Kenya Safari 2013

In October 2013 we went on Safari to Kenya with Willet’s Safaris.  This was the annual Ponteland Community Middle School trip to visit their twin school, Wanga Primary School; the trip was a Parents and Kids safari.

Black-headed heron at Wildebeest Camp (c) Duncan Hutt

Black-headed heron at Wildebeest Camp (c) Duncan Hutt

We flew into Nairobi where we were met by safari leader, John Blissett, and spent out first night at Wildebeest Camp to recover from our overnight flight and to wait for others in the group to arrive.  There was plenty of new wildlife to spot here, in particular the wide variety of birds such as  black headed heron, black kite, hammerkop and hadada ibis.

We had a trip out to the local elephant and rhino orphange run by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.  It was a harsh introduction to the problems of local conservation measures with elephants constantly falling victim to poaching or coming into conflict with local villegers.

Young elephant at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust orphanage (c) Duncan Hutt

Young elephant at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust orphanage (c) Duncan Hutt

Mount Longonot and a  rift valley view (c) Duncan Hutt

Mount Longonot and a rift valley view (c) Duncan Hutt

Our particular trip took us from Nairobi into the East African Rift Valley, over the equator and up to Lake Baringo.  Here the lake has risen sharply in the last few months leaving only a small section of our accommodation at Robert’s Camp above water.  Our first day there started with a wildlife walk to the cliffs, one of the many fault lines of the rift valley, and an evening walk to seek out nightjars.  The following dawn we took a boat ride out onto Lake Baringo.

From Baringo we went west to Lake Victoria stopping overnight in the Tea Hotel in Kericho, at the heart of the Kenya tea growing area.  Lake Side Safari Village in the Mbita area was our base for three days and from here we spent time helping out at Wanga School and Duncan took a trip to Ruma National Park.  Work with the schools in the Mbita area as well as other projects like this are being run by Development Direct, a small north-east England based charity.

Our next destination was the Maasai Mara, with an overnight stop in Kisii on the way.  We stopped at Riverside Camp and from here ventured out into the Mara, with wonderful chances to get up close to a variety of the wildlife there.  More details of this wildlife is split in posts on the cats, grazing animals and the birds.

Labentera (c) Duncan Hutt

Labentera (c) Duncan Hutt

Our final stop was at Labentera where we camped in a small camp site situated on the hill, amongst the local wildlife, above the small Maasai village.

The return to Nairobi once again took us across the rift valley and up the steep escarpment to the east.  A brief stop at Wildebeest Camp allowed us to get a bit of relaxation before the flight home.

Particular thanks have to go to our two main drivers Peter and Simon who coped admirably with the often challenging roads as well as the questions we threw in their direction.

Peter and Simon, our drivers

Peter and Simon, our drivers

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