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Lewa Safari Camp superb again June 2014


COSMIC RHINO
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COSMIC RHINO

I am getting on with my trip reports , starting in the business centre at my Jburg hotel , the return flight is tonight.

 

Well on the foward flight the Antartic ice mass could be viewed easily , people were talking about seeing polar bears . We all know that they are only in the northern ice masses ,not the south.

 

overall things went good or brilliant, with the noticeable exception of Thula Thula .

 

All I accidently left behind was one coathanger, some of my transfers were a bit late but I made it in time for game drive, and I got a few thorn scratches

 

The trip reports might take a bit longer , I am down to help out with writing a ecospiritual service which I thought I would do some of when I was on safari, but it did not happen.

 

I will press enter report a bit more often as I had done the start of this report before then the computer crtashed.

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Welcome back CR.

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COSMIC RHINO

The Eka Hotel is a good and comfortable place to stay in Nairobi, located a bit closer to Wilson airport . The food is tasty, good quality and well priced.

 

TIP ask for a room without a link to an outdoor courtyard as people go out there to smoke and the smell comes inside. Also the airconditing units are in the courtyard, They are a bit noisy, they sound like it is lightly raining outside when it is not, it is not lound enough to stop someone reasting or sleeping

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COSMIC RHINO

My transfer at JKIA and from the hotel to Wilson arrived in perfect time

 

.

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COSMIC RHINO

The security at wilson airport is up with a police/army officer carrying an AK 47 checking the cars entering

 

the new safarilink building is much fancier than the old one and right next door to where their planes depart from .

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I'm glad to hear your trip was a success.

 

I am down to help out with writing a ecospiritual service which I thought I would do some of when I was on safari, but it did not happen.

 

I know you have your hands full with all the writing ahead of you, but if you have a moment, I’m a little curious as to what this is.

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keep it coming CR - we have six looong months to we return to Kenya so looking forward to reading more!

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Welcome back @@COSMIC RHINO - always look forward to reading your reports!

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COSMIC RHINO

getting back to Nairobi another guest says it is a place for car with assigned driver not independent travel

 

the chef was around the restraunt in croc shoes.not really the best for the kitchen with sharp knives,oil and boiling water.

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Croc shoes on the chef, the lost coathanger. Your writings are always intriguing even if you did not rise to eco spiritual on this trip. But I bet what we read from you will be darn close.

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COSMIC RHINO

Well I started to do the writing a bit , thought about things, being in wild Africa is a spiritual experience.

 

to literary identify with my favourite animals, I left hair behind in 3 seperate middeens in Sth Africa

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COSMIC RHINO

A major difference is that Lewa has been dry the past year , so those lovely flower like additions to the grass are gone .

 

Also there were less elephants, I was told that thwey were gone to Mt Kenya and Samburu.

 

qwell just looking from the rtn flights last year there were a few eles along the river ast year, none now, so Mt kenya is more likely.

 

I have had an unnecessarily exciting return home. The electric power lines werer being redone in the street, so I turned everything of. when I ghot bacvk my fridge expired after only a few hours. I got the old one down the stairs with a bit of help lifting it, then out to the street by large trolly, someone did a pickup before I could call council. Having good savins raplacing it was no problem.

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COSMIC RHINO

The practice at Lewa Safari camp is for each guest to be placed with the same guide for their entire stay , I was looked after by Lebane . He is very knowledgeable,friendly and can explain things early.

 

After a while I asked him what he thought of me, I make a good impression being very interested in the species key the Lewa (rhinos,eles, grevy's zebras ,reticukated giraffe), trusting him to mfind the animals, and not wanting to race around the place. He said that some guests want to see the entire conservancy 62,000 hectares.

 

Things have changed a bit last year I had to have gentlt words with the manager no red meat after a few days, and I was not keen on the sole dinning

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COSMIC RHINO

When I arrived I was presented with a non meat menue plan for my full stay, now single guests chose to dine alone or at the managers table as I did .

 

Eating with the manager I was told that the camp deliberately did not crowd vehicles, and aimed to give part of a stay to one person or one vehicle without a PV charge.

 

of the accom facilities at Lewa Wilderness is operated by a Craig brother, all the others are by friends and relatives who agree and enforce the Lewa environmental standard.

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COSMIC RHINO

Lewa Safari Camp used to be part of the operations of the conservancy

 

when it was decided to use a commercial tourism operator, bids were called for

 

Sernera lodges and hotels put in a bid wanting to have a minimum of 60 bed capacity and with most visitors driving themselves in by white mini bus

 

This bid was rejected

 

When I was there i individual from USA and a couple with a child from the UK arrived directly from their international flights.

 

The American man skipped his afternoon game drive (silly as he was retired and could have easily added a Nairobi rest day ) and UK family had a shortened game drive

 

one of the guides Francis is now not stopping for Somali ostrich ,I was told he does not like them due to el shabab and other problems coming from the place

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COSMIC RHINO

Lewa is a great place to see rhinos, looking in my journal I saw black and white rhinos on every day

 

having binos is usefull, I was wondering is that a rock animal?

 

no there is movement , going in closer it was 4 black rhinos

 

Lewa Safari camp definately has less crowded vehicles than the much more expensive Sirikoi, unless you pay for a private vehicle

 

and some things really make we wonder, one of their vehicles was with a giraffe mum with baby

 

they have a fold back canvas roof, 2 kids under teenage years were siting on the roof with legs dangling down into the body of the car, after a while they drove of with the kids siting on the roof

 

makes you wonder what the guide and the accompanying adult think of the safety of the kids going along like that over rough tracks and of track (complete with roks, termiete mounds, and logs)

 

 

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CR, thanks for the continuing report on both the animal sightings and human behavioral observations - I think most of us have had similar experiences.

 

Did you see any wild dogs?

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one of the guides Francis is now not stopping for Somali ostrich ,I was told he does not like them due to el shabab and other problems coming from the place

 

Not to make light of the situation in/from Somalia, but...I admit, I chuckled thinking about this.

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COSMIC RHINO

Although wild dogs are reported in the area I did not see any

 

the important thing to remember about the place is that you are paying serious money to view wildlife

 

the final day has the camp breakfast option which anyone is silly to take, or if you ask the normal gamedrive at 0630 AM going in the direction of the airstrip with a picnic box

 

the first year I came when the camp breakfast was suggested my exact response was "I did not come here to eat "

 

there is a flight which goes from Lewa to the Mara leaving 0830, the Nairobi flight departs around 1100

 

if you have a strong interest in rhinos, grevy's zebras and reticulated giraffe you might like to consider taking the later flight and overnighting in a hotel.

 

I took less photos this time of animals other than rhinos, grevy's Z ,retic G , I would have taken mire eles if they had been around.

 

a high magnification 1,000 mm lens does wonders with distant animals.

 

the rough movements of the vehicle, the bush massage claimed both my water bottle and torch

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@@COSMIC RHINO Interesting report. Amazing how each of us has such different requirements from a safari. Personally I do enjoy a bush breakfast or bush dinner, preferably the latter.

 

What for you was the best wildlife sighting you had at Lewa? and will we get a chance to see any of your photographs this time?

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COSMIC RHINO

I love the Lewa Safari Camp bush breakfast it is a great way to spend more time amongst animals and the bush, the precise reason why I came.

 

getting back to selecting camp breakfast on your final day , well you can count the cost of it as half your daily rate, no one would pay that at a cafe in the place where they live

 

best sighting hard to say

 

multiple rhinos especially a black rhino and calf with the tick bird flying of, a very young white rhino with mum and a bush breakfast

 

bush breakfast I did not leave the vehicle nit wanting to scare the animals away from the waterhole in succession elephants, bothh sorts of zebras and reticulated giraffe

 

photos? well I ate with the manager and got friendly talking about various things and said I would send some stuff to her by email, she knows that I send phots by PDF and asked for some to be sent , then she will post them on Lewa Safari Camp facebook page

 

well getting back to Sydney someone who is a friend said welcome back home, I said it does not feel like home. it is too big, unfriendly and does not feel like honme. I take my principle identity from nature so cities have little to do with it . I was born there and have spent nearly all my life there , but it does not feel like home

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COSMIC RHINO

For those not familar lewa began as a cattle ranch in the 1920's and the family kept the wildlife, develoed a tourism operation later and became a rhino reerve in the 1980's. tourism was taken on to help pay for it all including schools, health clinics, irrigation projects and many other ways to engender community support.

 

the visitor number are kept deliberatly low so as not to disturb the animals.

 

Lewa safari camp is fenced, has the tents well spread out for privacy, I was given the same one as last year. Resident in the camp is a family group of 18 dwarf mongoose, a dik dik couple and a leopard tourtise.

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COSMIC RHINO

Lebane my guide is very friendly, knowledgeable and a good communicator.

 

In Nairobi he first did a university degree in wildlife conseraction , then was taken on as a trainee.

 

my minor annoyance at some of the staff has been explained, they tend to call guests my surname only. the maager told me that weatern christian names as strange to them, they find the family name easier , so no one is intending to be unfriendly.

 

having returned 3 years in a row the staff are remembering me

 

well I heard someone else's briefing a hide was mentioned, som I asked more about it got the directions confused and ended up sitting in front of the driver's house. the view was good, but the protection from the sun could have been better and I ended up with a headache

 

I later went to the hide, great view and the sun protection from the thatch roof is a whole lot better.

 

I have started to notice all the male black African staff are shaved bald or at most s no 1 or no 2 haircut. so I asked my guide, what is this about. it is good to have easily presentable hair, which does not need a whole lot of time to comb or wash

 

well I prefer to watch animals for a good period of time, not rush around, it is not my choice to have a Ferrari Safari

 

anyway for the first time I took away a check sheet to compare places, is Lewa worth the premium price?

 

I am trying elephant Plains , pwerhaps try to spend more time there and forget Lewa on price alone. no way would I do that.

well on the sheets and my judgement no place is better for rhinos and for unhurried gameviewing

 

the animals are wonderfully relaxed, although there are the massive number you might find in some of the more popular reserves.

 

at times there can be large groups of buffalo.

 

other than good numbers of rhinos, grevy's zebras, reticulated giraffe, and a variable number of elephants (depending on water and vegetation), lewa has very good numbers of eland and orynx.

 

the plains zebras are very relaxed, they are chilled out when compared with others I have seen.

 

if I had not mentioned it before the area around the airstrip is exceptionally good for giraffe as there are small bushes around there , a very good reason to forget the camp breakfast on your final morning

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madaboutcheetah

So we are not going to see any photos on this thread?

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Why is Lewa so expensive?

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