There is something enchanting about being on a Tall ship and watching the sails go up under the moonlight to beautiful music! Starclippers gives people the opportunity to spend lots of time in various ports for on-shore experiences as well as offering some unique things to do on board! Climb the mast for a birds eye view or hang out on the “bowsprit” – the netting at the bow of the ship – to watch the Ocean below! This trip is casual and yet still first class food and accommodation – an absolute blast of a good time for friends and family. Kathy took a group of 24 on the Barbados – Caribbean Islands sailing and each person had a magical time on-board and we are already planning their next adventure.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy – 90,000 acre private wildlife conservancy in Kenya’s Laikipia district with Mount Kenya in the background. We were fortunate to be able to do a chimpanzee “behind the scenes” at their Chimp Sanctuary set up by Jane Goodall as a method of saving several Chimps that had been in captivity, as well as a special Rhino Encounter with the endangered white rhinos.
The Chimp sanctuary was established between Kenya Wildlife Service and the Jane Goodall Institute to provide refuge to orphaned and abused chimpanzees from West and Central Africa. They now have 39 chimps that have been nursed back to health in 2 different family groups, each with very large territories of natural enclosures separated by the Ewaso Nyiro River.
After the Rhino Encounter we joined Zachary, one of their long time caregivers, for an educational visit to the rhino burial site for a somber look at where about 13 sites are marked for rhinos that either died of natural causes (such as Sudan) and sadly many others who died from poachers. However, Ol Pejeta is doing a fantastic job with their anti-poaching and conservation efforts. They have grown their rhino population significantly and have kept their ecosystem intact with a wide variety of game.
Once I arrived in Nairobi, I met our partners Liz, Tenai, Geoff, and Albert. We went out for a visit to the orphanage we help support, Eating Stone. The kids are well fed, clothed, and are going to school – they are doing great work there. We were impressed to hear the children’s little stories of what they would like to be when they grow up – we had some aspiring to be Doctors, Engineers, Pilots – the sky is the limit! Next project will be to help them get access to a soccer field and some game type activities to keep them active and engaged.
Travelling through Tanzania with Lemala Safaris was the very best way to experience this wonderful and diverse country! The Serengeti is aptly named, as it means “endless plains” which we certainly felt. Miles and miles of vast tracks of land. I was able to experience top camps in wildlife rich areas and also get some excellent cultural experiences. It was everything and more that I could hope for. From Tarangire to Ngorongoro to Northern Serengeti – I got just a small taste of what Tanzania has to offer.
We had a great visit at a Samburu village outside Samburu National Park before continuing on a game drive. Liz and I were able to partake in a conversation with Joseph and Steven about their tribe – their struggles and their successes. We were welcomed in with the ladies to their dance and song and a visit in one of their huts to see how they live.
They have very little but are pretty happy people – water seemed to be their main concern. It is so hot and dry in Samburu – the river bed is dry right now, the rains should come soon but in the meantime, they rely on a water tank that was donated to them that they fill every couple of months for the whole village. As they say “water is life” … so Liz and I were able to do a little donation to pay for their next water tank to be filled and they were extremely grateful.
Check out Steven with the Buffalo horn that they use when they are calling the tribe in for a meeting or if there is a warning of some sort. They can hear it for up to 10 km!
We spent a morning in Ngorongoro Crater, the largest intact caldera in the world. Here you’ll find hippos taking mud baths, prides of lions lazing in the sun, and one of the highest density of hyenas in all of Africa’s parks.
After brunch on the crater floor we continued our game drive west to Ndutu, the southern area of the Serengeti Plains, translated as “endless plains” from the native Maasai language. Here special sightings are possible through off-road driving. I’ve seen almost everything except leopard and rhino 😊 there’s even a bit of the wildebeest migration going down into Ndutu.
We drove towards Tarangire National Park, stopping at an authentic Maasai Boma and having a ‘chat’ under a tree with the Local Chief. An authentic glimpse into the distinctive Maasai culture is a must whilst in Tanzania. Preservation of their proud traditions has set the Maasai apart from other indigenous groups, and embodies a side of Africa into which few outsiders get a glimpse.
We continued on to Lemala Mpingo Ridge which overlooks the valley and is five star luxury in a remote and pristine environment. Great wildlife, wonderful people and the Lemala camps are outstanding! Tarangire National Park really is elephant haven with a real abundance of ellies and wildlife.
Upon arrival in Tanzania Kathy stayed in the lovely Golf & Safari Retreat outside of Arusha, a villa with charm and a great place to get over the jetleg. Stay tuned to see where she stays, what she sees and who she meets on this exciting African adventure.
We are fortunate to be able to spend a few days at the beautiful Toka Leya Camp on the banks of the Zambezi River (Zambia) before the conference begins in Cape Town. We took a nice boat trip on the Zambezi and visited a village where Wilderness Safaris has done a lot of work with “The Children in the Wilderness” program. They have a school set up, education programs, as well as community programs that we were able to see. The children and the community are doing well with the water that’s now available and the education provided. They will soon be a self-sustaining community which will be wonderful.
We finished off the other day with some nice cheetah and lion sightings then carried on to Wilderness Safaris property, Rocktail Lodge. This is an adventure camp within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park in Kwa-Zulu Natal. A bit more rustic, this tented camp has beautiful views to the ocean, good snorkeling and great scuba diving. Being one of the top 15 dive locations in the world we were surprised that there was hardly anyone around! It’s a very isolated and special spot.
We carried on past sugar cane fields, cashew trees, and eucalyptus trees that are grown and harvested for paper. Now in Durban, our big Africa conference starts tomorrow!