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.
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.
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.
Agro-tourism is simply a blended mixture of two industries Agriculture and Tourism. It is the practice of touring farms and often participating in the farming activities. Most Tourist fly in the country only to view wildlife from the windows of their Safari Jeeps. They forget that Kenya is one of the world’s main agricultural product suppliers. Among them tea, coffee, cut flowers, nuts vegetables, fruits, cheese, meat and leather products.
Tourist planning to have a taste of agro-tourism may partake in the following activities;
The old concept called Farm stays. This is when a paying guest stays in the farm at least overnight. Unlike hands off accommodation like hotels Bed and breakfast, Farm stays give clients an opportunity to get their hand dirty, gives them and their children an opportunity to work during vacation and learn skills new to them. And above all give our clients a first-hand day to day Kenyan lifestyle experience.
Kisima Safaris have travel and talked to a number of farmers who host guests on farm stays and farm visits just to get a picture of agro-tourism in Kenya. Surprisingly, little data have been gathered on this sector to date.
In our interview we asked why people visit the farms. It happens that the answers we got we almost alike. Every farmer said that tourists who visit their farms are seeking a connection in themselves that they sense have been lost, they would like to find it but they don’t know how. But they know intuitively that farms are a good place to start looking. People come to restore, to renew, to reactivate, to regenerate, to remember. They come to learn, to invest, to carry home healthier ways of living. Above all to meet and interact with their food providers.
Agro-tourism and specifically the farm stay can be a profitable and socially important part of Kenya’s economy but farm stays have been practiced since the colonial times in Kenya. The sector has gone through some development in most parts of Kenya but it has room for more growth potential. At the cross roads of artistic, science and physiological knowledge, farms offer a type of hands on experience that people really crave. My preposition therefore is that developing the farm stay sector will help grow a generation who want to have a feel of the day to day Kenyan culture. That participation indeed can create a new economy.
After knowing why partake agro-tourism visit, it is important also to know what visitors take with them when they leave, what do they talk about with their friends? What do they remember if not what they tasted, smelt, saw, heard and touched? Our senses act as gateways to individual epiphany.
To the farmers, hospitality pays in more than one way. Generally, Agro-tourisms help farmers to diversify operations, spread financial risks and in many cases, maintain family farmland in production. Once up and running a farm stay here generates a third of the firm’s total revenue. Farmers also consider the non-financial benefits of Agro-tourism integral to the overall viability of the enterprise. Most farmers said that opening their doors kept their farms feeling vibrant and engaged with their communities’ center of giving and receiving. Although not all farmers are host, those that are find an exchange of inspiration and ideas with guest.
From the Coffee farming in kikuyu land, to the tea farming in Kericho and other Kenyan Highlands to the sugarcane farms in Nyanza; the enormous and productive Lord Delamare firms to the famous Pioneers; flower and horticultural farms in Naivasha, to the dairy cheese farm in Limuru to the wheat and baileys fields in Narok, the list is endless. Every field has a story; these stories have been harness and woven together by Kisima Safaris for you. Collectively I think that these simple experiences compose the future of our region with character and identity.
There for the idea is to build a synchronized visible identity that links together the food, beverage, farm, sport and tourism industries. This could build a new brand, a new face of Kenya that offers more than the rich wildlife and the beautiful Kenyan Coast. I believe that this diversity as a strength. Agro- tourism addresses many mutual goals of land conservation, vital economic development, environmental education even food security and is there for worth a closer look, it also maintain on-farm livelihood transforming our country’s most natural assets into regenerative, cultural and economic ones.
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.