We have just learned that we have won Best Walking Safari in Africa from the Safari Awards.
It has always been a great privilege to receive recognition for our safaris but to be honoured with Best Walking Safari in Africa is a distinction we could only ever dream of. We are a small and humble company but it is a great feeling to know that our ethos of providing authentic, old fashioned adventure has paid off. All of our staff from our head guides to the rangers that patrol our conservation are over the moon to know that they have been part of this success. Thank you Safari Awards for this opportunity.
Greetings from Tumaren. Outside the office, as I type, a small herd of Elephants are breaking Acacia branches to get at the tasty bark. They are part of the second largest population of Elephants in Kenya and they are a welcome distraction from the accounts.
Elephants in fact are one of my favorite aspects of life in Laikipia and specifically of the walks I guide. On Tumaren, our conservation area, we often have several herds around and observing these animals is typically the highlight of my walks. Elephants, as most guests already know, are complex and intelligent animals and observing them on safari can be a life affirming pleasure.
It shouldn’t be surprising that I think the best way to Elephant-watch is on foot, but it is. On foot we make our appoach always considering the wind direction. We are silent and slow and the animals are oblivious to our presence. Their behavior then is naturual and unrehearsed (even the tame animals in the game park behave differently when they are concious of a nearby vehicle or human smell).
Another life affirming aspect of walking with Elephants is the understanding of exactly where our species ranks in the wild. The African Elephant is the largest terrestrial species of animal on Earth. When you walk beside them you appreciate that fact. You feel small and it is humbling to realize how humans evolved beside such monstrous gentle giants.
The relationship, of course, has been a rocky one, especially in recent years. But all of our guests pay conservation fees that help safeguard our Eles among all the other fauna and flora and we are hugely thankful for that. Here are a few of our elephant achievements that we are quite proud of:
Elephants Mums are now so comfortable that they regularly give birth on Tumaren. This is now a common occurence but it never happened when we first purchased the property
We have rescued one orphan named Tumaren who was sent to the Sheldrick orphanage and is now part of their orphan herd at Ithumba
We no longer have snares in our area. The last snare we removed was many years ago
Through diligent patrols, our area is now no longer a safe place for poachers to operate in
Each year we guide a 100 mile walk to raise money for Elephant conservation efforts in Kenya
Anyway, all our trumpeting best to you and your family.
Solifugids aren’t from hell folks, it just makes a catchy headline. The other day this guy (2.5″ across) roared into our tent. Solifugids or Sun Spiders as they are commonly called move at high speed. They are nocturnal predators of small insects (this post is in the insect category but i realize that solifugids are not insects but arachnids) and when this fellow came into our tent he was likely hunting under the plastic ground fly. Read more about what these guys are all about on Wikipedia below:
Its always nice to see vultures coming into carcasses in our area. Vultures, are taking such a terrible hit globally and even here in Kenya trends have shown that dramatic declines in particular areas, including Laikipia. The following images of Ruppel’s Griffon Vultures were taken on a zebra carcass a few months back.
Goatsucker is a traditional name given to birds in the order Caprimulgiformes – the nightjars. The term was based on a belief that the birds drank the milk of goats. Fortunately for the local masai this belief was long ago proven erroneous. Nightjars are insectivores predominantly nocturnal and closely related to owls.
The other day i ran into the following Donalson-smith Nightjar while walking about camp at night.