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stuartbutler
Hi everyone


I'm one of the authors of the various Lonely Planet guides to Kenya, Tanzania, East Africa, Ethiopia and other areas (new, and expanded editions of all the East Africa books out this week).However, that's not what this post is about. Instead, I wanted to tell you all a little bit about a major project I'm currently engaged in and that might be of interest to users of these forums. Over the course of May-June 2015 (so yeah I am already a short way into it) I will walk, with a Maasai companion, across part of the Maasai lands of Kenya. The walk started from the eastern edge of Kenya’s remote Loita Hills and is running to the western edge of the Mara North conservancy, part of the greater Masai Mara ecosystem. Along the way I am staying in, and visiting, as many Maasai villages as possible as well as meeting and talking to a whole host of people involved in conservation and tourism in that area.


The result of the walk will be a book about about the walk, contemporary Maasai life and wildlife conservation in East Africa today. A second book will be a coffee table photo book filled with portraits and reportage photos from the walk and my other East African trips. There will also be a range of magazine features and a large online and social media presence. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I, and I hope my Maasai companion, will be doing a speaking tour through the UK, France and Kenya talking in schools and public venues about East African conservation.


I am providing very frequent blog updates on the dedicated project website - www.walkingwiththemaasai.com and there's a dedicated Facebook page which some of you might be interested in following: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Walking-with-the-Maasai/421479961339808?ref=hl


I hope a few of you find it interesting and enjoyable enough to want to follow the project.


Thank you

Stuart Butler

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Tom Kellie

I'm one of the authors of the various Lonely Planet guides to Kenya, Tanzania, East Africa, Ethiopia and other areas (new, and expanded editions of all the East Africa books out this week).However, that's not what this post is about. Instead, I wanted to tell you all a little bit about a major project I'm currently engaged in and that might be of interest to users of these forums. Over the course of May-June 2015 (so yeah I am already a short way into it) I will walk, with a Maasai companion, across part of the Maasai lands of Kenya. The walk started from the eastern edge of Kenya’s remote Loita Hills and is running to the western edge of the Mara North conservancy, part of the greater Masai Mara ecosystem. Along the way I am staying in, and visiting, as many Maasai villages as possible as well as meeting and talking to a whole host of people involved in conservation and tourism in that area.

 

~ @@stuartbutler

 

Where I live Facebook isn't accessible. Nonetheless, I'll look forward to your writing after the cross-Kenya walk.

What a fine way to observe and learn.

I'm delighted that you and your Maasai companion are doing such a valuable trek, seeing more than I'd ever see from inside a safari van.

Thank you so much for telling this to us.

Tom K.

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Tom Kellie

@@Tom Kellie, you can get to the blog without Facebook at www.walkingwiththemaasai.com I just caught up on all the posts so far, and it's a fascinating read!

 

~ @@amybatt

 

GREAT!

A very big, hearty THANKS for the tip!

I'll check it out now.

With Much Appreciation,

Tom K.

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Best of luck, @@stuartbutler. I look forward especially to the first book to come. Please keep us posted.

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SafariChick

@@stuartbutler how interesting - thanks for letting us know, and I will be following the story.

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Sounds very interesting and I look forward to following the adventure.

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stuartbutler

Thank you all for your kind words and sorry for he slow reply. Internet connections haven't been a strong point of the past few days! Jut had a beautiful mornings walk though through a part of the Naboisho conservancy.

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@@stuartbutler

Thanks for posting – very interesting blog! I totally agree with your comments below -

 

We’re bombarded by bad news stories predicting catastrophe for the wildlife of East Africa and much of this is very valid. Yet, throughout my extended travels in Kenya over the years I have frequently been left awed by the attitude of local people for whom large animals can be a serious menace, but yet these same people are often immensely proud of their wildlife and, given the opportunity, most Kenyans I have met would like to retain their wildlife just so long as they are able to receive some kind of financial benefit from them too.”

 

Good to hear that the Olarro Conservancy is in a period of stability and animal populations are in the rise. The story about the gentleman that turned compositing dung and kitchen scraps into a viable business to supplement his income is a great tale of entrepreneurship. I have heard that wild dogs have been occasionally seen on the Loita hills – any insight as to how frequently this occurs?

Edited by PT123
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  • 2 weeks later...

What a walkabout you are having! Totally agree with the community needing to benefit from their resources.

 

Welcome to safaritalk.

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stuartbutler

Hi PT123

I didn't hear of wild dogs in the Loita hills. In fact there are two sets of 'Loita hills' there's the lower scrubbier ones much closer to the Mara which rise up behind the Maji Moto/Olarro area. These are the real Loita hills. Then here's another set further east which are much higher. People call them the Loita hills (I believe they're called this just because the Loita Maasai live there) but they actually have a different name which is marked on some maps (and which off the top of my head I don't remember) but is rarely used by people on the ground. I started in this higher set and the environment here is very different and almost jungle-like with forest species being the majority - colobus monkeys, turacos, buffalo etc. I didn't hear of wild dogs in either set but certainly in this higher set elephants have returned (two years ago when I was last in these mountains the elephants hadn't been seen in a while and poaching was a problem). Poaching seems to have been reduced and elephants are starting to use the forests again.

Stuart

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  • 2 months later...

A little update on the Walking with the Maasai project. Teh walk is now over, and what a wonderful experience it was, and I am now back at home writing up the two books and editing photos ready for the photo exhibitions and speaking tours. In addition to this though in February 2016 I will be returning to Kenya to run a small group walking tour covering a part of the route we just walked.


Along the way we will walk through open grasslands surrounded by zebra and wildebeest, gather around a fire at night to listen to Maasai elders recalling days of hunting lions with spears, camp in remote forests where colobus monkeys crash through the trees and bushbuck flit through the shadows and help herd the cattle back to the Maasai boma at sunset.


This is no package tour. This is a genuine adventure and such a tour is not available anywhere else.


For more including dates, prices, schedules etc see




Thank you



Stuart


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@@stuartbutler Sounds an interesting experience.

 

I think you forgot to post a link but it may have been removed as you'd need to post that in the Operators section.

 

Edit: aha,,, I see you did just that.

Edited by pault
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