration Unit. Most of the elephants here have special needs and have been brought to this newest unit in the forest environment which is less demanding that the Tsavo region of the other units where orphans are reintroduced to the wild. You can visit at 6am at feeding time until the elephants decide it is time to walk out into the bush, usually about an hour, again at 11 am at the mud bath right in front of the lodge, and again at the stockades at 5pm for their evening feeding. The keepers are with you at all times for everyone's safety and are happy to answer all questions. They are also very happy to take pictures of you with the elephants, especially if your camera is set on burst! While relaxing at the lodge we were able to observe many birds, butterflies, baboons, and a distant herd of wild elephants. We took a bush walk to the springs hoping to see the 12 ft python that is a resident, but no luck. After three nights we packed into the vehicles and headed for the northern part of Tsavo East and Ithumba Camp. To be continued... And I hope this green tint is gone once I post. It's not in my photos in Lightroom, only when I preview them here. My monitor was calibrated two days ago.
  2. I received the 2015 Lewa anual report. Concerning wildlife, there are many good news: Lewa did not loose any rhinos in 2015, poaching indicators (PIKE) are decreasing in the region since the 2012 peak, and key species populations are on the increase in 2015 (giraffes, rhinos, grey zebras, buffaloes).
  3. Hello! So happy to have found this community. I am planning a 9 night safari for myself, my husband, and what will be my then 9 year old daughter to Kenya. We are hoping to travel in August 2017. My hope is to stay at 3 different lodges for 3 nights each. We plan to hit the Laikipia area and then the Mara. The lodges in the general Laikipia area I am considering are: Sarara, LWC, Lewa Wilderness, and Ol Malo. I am looking at Mara Plains and Mara Toto. I like the feel of the Plains a bit better as I'd love to end our time in Kenya on a slightly more luxurious note, but am not sure which one would be better for a 9 year old child. She is not particularly rambunctious, in fact she is fairly shy, but very social once she's comfortable. In any event, can anyone give me the pro's and con's of each of these camps with a youngish child in mind? Thank you so much! Also, any insight into an ideal itinerary with my other choices would be great. Definitely want to see the wild dogs. My husband loves elephants. My daughter loves any animal she's ever seen. We would also like to do a horseback or camel ride. My husband and I have been on safari in Sabi Sands and I have done a canoe safari in Zimbabwe.
  4. 1) Name of property: (Please also include name of property as topic title and include as a tag.) Lewa Safari Camp 2) Website address if known: 3) Date of stay, including whether Green Season, Shoulder season or High season pricing (if known) July 2015, High Season 4) Length of stay: 4 nights 5) Why did you choose this camp or lodge to stay in? Based upon what? There are quite a few properties at Lewa, but many look too up market. LSC seemed to be the right mix for us. 6) How did you book the property, direct or agent? Were your enquiries dealt with quickly and efficiently? Direct through Cheli & Peacock. As usual, very well handled. 7) How many times have you been on Safari? Countless 8) To which countries? Kenya, Botswana, Namibia, India 9) Which properties have you been to previously that you are comparing this one to? Saruni Samburu, Tortilis Amboseli, Elsa's Kopje, Shompole 10) Was the property fenced? Yes 11) What tent or room did you stay in? Did it have a good view? Was it overlooked or private? Tent 7. Had a great view. We could see the verandah from Tent 6, so it was not 100% private. Also when we walked to our tent, we could see the Verandahs on Tents 8, 9 and 10 12) How comfortable was the bed - were suitable amounts of blankets/duvets/pillows provided? Bed was comfortable, but it was so cold, that the duvet was inadequate. 13) Did you like the food? If yes, please state why. If no, please state why. Yes. Good Italian food. I felt dinners were a bit underwhelming, more home style food, then restaurant style. 14) Was there a varied menu offering multiple choice? If vegetarian was a suitable alternative offered? (Did you have to request this in advance?) Lunch was always buffet. Dinner was fixed three course menu with no choice. 15) Can you choose where you eat, ie privately or with other guests, guides? Single tables or communal dining? All dining was single tables, and you ate where they served.Not sure if they offered private dining. The host did say sometimes he will host dinners, but very rarely. 16) How good were the packed breakfasts/lunches if staying out on game drives? I did not have a packed breakfast, but my wife said it was okay - not great. 17) What are the game drive vehicles? Please include photo if possible. Toyota Landcruiser, Longwheel base. 18) How many guests per row? 3 rows - 1st and 2nd rows, two seats each, and third tow with three seats. 19) How long were the game drives and were they varied in the routes taken? It was up to us as guests. Mornings were usually 0630 - 1130 and afternoons were 1600 - 1900 Varied routes were taken. 20) Are game drive times flexible: ie, if agreed in advance, can you go out earlier than suggested and stay out later, ie not returning for lunch but taking supplies with you? Very flexible. 21) What wildlife is this property known for? Did you get good sightings? Rhino, cheetah, elephants - excellent sightings 22) How was the standard of guiding? Excellent 23) 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? 24) If you had a very good experience with your guide, please give reasons why: As usual, a very high standard guide who was passionate. 25) Were staff attentive to your requests/needs? Yes 26) Trip report link: 27) Any other pertinent details you wish to add: 28) Please add your photographs of the property below, with headings. Please see the trip report
  5. An article and photos describing the relocation process of black rhinos from Lewa Wildlife Conservancy to Sera Conservancy Trust, Kenya.
  6. As next year is going to be a significant year for me, I'm hitting 50, I have managed to negotiate the possibility of taking all my holiday allowance off in one hit and was planning a long self drive around Namibia (5-6 weeks). Unfortunately our eldest dog is getting old and growing poorly. My wife, Angela, does not want to leave him in kennels (or in the care of friends) for a prolonged period of time. So we are doing two or three shorter trips instead. After this years wonderful trip. I want to go back to Lakipia in late Feb/early march this time with Angela in tow for a good 5-6 days looking for dogs, hopefully there will be pups again. We want to combine this with the best possibility of seeing cheetah we can. We also want to incorporate a visit to David Sheldrick's Elephant orphanage in Nairobi. I've read @@madaboutcheetah 's Chasing Cheetah in Kenya thread and think that Naboisho in the Mara would be a good place to spend 5 or so days. But are there better places at the time of year we plan to go? Or should we combine with elsewhere in the Mara? I should add we have never been to the Mara and only plan on visiting the concessions when we do go. Our best cheetah sightings to date have been in Laikipia (Ol Pejeta). Given that we are going to be in this area anyway would it be worth returning to Ol Pejeta or going up to Lewa (MAC also mentions Lewa in Laikipia as a prime cheetah location). How about Tsavo East or Amboseli? They are well located for a road connection from Nairobi. Another alternative we are thinking about is to go over to Tanzania and try the Serengeti, maybe Ndutu? But we may just save that for a different trip. My remaining dilemma is what to do about that Namibia trip. 2016 is changing shape and we may slide a brown bear trip to Alaska or Ne Russia into the mix.
  7. I am just back from a short Kenya safari, wher I joined Anita and masterful guide Squack Evans in the latter part of their epic journey throughout northern Kenya, with the help of Andrew Francombe (who I learned to be one of Kenya's best pilots) and his helicopter, a R44 named after his wife. Anita and Squack had had an incredible time before me joining them, and I am pretty sure of that, since after reached Lewa airstrip on a Safarilink flight I was given a few hours ride in their helicopter, and I was totally overwhelmed and blown away the experience of flying with it over the rugged northern Kenya wildlands, a few meters over cliffs and rivers, not to mention landing in seemingly impossible spots, definitely inaccessible in any other way. Yet both Anita and Squack were adamant that those few hours of flying were by far the least spectacular of their trip...... A wonderful sight we had during such flight and that will live with me forever was a herd of 200+ Grevy's Zebra, creating a beautiful dust cloud whilst moving in the arid plains. Neither Andrew nor Squack had ever seen so many Grevy's Zebra together - I had read of herds in the lower hundreds subject of studies in the 1960s, so basically we had been affordedfor some minutes a window into the past.Pure magic. The following three nights at Lewa were quite rewarding and relaxing at the same time. Even if not entirely my cup of tea as a safari camp (but the closer amongst the Lewa properties) Sirikoi was very nice and cozy, and Tash a very good host. During our game drives we had - as we had hoped and expected - several excellent sightings of both Black and White Rhino (we saw roughly 35 different rhinos during our stay), a few cheetahs and, more unusually, a magnificent herd of 130 - 140 Eland and some Mount Kenya Hartebeest. Even more unusually, a Lesser Kudu - something absolutely exceptional for Lewa, that certainly does not provide good habitat for those most beautiful antelopes (unlike, as we would be remembered in emphatic fashion, Meru). Another highlight of our visit to Lewa was the possibility of spending some quality time with Ian Craig (grey eminence of Lewa and founder of the Northern Rangelands Trust) and his wife Jane, one day in camp at lunch and one evening at their most beautiful house, where we were offered some sun dried tomatoes coming from Sera Conservancy...definitely an holistic approach to conservation! (To be continued) P.S.: @@Game Warden- could you please delete "Kenya" at the end of the title? Thanks
  8. In a few days I will departing for the third safari of this 2014 (quite odd, since at the beginning of the year I only had one trip planned), which happens to be my 28th African safari. This time I had no role in conceiving it. In fact I will join Anita and - needless to say - my friend and guide Squack Evans in the final part of their epic journey through northern Kenya, a trip that apparently took almost two years of meticoulous planning. Anyway, after a quick dash by helicopter into one the NRT's conservancies to the east of Shaba, I will spend 3 nights in Lewa (staying at Sirikoi Camp) and 5 nights in Meru (Squack's mobile camp). Whilst I have visited both Lewa and Meru before (Meru is probably my favourite park in Kenya), I am really looking forward to seeing them in October, besides enjoying the bush with kindred spirits, and lots of laughs and a bit of banter around the campfire.
  9. This has put my plans on a spin again now. Also found Walking Wild on Lewa: Another spin. The Sarara star camp is new and definitely one I will explore more on as it gives the best of both the worlds in Matthews Range if 5-6 days could be spent here. But does anyone know about the Walking Wild on Lewa in terms of experience ? I am not really looking for cultural experience in Lewa so not 100% sure if this can be customized to some degree.

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