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My incredible 9 day safari.


optig
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ol Donyo Lodge in Chyulu Hills and Sahara Camp in Namunyak Wildlife Conservacy which is located in the Mathews Range.

These are photos from ol Donyo Lodge.

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All of the employees at the lodge are members of the Maasai Community. Here is my guide Jeremiah a superb guide and Jeremiah II who is a guide in training.

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@@optig

I had to look it up on a map to see where it was (my ignorance)

Lovely picures of the elephants, and interesting that you get the "Northern" species like the Oryx and Gerenuk there. It looks very interesting.

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~ @@optig

 

Wow! How about those klipspringers!

Great image!

The go-away bird peering out is terrific.

Lovely Kilimanjaro's summit above the kopje — I love that composition!

Thank you for posting these.

Tom K.

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Nice images, particularly of the elephants, Oryz and Geranuk and you with your guides of course.

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madaboutcheetah

@@optig - It's meant to be an awesome lodge just like the rest of the Great Plains properties - Thanks for writing this up! and so jealous you caught up with Amy and Shaun!

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@@optig - really like the elephants - impressive tusks. That image of the koppie is very inviting and I reckon you could spend a week on there and have amazing sightings and views all in the space of 1/2 an acre or so. Looking forward to more.

 

kind regards

 

deano.

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@@optig...I hope that you realize how fortunate you are to live where you do! You can just take little game viewing trips every now and then. I am jealous!

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@@optig nice to read about Chyulu Hills as there are not many recent reports on this destination.

 

Interesting to see gerenuk and klipspringer, you have caught the long necks and ear markings of the gerenuks so well.

 

 

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@@optig

 

Thank you for sharing this, I am often curious about Ol Donyo Lodge/Chyulu Hills but they do not seen to be that reported on.

 

Very pleased to see you had excellent sightings (geranuk and the klipspringers particular favourites!) Also enjoyed the kopje and Kili. That is a view I would never tire of.

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What I really appreciated about my safari is the feeling of having the entire park to myself. I never saw another vehicle even one from Ol Donyo Lodge where I was staying. Jeremiah my guide did a wonderful job exploring the vastness of this beautiful and underrated National Park. He was accompanied by another Jeremiah who is also a Maasai and currently studying Tourism in Nairobi in preparation for being a guide.

 

Chyulu Hills National Park may not have game in large numbers as the Maasai Mara, Serengeti or even Amboseli. However, it has more than compensated by the fact that you have the entire park and the sightings to yourself. The views of the Kilimanjaro are just stunning. One can see by the enormous numbers of tuskers [elephants that have long tusks] that conservation efforts have been very effective in the park.

 

Amy and Shaun a South African lady and Kenyan gentleman couldn't have been kinder or more accommodating. The rest of the staff was just wonderful as well. Almost all of us value good food and accommodation and both of them were superb at the lodge. I saw many baboons scampering around right in front of my room.

 

There is a huge range of activities available including night drives, walking, sleeping out under the stars, watching elephants from the hide, bush breakfasts and lunch.I highly recommend Ol Donyo Lodge for those who want to avoid crowds. More commercial safaris are also available at Tsavo East and West.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed walking with Jeremiah and my guide in training.post-47384-0-60318100-1456126239_thumb.jpgpost-47384-0-81749600-1456126153_thumb.jpgpost-47384-0-48689900-1456125779_thumb.jpgpost-47384-0-95885000-1456126298_thumb.jpgpost-47384-0-48166600-1456125631_thumb.jpg

 

 

Next I went to the incredible Sarara Camp for a five night stay. Sarara Camp is managed and directed by Katy and Jeremy a Kenyan couple who inherited this amazing property from their parents. It is located in a reserve in Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy in the Mathews Range. It is without a question an outstanding conservation success story. Poaching is minimal and elephant numbers continue to increase all the time. One evening I must have seen fifty elephants walking in the moonlight. I was extremely lucky to see an enormous pack of thirty wild dogs. I also saw four cheetah together including the mother who had been bloodied. I saw four hyena cubs in a den along with their mother.

 

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madaboutcheetah

@@optig - that cheetah looks injured?

 

Thanks for your report - 30 dogs! Brilliant!!!!

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What a great range of wildlife you saw - lovely photos. Tha cheetah does look badly injured but it looks like it is healing.

You are good advertisement for these 2 camps. Thank you for posting.

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Awesome sightings! Really appreciate this report about these beautiful places who AFAIR have never featured in a trip report so far.

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Please notice the presence of the reticulated giraffe in my photos. There were many reticulated giraffe in the concession. That large predator in the photo is an Augur Buzzard. Needless to say, the birding was outstanding. I have to say that while the wilderness vibe was good at Ol Donyo Lodge, it was excellent at Sarara Camp. I can remember very well hearing the elephants walking at night.

 

As my fellow safari talkers know, they make a very distinctive noise as they crush the grass and other vegetation with their feet. I also heard hyena and leopard on at least one of the five nights I was there. When I woke up every morning there was a beautiful symphony filled with lots of birds and crickets singing. I had no idea before coming to Sarara Lodge that the bush vibe would be so outstanding.

 

I also must mention that my visit to a Samburu village was a real eye opener. The poverty, and the dire conditions in which they live us quite palpable. There was flies and dry dung apeverywhere. It wasn't pleasant to watch a grandmother holding her granddaughter covered by flies. Unfriendly mongrels guarded the village. I learned how the Samburu construct their villages, with the camels on the outer layer then their cattle, sheep and goats.

 

This is a visit for one who want to see what a real village is like, it has nothing to do with the tourist villages that one gets to see in the Maasai Mara or the Serengeti. There is no lion dance for the tourist, no introduction to the Maasai elder who speaks no English nor any evidence of foreign aid. This isn't a visit I would recommend for someone going to Africa for a first time safari. This visit is something raw and real. I have no photographs because they simply aren't permitted. I do agree with this because I can well understand that Samburu don't want to be treated like a curiosity.

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Sounds like a truly wonderful trip. Some of the scenery you've shown is spectacular.

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~ @@optig

 

My vision isn't sufficiently keen to discern what the bird is on the klipspringer.

Was it an oxpecker...or another species?

I love the lovely vegetation growing down into the hyena den. It looks as though a landscape architect planted it there.

I've read about Sarara, therefore was pleased to read about your experience as a guest there.

Many thanks for such a fine trip report.

Tom K.

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Great report of parks not often visited. Your photos bring them to life. Thanks for sharing.

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Great stuff @@optig, lots for me to learn about these areas.

Those elephants that you started with are incredibly solid-looking, impressive individuals.

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My guide believes that the cheetah had been bloodied in a confrontation with the wild dogs but had managed to escape them.

 

@TomKellie

Frankly I don't know because I forgot to ask my guide. However I believe that it is a green-winged pytilia.

I spoke with Nick a white Kenyan who is helping Katy and Jeremy manage the camp. He explained to me that the Samburu are receiving lots of foreign aid and its the same old story where it is doing them far more harm than good. My guide Malachi explained to me very strongly that all the medicine the Samburu need is contained in the wild.

 

He says that the local leaves make better toothpaste than Colgate. It made me come up with some of my own ideas of preserving the African folk medicine. I would like to write a lot on this subject.

Edited by optig
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great report for each place

 

I like the look of them but their cost is above my budget

 

very good photos

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This trip was arranged by Rose Muya of Timeless Tours and Travels, a Kenyan travel agent located at Lavington Mall. Rose and her staff are experienced safari operators. I was able to save money because she got me resident rates despite the fact that I do not have official Kenyan residency. She has a superb knowledge of many interesting places in Kenya and the rest of Africa at the best rates possible. I was set to leave on the date of a marathon held by the first lady of Kenya but Rose told me that it could cause me to get stuck in traffic on the way from Kilimani to Wilson Airport. She contacted the airlines as well as the properties and changed the dates. I was very impressed.

 

Rose can always find special off season discount. One of the finest lodges that I stayed in Kenya Elsa's Kopje is offering off season discount. This would be an amazing time for last minute safari goers. Rose can also find discounts at other properties.

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  • 2 weeks later...

@@optig Thanks for sharing the beautiful lodges. That view from sarana lodge's Swimming pool is stunning!

 

Are Amy and Shaun the same pair that were managing GPC's Mara Plains

 

@@madaboutcheetah?

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Dear Kit, yes indeed Shaun and Amy are the lovely couple that previously managed GPC's Mara Plains camp.They couldn't have been kinder, more courteous or better company we had fascinating conversations and they gave me more ideas on where else to go on safari.I would love to visit Virunga National Park in the DRC, Ethiopia, as well as Central African African Republic. I have already spoken to Sangeeta about my down payment for Gonarezhou furthermore,I would like to give Sangeeta my business for my proposed safari to a Katavi and Mahale for next year. Needless to say i hope that your dog is better I miss my two dogs dearly.

Edited by optig
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madaboutcheetah

Yes, @kitsafari

 

@@optig - my friends from here will be in Virunga in a couple of months. When are you going? They are also doing the hike to see the volcano.

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@@optig they were consummate hosts at Mara Plains when we were there a year ago! shaun is a lovely and very courteous guy and amy took good care of us. i didn't realise they had moved to Ol Donyo.

 

and thanks for your concern about my dog. She's 15, and visibly weakening, and often seeks comfort and reassurance from me and my hubby so i spend as much time as I can with her.

Edited by Kitsafari
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