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KARIBU TENA (Welcome back) Part 1


PHALANX
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 My goodness, where does the time go? I have been back from Ol Pejeta in Kenya almost three weeks and have only just about found time to share my latest experiences with you.

As some of you will know, I am a great admirer of the Ol Pejeta conservancies work.

The last five years has seen great advancements /improvements on the infrastructure & the continued success with their livestock – wildlife programme. Ol Pejeta integrates cattle with wildlife, and use livestock as a means to manage the rangelands more effectively. By day they graze out on the plains and at night are corralled in predator proof enclosures. There are over 100 herders, one for every 60 head of cattle, and there are now 7,000 head of pure Boran cattle on the conservancy, the largest herd in the world. There are also the amazing and most beautiful Ankole cattle which originate from Uganda.5a044328a5aa3_ankole(3).jpg.034c6578f9541b01f2f4098e5118f947.jpg

Much to the conservancy’s credit there has never been any conflict between the cattle & the wildlife, and No infections either. The threat of attack by predators is thwarted in the traditional way. The herders carry their traditional rungu’s, wooden clubs, and like all pastoralists they are very dedicated & protective towards the cattle.

Ol Pejeta’s 90,000 acres are a paradise for the wildlife that lives there and their numbers are also on the increase. The dedicated work with the Black Rhino especially has gone a long way towards Ol Pejeta having the largest number of Black Rhino in Kenya. The Southern white Rhino is also doing very well, not to mention the valiant efforts being made to save the Northern white Rhino of which only three remain. Elephant & Buffalo numbers are up as are the numbers for the Reticulated Giraffe.DSC02737.thumb.JPG.b52de4b16baca3f40e82a39195c04c20.JPG

DSC03190.thumb.JPG.975c024ad69f3d9a5db45788ef8a15a2.JPGThere are now 5 large prides of lion on the conservancy and Cheetah numbers are stable. Leopards numbers are much harder to assess because of their elusiveness, but spotted Hyena always seem to have cubs so that is a good sign, and the stripped Hyena is also stable. Jackson's hartebeest are holding there own. Wild dogs, as a pack, have not been seen for a while, though there is one lone male on the conservancy at the moment.

When I visit Ol Pejeta I always stay at Sweetwaters tented camp, Primarily for the excellent service & food, and for the very active waterhole, Though the waterhole in sept/Oct is never very busy, but night time makes up for that.

But this time it was a special trip, my 70th Birthday, and I had come out with family & friends, who have never been to Africa before, to celebrate it.

We flew out with BA, not overly impressed & I had arranged Transport/driver with Real Africa Safari in Nairobi. We drove up to Sweetwaters the morning after our arrival having spent the night at the Boma hotel, which I would recommend, and we arrived in time for lunch.

On our way to Sweetwater’s we stopped at the blue post Inn to see the Chania falls and enjoy a refreshing cup of Kenyan tea & a toilet break. DSC02375.thumb.JPG.fc431e48b0ee210a8ff887b9f359f01a.JPGMy family & friends were fascinated by the towns we passed through with all their variously coloured buildings. There were small markets creating an air of hustle & bustle but the largest market in Kenya at Karantina was not on that day. We crossed the equator, and then again when we turned off at Nanyuki.

After lunch we unpacked and settled in with a relaxing afternoon watching for game at the waterhole, sadly it was very quiet, apart for a small herd of Zebra that paid a visit and three old bull Buffalo, but the bird life made up for the inactivity at the waterhole. In about two hours, with no effort on our part, save making a cup of tea, and tea would play a large part in our stay, we saw 34 species of bird, including three of the four species of Woodpecker to be found here.DSC02831.thumb.JPG.6fe85edb02710458d77120282ac6052e.JPG

As I was getting ready for the evening I heard my name being called quite frantically. As I was in the shower I could only reply verbally. Chris wanted me to come and see the Black Rhino that had arrived at the waterhole. It was something of a dilemma, but having been blessed over my many years of coming to Kenya with more Rhino sightings than you can shake a Rungu at, the shower held a greater attraction for me. I told Chris to sit quietly, take it all in, and above all, enjoy the moment.DSC02938.thumb.JPG.94b997bf01430cbaf51c734012a651ee.JPG

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offshorebirder

Oh good @PHALANX - I am glad to see another Ol Pej trip report of yours.   I bet you were able to live vicariously through the experiences of your first-time-to-Africa companions.

 

I see you mentioned Striped Hyena - are sightings of them at all regular / predictable there?  

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serendipityntravel

@PHALANX - Loved reading your post about my favorite place - Ol Pejeta, and of course Sweetwaters.  I have never taken a trip to Kenya without stopping at Sweetwaters.  I will be there in a few weeks, but now I want to get there sooner!

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On 11/9/2017 at 0:38 PM, offshorebirder said:

Oh good @PHALANX - I am glad to see another Ol Pej trip report of yours.   I bet you were able to live vicariously through the experiences of your first-time-to-Africa companions.

 

I see you mentioned Striped Hyena - are sightings of them at all regular / predictable there?  

The stripped Hyena is mostly seen on night drives. When the rangers know where a den is, it will always be visited on a night drive.

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3 hours ago, serendipityntravel said:

@PHALANX - Loved reading your post about my favorite place - Ol Pejeta, and of course Sweetwaters.  I have never taken a trip to Kenya without stopping at Sweetwaters.  I will be there in a few weeks, but now I want to get there sooner!

Have a great trip. I have just heard they have had a lot of rain, so it should be green.

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