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Lewa safari camp and Kruger cheaper camps June/July 2013


COSMIC RHINO
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Everything on the trip went smoothly , I only left behind a bottle of sulphate free shampoo, I took 2, and slept the night at JKIA as when the air fares were booked, the agent's promotional DVD was so noisy that I did not notice that the next day should have been booked,

 

Well I was able to travel the next day, and observed airline staff doing non random baggage checks . They called then random but for most 10% if that , for Asians especially Chinese around 80% , well they do most of the wildlife smuggling and lax security had been reported in the media . Uniformed police walked around from time to time and paid no atrention to adandoned luggage. So it looks like they were checking for ivory etc. The airline staff wore disposable rubber gloves.

 

I will be using headings in my trip report and using capitals for that.

 

PREMIER HOTEL OR TAMBO AIRPORT

 

A very good choice of hotel. Close to the airport, shuttle transfers every 30 minutes for most of the day, It is quiet and comfortable. The food is of good quality and well priced.

 

A 1pm later checkout is abvailable at no added cost if you ask and the room is not being used.

 

It is on an alligment that means that you hear no airport runway noise ,unlike Protea and Emperors.

Checkin very smooth, form already prepared , no need to hand in the voucher.

 

NOTHING MISSED

 

I attended every single activity and did not get tired until the final few days.

Edited by COSMIC RHINO
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AN EARLY PART REPORT

 

I am doing this with a Premier hotel free 500 mb voucher from a computer in the business centre,

 

 

 

OVERALL HIGHLIGHTS.

 

1 The big 4 at Lewa

 

2 rhinos at Tangala Safari Lodge in the Thornbush reserve.

 

3 elephants at Shinzela camp in the Timbavati

 

4 elephants and rhinos at Umkumbe lodge.

 

5 around Kruger seeing wild dogs 4 times, including seeing a single dog capture and kill a small impala ,then breing back another dog to eat it.

 

when it comes to this report I have decided to include more and let security look after important issues .When it comes to certain special animals I will make good general comments, but not answer questions.

 

THE BIG 4

 

Well people here are uncomfortable with the big 5 as a concept , when it comes to Lewa my main interest is in rhinos, elephants, reticulated giraffe and grevys zebras.

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ARRIVAL JKIA NAIROBI

 

arriving at the international airport clearing immigration can take a while. There is a large line in one area, then someone asks you to move to another area nearby. If I was going again myself I might walk earlier past a few prayer rooms were there are some positions with no one waiting to clear passports.

 

LEWA SAFARI CAMP REPORT

 

My agent was somewhat suprised why I spend so much time in one polace, when others would do the country in the same period . Well this is my special interest and why spend a whole lot of money to go the areas lacking in my special animal.

 

As before the transfer from the airport was waiting on my arrival. The service very prompt,personal and friendly.

 

 

my highlights are

 

1 rhinos all drives except the transfer in from the airstrip

 

2 seeing the big 4 on 10 drives

 

3 great rhino and elephant viewing

 

4 meeting hand raised baby rhinos nicky and hope

 

5 undisturbed and easy to get close to animals

 

6 large female ele gently touching the canvas top of the vehicle

 

7 no less than 7 seperate superb elephant experiences.

 

8 this ones was brief as it was getting dark , I briefly saw down the throat of a baby elephant.

 

9 when they start talking camp breakfast on thge final morning , tell your guide that you have no interest in it . My final 0630 am gamedrive involved 3 seperate close rhino sitings, a close elephant siting, 2 further of, and 40 reticulated giraffe mixed in with some zebras.

 

as compared with last year it is

 

1 easier to see lions ,now some havew radio collars

 

2 more elephants are around , an estimated 500 in total, due to security concerns in northern kenya and better breeding due to food abailibility.

 

3 the rain has been better than last year ,so the animals are more spread out.

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Welcome back!! Look forward to reading more.

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Thanks for the on the ground report - it sounds like a great trip and am looking forward to hearing more. I'm glad to hear that you had such good rhino sightings - they are my favorite as well and the highlight of any game drive for me.

 

Bummer about spending the night at Kenyatta airport - not a very exciting place to kill time

Edited by PT123
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Glad you saw your rhino friends in Lewa, plus some great ele encounters too. Welcome home. Your pith is a dashing addition to the rhino avatar. Wear it proudly.

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PREMIER TRANSFERS

 

Sorry I got confused , the transfers are only 1 per hour, however when I was leaving for the airport I was a bit confused with the time, and they ran the bus early.

 

The return flight went fine.

 

I am not really sure how accurate those small cheap hand held baggage scales are . I reorganised my bag ,added a small day pack and it came in at 25 kg, being 5 kg above the weigh in at Eastgate airport. I was thinking excess charges dumped a few things batteries, sunscreen, cotton buds etc and it weighed in at 13.7 kg at international checkin. Glad to avoid a repeat of an excess charge.

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Glad to hear you got to see all the elephants and rhinos you wanted, with the bonuses of a wild dog kill and seeing down the throat of a baby elephant!

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Great start, CR - Quite a rhino trip this is turning out to be!

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LEWA CONTINUED

 

there were a number of superb viewings of reticulated giraffe in groups including one of 20, the airstrip trip of 40, a number amongst fever trees, and some amongst zebras,

 

very noticeable were groups of somali ostriches, one of them is coming close to vehicles ,the same one who visits camp attempting to raid the garbage, she leaves dad to look after the chicks when she is doing this.

 

as wells as all the Grevys zebras, there are also a whole lot of plains zebras who are very calm as they don't have crowds to deal with.

 

Black rhinos vary on how easily they can be approached, some are easier to get closer to. One male who is well established in his territory can be approached closely, as could a pregnant female. Having the newer Nikon L810 with the stronger zoom lens made it easier to see things closely. One morning I was told that I would be taken to black rhino territory, I had 4 seperate sitings add a wonderfull white rhino siting.

 

at times I was close enough to rhinos to hear grass being pulled up and the sound of tick birds.

 

very suprisingly,talking to my guide most visitors come to Lewa for 2 or 3 nights, book with foreign agents added cost +++++++ and are mainly interested in seeings lions, which there are not many of. very few know much about the place in advance , or have much of a interest in rhions. well folks why not start to change things here.

 

I was given the same guide as before, Fenstra, because he was good , not because I had him last year.

 

I was told that they appreciated people who stayed longer and gave them an opportunity to show what was on offer. Perhaps this was a hint that I did not mind staying out for longer ,only one morning drive went back to camp before 11 am, two came back 12 noon or later. If someone new was coming I was in the welcoming party at the airstrip.

 

I really wonder about some people who tell there guide I have seen enough I want to go back to camp. I told him that I had seen someone listening to an Ipod on the game drive, he commented that is the kids, they also send text messages and update Facebook on the game drive. Well the parents are wasting their money, if they took me they would get none of that nonsense.

 

some people even make cell phone calls on the game drive, one of which is unforgettable "Well we have not seen any cheetahs or bob cats yet"

 

did someone think that they were in the Rocky mtns, whenever I told that to a guide elsewhere the instant response was laughter or disbelief.

 

The disease of constant online connection and inablity to escape ordinary day life is spreading. Nearly everyone could not escape talk of home, checking news,email and Facebook. Well in former times you could just tell people that they find out about things when you return, and they did not have to know that mail could could out with transfer flights or food suppliers daily.

 

Of the people who stayed there with me only 2 would actually need to maintain contact with their business.

 

From their reaction to things a large element of people coming to the camp was the luxury, and they spoke of the luxury of the places they have been to or going.

 

It might seem strange but I think that a camp should be made up of an ordinary tiny tent which can be easily removed.

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It sounds as though despite the intrusions of behaviour of some other guests you had soem really good sightings and the staff were responsive to what you wanted to get out of the trip.

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As stated by a couple of people on the other thread - unless you pay for a private vehicle, expect that you will have to deal with others that may not be as interested or knowledgeable - that's just part of the "price" of going on safari. Glad that you had such great rhino sightings. Will you be posting pictures?

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LEWA CONTINUED

 

I was told one morning that the friends of Lewa want to meet you. So the guide went of and I checked out the lovely fever trees. He then after a while came back with hand raised rhino babies Nicky (male,balck rhino) and Hope, a white rhino , 2 feeding bottles and their carers. I was not sure how this would turn out , but being so close , actually being able to feed them , touch them felt like a profund, even sublime experience. Well I feed Hope, and stayed around the two of them for a while. The Nicky decided that he wanted to have a walk amongst the grass and undergrowth ,so I followed him for possibly 75 meters with my hand on his back , this felt profound, eventually his carers came ,called his name and the 3 of us walked back with him. I thought about asking about spending the night with one of them in the barn ,with the straw mattress and the blanket, but did not as I was oversoming a cold and sore throat, well that would have been a way to get really ill.

 

As before at Lewa Safari camp you can have breakfast by picnic box, buffet lunch is excellent , but they have a problem with people who don'y want red meat at dinner. You have to speak to the manager about this, despite having told your agent and other camp staff.

 

Bottled water is no longer supplied. They now have 3 large containers of filtered water and can give you a water bottle if you have not brought one of your own.

 

One thing which I do find more than a bit unfriendly is that British upper class habbit of addressing people by family name only.

 

They could also do better than putting all single bookings at a table for one, something which made me feel like a shag on a crag.

 

The vehicles were never crowded, it was not unusual to have only 2 in a vehicle, there was never over 5.

 

I wonder about some people, in one of my trips to the airstrip I viewed the waiting luggage including 2 medium sized suit cases with wheel, which I had problems lifting. obvoiously someone had forgotten the 15kg in a soft bag requirement and wanted to pay a serious excess charge

 

For some of my drives I had a friendly American family, a doctor who I encourage to come back as a volunteer to the health clinic, an idea which he was not hostile to, his wife added I could comer back as a bush nurse.

Edited by COSMIC RHINO
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AMBOSELI

 

No I did not go there , I am just passing on comments from people who I met on the flight or at camp. They say that the place is no longer crowded with lots of visitors in vehicles.

 

Kenya had more clouds than normal , no one saw mt kilimanjaro from amboseli and I did not see mt kenya from Lewa.

Edited by COSMIC RHINO
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LEWA CONTINUED

 

There is a single UK style plug in the bathroom for charging, additional points in the main building.

 

there is 24 hour power from the grid

 

hot water is by solar heater.

 

if you need to take medication early morning with food BYO trail bars.

 

most washing is done free of charge by camp staff, but not underwear or socks. Soap powder is supplied BYO coat hanger to dry it out.

 

I was in tent number 1, I one night saw a dik dik pair move around , any south african friends want to move into number one, the sorrunding bush ,not the tent.

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the tents are well spread out for privacy, there are multiple paths between the tents and the main lodge buildings ,it can take a while to know your way around the place.

 

it is a luxury tented camp large high tent on a cement platform, wonderfull views, very comfortable bed, bedside tables with writing desk, plumed bathroom with flush toilet and shower.

 

I went away with the remains of a cold and soar throat. I was offered this warmed drink a virgin dowhr honey,lemon and minced ginger root to help clear things out. T

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I am having problems with edit the normal version of this drink also contains whiskey.

 

There were some other people having a drink by the same name in a glass the size of a whiskey tumbler a slice of lime, a bit of lemon juice, salt around the rim and a whole lot of vodka. They were soaking cigars in the glass for a while before smoking and drinking the contents, and on occasions ordering 3 at a time.

 

People are taken to the airstrip to arrive on time as the airlines can be late or early and don't wait.

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I saw a male leopard chasing a female in the distance on one occasion, a cheetahs close up on a few occasions.

 

Overall Lewa is a wonderfull experience and there is lots of good viewing close to Lewa Safari Camp.

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Thanks for the TR CR, any chance you can post some photos?

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at Lewa Safari camp gamedrives and hikes are included in the standard rate.

 

given by big 4 interest and the high cost of the place I did gamedrives only

 

at an extra cost camel rides and horse trips are available. Horseriding is only for competent riders

 

overall my trip was

 

 

 

14 TO 21 JUNE Lewa Conservancy ,Kenya 24 JUNE TO 1 JULY Umkumbe Lodge,Sabi Sands Greater Kruger NP 1 TO 6 JULY Nthambo Camp,Klaserie Greater Kruger NP 6 TO 13 JULY Tangala camp, Thornybush Greater Kruger NP 13 TO 20 JULY Shindzela bush camp,Timbavati Greater Kruger 20 TO 27 JULY Pungwe bush camp, Manyeleti Greater Kruger

 

 

as regards photos I am not thinking about buying a home computer, I can get by without it at the moment.

 

Thanks for your your comments on mimi photo printers , perhaps not the best idea to get one.

 

I am thinking of getting some pictures printed at a professional photoshop at the cost of 15 cents each for next day collection.

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@@COSMIC RHINO

You obviously have access to a computer, otherwise you wouldn't be able to post on safaritalk?

You don't need to download your photos to that computer's hard drive to upload them to safaritalk. Just buy an external hard drive that plugs into your work computer's USB drive. If you download all your safari photos to your external hard drive, you can plug that into your work computer while you are logged onto safaritalk and upload them from your external hard drive. That way you don't have to put your photos on your work computers hard drive, or buy a home computer :)

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1 Easygo safaris, the agent I use has sent me a rather sad email, telling me that Peter the man they used to do Nairobi transfers ,who on both trips to be very helpfull and friendly . died 2 days after who tokk me back to JKIA and his doctor said that he had no history of being ill.

 

2 photos well the work computers are thin client machines which don"t take external hard drives

 

3 Nairobi traffic was mayhem again. Well at Lewa camp they say it is better to stay in Karen but they are all luxury expensive boutique hotels , and based on my trips to the giraffe centre I am unsure if the traffic would be any better,

 

4 animalas of special interest

 

RHINOS suburb at Lewa, great at Tangala, a few good close sitings at Umkumbe animals move around , a whole lot more seen than last year , easily seen ,sometimes can get close at Pungwe, around but don't want to be seen at nthambo, very switish at Shindzela

 

ELEPHANTS superb at Lewa,great at Shindzela, around but not easy to find elswhere.

 

BUFFALOES present at all places especially good at Tangala and Shindzela

 

LIONS present in all places,only seen at night at Pungwe

 

LEOPARDS present in all places but not easy to find

 

HIPPOS require good water to see them a few a easily visable at Pungwe, 1 or 2 arer seen at Tangala and Lewa.

 

IMPALAS well of them if you want to photograph them they rush of, but the waterhole at Tangala can be good

 

WHARTHOGS well of them if you want to photograph them they rush of, but the waterhole at Tangala can be good ,there is a also a resident family of 4 who regulary visit the camp at hindezela and can be approached with caution at a reasonable distance .

 

STHN GROUND HORNBILLS seen briefly at Umkumbe and Pungwe, appear at Pungwe from time to time.

 

HONEY BADGERS seen very briefly at unkumbe, Tangala and Shindzela

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Sounds like you had some solid and consistent sightings. Another option for photo sharing is uploading them to a sharing service such as Flickr and just including the link in your trip report.

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just before I left a woman at work asked me if she could come with me ayt no added charge, yes if you can fit into a tiny tank bag and won"t put me over 15 kg.

 

When I returned the same person asked did you bring me a baby elephant ?

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just before I left a woman at work asked me if she could come with me ayt no added charge, yes if you can fit into a tiny tank bag and won"t put me over 15 kg.

 

When I returned the same person asked did you bring me a baby elephant ?

 

Did you?

 

You could say "no but I brought you a baby rhino and show her your new Safaritalk avatar!".

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