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TSAVO WEST IN JUNE (winter) Part one


PHALANX
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DSC00230.JPG.1cbee9cfbdb4dd0ea65542e520a7f42c.JPGJune in Kenya is winter, and depending where you are it can be very cold or pleasantly warm…. or somewhere in between.  So June is not a month I would normally choose but, my sister-in-law wants to celebrate her birthday in Kenya next year and, you’ve guessed it, it’s in June. So I volunteered to put myself through the rigours of going to find out what June is like, for her :)

As I started to organise my trip I had a message from Avios(the air miles people), that they were to merge with British airways, which also do air miles. I had not checked my miles for a very long time and what a pleasant surprise I had J. I had enough for a rtn trip to Kenya & a hotel for the night on arrival. I stayed at the Hilton garden hotel htl.jpg.e291a2ea25ed0cf208bfd50d00dc67c5.jpgjust 5 minutes from the airport. It had only opened in March so everything was new. The room though not large was quite adequate and had everything you needed.  1529904135_htlroom.jpg.8d8e8cad2b2195bcc054ce62b16be806.jpgIt is perfectly placed if you are going to Amboseli/Tsavo on the Mombasa road. 442913319_fromcar.jpg.0507522f80e28f782195c3eb3d7b1730.jpgThe new train station which serves the new SGR rail service is just across the road, so giving another option for travel to Mombasa and the national parks. I saw the train on my way down to Tsavo west, very impressive, and I may incorporate it into next year’s safari.

DSC00162.JPG.779bfb9344984b17a609fc95252338aa.JPGI have chosen Tsavo as it is very hot in the summer months, so should be comfortable in winter. The only down side is, the game may not be abundant as it disperses during the rainy season from Mar to May and this years rain was extra heavy.  On this occasion I was driven down, and in pretty quick time, three & half hours, that’s as quick as the train. There was next to no traffic most of the way which helped. It was a good drive and a scenic one. One of the things I was looking forward to was seeing Tsavo in bloom. I have always travelled in the dry months of Sept & Oct, the brown season, so I was eager to see what magic Mother Nature had performed. Once away from the Nairobi suburbs the scenery changes and the bush was covered in various varieties of Convolvulus, DSC00459.JPG.bd52ca8f20cd0b51a2070041afb319ee.JPGso much so it looked like it was being farmed in some places. The locals call it Takataka or waste paper plant as it truly looks like fields of shredded waste paper. Not long after the Athi River you start to see one of the symbols of Africa, the Baobab tree. You know you are now approaching the Tsavo area. At first there is the odd one here & there, then they start to appear in small groups, then they are everywhere. I love seeing them silhouetted against the skyline, beautiful.S1650088.JPG.6ad2bd6a3531e1a43e47fefbf3d267ab.JPG

We turned off at Mtito andei, roughly the half way point to Mombasa, and after a short drive we were at the gate to Tsavo west national park. It would have been another half hour to the lodge but we kept being interrupted by an astonishing array of birdlife, with the odd Masai Giraffe & Dik-dik thrown in. It took us just over an hour in the end, just in time for lunch. After lunch & a rest, Francis my driver would be driving back to Nairobi and return for me at the end of my stay.

I was staying at Kilaguni Serena lodge,S1660002.JPG.3e0fa8382d581f415dc10ad2a4e52ffe.JPG mainly because of the amazing views it has and a normally very active waterhole, we will see? My stay would be for nine nights, yes, NINE nights. I know, I can hear the gasps, but. This trip was partially fact finding and mostly relaxing with a heavy dose of birding.

So what does one do with oneself for nine days in one place? Well, my first few days would consist of relaxing, birding & game viewing from the waterhole. But is there enough action to warrant staying in one place, in June? I am pleased to inform you that there was.

After lunch I had a coffee on the veranda, DSC00337.JPG.27a0a35665dcca2960eb5b63d696648f.JPGwhich runs the length of the dining room & is open to the elements, No windows at all in the dining area, DSC00334.JPG.b944ad28ec40892c37695c1ba43031b6.JPGwhich tells you, it never gets really cold here, though on a couple of mornings I did need a jumper. I sat here with my coffee for about an hour and enjoyed the incredible scenery and the antics of the Impala 973263087_Impala(2).jpg.d88c39d1888c6bbe66eec554de29cf00.jpgas they made way for a very hesitant Masai Giraffe to come & drink.DSC00575.JPG.7b53b1b7ed585112b8bc86b89dd440e2.JPG

Along with a few Common Waterbuck S1670019.JPG.270b07fb0944309189c74752c86d822d.JPGand Zebra which were sheltering among the tree’s a little way from the lodge,DSC00064.JPG.19187c53903b2b013a206befeace9122.JPG is was a most peaceful scene. I returned to my room DSC00087.JPG.342b63507910ab3a5c964fd15689542f.JPGand sat on the balcony which overlooked the waterhole. In no time at all two Elephants appeared and after drinking spent a full half hour having a leisurely mud bath.DSC00021.JPG.85393a5c7cd807e28091242cf36acb48.JPGDSC00033.JPG.19cffe24f70ab8846a770f93268ad5d2.JPG Around 5pm I took a bird walk around the lodge and was pleasantly surprised at the amount of birds there were to be seen. There were Sulphur breasted bush Shrikes, Green winged Pytillia, and so many more.2100754950_Sulphur4.jpg.876b0227f7680f01b4386c454dba8517.jpgS1680018.JPG.dbc2ab977837a2395c848054ebe27b99.JPG

 

I did not spend all my time at the lodge? I did take some game drives. It is too expensive for me to keep the vehicle on my own, so I would use one of the lodge vehicles as & when I wanted to. So after three or four days of relaxing, birding and watching numerous herds of Zebra come & go from the waterhole it was time to explore the surrounding bush. My first drive was primarily a bird drive with animals. The birds were abundant and I saw my first Pangani Longclaw, DSC00220.JPG.712d1fc64c7511d167ebd3af72555685.JPGthe animals not so. But my next drive which was animal based with birds was more successful. Elephants were hard to find as most of them disperse into Tsavo east but there was still plenty of general game to be seen, and of course my drives are never unsuccessful because there are always the birds.

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Edited by PHALANX
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michael-ibk

I love the opening picture, what an iconic African landscape shot!

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I guess June is not a bad month to go after all :) Looks great.

 

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offshorebirder

Thanks for this TR @PHALANX.  I am looking forward to reading more about your immersive Tsavo West experience!

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serendipityntravel

Great photos.  Brings back a lot of memories!

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So relieved it is Tsavo in bloom and not shredded paper litter.  These brilliant colors are not what I associate with Tsavo.  You really got to know the landscape and visitors to it with 9 days!

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  • 1 month later...

Everything looks beautiful, especially the green landscape with the mountainous backdrop.

I also like the look of the lodge - particularly when the elephants arrived.

How did you like the Hilton Garden hotel? I have a night there next trip.

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Hi there. I only literally stayed over night, but the room was fine & comfortable. A brief look around the hotel in the morning, looks good. I can't comment on the food as I did not eat there as I had an early departure. The few staff I met were very friendly, so all in all, it was OK!

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On 8/27/2018 at 8:19 PM, Marks said:

Everything looks beautiful, especially the green landscape with the mountainous backdrop.

I also like the look of the lodge - particularly when the elephants arrived.

How did you like the Hilton Garden hotel? I have a night there next trip.

Hi. There is a short film on you tube, I could not film the dining area as the manager would not allow it???

I could not film the dining area as the manager did not allow this??

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Thanks @PHALANX! It looks clean and pleasant - everything one would need in a city hotel.

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