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Lewa Safari Camp superb again June 2016


COSMIC RHINO
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  • I arrive at JKIA and it takes about 15 mins to get through immigration , the line used for those who have the e visa

I collect my bag and exchange a bit of money for hotel meals, it turns out that the airport dealer does not advertise rates or issue receipts , or want passports , the rate is a bit better than the hotel ,but I am not impressed .

the exchange dealers at international departures advertises rates and issues receipts ,that is the way it should be

my agent's transfer is on time and we are on the way soon , traffic is a bit slow but not the walking pace it was in 2012. I chat along the way, turns out the driver does not notice the billboards the same way as I do like the anti bacterial house paint , oh what a silly way to become antibiotic resistent

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Anti bacterial paints don't contain anibiotics and won't lead to antibiotic resistance. Perhaps it was a joke on your part that I am too thick to appreciate.

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that is what the billboard said , I would keep well clear of them just as I avoid handgell

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WESTON HOTEL

 

My hotel recommendation was based on closeness to Wilson airport, I was told best western, it turned out to be the Weston hotel

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Generally this group goes well and truly above luxury to opulent , and I was wondering how affordable the food would be.

 

upon arrival everything was warm, friendly and welcoming with a marble entrance .

 

it is a luxury hotel but it is not over the top

 

bottled water is supplied in the room

 

in the ordinary ground floor safari café the food is reasonably priced.

 

the main courses are Kes 1400 to 1950 and are of a good size , the food fired pizzas are prices from Kes 800 and a well selected buffet is Kes 2500.

 

the main course includes a bread roll and everyone is given a facial towel

 

there is a night club in the hotel but when I was there it was not very loud , you cannot hear the words of the songs in your room.

 

you can hear the movement of planes at Wilson airport , but it is only very brief and not very loud.

 

the buffet breakfast has a good selection to please most people fruit ,vegetables ,cereal for those who think of their health , others can go to the selection of donuts

 

looking through the paper , I wondered about things the funeral notices , "we humbly accept the will of God , that ---- (insert name) has passed away ", well I doubt if God is directly involved in anyone's death

Edited by COSMIC RHINO
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I checked out of my room as was told that the hotel not my agent would be taking me to Wilson airport, as there were traffic problems between their offices and the hotel

 

within 5 minutes I was in a hotel land cruiser , with a friendly and helpful man from sales doing what they call a "rescue mission " which are a regular feature of the hotel

 

the trip from the hotel to Wilson is very quick , the traffic problems are in other parts of the city

 

traffic problems seem to be a constant feature here

 

I was told that the airport developed with a whole lot of separate small buildings in the colonial period

Edited by COSMIC RHINO
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SAFARILINK

 

 

I got there in good time , my checkin went fine

 

there is a security screen before you enter the building , you checkin, wait around for a while ,then are called out by destination, go for a short walk with a staff member to the departure building, where the security screening is repeated

 

you are asked to identify your bag before it is loaded onto the plane

 

having had a bit of motion sickness last year , I used both the sea bands and Quell tablets , so there was no issues again and the plane did not swerve around

 

there are a number of people on the flight all going to Lewa, I am the only one for Lewa Safari Camp

 

as it normally does the TRAVEL AFRICA magazine looks interesting , there is an ad for Borana reserve which is next to Lewa. Some of their activities sound exciting , a quadbike on a game reserve with uneven rough tracks does not sound like a good idea to me.

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the Safarilink magazine mentions a really challenging activity those who decide to enter have 1 week to climb MT Kiliminjaro PLUS run a marathon and cycle a triathalon in the same area

 

The flight lands at Lewa, there is a outbuilding near the airstrip with a public toilet ,hand basin and a rack of Lewa and Nth Rangelands Trust publications for anyone who needs it.

 

CHANGE OF OPERATOR

 

So the camp has been taken over by a Tanzanian company Elewana, in any easily observable way there has been little change

 

the guide uniforms are in a lighter color scheme , the vehicle doors have the new company name and lighter color on them and the guests are issued with cobalt blue drinking bottles

 

all the staff are still there and the place operates largely as before

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@@COSMIC RHINO that month of safari rolled by quickly and you're already back.

 

that hotel provides excellent service with its ability to step in for the "rescue mission" quickly and willingly.

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BABY RHINO VISITS

 

these are no longer done ,with some of them unfortunately dying it was thought that perhaps that they got an infection from the visitors

 

someone else suggested that the problem could have come from eating sodden plants

 

 

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I donated my first digital camera a Nikon L110 which has a optical zoom going up to 440 mm ,for use as a guide camera , as an expression of the way I have been well looked after at the camp

 

This was a camera I was not likely to use again and they can make better use of it. It is a simple easy to use camera which takes a good picture

 

As I have in the past I brought school supplies

 

the standard arrangement is for a picnic box breakfast

 

THE CHALLENGES OF BETTER RAIN

 

Whilst in some areas, including the camps I go to in Sth Africa it can be hard to find animals when it is dry, at Lewa better rainfall presents a challenge

 

the greener the vegetation is the better it is , when I was there good green plants were widespread, so the animals were not especially concentrated in any one area

 

when the plants are better, animals get more of their moisture needs by eating it , and need to go less to water

 

in some cases animals stick to dense vegetation and go to water at night

 

water is available at more places ,not just a few

 

there was little animal activity at the main dam this year, in 2015 there was a whole lot of animal movements there

 

so overall the animals were much more spread out and harder to find

Edited by COSMIC RHINO
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SAFARI BEGINS

 

I have been given Alex as my guide

 

during my 7 day stay I had only 1 shared game drive

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Lewa again @@COSMIC RHINO? They'll be naming a geographical feature there after you if you keep this up,.

 

I look forward to hearing how the zebras are doing.

 

Why did they think people might be the cause of infant rhino deaths? Was there contact with the young rhinos?

Edited by pault
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I love returning to Lewa, the animals are so relaxed , I like being in PV , staying out late with the picnic breakfast , the rhinos, eles, Grevy's zebras and reticulated , I am supporting a place which is doing well ,which has the wildlife and community welfare as the prime purpose, not a tourism project with the wildlife put in to bring visitors to high lux accom .

 

BABY RHINOS

 

The visitors can walk along with them, gently stroke them . It was thought by the reserve that this could had caused problems. The suggestion is that they could have picked up an infection from the many visitors.

 

 

The camp manager (who has the background of being a field guide and a guide trainer ) suggested to me that sodden vegetation could have created problems with their immature digestive system. Well if anything was mouldy it would not have been the best

 

 

ZEBRAS

 

Both plains and Grevy's zebras were seen in good numbers , often relaxed and quiet a few young ones were seen.

 

plains and Grevy's were seen together and in different areas

Edited by COSMIC RHINO
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GENERAL REPORT

 

The standard activities on offer are game drives and bush walks , as I wish to see more animals I opt to do only game drives.

 

the reserve itself is at around 6,000 feet above sea level , as I felt a bit uncomfortable walking up and down from the camp hide , I am not sure how well I would have done on the hikes .

 

the hide is now separately marked , it is after tent number one.

 

the camp is a luxury tented camp with a 24 guest luxury tented camp , there is a large general building for the restaurant ,bar and lounge. There is a swimming pool and spa .

 

there is a small area of lawn around the office and general building

 

the tents are well spaced for privacy, they are joined by peeble parths with low level lighting to enable safe movement after dark. each has a terrace at the front with spectacular views of the surrounding bush

 

the rooms have a bedroom and bathroom .

 

there is a larger family tent

 

the bathroom has a UK standard powerpoint to enable charging, take an adapter if you need one. power is available 24 hours per day from solar inverter batteries . If you need to charge more than one item bring a double adapter , there is only a limited space on the bench, if you need more use a point in the main building .If you need to recharge from a USB connection this can be done from the bar.

 

should you need to use the bathroom at night leave a light on in the tent to avoid fumbling around in the dark.

 

The tent power system does not support the use of hair dryers , if you need to use one it is available at certain listed generator hours in the bathroom of the main lodge building.

 

pure vegetable soap, shampoo ,conditioner,shower gel and body lotion are supplied to guests for their use. there are towling bathrobes.

 

guests are escorted by security around after dark

 

 

the camp is fenced but you may find that there is life within the camp including mongoose , dik diks , leopard tortoise and a ostrich . There is a fence around the camp but it is not designed to keep all wildlife out . The regular ostrich Biharty only turned around when there was a very large colony of fire ants across a path. She had previously been seen on the lawns and on the paths leading to the tents. You just remain calm and keep on walking , she just keeps on doing her thing.

 

the water is best to only use in the bathroom

 

large dispensers of filtered water and water bottles are supplied to guests

 

there is an information folder in each tent , which amongst other things gives the times of activities

 

they have become used to my food preferences , to my usual no red meat or soy, I have added please avoid sugar, not wishing to help the corrupt smuggled sugar trade which comes in via Somalia ,so in the morning I was having small bananas with juice.

 

wakeup calls are done in the morning and hotwater bottles placed in the beds at night, some have rhinos on the covers.

Edited by COSMIC RHINO
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Relatively common in Lewa , but not easily seen elsewhere are ostriches, eland and orynx

 

the reserve includes both black cotton and ochre soils within relatively short distances

 

 

the wifi connection is weak in the camp , only try it in the main lodge building , or sometimes just on the bench seat outside the office

Edited by COSMIC RHINO
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Cosmic Rhino is denied uploading permission using his work computer. So I offered to upload some for him.

 

This batch of images are from one of his previous trips to Lewa.

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post-5120-0-69268500-1469010987_thumb.jpg

post-5120-0-89781200-1469011015_thumb.jpg

 

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@@COSMIC RHINO

 

Hey CR - I uploaded those PDFs you sent into your other thread, not knowing this one had been started! Would you like me to attach them to here instead?

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Hurrah for @@Geoff and @@Super LEEDS - very kind of you to assist @@COSMIC RHINO with posting his photos.

 

@@COSMIC RHINO - I would also be glad to help post your photos at any time. I will send you a PM with my email address.

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I'm glad that you decided to post photos. I love the one of the giraffe with an oxpecker.

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@@COSMIC RHINO great pictures! i love the first pix of the rhino against the trees - the texture makes it look like a postcard; much thanks to @@Geoff and @@Super LEEDS for helping you load the photos.

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  • the grass is of a special type at Lewa , zebras can eat it straight away without wilderbeeste eating the top layer

speaking to guides at other places hunting makes a big difference to how animals behave, its absence from Lewa makes the animals more approachable

I have in the past offered PDF prints if anyone else wanted to post them, now that people want to do it I will spread them around

many warm thanks to those who are posting my photos

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the approach at Lewa Safari Camp is unchanged , each booking predominately gets their own vehicle and guide

 

open land cruisers with canvas tops are used

 

there are carpenter's moveable wooden steps for anyone who needs help to get into them

 

at the end of all morning drives ever morning drive , people are given damp washers with a eucalyptus oil solution to wipe their faces.

 

nearly all the camps use land cruisers , some use land rovers

 

there is an environmental code of practice for the camps , they are operated by family or friends only

 

the number of visitors is restricted to limit the impact on the wildlife

 

only green 4WD vehicles are allowed in the reserve

 

the reserves policy is only 2 vehicles per siting , of the track is allowed in some areas but not others

 

the restricted area is near the wetland and can be easily damaged , your guide knows it

 

in practice I seldom saw other vehicles as my main interest is in rhinos,elephants, Grevy's zebras and reticulated giraffe

 

A whole lot of people are chasing after lions who have been removed to stop attacks on Grevy's zebras and baby rhinos

 

those wanting lions have better chances in the Mara

 

the only time I saw other vehicles was around cheetahs and once around rhinos

 

the aggressive territorial male white rhino from around the main dam has had his horn trimmed ,as their concerns about him hurting the other rhinos

 

this brings to mind the unwelcome advances from a male rhino which forced the much loved black rhino Samia and her calf, of the edge of a cliff, something they did not want repeated

Edited by COSMIC RHINO
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@@COSMIC RHINO:

 

You suggest that grass at Lewa is different from that elsewhere and allows zebras to eat it immediately without prior removal of the top layer by wildebeest.

 

I think that you have either mistaken what your guide told you or that you were misinformed by him. Sorry if I'm being pedantic, but I consider it important not to spread false information and I do think this is false. Fact is, people listen to you.

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That is what I was told by my guide

 

Lewa has a whole lot of zebras but no wilderbeest , I know about the usual setup of grass layers

 

perhaps local conditions changed the accustomed eating patterns

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