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Hello everyone,

 

I'm one of the founders of the Cambridge University Wildlife Conservation Society (which started in December 2014), and we are running a trip to Kenya, departing this Tuesday, for a total of 5 weeks! We'll be visiting a number of community conservancies including in the Loita Hills, Athi-Kapiti Plains, Magadi/Shompole, Laikipia/Samburu region as well as the more famous national parks of Maasai Mara, Tsavo and Nairobi National Park.

 

It will be to learn more about conservation and research initiatives as well as seeing Kenya's iconic wildlife. The trip also has a strong component of visiting local communities themselves, and all the places we will be staying at are either community-owned or community-run. There will be radio-collar tracking, camera-trapping, night-spotlighting and walking alongside the traditional game drives. There may even be a couple of aerial excursions! I hope that the blog can provide people with an insight into the lesser-visited community areas and fresh perspectives, through conservation research initiatives, on the more popular ones too.

 

About me: I have been to Kenya many times (family connections), and have been lucky enough to have safaried in Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa - as well as India and Borneo! And, I've just graduated. The last safari was July/August 2014 to Rekero and Naboisho camps - simply spectacular!

 

The blog can be found at: http://cuwcs.soc.srcf.net/?page_id=47 , I also hope (dependent on internet connection!) we'll also be posting frequently to our facebook page at www.facebook.com/cuwcs and twitter @cambridgewcs and instagram @cambridgewcs! Lots of social media channels there!

 

Our society's most recent highlight was having the Tanzanian Minister for Wildlife, Lazaro Nyalandu, coming to speak to us a few weeks back in Cambridge. We've also held fundraising & campaigning events, and film screenings (of 'Virunga' and 'White Gold').

 

I have learnt so much from following trip reports and many other discussions on here, and I hope you all enjoy our posts. Would be very happy to receive comments, feedback and further thoughts on what you see + read either on this thread, or through comments on the blog, tweeting us, commenting on our fb page and so on - I promise we'll do our best to respond!

 

Best wishes!

Edited by duma
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I'm one of the founders of the Cambridge University Wildlife Conservation Society (which started in December 2014), and we are running a trip to Kenya, departing this Tuesday, for a total of 5 weeks! We'll be visiting a number of community conservancies including in the Loita Hills, Athi-Kapiti Plains, Magadi/Shompole, Laikipia/Samburu region as well as the more famous national parks of Maasai Mara, Tsavo and Nairobi National Park.

 

It will be to learn more about conservation and research initiatives as well as seeing Kenya's iconic wildlife. The trip also has a strong component of visiting local communities themselves, and all the places we will be staying at are either community-owned or community-run. There will be radio-collar tracking, camera-trapping, night-spotlighting and walking alongside the traditional game drives.

 

I have learnt so much from following trip reports and many other discussions on here, and I hope you all enjoy our posts. Would be very happy to receive comments, feedback and further thoughts on what you see + read either on this thread, or through comments on the blog, tweeting us, commenting on our fb page and so on - I promise we'll do our best to respond!

 

~ @@duma

 

Jambo!

Welcome to Safaritalk!

Your 5-week Kenya safari sounds SPLENDID!

I'll be on safari in Kenya during the final two weeks of your safari.

Where I live neither Facebook nor Twitter are available, therefore any posts you might add here in Safaritalk will be the extent of what I might see.

It's very gracious of you to mention what you've learned from Safaritalk trip reports.

If your time ever permits a few updates about your experiences, we might learn from you and your colleagues!

May your safari exceed all of your highest expectations!

Tom K.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I see your first blog post is up. Keep going. There are some very interesting places you are visiting.

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welcome. Please feel free to post details of meetings (if they are open to outsiders) as I am based in cambridge.....

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  • 1 month later...

@@pault - Thanks, more are up now, and over the next few days I'll be uploading more posts and editing in with pictures for the others. Each post has a different writing style and focus.... Some more on what we saw and did, others on the more social aspect of the trip.

 

@@Tom Kellie Thank you for your warm welcome and kind words. Are you able to access the blog on www.cuwcs.soc.srcf.net under the 'Kenya Trip Blog' page? If not, I can copy and paste on here for you, but that wordpress site may be accessible to you.

 

@@Tdgraves - yes, the majority of events we hold are open to everyone, and details are posted on our facebook page, mailing list and other avenues too! If you'd like to be on our mailing list, please pm me your email address and I can have you added to it.

 

We've also set up a collaboration with the Tsavo Trust, on which more will be posted very soon!

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@@Tom Kellie Thank you for your warm welcome and kind words. Are you able to access the blog on www.cuwcs.soc.srcf.net under the 'Kenya Trip Blog' page? If not, I can copy and paste on here for you, but that wordpress site may be accessible to you.

 

~ @@duma

 

Yes! I'm able to access it and the images load.

Oddly enough, from the dates, it appears that I was in the Samburu and Buffalo Springs area at the exact same time that you visited.

Did we unknowingly pass, like the proverbial ‘ships in the night’?

The Kenya Trip Blog is great fun to read!

I also like the logo — Africa with tusks!

It's very kind of you to reply to me.

Tom K.

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@@duma. Great adventures so far and the blog is wonderfully frank. Is it being written by the woman who was sold for goats?

 

 

I bet @@armchair bushman would enjoy it.

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Very interesting @@duma

 

Out of curiosity, is there a reason you decided to skip some of the more successful community conservancies around the Mara or up in Laikipia? Conservancies like Il Ngwesi, Namunyak, and Naboisho are what many other smaller conservancies model themselves after.

 

You may also be interested in Enkusero Sampu Conservancy, at the base of the Ngong Hills as you head towards Magadi/Shompole. I can put you in touch with the guy who's in charge there. They're doing some good stuff with very little resources.

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@@Tom Kellie Yes, perhaps we did. Although we only had a couple of days in Samburu National Reserve itself (which were spectacular, with huge numbers of Grevy's and that very special hour-long sighting of leopard and cub). Great you're enjoying the read, I hope to upload more posts and pics tomorrow....

 

@@pault Haha, I am glad it entertains; each blog post is written by a different member of the group (I myself will be writing the final post, on Tsavo). The woman betrothed for goats wrote the Laikipia post.

 

@@armchair bushman No particular reason... Time in the Mara was limited and so only had time to visit the Triangle and MNC because of where we were staying - however I myself have visited Naboisho before - last year in fact - and it was impressive, with giraffe densities far higher than the reserve. We did visit Namunyak and had a talk from the Il Ngwesi manager (whom we met in Nanyuki). Which other smaller community conservancies in Laikipia would you have recommended?

 

That sounds good. Driving through Ongata Rongai at the foot of the hills, I wondered about the wildlife populations there. Could you pm me more info? :D

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@@Tom Kellie I'm pleased you like our logo. The society being born as it was during this time of a resurgent ivory poaching crisis, I felt it apt!

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@@Tom Kellie Yes, perhaps we did. Although we only had a couple of days in Samburu National Reserve itself (which were spectacular, with huge numbers of Grevy's and that very special hour-long sighting of leopard and cub). Great you're enjoying the read, I hope to upload more posts and pics tomorrow....

 

~ @@duma

 

I had a 35-minute sighting of a solitary leopard in Buffalo Springs. We followed it while hunting, with quite a group of photographs.

You saw a leopard and cub in Samburu? WONDERFUL !!!!!!!!!!!

That's beyond my experience and imagining!

I'm DELIGHTED for all of you having such a first-rate experience.

Tom K.

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@@Tom Kellie I'm pleased you like our logo. The society being born as it was during this time of a resurgent ivory poaching crisis, I felt it apt!

 

~ @@duma

 

Your logo is indeed apt.

It's witty, unexpected, thought-provoking.

Without doubt one of the finest wildlife conservation logos I've seen!

Tom K.

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@@duma
I would check out Naibunga Conservancy and Mukogodo Forest. Both are great partnerships between a few different communities.

I'll send you a PM with more info on Enkusero Sampu.

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@@duma I'm so pleased this got bumped up and I got a chance to read all the blogs. very enlightening and very informative. the part where wildlife is attached with economic value comes home for me. I've heard it before and understood it intellectually but hearing from the communities themselves kinda make it more real.

 

I'm so amazed that the male lion travelled so far south. did they find out why?

 

I've enjoyed the different perspective in the various blogs and look forward to more!

Edited by Kitsafari
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@@Kitsafari The male lion had travelled north from Amboseli up to the Kapiti Plains where we saw him. Often young males will leave the pride they grow up in once they reach adulthood to find a territory of their own... And this one roamed far!

 

I'm pleased you're enjoying it, more will be uploaded today as well as some pictures to add to posts already up.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Magadi-Shompole post is now up... And it's good fun, I think!

 

Link:

 

http://cuwcs.soc.srcf.net/?p=147 -

 

Picture quality is low as the images were shrunk for easy upload...

Edited by duma
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Lovely photos; it must be rewarding to be a part of those conservation initiatives.

Did the lion in the tree show any particular interest in you, or was it its sheer proximity that made everyone scramble?

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Very interesting and enjoyable reead as usual - thanks!

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Magadi-Shompole post is now up... And it's good fun, I think!

 

Link:

 

http://cuwcs.soc.srcf.net/?p=147 -

 

Picture quality is low as the images were shrunk for easy upload...

 

~ @@duma

 

That's a delightful post! Thank you so much for providing the link to us.

The images are TERRIFIC, with great color saturation. I enjoyed looking at them to have a clearer sense of Magadi and your activities.

Milking a goat, eh? That's an unexpected image.

The warm springs is attractive, as I like water seeping upward from the depths.

Until reading your report I wasn't aware that Magadi had such warm springs.

Your group's work with camera traps is especially interesting. I'm sure to mention that aspect to my students when classes resume a few weeks hence.

It's been great fun to share in the Kenya work and wildlife observation of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

All of you are an inspiration to university students worldwide.

Thank you so much for your care and time to share your experiences with Safaritalk members and visitors.

With Appreciation,

Tom K.

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@@Marks I think it was more due to its unexpected proximity - although it saw us before we saw it (isn't it nearly always this way around!), I guess each of us were surprised by the other. Its quick descent from the tree into the surrounding bushes made us rush all the more quickly, as it was impossible to see where it went and whether it was moving towards us or not.

 

@@Tom Kellie Thanks for your compliments on the photographs - much appreciated!

Magadi/Shompole is a very arid place, though I think it's well worth a visit, both for the beauty of the area and its wildlife as well as the high level of community cooperation and goodwill with conservation in the area.

I hope to upload the camera trap images soon to the blog site.

 

The following post will cover Lakes Nakuru, Baringo Bogoria, of which Baringo had the most impressive hot springs, and Kerio Valley & Rimoi National Reserve.

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@@Marks I think it was more due to its unexpected proximity - although it saw us before we saw it (isn't it nearly always this way around!), I guess each of us were surprised by the other. Its quick descent from the tree into the surrounding bushes made us rush all the more quickly, as it was impossible to see where it went and whether it was moving towards us or not.

 

@@Tom Kellie Thanks for your compliments on the photographs - much appreciated!

Magadi/Shompole is a very arid place, though I think it's well worth a visit, both for the beauty of the area and its wildlife as well as the high level of community cooperation and goodwill with conservation in the area.

I hope to upload the camera trap images soon to the blog site.

 

The following post will cover Lakes Nakuru, Baringo Bogoria, of which Baringo had the most impressive hot springs, and Kerio Valley & Rimoi National Reserve.

 

~ @@duma

 

Any camera trap images would be most welcome!

Lately Safaritalk has been blessed with a number of fine camera trap images, both by day and by night.

Whatever you share with us will increase our stock of images of what happens when human visitors aren't around.

Your mentioning of the strong community cooperation around Magadi is very good to know.

Looking forward to your ‘Rift Valley Lakes’ section!

Your group had an especially productive safari, by all accounts.

Tom K.

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Frequent visitors to the Tsavo area may be interested to know that we were lucky enough to see both Hirola and Grevy's Zebra there!

Edited by duma
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  • 2 weeks later...

Really enjoyed that post on Magadi and Shompole. I love that area of Kenya.
looking forward to the Baringo - Bogoria post.

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