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

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