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Bush Telegraph Newsletter

April / May 2014 Part 1 of 2


Kenya Safaris Planned Visits 2014/15 


A question I am regularly asked by potential clients is how often I visit Kenya. The answer is at least once, if not twice a year. During the next 12 months I am booked to visit in September and then the following February 2015. 

The purpose of my visits is obviously to enjoy the experience, but also to familiarise myself with venues and locations that I have not previously visited and to also check on established venues to ensure standards are being maintained. When one is offering a personal, bespoke service, as Kenya 

Safaris does, then it is vital to ensure that the recommendations being proposed have been tried and tested. This is not possible in all cases, but I do attempt to be able to verify most of the suggested itineraries proposed. 

The first of my planned visits is a 14 night safari commencing from Sunday the 28th


September and conforms to my stated objectives of visiting new locations in addition to visiting old and trusted establishments. 


Day 1. 


Kitich Camp www.kitichcamp.com Full board for 3 nights 


Kitich Camp - Mathew's Forest 


The Mathews Mountain Range rises up out of the desert; a chain of peaks covered in 900 sq km of dense dewy forest in a remote valley. Kitich Camp overlooks a river glade within the lush indigenous forest. 


The forest is home to elephant, melanistic leopard, bushbuck, giant forest hog, buffalo, as well as ancient cycads, spectacular butterflies, Turacos and wild orchids. 


With only six guest tents, one can expect complete privacy. Each en suite tent is traditionally safari-style, with an al-fresco stone bathroom. Kitich Camp's cosy lounge with open fire and sheepskin covered safari chairs overlooks the floodlit river glade - from here guests can enjoy watching the elephants, buffalo, bushbuck and occasionally the beautiful leopard emerge from the forest at dusk. 


Walk along forest paths guided by the Samburu and Ndorobo people, or swim in natural rock pools of the crystal mountain streams, Kitich Camp offers a truly unique and private forest wildlife experience. 


Day 4. 


Overland transfer to Joys Camp www.joyscamp.com for 3 night's full board 


Joy's Camp - Shaba 



An elegant boutique oasis in the arid lands of Samburu; Joy's Camp is built on the site of Joy Adamson's tented home in Shaba National Reserve. The site was also home to Penny the Leopard, the heroine of her last book. The camp overlooks a large natural spring where elephant and lion jostle for watering rights with herds of buffalo and the rare desert species of Beisa Oryx, reticulated giraffe and Grevy's zebra. 


Each of the 10 sumptuous tents is uniquely decorated with handmade glass and the vibrant fabrics of the local nomadic tribes creating a chic, sophisticated and stylish camp. 

Each tent has breathtaking views of the surrounding hills, with its own verandah - ideal for game viewing as well as relaxing, reading and soaking up the truly wild environs offered by Shaba. 



Day 7. 


Overland transfer to Elsa's Kopje www.elsakopje.com for 2 night's full board 


Elsa's Kopje - Meru 



Elsa's Kopje is named after Elsa the lioness, made famous by George and Joy Aamson's 

biographical book and film "Born Free". 


Winner of the Good Safari Guide's, "Best Safari Property in Africa" award. Elsa's Kopje is renowned for being one of the most elegant lodges in Africa, with the most spectacular setting. It is the best upmarket location to view rhino in their natural habitat in Kenya. 


An awarding winning design with stunning views from the open bar, lounge and dining room. Elsa's Kopje is almost invisible to the eye as you approach its home on Mughwango Hill. It blends into the rocky crags of the "Kopje" (small hill), built above the site of George 

Adamson's original campsite. 


Every sumptuous cottage is the ultimate "room-with-a-view", uniquely designed and crafted, incorporating the natural features of the rocky hillside. 


Day 9. 


Overland transfer to Lewa Safari Camp www.lewa.org for 2 night's full board 


Lewa Safari Camp - Laikpia 




Lewa Safari Camp has a stunning location within Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, with outstanding game viewing and spectacular views to Mt. Kenya to the south and arid lowlands to the north. Each tent has a thatched roof, verandah and full en suite bathroom, very much in the "Lewa" style. The central areas have exquisite gardens with a large sunny verandah and swimming pool to enjoy during the day and cosy log fires in the lounge and dining room for the more chilly evenings. 


The camp is based within the private 65,000 acre wildlife conservancy of the Lewa Wilderness Trust. The conservancy is home to about 10 percent of Kenya's black rhino population and the single largest population of Grevy's zebra in the world. Lewa Conservancy reinvests all the profits generated from tourism (including profits from Lewa Safari Camp) into its core programmes. When you visit Lewa as well as enjoying outstanding game viewing in an elegant setting, you will also be helping thousands of people from different backgrounds and cultures to improve their lives and give their children a future and at the same time ensuring Africa's wildlife has a stable home. 



Day 11. 


Fly to Masai Mara and transfer to Little Governors Camp www.governorscamp.com for 3 night's full board. 



Little Governors' is intimate in character, with just 17 luxury en-suite tents tucked around a large watering hole that teems with both birds and wildlife. The camp is approached by a boat ride across the Mara River, then an escorted walk through the riverine forest. 

Vehicles are left on the far river bank, and the camp is therefore quiet and undisturbed. 

The guest tents at Little Governors' have wooden decks with large veranda's for guests to enjoy the constant game activity that takes place around the natural watering hole at the camp. All Governors' properties are unfenced, and at Little Governors' there is a resident 

family of warthogs that wander freely through the camp. Guests may need to make way for elephants which sometimes visit the camp at lunch time. Little Governors Camp has just been awarded a Silver Eco-Rating from Eco Tourism Kenya due to our sustainable 

practices in place in camp. 


We are also including this trip the optional balloon safari. If you ever get the opportunity, then take it! 


The adventure begins just before dawn. Departure is from a perfect natural launch site behind Little Governors' Camp, and flames from the hot air balloon burners light the darkness as the crews inflate their craft. The first, pink tongues of sunlight flicker across the skies as the hot air balloon fills, then rises. Suspended in a basket beneath the rainbow-coloured canopy, you're off for a wildlife viewing adventure with an entirely different perspective. What amazes most first-time balloonists is the absolute stillness: the silence as you float above the plains, the forest and the rivers of the Masai Mara. Even if 

you've flown elsewhere, this is a unique experience. The flight lasts an hour or so, drifting wherever the air currents take you, and with ample opportunities for photography and video filming. Then your Kenyan Hot Air Balloon Safari finishes with a flourish. In the time honoured tradition of balloon flights the world over, you toast your return to earth with a champagne breakfast, cooked wherever you land. The Balloon Safari ends with a transfer back to camp. 







Martin Clunes & a Lion called "Mugie" 


It is 25 years since lions roamed in the Kora National Reserve where legendary conservationist George Adamson set up a camp to rescue lions and release them back into the wild. The heartbreaking but successful story of rescuing orphaned cub Elsa became internationally famous in the blockbuster film Born Free, based on the iconic book written by George's wife Joy. 


Tony Fitzjohn worked closely with George, and continues to work in wildlife conservation. He has lovingly rebuilt George's original camp, Kampi Ya Simba, in the Kora National Reserve, abandoned after he was murdered by Somali bandits in 1989. Tony picks up where he and George left off all those years ago, with the aim of releasing captive and orphaned lions back into the wild with the support of the Kenya Wildlife Service. 


Martin Clunes has had a close friendship with Tony since they met 20 years ago when they released Nina, a zoo elephant, back into the wild. In this documentary Martin travels to Kenya to visit Tony and to 

meet his first lion cub to be brought to the Kora camp for 25 years. 


Mugie, an orphaned lion cub was found when he was just three weeks old, washed up on a river bank after a flash flood. Martin and Tony travel 140 miles from Kora to Ol Jogi, a 60,000 acre private game sanctuary for some of East Africa's most endangered wildlife to collect Mugie. Thanks to an electric fence, the reserve is protected against poaching, allowing the wildlife to flourish. 


 Jamie Gaymer, the reserve's wildlife and security manager, has been looking after the cub he named Mugie after the place he was found, and contacted Tony to ask if he could take him. 


Martin says: "Although elephants and rhinos get most of the publicity, lions in Africa are facing an equally serious crisis. While there are about 500,000, elephants, left on the continent, there are only 30,000 lions. If something isn't done, they could die out in the wild in less than ten years. 




"Three years ago a mission began to bring lions back to a remote Kenyan wilderness. From day one I have had the privilege of being a witness to this story. It's one that stirred deep childhood memories, 

brought great highs and awful lows. This is the true story of one animal's big adventure, and one man's dream." 


Tony Fitzjohn says: "In the 24 years I've been away, lions themselves are becoming an endangered species and it's only in the centre of some very well protected areas or national parks you still get lions. 

But to be able to do something for lions again, in my world, if there's a gap or an offer to do something, you just go for it. You can't say no." 


Virginia McKenna, who starred as Joy Adamson, in Born Free, joins Martin in Kenya to re-visit the spot in Meru National Park where Elsa the famous lioness was released. 


Virginia says: "What this story tells you is that relationships between humans and wild animals can surmount all the sort of prejudices and fears and everything, and lift you out of yourself really; it is a spiritual thing. When you think they devoted all these years and that relationship was extraordinary and unique, I don't think there's ever been quite such a relationship as that and finally of course Elsa mated with a wild lion and then brought her children back." 


Martin and Tony go to the Tana River, where Tony used to go with George Adamson, and was the scene in the famous You Tube clip of the release into the wild of Christian, Tony's first lion. 


In the Sixties when it was fashionable in London to own an exotic pet, Christian had been bought in Harrods and raised on the King's Road. Bill Travers, who starred with his wife Virginia McKenna in Born Free, arranged for Christian to be transported to George and Tony to be released eventually into the wild. Bill and Virginia set up the Born Free Foundation which promotes animal welfare around the world. 


In the film Tony talks candidly to Martin about the horrific death of George Adamson, and of his guilt that the murder happened when he was away in Tanzania. 


"I felt so guilty when George was killed. I knew it was going to happen and then when he was killed I was just full of massive guilt and sadness and everything else. That was my job; to stop it happening, getting clobbered." 


Martin joins Tony at George's graveside as he makes a touching tribute to his mentor.  




This October, Cheli & Peacock is offering the trip of a lifetime - an exclusive Born Free safari, led by Hollywood actress Virginia McKenna. 


Born Free Foundation 30th
Anniversary Safari to Kenya 



Raising funds for compassionate conservation 

and wild animal welfare 


Partly hosted by Virginia McKenna OBE,

Founder of the Born Free Foundation 




2014 is a special year, the Born Free Foundation's 30th anniversary. That's 30 years of saving lives, stopping suffering, rescuing individuals and protecting species. 

To commemorate our wildlife charity's 30th, this unique tailor-made safari to Kenya is an exclusive opportunity to visit our projects, meet our team, discover our heritage, and travel with our Founder Virginia McKenna OBE, who will join the safari for a few days. Follow in the footsteps of George and Joy Adamson, visit the sites where they worked and returned Elsa the lioness to the wild. 


The Foundation features Elsa on our charity's logo and the true story of her journey to freedom inspires everything we do to help wildlife. 


Itinerary 2: 22nd - 31st October 2014 


Day 1 Arrive Nairobi, Fly to Meru, Elsa's Kopje x 3 nights 


Day 4 Drive to Joy's Camp, Joy's Camp x 3 nights 


Day 7 Fly to Amboseli, Tortilis Camp x 3 nights 


Day 10 Fly to Nairobi/ Depart 


22nd October - Meru National Park, Elsa's Kopje 


This morning you will be met on arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International airport and transferred to Wilson airport in time to check in for your charter flight to Meru. On arrival at the airstrip, you will be met and transferred to Elsa's Kopje where Virginia McKenna will be 

waiting to meet you and will spend three nights at the Lodge with you. 




* Bush breakfast at Elsa's grave 


* Optional visit to Ura gate primary 


* Dinner & talks with Virginia 


Elsa's Kopje is named after Elsa the lioness, made famous by George and Joy Adamson's biographical book and the classic film 'Born Free', starring Virginia McKenna and her husband Bill Travers. 

The Adamson's story was enjoyed by tens of millions around the globe, inspiring a generation, and changing the world's attitude to lions forever. 


Making 'Born Free' profoundly affected Bill and Virginia. Working with George and Joy influenced the rest of their lives. Their close contact with lions sparked a lifelong commitment to wildlife and they realised wild animals belong in the wild, not incarcerated in captivity


Elsa's Kopje remains one of the most elegant lodges in Africa, with one of the most spectacular settings. Invisible as you approach its home on Mughwango Hill, Elsa's Kopje blends into the rocky crags of the 'kopje' (small hill), built above the site of George 

Adamson's original campsite. Every cottage is the ultimate 'room-with-a-view', uniquely designed and crafted, incorporating the natural features of the rocky hillside. 

 Activities include day wildlife drives, bush walks, bush meals and sundowners. 


Activities available at an extra cost, night wildlife drives, Tana river excursions, line fishing and massage. 


25th October - Shaba National Reserve, Joy's Camp 

This morning you will be transferred, after saying farewell to Virginia, to airstrip for your private charter flight to Chaffa airstrip. You will be met on arrival and transferred to Joy's Camp where accommodation has been booked for 3 nights on a full board basis. (All drinks payable direct.) 




* Optional visit to a local community or meeting with NRT 


* Films and talks by guest speakers on history of Joy's Camp and the area 


28th October - Amboseli National Park, Tortilis Camp 

This morning you will transferred to the airstrip for your charter flight to Amboseli. On arrival at Amboseli airstrip, you will be met and transferred to Tortilis Camp with wildlife viewing en route. 

Accommodation is booked for 3 nights on a full board basis (All drinks are payable directly). 




* Visit to Born Free's Lion-proof bomas project 


* Optional visit to elephant expert Cynthia Moss's research centre - Cynthia's vital work has been funded by Born Free for 22 years. 


* Masaai dancers at camp on arrival Amboseli is best known for its unrivalled views of Kilimanjaro, and its large elephant population, including the world-famous EB family with Born Free's adopted elephants Emily Kate and her son Ewok. Born Free initiated the Lion-proof boma project in the Amboseli ecosystem in 2010 to combat conflict between local pastoralists and lions; 

today more than 135 bomas (night enclosures) protect more than 35,000 livestock. 


Tortilis Camp is named after the flat-topped, umbrella thorn tree, the Acacia Tortilis and is situated in one of Amboseli's areas of Acacia Tortilis woodland, with the majestic backdrop of Africa's highest mountain, and the World's highest free-standing mountain, snow-capped Kilimanjaro. 


Wildlife drives, walks, sundowner cocktails and bush meals take place both inside the Park, and within the camp's private 30,000 acre wildlife concession. 

Tortilis Camp's tents are all large and spacious, with elegant en suite bathrooms. There is a main lounge, bar and dining area, all exquisitely built with natural materials and thatched roofs, with magnificent views of Kilimanjaro. 


31st October - Depart 


This morning, you will be transferred to the airstrip in time for your private charter to Wilson. On arrival you will be met by a Cheli & Peacock representative and transferred to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, for your international flight. Day rooms have been arranged at the Boma Hotel, Nairobi, dependent on your onward travel arrangements. 

A fond farewell lunch with the Born Free Kenya team will take place and there will be a chance to take in some optional excursions like a visit to Daphne Sheldrick's Elephant Orphanage or any last minute shopping. End of arrangements with Cheli & Peacock. 

Alternatively we can then extend your trip for additional safaris excursions or a few days at one of the fabulous Indian Ocean beach resorts. 


Safari Arrangements: 

Cost of safari Per person sharing 3,842.00 ($6,393) single room supplement 

402.00 ($669). A 20% deposit will be required to confirm your reservation. 


Included in your safari


* Full board at Tortilis Camp, Joys Camp and Elsa's Kopje 


* Laundry at Tortilis, Joys Camp and Elsa's Kopje 


* Conservation / Park fees 


* Wildlife drives in 4 x 4 vehicles 


* Charter & Scheduled flights 


* Airport / Airstrip transfers 


* All domestic flight departure taxes 


* Membership to Flying Doctors Society 


Excluded from your safari 


* Accommodation in Nairobi 


* All drinks at Tortilis, Joys and Elsa's Kopje 


* Champagne, spirits and luxury wines at all properties 


* Any activities not mentioned in the itinerary 


* All statutory increases beyond our control 


* International flights and visa fees 


* Gratuities to camp staff 


* Lunch and excursions on 31st October or additional safaris/beach accommodation 



Please note: 


* Baggage restriction of 15kgs is applicable on all flights preferably in small bags 


* In the unlikely event that Virginia McKenna is unable to travel, a Born Free representative will accompany the group. 


* All international flights to and from Nairobi, Kenya to be arranged directly by travellers. 


Please note that at the time of publication, only 8 rooms are still available 


For further information and reservations contact mike@safarikenya.eu 






~ Kenya's Award Winning Boutique Safari Camps & Lodges ~ 




Many of you knew that Liz and I were running Joys Camp in January and February and many of you have asked how did it go and what did you do. We apologize for taking so long to write this blog and tell you our story. 


It was fantastic to be back in the bush and to do those things that both Liz and I love so much. Living, breathing, Africa at its most wild. 


We would be woken up each morning by birds singing and chattering - loud and excited, I guess telling each other how they survived another night. We would go to sleep with the roaring of the lions and the coughing of the leopard. For 2 weeks a pair of mating lions based themselves literally at the camp. My mother, Mimma, came to stay with us from Italy and she was convinced that the lions were purposely outside her tent every night to terrify her! It became the camp joke. 



We got stuck into the stores, systems, the back of house in general, we painted, reorganized, built shelves, more stores. Did some landscaping and gardening, rebuilt the swimming pool, trained all the staff from gardeners to chefs, housekeepers to dining staff and of course worked intensely with our wonderful guides; bush breakfasts, sundowners ... We visited the local community, reinforced relationships with them and it was great to be able to spend time making constructive plans with the warden of Shaba. 

We came up with some new and great activities for our area of Shaba and the Nakupart - Gotu conservancy. This is true Africa and we must not forget it, it is true wilderness. Shaba is equal in size to Buffalo Springs and Samburu Reserve put together; with only Joys Camp client's game driving in it. 


It gives you that true filling of "Old Africa"; no other tourists around, flat toped Tortilis Acacia trees, Sausages trees, kopjes and springs and the massive Ewaso Niro river with its "film-set" gorge to walk down. 


Stopping on top of one of the kopjes and having your morning coffee or sundowner gin & tonic, - is what in essence for me is the real Africa. It's not about just racing around desperately trying to tick a list of animal sightings in our new world of instant gratification. 


Night game drives - We introduced night game drives; but differently from our other camps. Unlike the cooler savannahs, in this semi-desert wilderness, there is LOTS of activity way into the night! 


The day would start for our guests in the normal C&P style, tea in bed, early game drive with a picnic breakfast, and back to camp in the heat of day for lunch. However, in the afternoon, relax, have a massage? early "theatre dinner" at 6.30pm - and out for a night game drive! Guests were out regularly till 10.00pm; a great success - Porcupines, Genet cats, Caracals, African Wild Cats, Honey Badger, Bush Babies, Aardwolf and Striped Hyena as well as our romantic lions and the Joy's leopard. 


Magado Crater and the Bojidera springs - We introduced early 

morning departure to the Magado Crater 1 hrs 30 min drive away, a 

biblical and colourful scene - mining for salt in the bottom of the crater lake. Returning via the hot springs of Bojidera for a swim and breakfast. 


The little tilapia fish clean the dead skin off your feet, something we hear, the Japanese pay a lot of money for. 

New roads, game drive circuits and stunning breakfast spots - We 

surveyed Shaba by air with our little Cessna 182 and decided, with the senior warden's blessing, to put in some new and exciting routes. The first one was finalized just before we left Shaba and it drives from Joys Camp directly across to the Funan Springs. 



The elements have been kind to Shaba in recent years, there is good grazing, and game viewing has increased. The grass lands are recovering from the 2009 drought, poaching is right down thanks to NRT's efforts and to the creation of the Nakuprat - Gotu conservancy that surrounds Shaba. We had regular wonderful sighting of herds of oryx, grevy and burchell zebra, impala, herds of up to 50 reticulated giraffe, buffalo, elephant, gerenuk, somali ostrich, and desert warthogs. We hear that we have more romantic lions around camp, with a second female in the pride coming into estrous! 

Ewaso Lion Project - Joys Camp is now working with Shivani and 

Jenera of Ewaso Lions; identifying and mapping our population of lions, leopards, and cheetah. Shivani is delighted to have a partner to help identify and track the large carnivores of Shaba, and we are delighted to work with professionals that can give us even more information about our resident big cats. Between us we estimate we have a resident population of over 16 lions, plus healthy cheetahs with cubs and many leopards! Watch this space...  



Introducing Iris & Pelham - We handed Joys Camp to a lovely couple that just like us have become passionate about Shaba and its wilderness feel, its rocks and kopjes the changing colours during the day. Iris and Pelham are now in charge and loving it, Iris is Swiss from near Bern and Pelham is from Gloucestershire UK, both trained as guides in South Africa and both have Fgasa training; we have only had great positive feedback and we are looking forward to a long working relationship with them. 


Sadly Liz and I had to return to the grind and grime of Nairobi and having to hit the manic traffic to the office every morning. But we enjoyed first dinner out at our favourite Japanese restaurant in the world, the Haru. 

Yes don't forget that even with all its bad publicity, Nairobi is a 

cosmopolitan city with world-class restaurants, and great shopping. 

Hence why all the journalists that service sub Saharan Africa prefer living in Nairobi! 


Now to our next adventure... 


Best Wishes, 

Stefano & Liz 








The camp is located along the Galana River under fringed Doum palms and overlooks the Yatta Plateau.      


MAIN CAMP has 12 comfortable and spacious thatched and semi-tented bungalows on wooden platforms, each with an en-suite bathroom and private veranda. The bathrooms are large and have traditional bucket showers, flush toilets and basins with running water.      


PRIVATE CAMP with 3 bungalows is only booked on exclusive use and offers private lounge and private dining, ideal for families or guests looking for privacy. 


The camp's activities include game drives in open vehicles; walking safaris along the Galana River and sand rivers; sundowners and bush breakfasts. 



We have been receiving very positive feedback from our guests, all of them highlighting the relaxing peaceful atmosphere, the stunning camp's location on the Galana river banks where the wildlife come to you right in front of your tent and the excellent food and friendly staff. 


"I would recommend this camp for those who looking for the real African safari adventures, in the middle of wilderness!"


"Sleeping in the fence less camp was great as elephants, hyena's and various wild animals walk around the tent within inches of the canvas walls. " 


"We stayed in three camps during our safari in Kenya, and each one seemed to get better and better - and just when we thought it couldn't get any better, we stayed at Galdessa on our final night!"