Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Time is racing by at Laikipia Wilderness. We have been so lucky to be very busy with guests. The wild dogs had their pups back in October and we started seeing them with the adults outside the den playing in mid December. There were 12 pups but one little runt didn't make it. Tempting to scoop it up and try and raise it but you can't. So we are down to 11 and they are strong and healthy and hunting with the adults now.
They have taken to hunting at night over full moon which makes sightings trickier over this time as they sleep most of the day in thick bush. Otherwise, at other times we can follow them twice a day hunting, drinking at the dam etc. I will post some photos when we have some, I am expecting quite a few to come in the next few weeks.
Elephants are in good numbers, 48 at the dam last week whilst we watched over brunch. Chocolate coloured babies rolling around in the mud was the highlight.
We saw 6 leopards in 2 days which is a record for us and not normal so don't expect it! But very rewarding.
Owl Shabab our pet greyish eagle owl has flown the nest and only comes to visit and beg for food occasionally which is good, he is self-sufficient but we miss him. Santeria our legendary Samburu waiter who can't speak much English but is a saint when it comes to collecting food for wild birds, is off mouse-catching duty and probably very relieved though he also misses the owl.
Everyone else is well, children, staff, dogs, cat. This is the best weather at this time of year, hot and sunny and clear days.
Some photos soon to brighten this up and show of those puppies. My favourite has black spots in its white tail tuft.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Our friends the wild dogs mated a month ago and are due to den mid October which means all going well the pups will be out and about with the pack early January.

We have been having some lovely leopard sightings, a kill two nights ago by a large male accompanied by his mate but he ate the entire dik dik and didn't share a morsel with her!

A fantastic July, a year since we opened camp and we were fully  booked mostly with intrepid families. Once they all go back to school at the end of August we have several groups of photographers and walkers. Laikipia's stunning scenery continues to amaze people, there are many places in Africa where you can enjoy fantastic wildlife but less with such beautiful scenery and variety of terrain.

Our friend Albie Venter, wildlife photographer, guide and idiot friend is coming to stay in October so we will hopefully twist his arm and get some new shots of the camp and activities.

More chat soon. Its pouring with rain here, not sure what happened to the seasons this  year but green is good and everything is fat and happy including us at the end of the busy season.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Laikipia Wilderness piece on family holidays in the Sunday Times March 10th 2013

Laikipia Wilderness was featured in the Sunday Times on the 10th March in a piece about family holidays:
"This year, give them more than a beach. Expect wide eyes and wider smiles on a family expedition says Stephen Bleach..

Most family safaris charge from camp to camp, ticking off the animals. They miss the point. Kids don’t want long days travelling: they just want to go wild in Africa. The Laikipia Wilderness Camp, started last year by husband and wife guiding team Steve and Annabelle Carey with help from their two young children, is just the place. There’s masses of game to see – lions, elephants, zebras, hippos, all the favourites – but also masses to do. You can swim or tube in the river, visit the local village, learn to throw a spear, go fishing and head off for a night’s fly-camping under the stars. The bush is a natural playground and Steve is happy to give kids maximum freedom to roam with experienced guides to keep them safe. Aardvark Safaris has a week, just long enough for them to become semi-feral bush rats from GBP 2822 including flights meals and activities. "

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

January 2013 News

Laikipia Wilderness January2013


Happy New Year to all and best wishes for a wonderful year ahead. We can hardly believe we have been up and running now for 6 months. After a steady start in July, by December we were very busy and the year ahead looks strong so we are feeling very positive!

Camp is great, our staff have become a strong team, and many of them had never had a job before, let alone looking after international tourists. Slowly everything falls into place and the morning tea and coffee in the tents is no longer accompanied by milk in a gravy boat.
We have had guests of all ages, children as young as 2 and others in their 80’s. Families, couples, walkers, birders, photographers and all round safari goers. They all seem to love the spot we are in, the simple camp, hottest showers in the bush and biggest bathrooms, comfortable and homely but not over the top.
Our towels were recently voted the best on safari but our pet Augur buzzard has since taken to perching on the grass walls of our guests’ bathrooms, showing off by attacking their towels of which she has shredded four, eyeing guests on the loo, and more recently she joined one rather beautiful girl in the shower and hopped down onto the shower mat and spread her wings and had a good shake alongside her. We now think it must be a he not a she.
Wildlife has been amazing. We do not live in the Masai Mara but the diversity of mammals is huge and the setting unbeatable. Big herds of elephants and giraffe, some great leopard sightings, aardwolf, striped hyena and of course the wild dogs. Since we opened in July last year we have had several groups of professional wild dog photographers as well as plain enthusiasts and they have managed to follow the dogs and access them in a way which is becoming increasingly unique in Africa and which only private conservation areas can afford the freedom. Our local pack produced 12 pups in October and we sighted them for the first time between Christmas and New Year since when we have followed them almost daily. 
Special Offers: We have a busy year ahead but are always keen to make life easier for everybody so here are two offers for the whole of 2013 for 2013 bookings only (for bookings made after 20th January 2013).
  • 5 nights for the price of 4 in mid and low seasons
  • Families with 3 or more children sharing a tent, the youngest child goes for free
  • (Accommodation package only, not Conservation Fees on both offers)
More news soon and if you are planning a trip to Kenya this year, come and see us.
Best wishes,
Annabelle and Steve


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

October already, exceptional rains in July and August brought a lot of grass to Laikipia, all the wildlife is in very good condition and our small vegetable garden in camp producing giant lettuces and courgettes!
October has been our busiest month so far, more wild dog photographers, couples of all ages and families from the UK and Nanyuki over half term.
The two packs of wild dogs we are lucky enough to be able to track in partnership with the Laikipia predator project who we assist with data on sightings are both doing extremely well. The smaller pack of 18 has just denned, on the 12th of October the alpha female went into the den and has not appeared since so we assume she has given birth whilst the rest of her pack is hunting daily in the area. The bigger pack is also about to den and comes and goes through the area. So by early Jan we hope to see puppies on the move, big enough to emerge from the den and start moving slowly over small distances with the pack. Fingers crossed their dens wont be disturbed forcing them to move sites which they have done a few times over the last 5 years since we have been following them.
In camp our staff have become confident with day to day looking after guests and as we get busier and busier it feels like a ship with sails out and blowing along! Felt like a wobbly ship a few months ago when we first opened but Rome wasnt built over night and as one of our local friends said, every journey begins with a step..

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

News from the Bush – Laikipia Wilderness August 2012

Here we are, the end of our first month in the bush. Steve and team had a very challenging 6 weeks building the camp whilst the boys and I were based in Nanyuki designing furniture, ordering boilers, crockery, linen, plumbing parts and coat hangers and wondering why everything was going according to plan.


The lights came on and the water came out the showers 48 hours before our first guests arrived. We all agreed we wouldn’t tell them they were our first guests and would calmly pretend we had been running the camp for months but they arrived in a state of excitement that they were our first guests having read on their itinerary that we were due to open a week after they arrived, and were the loveliest family from Florida.

9 years since we left Zimbabwe, closed down our own walking safari business which Steve and his partner Graeme Lemon built up over many years on Lake Kariba and laid off our wonderful team of 45 staff, we finally opened the doors of our own camp again.

Here is the finished camp (actually camps are never finished but this is how it looks) and some comments from our first guests.


Hey Steve and Annabel. Back home to the wet of the scottish new rainforest! So thoughts readily turn to Laikipia Wilderness last week. Thank you we had a fantastic time, really outstanding and so much enjoyed everyone's company, especially Irish Izzy!!!
Annie and I couldn't have enjoyed it more. Great company, especially the huge ellies (and huge groups of them by the river that day),wonderful giraffes, buffalo (uninvited guest to lunch!), horrified hippos as Steve sent them packing (esp their expressions when they came up from down under and saw him still there), the wild dogs; a completely new experience and such fun to follow, and we were wowed by the leopard/dikdik kill: fantastic. Great to see a leopard so close up and for so long. There's something about hyena that I just love to see, and so much more of interest and fun we just loved it all.
Moment of the tour? a night out under the stars takes a lot of beating. A frisson of anticipation, the close camaraderie of dinner in the bush (and in the dog!), and who knows who was making which of those noises all through the night. I'll do it again at any opportunity! Really though, we enjoyed being with Steve and being able to get off the wagon regularly to investigate one opportunity or another, to look at tracks, pursue the shy leopard, and so on. It was different to other safaris, and so much more involving. And great fun to share it with all the family from time to time.
I hope we can come again before long, and enjoy it all in the bush, and the return home each time to the "best showers in Africa"! Meanwhile good luck and have fun. N, Scotland

Steve and Annabelle thank you for a truly wonderful stay in your new camp. Having been in the safari industry for forty years I can honestly say your camp hits the nail on the head, extremely comfortable, great food, beautiful location and best guides but not losing sight of the bush or trying to be anything else. Promise me nothing will change! We will be back very soon. E, 86 year old Kenyan conservationist


What about the wildlife? Great numbers of elephants are around and very relaxed. Wild dogs sightings are fantastic, sometimes they take a day or so to find but we have a couple of guests who came specifically to see and photograph them and were rewarded with twice daily sightings for a week, hunting, killing, mating, playing and resting. A leopard kill on a night drive just outside camp, giraffe, hippo, Grevy’s zebra, oryx, porcupines, and right in front of camp elis coming into the salt lick and giraffes fighting.

For me, the best thing is cooking a lamb curry over the open fire on the rocks behind camp overlooking the best view, in between stirring seeing a herd of elephants crossing the river and coming towards us with babies, undisturbed and carrying on with their feeding, playing etc. Walking with an elderly lady along the river and coming across another herd of elephants who she could just make out against the sky-line and seeing her soak up the scene, the sound of the river roaring in the background.
Back to business – we have had a great start, a very busy July and August but September slows down a bit just when we are getting excited and want to keep up those daily sightings of wild dogs etc. So, we have not one but two Special Offers in conjunction with each other, 5 nights for the price of 4 on accommodation, and low season rates throughout September.
 Several of our guests have arrived from Nairobi by road and enjoyed the journey on the new Thika road with a stop in Nanyuki for some excellent Kenyan coffee at Dorman’s coffee shop, revived for their 1 and a half hour journey into Laikipia which is a beautiful drive. From just $300 per vehicle, this is an economical way of getting around plus you get a real feel for the country rather than hopping from bubble to bubble and dealing with airport security and queues along the way. Email us at for more details.

We look forward to hearing from you and thank you to everyone for all your support over the last few months.

Best wishes,

Steve and Annabelle

Bottom of Form

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

We are into our second month. First few weeks saw some amusing episodes in the kitchen. Steve calling for the team to quickly find the bed rolls and pack them ready for our first fly-camping trip sent Godfrey our cook into a flat spin and rolling out hundreds of bread rolls not bed rolls. Kenyan fried eggs tend to be turned a few times and quite well done. Our first demonstration of a different kind of fried egg, sunny-side up produced not-quite-clones of the raw variety which exits a chicken's bottom and made their way 7/8ths of the way to the breakfast table before they were hijacked by myself and wobbled back to the kitchen for transition from clear to white whites.

Including these entertaining moments, all has gone remarkably smoothly and our staff have been a fantastic team. Game-viewing has been remarkable and we are so fortunate to be in such a beautiful spot. The camp is tucked beneath the brow of a hill, hidden and secretive but with the most lovely, peaceful views of ranges of hills, the river, and sightings of elephant and giraffe herds often enough to keep you looking but rare enough to be thrilling when they arrive.

From my office the most serene view, a window into this scene and in amongst the boxes of pasta, olive oil and home-made jams which happens to host the best telephone and internet signal in camp, I answer emails and battle with the slow connection sending out photos and the occasional bit of script. Weekly trips to Nanyuki for supplies include a stint with wifi, a sniff of the outside world, the excitement of another pace and chatter of friends in town. And then back to a piece of borrowed wilderness, untouched heaven filled with rare and beautiful breeds of zebra, giraffe, hartebeest and less rare but still astounding even after nearly 15 years living here, elephants, wild dogs, hippos, lions, leopards calling, different breeds of caterpillar presented to me by our sons in their hands, and new birds arriving from time to time.