March 2018 has been a dark month for the Northern White Rhino specie, Kenya, conservationists all over the world and even worse for our clients who had booked safari with us and were looking forward to seeing the most eligible bachelor during their visit.
Sudan, the last surviving Northern White Rhino succumbed to old age-related complications that led to degenerative changes in muscles and bones combined with extensive skin wounds. Report says that his condition worsened within 24 hours, he couldn’t stand and was suffering a great deal. The veterinary team from the Dvůr Králové Zoo, Ol Pejeta and Kenya Wildlife Service made the decision to euthanize him.
He died on the 19th of March at Ol Pejeta conservancy at the age of 45 years. He lives behind 2 female Northern White Rhinos in the entire Planet; his daughter Najin and her daughter Fatu, who remains at Ol pejeta Conservancy.
Sudan has been with us in Kenya since 2009. He was brought from Dvůr Králové Zoo in Czech Republic together with one other male (died in 2014) and two other females.
How we got here is a story for another day. It however has a lot to do with the demand for Rhino horns in Chinese traditional medicine in Asia, and for dagger handle in Yemen (that’s just……) in the early 90s.
Well they say when one dies seven others are born; not so much for rhinos but the universe has made part of the former true. While the Northern White Specie are at the brim of extinction, another white rhino calve was received at Klein Karoo region in the Western Cape on 25th March. Exactly one week after Sudan’s demise. Our fingers are crossed hoping it is a male, as we now know the weight held by the male species. However this does not save the Northern White Rhino from extinction as previous attempts to get the White Rhino and The Northern White Rhino to mate has failed terribly. Either way, the birth of this cute one still brings hope to this globally endangered species.
The great rift valley begins in the dead sea in the north and ends at the Zambezi River in Mozambique to the south. The valley which was formed by drifting of the earth crust some 10 – 20 million of years ago extends approximately 8700kms.
The Kenya Rift Valley nearly divide Kenya down its length. All the way from Ethiopian border in the north to the Tanzania border in the south. The valley is characterized by uninhabitable deserts in the North, Fertile farmland in the middle of flat arid plains (Savannah grassland – Maasai Mara) to the south.
Since 2011, all Kenya Rift Valley Lakes have experienced rising in water levels. The lakes affected include Lake Naivasha, Elementaita, Nakuru, Bogoria and finally Baringo. This increase in water level have not been experienced in the last 50 years. The government agencies and meteorological departments confirms that the rainfall pattern in the Rift Valley have been pretty normal. Scientists have attributed these rises of water to the effect of regional tectonic movements. Techtronic activities is when violent forces push up molten rocks in volcanic eruption through the fault lines.
In our case, the Rift Valley is responding to the pull of the Indian Ocean forces. As a result, these effects have coursed some activities along some of the lakes to stop. The rising water level have consumed some areas meant for agriculture, buildings and hotels and recreational grounds. The hot geysers at Lake Bogoria have also been affected as they have been completely covered.
The good news though is that the lakes might not rise higher than the current levels. So, no course for worry!
That flamingos did a dance to choose their mates? I spend a lot of time thinking about this thrilling performance of nature,flamingo mating dance . On thing I fail to understand is how this helps them choose their mates from the crowds. But as the saying goes, “beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”.
Males nod their heads popping them up and down rhythmically as if dancing to a melodies tune that they only can understand. It seems like each individual male is trying to outdo the other so as to attract attention of a ready female. Females watch from a distance, delighted in the display of the dance unfolding before them and at the same time looking for a suitable father for their nestling.
During this digital era, I can bet my heart that the males’ new move and their dancing styles couple with their light pink colors and bright eyes can make any female to fall in love. Females will also be on the forefront as they partake in similar methods of applying makeup even prettier in the eyes of the males. Once the females sport their mates, they swim next to the lucky male which heightens the performance. Dancing in circles as the pair form a bond and are ready to mate..
Oh, nature, you so crazy!
Flaming-o mating dance can happen once or twice in a year depending with the availability of food and rain. Once the ceremony is finished, pairs build nests about 30cms high to protect 9them from flooding and to keep them cool. A female will then lay a single chalk colored egg which both parents will incubate for 24hours in turns. The incubation period is between 28 – 31 days.
On hatching, a chick will join a creche of a thousand birds in about 6 days. They learn how to run in one week. In about 4 weeks, the young one grows fathers and learns how to fly in about 12 weeks. Flamingoes mature at the age of about 6 years. They can fly up to 60km per hour. They have been recorded to travel about 1540kms although will normally fly as far as the next lake.
Flamingoes are filter feeders. They have tiny bristles in their bills that they use to capture their pray from under water. The lesser flamingoes have the most and finest filaments in their bills. They move their pistons like tongue up to speed of about 20 times per second drawing water into their bills and pushing it backwards to the filaments.
A group of flamingoes is called a flamboyance or a stand or a colony.
One might wonder what is there to be done in Apitourism in Kenya. Traditionally, East Africa’s pastoral, hunting and gathering community collected wild honey in forests and caves. Beez were smoked out of tree trunks and caves by burning elephant dung, believed to have ability of lighting for a very long time. During harvesting, no protective gear was worn by these traditional honey gatherers. Pay a visit now and see how immune they are to the bee stings. The practice still lives in some communities though most of them have taken a leap from it by constructing their own traditional log hives.
The fusion of traditional methods where individuals manufacture most of the equipment they require and the modern method with Kenya Top bar hives provides a unique experience. Some practices believe it not will get the visiting bee keepers’ adrenaline gushing.
Kenya’s ‘honey jar’ is filled with the Pokot bee keeping community practicing the traditional methods of bee keeping. The area has a huge potential of in honey production. With an estimate of 176,00 bee hives. They produce special quality honey not available in any other area in Kenya. Their methods work perfectly for them that the resents attempt to introduce the modern methods has not been widely adapted. Just like any other venture, the Baringo traditional bee keeping community have challenges like water, destruction of bees by pest, occasional theft and poor marketing infrastructure but harvesting accidents is not one of them. This is because of their deep knowledge in bee behavior, a golden knowledge passed from generations to generations.
One of the most expensive honey from the area is the cave honey. Highly medicinal and very dark in color. These are always fetched by the gatherers, they know where and how to find the wild hives in caves by the bee eater bird signal. It is an adventure on its own and visiting apitourists may take part in the wild honey harvesting if they are up for it.
We try to make our apitourism products informative for educative purposes, wild for the adventurous souls and rich for those with investment motives.
In Baringo County you will learn of the types of hives available in Kenya. You will visit and see the Log hives, Box hives Kenya Top Bar Hives, and the Long stroth hive.
By visiting both traditional keepers, the modern keepers and the wild honey gatherers, you will get the different perspectives of what the worker bees collect. Their feeding habits also is very interesting because they tend to produce different types of honey. Without forgetting the sustainable bee keeping methods. You will also be educated in the pests and diseases that attack bees and their control measures as well.
Find out deeper on how the traditional keepers manage to harvest and handle the bee without getting the bees agitated as well as taking part in the modern methods.
You will visit a processing plant and sample the different kinds of the byproducts. A visit to the Maasai Mara will enlighten you on how deep the honey byproducts are used in Kenya.
One major challenge facing the local keepers in the market. Most of them, mostly in Baringo now sell their honey to small support group at a throw away price and some sell to the tourist along the road as Baringo county is a major hub for tourism in Kenya.
The Maasai are also a community who traditionally gathered wild honey. Traditional methods worked for them. However, it wasn’t the best. In the process many colonies get burned reducing the quality and quantity of their harvest. Apart from fires, these methods are not friendly to the environment too. To help, several non – governmental bodies have provided bee keeping classes for the Maasai community. This is to teach the women of the Maasai community more sustainable practices. The lessons has helped them improve the quality and quantity of their harvest as well as to improve their livelihood. Our Apitourism product incorporates an interaction with these women who have crossed from the traditional ways to the modern ways of bee keeping so that at the end of your noble tour you have a recap of our transitional journey.
Touring East Africa has been made easier by the introduction of the East African Tourist Visa.
This single Visa allows access to Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. Once you have it you can go in and out the three countries as many times as you wish during the visa’s period of validity.
It is also cheaper to use East African Visas rather than pursuing individual visas for the above-mentioned counties.
If you are thinking of traveling to Kenya, be encouraged to to Kayak the Nile in Uganda and don’t hold back from visiting the Gorilla Mountains or seeing golden monkeys in Rwanda without any extra charges.
Visas issued for specific countries can only be used for that particular country
As a new visa, we know it can be a bit confusing for you, and that is why we have gathered a few information to ensure it is easier for you.
NOTE: All persons must apply in their own right
Its advisable that when applying for the East African Visa you apply with the country you will commence your travel.
For those beginning their trip in Uganda visit visas.immigration.go.ug for more information.
For those beginning their trip in Kenya. Find information on the visa application process on the consular section of your local Kenya embassy’s website www.ecitizen.go.ke
For those beginning their travel in Rwanda www.migration.gov.rw will be the website to visit. Under “Type of Visa” select “East Africa Tourist Visa.” For more information contact your local Rwanda embassy.
More information: More information can be found on www.visiteastafrica.org
Most noteworthy, Citizens of Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda (in that order) however, can now move easily in the three countries using only a National ID or Student ID.
As a result, residents living within the three countries can now use a valid resident permit to explore the amazing diversity that exists in the region.
WHY THE BOGORIA GIRL:
Its during the just passed festive season (December 2017) that the Bogoria girl was born in me. My family’s 2017 Christmas holiday took us to all the lakes in Kenya’s Great Right Valley. We left Nairobi on the 24th December and first destination was Lake Bogoria where we stayed for three nights. Our home for those three nights was Lake Bogoria Spa and Resorts. With two swimming pools the resort is a perfect getaway for families with kids. It gave us a chance to swim late at night because one of the pols is naturally heated pool. Lake Bogoria is famous for hot geyser springs thus the naturally heated swimming pool. 26th Dec will forever remain a special day for me. On this day dinner was by the pool (the natural heated pool). Friends of Lake Nakuru was the band entertaining us, we also had the bogoria women perform their traditional dance. Then here came what would be my 2017 highlight. The manager on duty announced that there was a short video clip they wanted to show us. He went on to explain what it was all about. It was about one of their own at Lake Bogoria Spa and Resort by the name Lydia. The clip was about what Lydia has been doing for the community around the resort and she was appealing for well-wishers to join her. This Lady has been putting smiles on girls and women in Bogoria though the journey has not been easy. I came to learn then that the girls in Bogoria are not able to attend school throughout each month because their parents can’t afford sanitary pads. Came every November and December those that are of age risk going through FGM.
This story touched me so deep and I felt the urge to know more about Lydia and the bogoria girl. Ruth was our waiter that evening and I enquired from her who Lydia was and if it was possible to see her that evening since we were to leave next day in the morning. Luckily enough she was on duty and within few minutes she was at our table.
Lydia shared with me at length on what it is that she does for the bogoria girl and woman. To most of you reading this maybe it has never occurred to you that we have some girls who miss school for 3 to 5 days every month because they can afford sanitary pad. I would like to let you know that this does happen and Bogoria is one of these places that you will meet these girls. She goes onto tell me that she uses her little savings and what she has collected from friends to buy these girls the sanitary pads. This was shocking. Yes it was not the first time I was hearing this kind of story in my home land Kenya but it was the first time I was listening unedited story. A story from someone on the ground who told me as it was. I asked here a hundred and one questions. With the little she gets she is able to buy the pads but there are times when she does not get enough money to buy and provide to all the needy girls. By now you all have an idea what happens when a girl does not get her monthly supply…..you are right, she misses school close to five days and though she stays at home she is very restricted on where to go or what to do. Sad, right? You will be more surprised to learn that one girl needs only Kshs 2000 (20 USD) to be able to get a one-year supply for the sanitary towel. Yes, the figure is correct. Per month this will be Kshs 170 approximately (USD 1.70). During this talk an inner voice kept on telling me Anne you need to do something and even as I type this that inner voice is still talking to me. I have no dought that I need to do something for these girls.
Effect of these 3 to 5 days is very huge. These girls are forced to go out and source for the little money they need. And how do they do this? They are lured by men who in return gives them some few shillings for their needs. A times this results in early pregnancy and early polygamous marriages.
Lydia goes on to tell me that come November and December which is our schools longest holiday some of these girls are forced to go through FGM. This is also another of her project. To see that these girls are not subjected to this inhumanly act, she keeps on educating young girls on why they should not agree to go through FGM. Our talk got deep that at some point, I had to release my family to go for a swim at the spa pool promising to join them later (we had agreed earlier that we were to have a late-night swim). Our 7-year-old son kept on coming to remind me that I needed to join them in the spa pool as we had a deal. At one point he came and said “Mummy, I can see that this is a very serious talk but is there hope of you joining us at the swimming pool” He was very right, I was touched by this story that for moment I forgot why I was at Lake Bogoria Spa.
Remember I mentioned that some becomes victim of early pregnancy? There need also becomes more. As we concluded promised Lydia that I will be one of those who will walk with her on this journey. Am not sure but maybe she has been told this before but nothing materialized. As we ushered in the new year I told myself that will make personal contribution to this very noble course. I will approach my friends and request them to each take care of a girl for a whole year. Being that I am the CEO and Founder of Kisima Safaris I felt I could do more. On coming back to the office after the holidays I have shared the story with my team and they all want to be part of this journey. It is through this that THE BOGORIA GIRL SAFARI has been born. For every client who travel with us Kisima safaris will contribute 20 dollars toward purchasing of sanitary pad. We also welcome our guests on this safari to add something on this kitty and be a part as we give confidence to the BOGORIA WOMAN. The Bogoria is thus commencing this year and we are ready to walk with these girls and make them have a bright future ahead.
This is a wonder Lake with seven Island and several Mythical tales about it. Some of which will give you goose balms and some, if you are adventurous enough, will leave you wanting to explore the dangers in it. It is the 2nd most Northern of the Rift Valley Lakes just below Lake Turkana. Also, one of the 2 fresh water Rift Valley Lake (the other one being L. Naivasha). Strange thing being, the Lake is fed by several rivers including, Molo, Perkera and Ol Arabel but has no visible outlet. Probably it sips its water to the sedimentary rocks below.
The 130Km2 Lake has a total of 7 Islands in it; namely Lokoros, Rongena, Lengai, Samatian, Ol kokwe, Parmolos and the Devil’s Island. One of the Islands is habited by one family, 1 man several wives and very many children. Ol Kokwe is the Island of Hot Natural Springs where you can boil your eggs as you enjoy the Bewitching silence. The Devil’s Island I find to be the most Interesting. The four fishing communities the Njems, Pokot, Turkana and the Turgen who all sail in L. Boaringo have a mythical tale about this Island. All off them sail far from the Island not to dare getting closer to it. They say a blue flame lights the Island every night. Occasionally, the Devil living there is heard hauling the names of anyone who dares to get close to the Island at night. Though Tourist Love the area for it’s hiking landscapes.
The ecosystem in Lake Bogoria is one of the richest. With 470 bird species recorded so far, including the migratory flamingos and the common Fish eagle, it is a heaven for bird watchers. With seven fresh water fish species, it has provided four communities and the resident crocodile with more than enough to live on. The water plants take care of the numerous numbers of Hippopotamus living in the lake in groups of 10-15. Research says that the Hippos in Baringo can feed up to 40kgs of grass on a daily basis. However, all these living things depend on L. Baringo as a habitat are all at risk as siltation is slowly interfering with the water levels. So far, the fish are reducing and the Nile Crocodile who once live in perfect harmony with the Locals are now hazardous to them.
Lake Baringo is a destination to die for. Spectacle sunset, a dazzling array of endless colorful birds, the authentic culture of the Pokot fishermen in their simple, traditional fishing vessels. The nights at the Island lodge is a special treat of bewitching silence only interrupted by the waves of the lake and the chipping birds. And the highlight being, seeing the sunrise behind the lake from the comfort of your bed at Island Camp.
The drive to Amboseli National Park was quiet. One hour from the buzzing city center and we were already on a scenic road. The mountainous landscape of Ukambani area makes you want turn on some country music or soft rock, my old soul craved country music. Everybody in the van drown to nature, silent but yet in communication with the surrounding beauty internally. I yarned to see Amboseli again.
The numerous fruit venders at Emali got my heart throbbing with anxiety, we were close now. I hardly notice the junction to the rough road; my mind was away; taking me back to my first trip to Amboseli. I remembered when we stopped to buy some fruits, a nice lady had told me they got the fruits from Tanzania. Emali is the Kenya Tanzania Border, and it is easier for the locals to get their fruits from the leeward side of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
I was brought back to reality by the bumpy road. The deep galleys and the Maasai Manyattas just confirmed that we were in Amboseli. At the road side I spotted a young Maasai boy who I guest could be 6years – 8years looking after a large heard of goats and cattle, a lather container tied around his waists. Lunch, drinking water or milk perhaps, I thought to myself. Carefully packed by his mother before he left the Manyatta (Maasai traditional huts), I concluded thinking about the many literature I read about the Maasai community when in primary school.
The Maasai have survived on their herds of cattle, sheep and goats for hundreds of years in the savannas and thrived by tracking wildlife on their seasonal migrations. By selecting hardy animals and using husbandry practices suited to the arid lands, the Maasai have sustained Amboseli’s grasslands, coexisted with wildlife and survived the severest of droughts.
At Iremito gate was a colorful display of Maasai ladies and gentlemen trying to adjust to the modern word of the Kenyan shilling. Schools are here now and fees has to be paid. They do so through the only art they have mastered traditionally which is selling their iconic traditional beaded accessories. They Surrounded our van and kept selling, the van came alive as everybody tried to grab a souvenir. I noticed something else, metal work, unique, precious and some curved into weapons. Its only natural for a pastoral community living alongside dreaded predators to acquire the blacksmith skills.
Its November 2017 just a month after snow more than usual was experience at the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The vast endless plain hold array of vegetation. From scattered woodlands, to arid bushes, to wind swept barren flat flakes, to swampy alpine meadows and glaciers too. This dramatically but quiet plains provide a majestic playing and feeding fields for so many wild animals. My first glimpse at the surrounding catches the dancing Maasai Ostrich 4 males and 1 female. A heard of Zebras just ahead and a spotted hyena walking by minding his own business. Strange I thought; considering the old narratives told by my grandmother portrayed hyenas as gluttonous animals; I could not just place why it was not hunting the Zebras. Probably they are waiting for a Lion to make a kill before they take it away like I see in the animal documentaries. I once saw such an action in the Mara but it was between the wild dogs and the hyenas.
Our overnight Lodge was an oasis, green and cool. The alley leading to the reception is a trail aligned with doum palms and bamboo trees. The other side of the reception lies magnificent Kilimanjaro site. The 5895M tall volcanic mountain separates Kenya from Tanzania and provides a majestic view that disappears into the clouds. A gift from Mother Nature. 2 hours later we depart again, on route for another surprise from Mother Nature.
The evening game drive gave us an insight to the resident wild animals. Elephant, buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, hartebeest and gazelle migrate with the rains in search of green flushes and draw back to permanent swamps in search of water and pasture each dry season. Where there is water and grass for grassers there are many predators as well, including lion, leopard, cheetah and hyena. The dry bush country harbors giraffe, eland, gerenuk, lesser kudu and a host of smaller animals. Add a rich variety of birds.
The game drive came to a halt at the Noomotio Observation Hill. This is actually the only place one can walk in the park, unless its a guided nature walk with the Maasai. It’s a pyramid shaped hill brought about by volcanic action. From the hill you can view the swamps in the plain below and Mt. Kilimanjaro. At sunset you might also view numerous wildlife with the aid of a binoculars. We had a 45min open bar and were entertained by the Maasai traditional songs and dances. The view of the golden sunset from this point is special and priceless.
My hotel room was on the Elephant view side, from the veranda you could see Mt. Kilimanjaro and herds of elephant families every morning at 0900hrs walking to a swamp directly in front of the room. This was a very unique experience that I got to experience every single morning of my stay at Amboseli. There is a morning I was up early by 05500hrs and Mt. Kilimanjaro’s view was clearer than ever.
I left with very many memories and my soul was rejuvenated. A feeling I definitely want to have again and again every moment I get the chance to.
Kisima Tours and Safaris is a tour operating company that upholds sustainability. We do all we can to maximize on the positive effect on the environment and the culture of places we visit, so as to minimize the great effects of travel. Tourism depend on the natural recourses of a place, environment, culture and the people around a particular region. That is why we are concerned with the global climatic impact and work hard to reduce our carbon ‘footprints’ both out there in the field and in the office.
Our efforts have been confirmed to be right and recognize and certificated by Travelife. This means that during the 2017 WTM London, we were awarded a certificate by Travelife. Travelife is a leading training, management and certification initiative for tourism companies committed to reach sustainability. This achievement came after we set aside some initiatives and followed them closely. We still come across some ways of practicing sustainability better.
Now when it comes to tour operators and sustainability, three things are often involved; the Environment, the Society and the economy.
Don’t look any further for women-only travel packages. The best are here, offered by Kisima Safaris
Are you seeking for women only trips? Would you like to meet and make friends with other women? Would you like to spend tie with like-minded women while having a lifetime adventure? Are you seeking to let go yourself and be that girl that you always dream to be connecting with nature? Or do you prefer to relax while sipping tea, coffee or even a that wine that you so love?
Those dreams of mentoring a young woman can be met while on women only safari with Kisima Safaris. Come mingle with the Kenyan woman. You will be amazed as to how many things you have in common just because you are both women. This and many more are reason enough why you need that long waited vacation and will make a positive difference in your life.
Women-only Safaris makes you connect self, Other women and Nature. On arrival you come in with packed suitcases but when going back home you take more as self-love, love for others, joy, strength, knowledge just to mention but a few are some of those that you will have added in your packing going back home. You also don’t leave us empty as we leave us with Love, smile, hope, care and any more. You plant a seed in other women’s lives that is priceless.
Located only 118 km South West from Nairobi. Shompole wildlife conservancy offers opportunity for Game Drive as you search for the Big Five. Enjoy your night under luxurious canvas at Shompole Camp. Also, a beautiful sun-downer experience that gives way to a clear skies with plenty of stars. Shompole’s uniqueness lies on its geographic location. The Conservancy stands at the border of Kenya and Tanzania. It also lies between Lake Natron and Lake Magadi which are all saline Lakes. It’s the best place for adventure due to it’s location at the edge of Nguruman Escarpment overlooking the great rift valley. This conservancy covers a total of 35,000 acres and is surrounded by 140,000 acres of Shompole group ranch. The 140,000 acres provides a disposal area for wildlife and buffer zone.
Shompole Camp has only 4 double tents placed widely spread apart. Therefor, it ensure privacy, comfort and relaxation in mind. Each Shompole room has its own cool-pool and informal sitting areas. A bathroom with a view to take you awy while having a shower. A specially designed tent that includes vast windows and a high-canopied roof. Making it perfect for our women only exclusive group.
Just like the Mara, the surrounding community at Shompole are the Maasai community. They paint the Semi-arid area with colorful culture. They grace the environment with their numerous heard of cattle. The Maasai are nomadic pastoralist hence making the lifestyle of the locals quite predictable and interesting. Their daily routine consists of waking up and walking their cattle in search of pasture. To them to them, cattle are their sign of wealth and they live to own more and more of them. At Shompole you get to interact with the community at even participate in their cultural activities.
Sustainable Tourism is part of us. We practice it in our offices and out in the field. As you travel with Kisima Safaris please join us by practicing sustainable tourism.