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Found 7 results

  1. Joy's Camp in Shaba has closed. I was considering staying here in 2018. Anyone know what's planned here..? Africa Travel Resource seems to suggest it will re-open as a guide training place, but the person who replied to my email at Elewana had no info. Anyone know anything?
  2. Our safari was like the leaves caught in this spider web at Macushla …the intricate web pulling different ways but catching the colours and beauty of the places we would visit. IN THE BEGINNING (twaffle) As I sit under the trees at Utamaduni’s newly renamed Makutano Café on our day of departure, I have a chance, at last, to reflect on the last two weeks. The strange ups and downs we experienced which could have thrown a dampener on the whole trip but which didn’t. My attitude was that the curve balls thrown our way made me feel that I had had a proper adventure, one to remember with great affection. It began for me over a year ago, the germ of an idea for this trip, after Rainbirder enticed with his Bogoria photos. I thought I’d add that in as a safari starter, knowing how much my husband would enjoy it. Having never been to Shaba I wanted to see the landscape there as I had heard so much about it, so that was added to my list. A return to Meru was also required, for as many days as I could manage. In my first iteration of the itinerary I thought I should end with some time at one of the Mara Conservancies as my husband hadn’t been there since 2005. I contacted Paolo for some advice on some additional ideas in the remote North and he included in his reply some information on a new light mobile camp which Squack Evans was putting together. He also mentioned his plans for a safari using this camp for about the same time I was considering and going to some of the same places. So that is how we eventually joined forces. Later on in the planning I began to try and make work a separate trip to the Amboseli area for a safari with my son. As many would remember, he spent 7 weeks at Serian and I had thought that we could have a week’s safari at the end of it somewhere quite different. I thought that a week in the dust of Lake Amboseli would provide him with some variety and me with an opportunity to continue with a series of images to complement my exhibition work. A considerable amount of ground work later (thank you @@Safaridude), I realised that staying in Kitirua, the conservancy which best suited my needs, wasn’t possible at a cost that I could afford due to my needs for private vehicle, private guide and given the restrictions imposed by the only lodge with access. I am discounting Ker & Downey as they are out of my league! Despite being disappointed, I added it to my mental list for possible addition to this trip. However, early on it became apparent that it wasn’t really a favorite with Paolo and that Ishaqbini was the prize and becoming more and more possible. INTRODUCTION (Paolo) As we all know, safari planning is often a long and winding exercise. Sometimes you do a good deal of work, just to find yourself back at the drawing board. The planning of this particular safari was no exception. None at all. I and Twaffle had started to discuss the possibility of a trip together back in May or June 2012. She wanted to explore Kenya beyond her familiar haunts, both to experience real solitude and wilderness and to pursue some of her photographic interests, in particular in relation to landscape photography. As for me, whilst I had trips to Uganda and Ethiopia coming in the following months, I was very keen to stay in Squack Evans's new mobile camp, a concept that was aimed at matching comfort, mobility, exclusivity and – needless to say, being Squack in charge of all that – outstanding guiding, and that seemed very well suited for exploring the rugged expanses of northern Kenya. In the beginning, one of the main goals of the trip, mostly under the influence of some great trip reports by @@Rainbirder, was Lake Bogoria and its immense flamingo population. Then Shaba, which I had had visited with @@Safaridude just a few months earlier, and whose scenery was extremely promising for Twaffle's photography, and Meru, an old favorite. Sera Conservancy, an area of sandy luggas, thorns and natural springs to the north of Shaba and east of the Matthews' Range was also briefly discussed at that stage. In November 2012, Squack went on a recce trip to Lake Bogoria, in order to check possible campsites, and the news was not good. As widely reported, the water levels in Bogoria (as in many lakes in the Rift Valley) were exceptionally high – this being the result of copious inflows of rainwater or – as some said – due to an accelerated encroachment by the Red Sea of the Danakil Depression, which in turn had affected the water tables in the Rift Valley. Anyway, access to feasible campsites was problematic and the majority of the flamingo mega flock had gone elsewhere – where exactly, it was anybody's guess. The itinerary was then subject to a major overhaul: exit Bogoria and enter Laikipia Wilderness camp that had just opened, but was reporting excellent and consistent wild dog sightings, and – above all – Ishaqbini Conservancy, on the Tana river, not far from the Indian Ocean, and even closer to the border with Somalia. As many here on Safaritalk will recall, Ishaqbini is the last refuge of the critically endangered Hirola, an antelope belonging to its own genus, and whose numbers are lower than 500. In 2011, Safaritalk was instrumental in launching a campaign aimed at raising awareness on the plight of the Hirola, with a few members involved, and culminating with an event that took place in Rome on October 28, 2011, organized by The Nature Conservancy and called “Africa a Roma”. I had met Twaffle (as well as Mr. Twaffle) for the first time in occasion of “Africa a Roma”, so it seemed utmost fitting that our quest for this beautiful and elusive creature was to be satisfied during our safari. But Ishaqbini is not only about the Hirola: its ecosystem – the so called “Garsa” woodland – is precious and unique, hosting – among others – Coastal Topi, Harvey's Red Duiker, Maneless Zebra and Haggard's Oribi. On the othger side of the Tana river, there is a primate reserve, with its endemic Mangabey and Red Colobus. A bit to the north lies the mysterious, tantalising Boni Forest, with its inhabitants being a tribe of pygmies hunters-gatherers, who will tell you tales about a legendary creature, a sort of ape called the Gojam..... In the end, my father also committed to the following itinerary: - o/n Nairobi, Macushla House - 2 nights Shaba National Reserve (Joy's Camp) - 4 nights Meru National Park (Squack's mobile camp) - 4 nights Ol Donyo Lemboro, Laikipia Plateau (Laikipia Wilderness Camp) - 5 nights Ishaqbini Conservancy (Squack's mobile camp) - -o/n Nairobi, Macushla House (Twaffle and Mr. Twaffle only) I know only a small part of it, but organizing the mobile camp in Ishaqbini must have been a significant logistical challenge; just moving the camp from Meru would take three days. Luckily, Squack was given ample support and cooperation from Ian Craig, CEO of the Northern Rangelands Trust, as well as by the NRT staff located in Ishaqbini, so all the hurdles were overcome. Everybody involved was so excited!
  3. This article from Standard Digital Media in Nairobi tells of the negotiations between Isiolo County officials and Africa Parks concerning the proposed 99-year lease of Buffalo Springs, Shaba and Bisanadi. Several local Isiolo land NGOs have stated their opposition to the proposed arrangement, as they feel that the public hasn't been adequately informed or consulted about the leasing of Kenyan land to non-Kenyans.
  4. Just got back home from my Kenya trip with @@twaffle (my 25th African safari), logged into Safaritalk and the first feeling is being overwhelmed by the lively activity and numerous threads that sprung up during my absence. It will take a while to catch up with everything that has been going on here. Anyway, in spite of a few unexpected twists and turns, we really had a wonderful time in some very special places, with many awesome sightings to boot. I and Twaffle will contribute a joint trip report (not sure if there is any precedent of such a thing on ST, so we cannot guarantee it will not be a disaster) in due course. So far, we have just agreed on the title: "Unpredictable Safari: of Shiftas, family dogs and elephants". Stay tuned....
  5. At first light on Sunday I will fly out to Nairobi for a very much coveted safari with our own @@twaffle. This is our itinerary: o/n Nairobi (Macushla House) 2 nights Shaba (Joy's Camp) 4 nights Meru (Squack's mobile camp) 4 nights Laikipia Wilderness Camp 5 nights Ishaqbini Conservancy (Squack's mobile camp) I am happy to revisit Shaba and Meru is a firm favourite of mine, but I especially look forward to having a chance of good wild dog action at LWC and, above all, exploring Ishaqbini and its unique environment - and meeting its most precious inhabitant, the critically endangered Hirola. Fingers crossed!
  6. I believe that I remember a couple of STers will be visiting Saba and it reminded me that I need to do a trip report. In late January we stayed for a couple of nights at Joy’s camp in Shaba. This was a great way to start off our safari as the reserve was devoid of other tourists and had a nice feeling of solitude. In the three day that we were there we didn’t see another vehicle. There was only one other couple staying at the camp while we visited (seasoned safari goers for more than 25 years) that we got along great with. Shaba lived up to its reputation: solitude and ample numbers of grazers and stunning scenery. We easily saw the “northern five” (no cats or rhinos spotted). Joy’s camp is beautiful with very luxurious tents that have views of a marsh area where buffalo frequently graze. The camp is a magnet for birds and we spotted a few dik diks right outside our tent as well. In lieu of a drive-by drive account here are some photos representing our experience.
  7. As part of our two month trip to Africa this summer, we were able to squeeze in a ten-day trip to Kenya. 42 species later, here is the trip report! Enjoy. Coke Smith Here is the trip report:

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