Join author Clinton Richardson as he shares his recent safari experiences in the wilds of Africa. This first in a series of fascinating blogs follows his planning, preparation and eager anticipation of the trip that lies ahead …
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This series of blogs will take you on Clinton’s safari in Kenya as he travels from Atlanta (USA) to Nairobi National Park, Selenkay Conservancy (Amboseli), Ol Pejeta Conservancy (Laikipia) and Olare Motorogi Conservancy (Maasai Mara). Let’s join him on his journey as he shares his insights into the conservancies, Porini Camps and the people (and animals!) that he meets along the way. All images are from Clinton’s TrekPic.com photo site. Blog entries are from his Venture Moola blog at ReadJanus.com.
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Months ahead of our departure date it was time to prepare for the health side of our trip to the Massai regions of Kenya. The packaging from the four-day oral dose of typhoid vaccine shouted “Bring back souvenirs, not typhoid fever” in bold type. It was a clever reminder that we are traveling to a different part of the world.
Six shots preceded our typhoid vaccine and a regimen of anti-malarial drugs will follow beginning a few days before take off and carrying on for weeks after our return. Our pincushion arms have healed and we are now recently vaccinated (including updates) against typhoid fever, yellow fever, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, hepatitus A and B, Meningitis, and polio. Bring on Africa.
We have had our medical histories compiled and reviewed and received advice on what to eat and what to avoid. Lots of bottled water is in our future. No disposable plastic bags. They are illegal in Kenya. We have medicine for intestinal discomfort and deet to repel mosquitoes. Lots of deet.
We also have packing lists and limits on weight and types of bags we can use. Can I pack lightly enough to make room for all the camera equipment I want? The outfitter says I can photograph the night sky with a Maasai warrior as an escort. I will need a tripod for that and they are heavy.
The preparations are involved and the flights are long. But this is an adventure unlike any we have taken before.
A Young Rhino Calf
We will be two weeks in the wild of Africa living in tents and seeing some of the most incredible mega fauna in the world. Our destination starts with a stay at a tented camp in Nairobi National Park. Over two nights we will take game drives and visit a renowned elephant orphanage run by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. They do incredible work, having rescued hundreds of elephants and rhinos over the years.
From there, we head by small plane to the Selenkay Conservancy and Amboseli National Park. We will stay in a tented camp in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro. From there we will access the open lands of the conservancy, which occupies land leased from the Maasai tribe. The area supports a large herd of elephants. Also indigenous are Thomson and Grant’s gazelles, lions, cheetahs, leopards, zebra, gazelles, kudus, mongooses, porcupines, giraffes and yellow baboons. The game drives include one at night with the chance of seeing nocturnal aardvarks, serval cats, caracals, and bat eared foxes. Day hikes with Maasai guides include one to their village. I am going to have to look up some of the less familiar animals before we leave.
Maasai Villagers of Selenkay
Around six days in we head to the Porini Rhino Camp located in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy where we will find ourselves in the foothills of Mt Kenya. Two days and nights here with game drives and walks. The camp is in a secluded valley on the banks of a seasonal river and under the shade of acacia trees. The area is a sanctuary for black rhino and chimpanzees.
From there it is on to the Porini Mara Camp with night game drives and a chance to spot an elusive leopard. The Mara and the Ol Kinyei Conservancy is home to the wildebeest, zebra, elephants, cheetahs, lions and leopards. Hyena, jackal, buffalo, eland, topi, impala, gazelle, and warthog are also around.
As if that was not enough, from Porini Mara we head to the Olare Motorogi Conservancy and it’s Porini Lion Camp. More walks and game drives and a chance to watch the great wildebeest migration, dependent on weather and the timing of the wildebeest.
This latter event is a full day in the Maasai Mara Reserve that annually plays host to this natural wonder of the world. Timing can be uncertain but if we are lucky we may get to watch as up to half a million wildebeest congregate to cross through the area seeking the grasses raised by earlier rains. Thousands upon thousands of hooves pounding the earth, rivers full of crocodiles waiting for a meal and the wildebeests’ need to cross should make this unforgettable.
And then, two weeks after we start it will be time to head back, spend a day in Nairobi and catch flights home. Oh, and 24 more days of malaria medicine.
Figlet the Leopard
Join us as we journey into the heart of Africa…
First published 24 Sep 2018. All photos and text are © Clinton Richardson. All images are from his galleries at TrekPic.com
See Other Blogs in this Series:
- Safari 1: The Hunt
- Safari 2: Off to Nairobi
- Safari 3: Tented Camps & Conservancies
- Safari 4: Passports In His Underpants
- Safari 5: Night Lions to Amboseli
- Safari 6: Amboseli to Selenkay
- Safari 7: Pooh On You
- Safari 8: Eaten by a Lion?
- Safari 9: The Maasai
- Safari 10: On the Move
- Safari 11: Crash on the Grass
- Safari 12: Sundowner Surprise
- Safari 13: Stalag Panzee
- Safari 14: Bump in the Night
- Safari 15: Dry Season Showers
- Safari 16: How Many Wives Would You Like to Have?
- Safari 17: Distracting His Highness
- Safari 18: How to Eat a Tree
- Safari 19: Hunting with Children (well, cubs!)
- Safari 20: Blue Jean Symphony
- Safari 21: African Nights
About Clinton Richardson
Clinton Richardson has been writing and taking photographs for decades. His books include the critically acclaimed 5th edition Richardson’s Growth Company Guide 5.0 and the award-winning book about social media and ancient coins called Ancient Selfies. His images, including images taken on his trip, can be viewed at TrekPic.com. His Venture Moola blog can be viewed at Readjanus.com.