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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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#21 AfricanQueen

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 05:03 PM

I put in 2 smileys in the text, but they were gone when I posted...

#22 optig

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 08:20 AM

@AfricanQueen I tend to lose weight on safari because I'm subject to much more stress and I'm more active than normal. I'm currently avoiding cheese,yogurt and of course sweets.  Thank you for identifying those birds for me.@madaboutcheetah  he did try to find the cheetah brothers but without success. 



#23 optig

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 09:59 AM

I arrived on the 29th of April at Sarara Camp for a stay of 4 nights. I was supposed to stay for 5 nights but unfortunately due to the mistake of someone who will remain nameless my stay was limited to 4 nights. Nonetheless, it was a fabulous stay. I saw Jeremy Bastard and Kathie Rowe again and had the most fabulous time with the orphaned gerenuk, reticulated giraffe, as well as the male greater kudu. Kathie and Jeremy have already opened the second elephant orphanage in Kenya. In contrast to the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage they are trying to relocate the orphans and reunite them with their original extended families. They now have 12 orphaned elephants as well as a baby rhino, interestingly enough only 2 of these elephants lost their mothers due to poaching. This orphanage is part of the Northern Range Trust's greater conservation efforts. There are already 20 Samburu working at the orphanage. 

 

 

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#24 optig

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 08:49 AM

The Northern Rangeland Trust is also going to build a house next to the orphanage so that donors will have somewhere to stay when they come to visit. What is just awesome is that they are also in the process of constructing a whole new lodge in the Namunyak Conservancy. The cabins will all be built in the trees and linked by walkways. There  will also be two swimming pools which will be connected by a waterfall. There will be a point where there will be views in 360. It will offer it's visitors an outstanding combination of experiencing the forest as well as the plains at the same time. I was fortunate enough to meet Andrew Meiesi  the designer of the new lodge. He has designed many properties along the coast and was the original designer of Sarara. One can see his work on Facebook at Sala Terrane Ltd. I predict that this new lodge will be chosen by none other than Conde Nast as one of the finest new properties in Africa for 2018. It will tick off all the boxes: it is ecologically friendly, will offer excellent comfort, have a terrific bush vibe, and have excellent game viewing. It will also offer the same wide range of activities that Sarara does including helicopter trips of any duration, walking, night drives,fly camping.  horse back riding, visits to the Singing Wells, and of course to the Samburu Village. The opening of the orphanage will only lead to more visitors to the Sarara as well as other properties which it could easily be combined with. 

 

I'm predicting that this new lodge will prove to be an enormous boost to Andy Melesi's career as a builder. He already had 200 employees and is engaged in 4 construction projects on the coast. This new design is so awesome that he will undoubtedly be asked to design more ecologically friendly yet luxurious lodges throughout Africa. The direction may be for more luxurious lodges but at the end of the day even first time safari goers want to be able to feel that they are truly in the bush, and can feel that they are part of it. 

 

A great advantage to staying at Sarara is the feeling of having this enormous concession all to yourself. This is something that all of us value  immensely, and the wilderness appeal of the Namunyak Concession won't be at all be downgraded by having another lodge built there. It will remain natural and unspoiled. 

 

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#25 optig

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 09:28 AM

As everyone can see the scenery in the Namunyak Conservancy is simply awe inspiring. Even now during the current drought it's far greener than Samburu National park. I did take the helicopter trip with Andrew Francombe and have to say that it was literally the most exciting and exhilirating hour of my life, and I'm not exaggerating. I did see two reticulated giraffes as well as a colobus monkey. It was also fabulous watching the Samburu herding their livestock from the air. This was the first helicopter trip of my life and it won't be the last because I know that there are some other fabulous helicopter trips available in Kenya as well as in Ethiopia and the DRC. I would love to fly over Lake Turkana as well as north of Lamu. Andrew has flown @Safaridude @Paolo and @Anita various times before and had only the kindest things to say about all of them. 

 

Unfortunately, I was visiting Sarara when wildlife viewing is supposed to be the worst of the year. That said i was quite happy with what I saw. There were elephants everywhere,lots of reticulated giraffes, parliaments of baboons, lots of Kirk's dik-dik, desert warthogs,and some klipspringer,  genenuk and greater kudu. I was fortunate enough to see a leopard on night drive, as well as a hyena on another. I also saw African hare, white tailed mongoose, and slender mongoose. As one would expect I did silver back jackal,dwarf mongoose, and vervet monkey. The birding was excellent. 

 

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There were  flocks of vulturine guinea fowl everywhere. I feel that they are a not only a beautiful bird but one that is quite underrated. I wish that 

I could easily identify the other species of birds in my photos.


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#26 hannahcat

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 04:23 AM

I am so glad you finally got to make this trip, @optig, and that you're looking hale and healthy. I'm particularly glad for a selfish reason: I'm beginning to think about Kenya for 2018, and your trip to the Namunyak Conservancy in particular is very inspiring. I feel like it would be amazing paired with a visit to the Mara for a first time visitor, as the two ecosystems look so completely different. Also, I love the pictures of you with the orphaned gerenuk, and would like to learn more about the elephant orphanage. That's a great tip about the new lodge being built! Thanks again for sharing.


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#27 optig

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 08:07 AM

@hannahcat the two ecosystems are completely different in every way shape and form. The two would make an outstanding combination which I couldn't recommend more. The wildlife,scenery, birdlife and even cultural experience are all totally different. I can't stress enough how much I enjoyed the feeling of having the entire 350,000 acres conservancy to myself. I had my own guide and KWS ranger the entire time.  I never had to share a vehicle on either visit.

 

I have to stress that when you visit the Masaai Mara whatever you do please stay in a private conservancy. @Zarek Cockar particularly likes the Mara Naiboisho Conservancy. I stayed twice in the Olare Orok Conservancy and loved it.


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#28 AfricanQueen

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 09:16 AM

@ optig
I think the stork is an Abdim's (or white-bellied) stork and your last picture is a Crowned Lapwing.

I enjoy reading your TR a lot and I'm especially interested in birds as you might guess
I hope that in a few week's time I will see many of them, hopefully some lifers for me...

#29 optig

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 02:39 PM

@AfricanQueen Thank you so much for your kind identifications. I can't wait to hear about your upcoming safari. I was planning to post more about my last safari,but I've been inconvenienced by the fact that the local internet connection has been patchy all day. Now it's finally come back. I constantly remind myself that wifi,power, and much else was less efficient four and a half years ago than today. Much of the improvements in life in Africa can't be measured in simple statistics. 



#30 optig

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 07:54 AM

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I have to say that it was incredible watching the elephants dig for water. I had never seen this before. They were also frequently coming to the swimming pool and drinking out of it.

 

 

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There were reticulated giraffes everywhere and they are just magnificent. I never tire of seeing them.

 

 

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Please notice the elephants in the photos. It says alot about my lack  on my photographic  skills! I simply have to learn how to focus my camera. 

 

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The numbers of greater kudu were sparse due to the drought, but still I managed to see some including this magnificent specimen.

 

 

 

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There weren't many gerenuk but still I saw a few.

 

 

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Here are some of the adorable orphans. 

 

 

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There are more elephants at the Singing Wells. The Singing Wells in a great place to spot wild life.

I saw a leopard here on a nigh drive as well as a hyena on another. I also saw an African hare as well as 

slender mongoose, white tailed mongoose, and of course dwarf mongoose as well as silver backed jackal.

 

 

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These two giraffes seem to be having a conversation. They are probably complaining about the all the people coming in from the NRT to see the new elephant orphanage.

 

 

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I enjoyed fly camping in the dry river bed especially because I had diner with Rob and Meg Palmer, the lovely South African co-managers. I can remember listening to the elephants walking around and the cries of a hyena. I have to say that I love fly camping more every time that I do it. 


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