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Found 10 results

  1. 1) Name of property and country: (Please also include name of property and country as topic title and include as tags as well) Porini Lion Camp, Masai Mara, Kenya 2) Website address if known: https://www.porini.com/kenya/porini-camps/porini-lion-camp/ 3) Date of stay, including whether Green Season, Shoulder season or High season pricing (if known). September 15-18, 2016 High Season 4) Length of stay: 3 nights 5) Why did you choose this camp or lodge to stay in? Based upon what? recommendation of agent and fellow SafariTalkers who have been there 6) How did you book the property, direct or agent? Were your enquiries dealt with quickly and efficiently? Agent (The Wild Source) 7) How many times have you been on Safari? this was the fifth 8) To which countries? South Africa x2, Tanzania, Botswana, now Kenya 9) Which properties have you been to previously that you are comparing this one to? Tented camps in Botswana would come the closest 10) Was the camp/lodge fenced? No 11) How many rooms/tents does it have? 10 12) What tent or room did you stay in? Did it have a good view? Was it overlooked or private? #3 There wasn't much of a direct view due to trees, but if you walked just a few steps forward you looked out over the river below, and a popular spot for animals to come down to drink--we had zebra, wildebeest, impala, and many birds drinking below. Lots of birds in the trees surrounding the tent which kept me busy during siesta time. A bit close to surrounding tents, we could hear loud conversations from #2. 13) How comfortably furnished was the room/tent? Very comfortable, spacious, and had a writing table which none of the other camps on this trip had; very useful for downloading photos on the laptop, etc. Typical bucket safari shower with scalding hot water--be careful! 14) Did you like the food? If yes, please state why. If no, please state why. Very good food, home style cooking, rustic but very good. The pork ribs were especially delicious. 15) Was there a varied menu offering multiple choice? If vegetarian was a suitable alternative offered? (Did you have to request this in advance?) Both lunch and dinner was served buffet so there were some choices but generally one main dish with salads and vegetables. 16) What is the default dining arrangement? Single tables or communal dining? Do the guides/managers host at mealtimes? Both communal and seperate tables. There was one large photo group of 12 when we were there so we were put at a table with one other couple; after the photo group left there was a communal table for the rest of us. Guides did not join at mealtimes. 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. Open sided land cruisers with canvas tops. Beanbags were available. I believe they also have one closed, pop-top type vehicle--some of the photo group was using this. 19) How many guests per row? three rows of two. We had a private vehicle and as far as I could tell so did everyone else at camp while we were there, so not sure how many maximum they might put at other times.. 20) How long were the game drives and were they varied in the routes taken? Variable, depending on sightings...departure at 6:30 returning around noon, then from 4 until dark. You can also do night drives AFTER dinner here, which was great...one night we went out on a night drive at 9 p.m. until about 10:30. 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? See #20 Since we had a private vehicle route and timing were very flexible. We did go out on one full day drive to into the Mara reserve, returning about 6 p.m. 22) Is this a private conservancy/concession, and what is the vehicle/lodge density like? Yes, Olare Motorogoi Conservancy. There are several camps in the vicinity but none TOO close. We usually saw vehicles from three or four camps at sightings. 23) If in a National Park, what is the vehicle density in the immediate vicinity? n/a 24) Are you able to off-road? Yes 25) Are there rotation policies for sightings i.e., You face the risk of queuing or being bumped from a sighting. In theory, no more than five at a sighting. This was almost never an issue and we were never bumped--if we saw too many cars at a sighting we just went elsewhere. Most sightings were on our own or with one or two other vehicles. 26) What wildlife is this property known for? Did you get good sightings? Cats! It is not called Lion Camp for nothing. We had fabulous sightings of leopard (three different individuals), two different lion prides, lions mating, lions hunting, cheetah with a kill, leopard with a kill, serval on a night drive. Others while we were there had caracal (which we searched for but missed.) Also at this time the wildebeest and zebra migration was massing on the plains just outside of camp--tremendous numbers of wildlife everywhere. 27) How was the standard of guiding? Excellent, our guides were Gerald and Josephat and they were both great, highly recommend either one. 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? n/a 29) If you had a very good experience with your guide, please give reasons why: Personable, fun to be with, informative, really understood about photography, genuinely excited at sightings, etc. Tried hard to get us the caracal! 30) Were staff attentive to your requests/needs? Yes 31) Does the property support a local community conservation initiative. If so, please provide brief details and website address if known. As part of the Olare Motorogoi conservancy they are directly involved in that initiative. Here is a link to their statement on their conservation practices: http://www.porinisafaricamps.com/responsible-tourism.htm 32) Safaritalk trip report link: to come later 33) Any other pertinent details you wish to add: When can I go back? 34) Please add your photographs of the property below, with headings.
  2. Just saw this blog post in my mailbox. I can't help but share it. This guy really had his wits about him to be able to capture the leopard Fig's takedown of an impala. When people wonder why I'd sit so long waiting at a sighting, this would be my answer!
  3. 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.
  4. I am back from my 10 nights safari in Maasai Mara: 3 nights in Naboisho (Porini Mara) and 7 nights in OMC (Porini Lion) Warning #1: it was a little bit different type of safari so I guess this trip report will have a very limited audience. I spent 80% of my time with cheetahs. I sat with them almost from sunrise till sunset. We visited other animals only when cheetahs were sleeping (e.g. early morning or after cheetahs seemed to be settled for the night) or if we could not find our "victims". Saying this we still had some very very nice leopard and lion sightings but there will be a LOT of cheetah pictures. Please don't complain , I warned you. Warning #2: Please don't shoot the pianist, he is playing the best he can ©. While I was trying to do all my best to have good pictures, due to the lack of light, a lot of action, and lack of photography skills some photos are not that good (or better to say " not good at all") but I will post them anyway as they are part of the story
  5. Our first trip to Kenya. (MrsQ a.k.a @Thursday’s Child and I) We have visited a number of other African countries but never Kenya. Why? – ignorance based on inaccurate stereotypes of a Kenyan safari. Well, Safaritalk has put us right – many thanks to those of you who have contributed Kenya trip reports. The trip was booked through Expert Africa following long and helpful discussions with Richard Trillo (a Safaritalk member @@richard Trillo) and with Eleanor Dunkels. We had used Expert Africa to book our Zambia trip a couple of years ago and were pleased with them again. Summary of Trip: Wilson Aero Club Nairobi 1 night (January 9th) Offbeat Meru 4 nights Kicheche Laikipia, Ol Pejeta 5 nights Kicheche Bush, Olare Motorogi Conservancy 4 nights The rains had been heavier and longer than is usual. Before the visit we nervously checked the weather forecasts and hoped! All of our previous safaris had been in the dry season. Still, it would be interesting.
  6. 1) Name of property and country: (Please also include name of property and country as topic title and include as tags as well) Kicheche Bush Camp 2) Website Choseaddress if known: http://kicheche.com/our-camps/bush-camp 3) Date of stay, including whether Green Season, Shoulder season or High season pricing (if known). September 2014, High Season 4) Length of stay: 4 nights 5) Why did you choose this camp or lodge to stay in? Based upon what? Chosen due to its guiding reputation and accommodations for photographers. Unlimited game drives. 6) How did you book the property, direct or agent? Were your enquiries dealt with quickly and efficiently? Booked through Bustani Safaris 7) How many times have you been on Safari? Twice 8) To which countries? Kenya only 9) Which properties have you been to previously that you are comparing this one to? Several of the Serana properties, Galdessa 10) Was the camp/lodge fenced? No. Our first night there we were visited by both elephants and lions in camp. All is good as long as the hyenas don't get into the mess tent. Askari patrol at night to keep you safe. 11) How many rooms/tents does it have? Six tents 12) What tent or room did you stay in? Did it have a good view? Was it overlooked or private? Tumbili. View of the savanna. Private 13) How comfortably furnished was the room/tent? Very comfortable 14) Did you like the food? If yes, please state why. If no, please state why. The food was outstanding. Darren, the manager was formerly a baker. Request the Macadamia Nut Tart, or the Creme Brulee, or... 15) Was there a varied menu offering multiple choice? If vegetarian was a suitable alternative offered? (Did you have to request this in advance?) Set menu, but dietary preferences and restrictions were cheerfully catered to. 16) What is the default dining arrangement? Single tables or communal dining? Do the guides/managers host at mealtimes? Communal dining with the managers supplying interesting and lively conversation and information. 17) How good were the packed breakfasts/lunches if staying out on game drives? Excellent, especially the Kenyan Quesadillas! 18) What are the game drive vehicles? Please include photo if possible. 19) How many guests per row? We had a private vehicle 20) How long were the game drives and were they varied in the routes taken? You set the length. You can stay out until lunch, or even take a packed lunch and stay out until dinner. No specific route. You go where there is something interesting to see. Game sighting starts in camp. 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? See above 22) Is this a private conservancy/concession, and what is the vehicle/lodge density like? Private conservancy. I think the most we saw was two other vehicles at any given time. 23) If in a National Park, what is the vehicle density in the immediate vicinity? 24) Are you able to off-road? Yes 25) Are there rotation policies for sightings i.e., You face the risk of queuing or being bumped from a sighting. The one to make the sighing does not get bumped. That way everyone is more likely to inform everyone else when they have made a good sighting. 26) What wildlife is this property known for? Did you get good sightings? Big cats. Fifty different lions in one day! Five different cheetahs in four days. A leopard within the first 3 hours. All the species the Mara is known for. 27) How was the standard of guiding? Top notch. They only hire Silver level guides. 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? Nelson and I are now Facebook friends and he keeps me updated on what's going on with the different animals on the conservancy, so no bad experiences! 29) If you had a very good experience with your guide, please give reasons why: His knowledge was immense and his ability to read the environment to find cheetahs was almost mystical. He was able to find lions in complete darkness. Always seemed to be able to anticipate an animal's movement and be able to position the vehicle for the best angle for viewing and light. The guides at the Kicheche camps have driven for some of the best wildlife photographers in the world. 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. Yes. http://www.mmconservancy.com/wildlifeconservancy/ 32) Safaritalk trip report link: 33) Any other pertinent details you wish to add: The Kicheche camps are owned by a wildlife photographer and therefore know what the needs of photographers are and cater to them. The guides are well trained to drive for photographers and many are accomplished photographers themselves. 34) Please add your photographs of the property below, with headings. Inside tent Veranda Bucket shower Path to tent Visitor that strolled past during lunch
  7. Kenya - February 2016 It was the best of safaris. It was the most provocative of safaris. I experienced the single greatest day amongst countless safari days I have spent in my life – a day in which I shed tears of pure joy and appreciation for life… twice. I witnessed the aftermath of the severe drought of 2015 and the associated livestock encroachment into many parks and reserves of Kenya. And along the way, I was able to share fantastic wilderness moments and heady conversations about conservation with an old friend, James Sengeny, and a new friend, Squack Evans. This one… hit like a ton of bricks.
  8. An article by Paul Ogden in the Manchester Evening News: Going back to nature on an ecologically friendly African adventurehttp://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/trips-and-breaks/travel-review-conservation-themed-safari-11002675 Camps and Lodges available from Gamewatchers Safaris
  9. Gotta escape the snow and the cold. In a few days, I am heading for Kenya once again… Namunyak (Sarara), Samburu (Elephant Bedroom), Loisaba (Cottages), Tsavo West (Severin and camping near Lake Jipe), Masai Mara/Olare Motorogi (Kicheche Bush). I will be guided by Squack Evans in the north and James Sengeny in the Mara. The highlight, however, will be when I will be with both at Lake Jipe. Squack is going to provide a very simple mobile bush camp there (and James must come since a few years ago James and I sort of "discovered" that Lake Jipe might be the best kept secret in Kenya). Will report back soon.
  10. Here is another of Mr Cheetah80's videos - summarising sightings from our 3 trip to Kenya. Makes me want to go back! PS - watch in HD

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