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My Unfortunately Suspended Safari to Chuyulu Hills,Nairobi National Park, Ol Malo Camp in Laikipia and Sarara Camp in the Matthews Range


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#1 optig

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 10:36 AM

I returned to Ol Donyo Camp in Chyulu Hills National Park to celebrate my 56th birthday with Amy and Sean who are by all accounts not two of the best managers to be found anywhere, but are also two of the finest and most charming hosts. I spent 4 wonderful days there. I managed to walk  through the lava tubes,go hose back riding for the first time in 42 years, and sleep out under the stars. I had even better views of Kilimanjaro in all it's glory than I did last year. I was again guided by Jeremiah.


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#2 wilddog

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 10:56 AM

I think you mean 'not only two' in the first line @optig...........................



#3 Geoff

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 10:57 AM

Why was the safari suspended?


Geoff.

#4 optig

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 11:12 AM

@wilddog Thanks for the correction. @Geoff thank you for your concern; my safari was suspended due to the fact that I developed dysentery at Ol Malo Camp. The food was excellent so I don't think it was due to the food. I was medically evacuated to Nairobi by plane and spent 3 days in Nairobi Hospital. Fortunately, all of my bills were paid by UAP my Kenyan insurance carrier. I have to say that in general the care that I received at Nairobi Hospital was superb, especially the security. In fact everything even my cash was returned to me. Since then I've recovered completely. Fortunately, Sarara Camp will still honor the five days that I booked including the one hour trip by helicopter over Lake Turkana; I'll be going in March. 


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#5 Bush dog

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 04:22 PM

I am glad to hear that you have recovered quickly from this unfortunate adventure. The Nairobi hospital has indeed an excellent reputation. Before their repatriation, my brother and a friend stayed there for eight days, a few years ago, after being attacked, in northern Ethiopia, near the border with Eritrea.  The care they received was also superb.


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#6 AmyT

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 10:18 AM

Sounds like it was great while it lasted!  So sorry that you fell ill, but glad that you are feeling better now.


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#7 optig

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 07:08 AM

Let me get back to my trip report. I went to the hide twice and saw plenty of big tuskers. I can't remember seeing more giraffes anywhere. There were towers everywhere. I also saw Coke's hartebeest for the first time. I saw the biggest herd of eland that I've ever seen before. I also saw zebra, wildebeest and the other usual suspects. i did see jackals. I had a spectacular confrontation with three baboons who were looking into my room. The birding was excellent as expected.


Edited by optig, 01 March 2017 - 07:28 AM.

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#8 optig

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 09:00 AM

 
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These are just a few of my photos of the wildlife which I saw in Chyulu Hills National Park. While by all accounts Chuyulu Hills may not have density nor the quantity of wildlife that one sees in Amboseli or even Tsavo East or West it makes up for it by the fact that you'll have the wonderful feeling of having the entire National park to yourself. I never saw another vehicle while i was there during the four days I was there. Ol Donyo Lodge not only has a hide; it offers night drives, horseback riding, visits to the Lava Tubes, walking and sleeping out under the stars. The accommodation, food,wine and staff were all superb. It's simply one of the finest lodges in Africa. 
 
I also learned about Ol Donyo Lodge's commitment  to conservation in the area. There apparently has only been one elephant that has been the victim of poaching in the concession in the last 7 years. Every guest pays no less than $120.00 a day to local conservation. All the local villagers are compensated for any of their livestock which is killed  by lions,leopards or hyenas.  Big Life Foundation which was started by Richard Bonham and Nick Brandt is responsible for this.
To prevent lying all livestock killed by predators are photographed by employees of Big Life Foundation who travel by motorcycle. 
 
I forgot to mention that I also saw oryx as well. They are beautiful animals which I never tire of seeing.

Edited by optig, 01 March 2017 - 09:32 AM.

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#9 optig

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 08:03 AM

I was surprised to see Masai in the reserve who are quite traditional. They are missing a tooth in the center,wearing tribal jewelry and carrying spears. Whilst I  did see Masai children continuing to herd livestock the good news is that no less than 70% of the Masai children in the conservancy are currently going to primary school. Of course the staff at Ol Donyo Lodge is all Masai except of course for Amy and Shaun. 



#10 optig

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 06:39 AM

I'll be going to Sarara Camp tomorrow. Kathy and Jeremy have been kind enough to honor my reservation since they had space available in March. I did have to pay for another new road transfer and a flight. I'll also be taking a helicopter trip which I had to pay a penalty for. Well nobody can win them all when it comes to getting refunds. I'll finish my trip report when I return.


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#11 michael-ibk

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 06:56 AM

Sorry to hear about your medical conditions, but a good thing all turned out well. Enjoy your safari!



#12 Kitsafari

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 08:08 AM

@optig Oh no. such a horrible incident to spoil your trip but glad you are all well and recovered now to go to sarara tomorrow. very kind of them to extend the validity of your booking. 


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#13 optig

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 10:42 AM

These are a view of the Chuyulu Hills, as you can see the drought is quite evident. As you see a lilac breasted roller, an ostrich and what I believe is a martial eagle. I will do my best to identify the other species of birds later, however, as I'm the first to admit although I always check off every new species of bird which I see in one of my birding guides my knowledge of birds is simply lousy. I depend on @Bushdog and other Safari talkers to inform me.

 

I'm still waiting to go to Sarara, I'll explain why later. 

 

 

 

 

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I even got to view the Mt. Kilimanjaro in the distance.

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Spotted a cheetah too.

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#14 AfricanQueen

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 12:07 PM

@optic A martial eagle is definitely on my wish list! I already told my guide Sean Hinde about that as in 3 months time we will go to Lower Zambezi N. P. , followed by Matusadona and Mana.
First time for us to go as early as that- the advantage is that we "only" had to wait 9 months for our return to Mana
Have a good and healthy time and enjoy your stay!
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#15 optig

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 11:38 AM

I just loved the sheer emptiness and isolation of Chyulu Hills National Park, it's just a wonderful feeling to go on every game drive and never see another vehicle. One appreciated the true vastness and wilderness appeal of the Park. Most of us would agree that this is far more important than having masses of wildlife which we have to share with so many other vehicles. In case you are curious I've lost most of my belly since February :D.

 

 

 

 

 

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#16 optig

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 08:10 AM

 The first four of these photos are from Chyulu Hills National Park. The second two come from Nairobi National park. I stayed at Emakoko Lodge where I was hosted by Anton. The food, lodging and service were all excellent.  I have to say that I was most pleasantly surprised by Nairobi National Park even if I only made one game drive. I saw plenty of wildlife including seven black rhino including a calf. I also saw white rhino, coke's hartebeest, eland, giraffe, zebra, hippo, buffalo and even a serval for only the second time. I've never seen a serval before in the daytime. I highly recommend Nairobi for everyone and it doesn't matter if your'e a first time safari goer or you've already been there over 20 times. 

 

The last photo came from Ol Malo Lodge. I decided to go there due to the superb range of activities. I went to the Samburu Village which I found far more authentic than visiting a Masai Village, and not as hard to take as visiting the Samburu Village when I stayed at Sarara Camp in February of last year. I enjoyed walking, horseback riding, and riding on a camel twice. I had never ridden on a camel before so it was great fun. It was also like horseback riding a superb way to see the African bush. I also went swimming. Due of course to the drought I didn't see a huge amount of wildlife. I did see plenty of Grant's and Thompson's gazelles, as well as reticulated giraffe. 

 

I must say that I felt literally like I was part of the Francombe Family at Ol Malo Camp. I spent time in front of the fireplace with Colin Francombe a third generation Kenyan who shares ownership of Ol Malo with his wife Rocky who is a fifth generation Kenyan. I also met their daughter Chyulu and one of their grandchildren. They were keeping an abandoned young female kudu as a pet who was just adorable. I just loved my bush breakfasts with Colin and we spoke on a wide range of topics. Colin and Rocky have kept a wide variety of orphaned wild animals as pets and said that the best ones were a female greater kudu, a giraffe and a cheetah who had to have it's dewclaws removed. They stressed of course that all of these animals had been orphaned. 

 

I was guided by Hussein who I really liked. I will make it to Sarara because they will have decided to honor my stay. I will even get to take the helicopter trip. 


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#17 hannahcat

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 04:01 AM

I am so sorry to read of the suspension of your travels, and so glad to hear you are doing better and once again out in the bush! Wishing you healthy and happy travels for the rest of your trip.


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#18 optig

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 08:51 AM

The first 13 photos are from Ol Donyo Lodge. The birds in the first photo are fiscal shrikes. Could someone please help me identify the other birds in the photos?

 

 

 

 

 

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Beautiful background scenery of the Mt. Kilimanjaro with the jumbos.

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I have never seen so many elands at one place before.

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These next photos are more of the Nairobi National Park. I did manage to see hippos and a cute monkey which I didn't manage to identify.

 

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From here is the Ol Malo lodge. Please note that there was a wildlife dearth due to the drought, as you can see from the scenery photos even dry rivers. I only saw giraffes, gazelles, jackles and of course birds and that was just really it, the wildlife was really poor.

 

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#19 madaboutcheetah

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 09:37 AM

@optig - I suspect the cheetah you saw at ODL is a different one ........ next time you are there, please ask Jeremiah to track down the two brothers!


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#20 AfricanQueen

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 05:01 PM

@optic The birds on the 4th pictures are namaqua doves-the males are easily identified by their black face, throat and foreneck.
I'm not sure whether the bird on the 3rd picture might be a tropical boubou...?
I couldn't see the last 2 pics, the monkey and Ol Malo lodge.
Have a good time!

(I would really like to know how you lost weight I am your age and find it hard to loose anything now. It seems people are loosing weight and I always manage to find it)
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