Thursday, 25 February 2016

DAY TWO ~ Back at Last!

We had not pre-ordered our visa using the online application system recently introduced by the Kenyan Government and as a result, we passed through immigration much quicker joining the small visa queue, as opposed to the lines of people having their online visas checked, which seemed to take longer than the visa on arrival procedure anyway.

Arriving in Nairobi with Kilimanjaro on the Dawn horizon

We collected our Landrover, rented as usual from Landrover Safaris, and began the long drive down to Voi. Seven and a half hours later, we were back in the Theatre of the Wild – Tsavo East National Park.

It was two and a half years since our last visit and it was a little disconcerting to find how much we had forgotten our way around.

Juvenile Brown Snake Eagle

After a couple of hours game drive, during which we saw plenty of Elephants, a juvenile brown Snake Eagle, Eurasian Rollers and Gerenuk. As exhaustion took its toll, we headed for Ndololo Safari Camp, where we would be spending the next four nights. The staff, very kindly prepared a late lunch for us but we were too tired to eat. After retiring to our tent, we were awoken by Patrick shouting outside to let us know that dinner was ready – we had fallen asleep and they were having great difficulty in waking us up.

Chairman of the Tsavo East Welcoming Committee comes to greet us

At dinner, we were still too tired to eat properly but the cold Tusker beer went down a treat and we went back to the tent afterwards and slept solid and deeply for 12 hours.

DAY ONE ~ The Journey Begins

We left Aberdeen at 2pm, having dropped Tsavo the Husky off at Heather's for his holiday. Neil kindly gave us a lift to the airport. This year, for the first time, we didn't have to worry about excess luggage weight because we were not taking the camping gear.

Leaving Aberdeen

Our flight to Amsterdam was early and arrived 20 minutes ahead of schedule, which was just as well, as our Amsterdam to Nairobi flight was scheduled to leave one hour after the first flight, so this gave us a little more time to dash across the airport to the Kenya Airways flight.

Kenya Airways has recently purchased several Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft to replace their older aircraft and we were pleased to find it a massive improvement. The journey time to Nairobi was an hour and a half shorter and the aircraft itself had more legroom and excellent in-flight entertainment. However, neither of us managed to sleep on the flight.

Friday, 12 February 2016

About time!

We are heading back to Kenya tomorrow!

Can't wait to be back in Tsavo...Watch this space! :-)

Going back to Kenya has put a spring in our step ~ just like this Gerenuk :-)

We run our blog to share our experiences each day on safari. Please think about donating to our fundraising for Save The Elephants through our Just Giving Page

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Trailcam Highlights

We took our Bushnell Trophy Cam HD with us again this year and had much greater success with it than last year.  The thrill of taking the trailcam down in the morning and finding not one but two video clips of an African Civet walking right past us in the night was a definite highlight.  We have put together a short video with some of the best clips recorded by the trailcam.
If you have enjoyed this short video, please consider making a donation to our fundraising for Save The Elephants by clicking on the Just Giving link on the right.
Next up will be a feline this space!!!

Friday, 23 August 2013

DAY TWENTY ~ You Fat ...!

Today is our last full day in Kenya this year, so we decided to wander into Nairobi for some souvenir shopping. Most of the little shops and mini-arcades we used to visit were gone, replaced by finance companies, shoe shops and computer shops. The only real souvenir shopping area we could find was the utter rip-off of the Masai Market (where they will try to fleece you out of hundreds of dollars for a penny-worth of tat), so we headed for the Ya Ya Centre. On the second floor we found a very reasonable little souvenir shop and picked up too many things LOL.

After wandering around the Centre looking in all the shops, including an amazing bookshop that we would happily have taken home complete, we went for a coffee on the ground floor at the Doorman's Coffee Shop. Here we found something that has never been seen on the planet before...a piece of chocolate cake that defeated Howard!!!

The massive slices of cake we tackled in the Ya Ya Centre

Karen looks slightly daunted by the task

We have a winner!!!...And for the first time in history it is the chocolate cake and not Howard!!!

Tomorrow morning we have an early start, as we check in for our flight at 5.30am, so we are spending the rest of the day trying to figure out how to get all the souvenirs into our luggage!

See you on the cold side...

Thursday, 22 August 2013

DAY NINETEEN ~ Back to Nairobi

We got up early this morning hoping to catch some of the insects and reptiles around Hunter's Lodge before they were warmed up enough to be too fast to catch on camera. Unfortunately, none of them were up as early as us!  After breakfast we had a chat with the gardener, who has been brought in from one of the new owner's other hotels to completely overhaul the gardens and he is doing a very good job. We then drove to the Backpackers in Nairobi, had a shower, some lunch and settled down to finish updating the blog...

We have not had time to decide what we will do in Nairobi tomorrow, which is our last day as we fly home on Saturday.

Once again, Kenya has amazed, enthralled and surprised us in so many ways and we are already thinking about next year's safari.

Our apologies for the delay in getting the blog to you on time but we hope you have enjoyed reading it and that if you have enjoyed it, that you will consider making a donation to our fundraising for Save The Elephants through our "Just Giving" page.

Look out for more photos, videos and anecdotes from this trip in the coming weeks...

DAY EIGHTEEN ~ A Break In The Journey And A Touch Of History

Today began in sublime fashion, with the largest herd of Zebra we have ever seen, comprising several hundred, visiting the waterhole at Ngutuni after breakfast. They were very nervous and easily disturbed, which caused many a sudden stampede from the waterhole: this made for some very interesting photographs as they kicked up the dust against the morning sun.

Spooked Zebra.

After saying goodbye to the wonderful staff at Ngutuni, we reluctantly headed north again; leaving our beloved Tsavo behind. Having spent three days in luxury, we decided that a night in a tent with just a long-drop toilet should be a last resort and agreed we would see if there were any rooms available in Hunter's Lodge itself.

Now for the history. Hunter's Lodge was built in 1958 by Dennis Hunter in honour of his father J.A. Hunter, a famous white hunter who had been employed in the area by the British Colonial Government after the second world war to clear the area of Black Rhino to enable them to displace and relocate the Kamba people into the area. Hunter turned out to be brutally efficient in this task, killing almost 1100 Rhinos (source: Rough Guide to Kenya by Richard Trillo).

Today the Lodge is a rather run down twelve room stop over, with reasonable food in a lovely setting but tired and dated rooms and facilities. The Lodge has, however, recently been taken over by Mada Hotels, the owners of Fig Tree Camp in the Masai Mara and they have plans for major upgrades. Construction is already well under way on twenty-four additional rooms and a conference centre. Once this is complete, the original lodge will be updated to match the standard of the new facilities. This work is expected to take a further six to nine months; so we will see what things are like when we come back next year.

We spent a pleasant afternoon photographing African Darter, Grey-Headed Kingfisher, Hadada Ibis, Purple Heron and a lone Maribu Stork who wandered right up to our ground floor balcony. We also caught fleeting glimpses of Pied Kingfisher, Monitor Lizard, Yellow Baboon and photographed a troop of Vervet Monkeys who live in the trees around the lodge.

African Darter drying its wings.

A very chilled Vervet Monkey.

We discovered tonight that the reason our new Safaricom modem dongle has been unable to connect is because our version of the Safaricom software was out of date and therefore, incompatible with the new modem. Unfortunately, having solved this problem, we find ourselves in an area with a very poor mobile internet signal; so you will have to wait until we reach Nairobi tomorrow before we can update the Blog.