04-09-2007, 08:40 AM
- Join Date
- Feb 2007
- Blog Entries
obrienkf, even though you don't have the authorization to start your own blog, since you [neither have I] qualified as a VIP Contributor, you should continue to elaborate on your time in Africa for the benefit of those of us who have interest.t-2-f
04-09-2007, 09:36 AM
obrienkf, wow! Thanks you so much for sharing your experiences. Africa is a magical place that I have had to pleasure of experiencing a few times in my life (not enough). Your experiences sound like a dream come true for me. I would encourage and implore you to share more!
How is it that you came to be a guide?
04-09-2007, 11:50 AM
I must have left the wrong impression, I was not a guide. I was living in Kenya at the time, and spent my weekends off and about, in my own 4x4, discovering what was in front of me. I was well schooled by guides that I met, and 'listened to' ... in particular the guides associated with the Cheli & Peacock family of luxury tented safaris .... they allowed me much 'room' to learn, and I was eager to be up before the crack of dawn, and engage in every single night drive that was happening. Iread everythingfuriously,a passion to absorb, so that I could spot wildlife faster than they could, and name that 'eagle' or that whatever before they even saw it. They either let me think I was smart (which was a great kindness on their part), or I had begun to master this abit after a few years (highly unlikely --- okay, some was likely). No, I was not a guide. I aim for self-guided as much as I can. It forces me to learn, and read and listen a whole lot more... and the pace for me was not as rushed as for others whohave only 3 weeks.... I had the benefit of time on my side.
glad you enjoy the scribbles.
04-12-2007, 07:12 AM
- Join Date
- Jan 2007
- Blog Entries
Thank you for your comments obrienkf . I'll likely be doing some self-driving in Botswana with friends later this year, so I found your comments particularly interesting.
Re. Cheli & Peacock: I love the look of their properties, particularly ones such as Loisaba and Sabuk. I think Cheli & Peacock would be a great fit for the LL portfolio. I don't recall seeing any auctions for places in East Africa.
04-13-2007, 05:28 AM
- Join Date
- Dec 2006
- South Florida
- Blog Entries
obrienkf....until you are given the opportunity to post your own blog on your time in Africa, you should continue to share on this board or simply start a new board. There arenumber of memberswho have traveled in East Africa and those who wish to do so.....and as such, would benefit and enjoy your sharing.
Message Edited by omegaet on 04-13-200708:29 AM- Ω -
"Amor Vincit Omnia"
04-13-2007, 08:03 AM
Yes, I wholeheartedly second that suggestion. Would love to hear more about your time in Africa. Your posts about this subject have been among my favorites. As I've stated earlier, Africa has captured my heart and to hear about someone else's adventures makes it come alive for me (until I can get there again myself).
Please reconsider posting more here.
04-15-2007, 03:58 AM
Thank you for your kind comments. East Africa offers much. I doubt that you will see Cheli & Peacock on LL, I approached them (as I said I would) and they have investigated it before, but have their own arangements through tour agents and their on line booking system that seems to work just fine for them.
The other grand group of properties is managed by another Kenyan organization at www.exclusiveclassicproperties.com . They have wonderful gems, in Zanzibar (Sultan's Palace),on the Galana River inTsavo National Park, and an exquisite property in the Diani Beach area south of Mombasa on the Indian Ocean, as well as my own favourite, Tortilis Camp in Amboseli (a Cheli & Peacock property).
Both of these have been around along time, are at the top of the range, and have hosted loads of discriminating tourists (Australia's crocdile hunter stayed in Tortilis, when filming his Kenyan adventures, Attenborough stayed, while I was there, in Elsa's camp, to film a BBC episode on dwarf-blind moles, and Elsa's camp is exactly on the site of the camp of Joyand George Adamson, of 'Born Free' fame. The GalanaRiver camp is near the site ofColonel Pattersons 'Man-Eater' Lions (which are not folk lore, that was real), and Diani Beach is one of the prettiest white sand beaches that I haveever seen, on the Indian Ocean.
Governor's Camp and the Explorers, are also very credible teams, andif you want old fashioned charm, and are a fan of the antics and adventures of by-gone Hollywood stars, Mount Kenya Safari Club was once the personal haunt of William Holden, and his many friends. Stephanie Powers (Holden's Mrs.) stillvisits, and raises funds for the William Holden animalorphanage, which ison the property. Its a grand old hotel, great golf and horseback riding in the shadow of Mt. Kenay, and the orphanage is in fact more than just that, it has for many years been breeding 'Bongo' a very endangered species of Africadeer - or elk,that was only 'discovered' in the early 20th century. A beautiful beast.
Another fun, morelow keytented camp is at Sweetwaters. It offers a large private game range (huge in fact), with all the big five, and hosts the chimpanzee sanctuary (rescued chimps), affiliated with Jane Goodall (her primary facility is in Gombe National Park in Tanzania --- very hard to get to). Sweetwaters was a private game ranch, now a reserve, and in addition to the tented camp there is an enormous private home on the property that you can rent for a dozen of your closest friends.... its enormous. Have stayed there with a dozen friends. We had a grand weekend.
If you wanted a good taste of East Africa,and want to be in relative luxury with experienced operators and guides, these are the ones that I wouldcontact. I have yet to see an East African property on LL. There are many around, on the high end of adventure and luxury.They can arrangeflights within country with small aircraft directly to the next camp --- whichis worth it if time is not on your side. As I have mentioned before, I cannot compare these to anything in Botswana, Namibia, Zim or SA, as I was not fortunate enough to travel there (not yet), but with many friends still in Kenya, that is where I would return,to renew old acquaintances, and revisitmy own haunts.
You can findall of these by googling.
04-15-2007, 04:32 AM
Mount Kenya Safari Club and Sweetwaters are both listed as 'properties in the portfolio', but not as 'bid now' only 'buy now'.
04-16-2007, 10:19 AM
Thank you for the recommendations - I printed it out and put it in my "someday" folder (unfortunately it is quite thick - more places to go than time and funds). But your suggestions seem excellent - exactly the types of places I like to stay.
I may be reading into your posts but you seem as big an animal lover as I am. I am endlessly fascinated by them and can watch them for hours. I've also been know to write a letter or two on their behalf - too many are treated so unfairly by humans.
It's funny that you should mention Jane Goodall for 2 reasons, firstly I had the honor and privilege of seeing her speak this past weekend at a conference in New York City. She was fantastic - funny, humble, honest and passionate. She is a true force of nature and one of my personal heroes.
And secondly because I had the unusual opportunity to spend a few weeks last summer with her counterpart in Borneo,Birute Galdikas (a fellow "Leaky Girl") who works with, rescues and is a tireless advocate for the orangutan.This was one of the best experiences of my life.
I had asked one of Jane's assistants if it would be possible to visit Gombe and was told that it is possible but it would take a lot of money in donations for the invitation. So, your suggestion of Sweetwaters could not be more perfect.
Thank you again!
PS Don't know how that silly smiley face got in there but I can't seem to get rid of it!
Message Edited by Syrene-1 on 04-16-200703:36 PM
04-21-2007, 12:29 AM
Africa offers more than just animals, of course, culture, decency and tragedy all rolled into one, but it is the animals that draws us there, and through the animals, if you are fortunate, as I have been, you stumble into cultures and a rare breed of 'people' who dedicate themselves to protecting the animals, and by extension, the cultures. There are a number of "Leaky Associates" in Kenya and Tz, Cynthia Moss maintains her elephant 'fortress' in Amboseli national park (where Tortilis Camp is), and Joyce Poole worked there for years. If you want to know about a particular family of elephants before you go to Amboseli, look in National Geographic DVDs for the Cynthia Moss / Joyce Poole works, all about the Matriarch Ellie "ECHO". I have often 'run into' Echo, and having nearly memorized the DVDs, felt like I found a old friend. Spent hours with her and her family. And the elephant bulls in those DVDs are often seen in the spring.. looking for 'girls'... stay clear of them when they are on such a mission. They'll plow through your vehicle if you are between them and their 'heart's desire'. (I speak from near experience on that score...)
If you stay in Nairobi, even for a few days, take the time to visit Daphne Sheldrick's orphanage next to the Nairobi National Park, near the suburb of Karen. Its open for one hour a day, pay the fee, and see baby elephants, rhinos, zebras, and whatever else she and her team have rescued. Dame Daphne (recognized by Queen Elizabeth for her generous lifetime work in successful protection and re-entry of orphaned elephants into the wild --- to Tsavo National Park, where her now passed on husband was Game Warden for years), has created one of the most successful protection programs in Kenya, and is a national treasure. She's well over 60 now (maybe even well over 70, but I would never ask her), and is one of the most interesting and determined women I have ever met.... and of course humble. Its one of the most memorable moments that any of my guests ever had.
At Sweetwaters there is also a protected Rhino, named Morani, who is now about 30 years old. He was rescued 20 years ago as one of the last rhino in Amboseli park, at tremendous risk of poachers, and lives now with 2 full time human guards --- and is really a pet. Yes, you can touch him, and if you have confidence, you can stand next to him, and give him a thorough rub behind the ear, like any 'big labrador'. Take care though, as he will then lean into the massage, with a 200 lb head, and beg for more. You have to have steady feet to know when that 200 lbs is coming at you (gently, but 200 lbs is still a load of leaning.....)
Kenya, for me, despite all the warnings about crime (which should be expected), is a healthy balance between adventure, and culture, and protection of animals. They have been 'not poaching' elephants for 25 years, and its shows. Its difficult to convince small communities that elephants (routinely trouncing their crops) should be allowed to roam. They are successful in this. Credit to Leaky. Very much credit to Leaky, Moss, Sheldrick and Poole, among countless others.
Everyone should have 'someday' folders.