Loisaba

12/3/10

We took a 6 hour “road” transfer from Samburu to Loisaba. Funny thing is we ran out of road after about 4 hours. Then it started to rain, so we slid around the muddy bumpy ground for about 3 hours passing various wildlife and a few overstuffed trucks with people clinging to the top and the sides. We also took a break for tea, in which we pulled off to the side of the road and our driver brought out the tea and cookies.

The rich green forests and bright flowers of Loisaba were quite a change from the dusty dry red sand and bare thorny trees of Samburu. We quickly learned that all this dense forestry made is pretty impossible for us to find animals. We drove around that place for two days and barely saw anything more than hyenas eating the dead elephant. But hey that’s the way the ball bounces sometimes. These animals aren’t paid to make special appearances every hour.

I also found Loisaba to be more of an activities wilderness lodge offering helicopter safaris, white water rafting, camel and horseback safaris, croquet, etc. There was plenty of other options if you don’t feel like doing your typical safari. Did I mention this place has its own airstrip??

One of the highlights was dinner with Allistar, the camp manager and Humpries, the pilot. When you think of old british safari – these two should come to mind. Dressed the part one in a shearling vest, the other wearing oodles of scarves draped around his neck. They were a laugh riot. Telling crazy stories of crash landing planes out on the african planes and luring honeybadgers into the main lodge and then barricading it into the library with pillows and couch cushions.

The brilliance of Loisaba are the Starbeds. We were able to book one night in these allusive beds, and were escorted to our digs via camels. My camel was not fond of the muddy slopes and would throw a fit every time we needed to descend down the trail. Riding the camels was a very earthy experience. We were able to get closer to the animals than we were on horseback.

We sipped on a cocktail and then headed out for a night game drive, along with an armed guard whose leisurely placement of his loaded gun was almost as scary as being lost in the pitch black darkness of the African jungle. Yes, I said lost. We were off roading it in search of leopards and sometime after the sun went go we got pretty freakin lost. We ended up running into a huge heard of frightened elephants hiding the tiniest baby I have ever seen.

 After another delicious dinner and some drinks around the bonfire we headed up to our starbed. Unfortunately, the sky was a bit cloudy that night so the start were muted. It was also unfortunate that it started to rain in the middle of the night and Mr. K had to get our of bed and wheel it back into the hut.

 P.s. Did I mention that our guide Lawrence named a hybrid species of monkey? It was a cross between a Gabon and a Baboon.

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December 6, 2010. Tags: , , , , . Travel. Leave a comment.

Memorable Moments In Samburu

12/3/10

  • Mr. K spotting the leopard mom and cub sitting in the trees guarding their porcupine kill, after a long morning of driving around seeing nothing.
  • Having our bush breakfast invaded by the blue baller monkeys, watching Chris and Simon throw rock and sticks to scare them away, Mr. K jumping and running at above mentioned blue baller, blue baller hissing and snapping his teeth at Mr. K and me thinking we are about to experience Outbreak part 4.
  • The genet cat
  • tiny baby elephant running around his mom trumpeting
  • sipping wine poolside after our massages
  • agitated male elephant on the hunt for his runaway female
  • lions sitting in a tree
  • bush baby
  • feeding Garys
  • sunsets with wine and bitings
  • being in awe and very awkward with the singing Masai married ladies

December 3, 2010. Tags: , , , . Travel. Leave a comment.

Genet Cat Genet Cat What are They Feeding You…

12/3/10

Over Thanksgiving I visited my grandma who told me that I should take a journal on every trip, so I can take notes on where I’ve been and remember the memories that were made there. So for that reason I’m going to finish up the summary of our Africa trip.

At Saruni, we were told stories of a genet cat who was infamous for sneaking into rooms and eating the cookies brought with the  tea. Everyone who worked there seemed to have a story of this genet cat, so of course Mr. K and I devised a plot to meet this wild “pet”.

Our last night in Saruni we had a yummy dinner in our room accompanied by champagne and wine. Half way through the champagne we decided to create a cookie trail leading from our front door into our dining room to lure the genet cat in. Mr. K kept a secret stash of tea cookies in a pocket of his safari vest. We broke apart one cookie and trailed the pieces into the room. No luck. The only thing eating the cookies by the end of dinner were ants. I toss the cookies bits outside the front door.

Later on we head into the bedroom. Once we are safe and secure inside of our mosquito net bed we begin to hear the oddest noise. A mix of scratching and clicking. Mr. K bravely gets out of bed to investigate (remember we have no walls to protect us on one side of our room).

He gets his headlamp switches it on and sees the genet cat sitting comfortably in the chair biting a hole through his safari vest to get at the cookies. He sees Mr. K and scurries from the room. So of course I jump out of bed put on a headlamp and make a cookie trail to see if he will come back. He does. Fearlessly entering our room and the spot lights of our headlamps and walks around eating all of the cookie crumbs, making a leisurely exit.

In the morning Sylvester pointed out that there were hyena tracks all the front entry way to our room. Perhaps they like cookies too.

December 3, 2010. Tags: , , , . Travel. Leave a comment.

Samburu Safari Day 1

Aug. 24, 2010

We are picked up from the Buffalo Springs “airport” by our guides, Chris a Samburu Masai warrior and Simon the warrior in training. They lay down the rules of their safari and off we drove over the bumpy red roads to begin what is our first safari ever! The Samburu landscape consists of mostly red sand and super thorny bushes that are conveniently located on the edge of the road threatening to stab you at every curve. Our guides wear the traditional red robes of their Masai tribe, brightly colored beaded bracelets and these wonderful head pieces that bring the whole outfit together. At times other tourists found our guides to be more entertaining than the animals. Once pair of UK folks asked us if they could take a photo of our guides – to which I thought um why don’t you ask them???

Anyways our very first animal sighting are dik dik’s tiny antelope looking things that we soon find out are as common as squirrels or pigeons – at least in Samburu – in southern Kenya, dik diks are less and less of a common occurrence. We see impala everywhere, gerenuks eating leaves on their hind legs (they are nicknamed giraffe antelopes for their long giraffe like necks) and the blue ball monkeys (aka vervet monkeys) – yes they are named for a certain part of their blue anatomy.

 Next we drive up into a herd of elephants! Huge elephants just a few feet from the car and they don’t even seem to care! Next up we find a bunch of young giraffes and see one timidly step up to the river to drink water right next to a little croc sunning itself on a grassy patch. Seconds later two young elephants bust out of the bush ahead of us in a mock fight pushing each other with their trunks and mini tusks! Look to your left, are those giraffes kissing?  – why yes I believe they are! Nat Geo has nothing on this! Such an abundance of wildlife all within a few yards of each other.

We are lucky enough to see all the Samburu five on our first day of safari. Oryx, gerenuk, Gevey’s zebras, ostrich, and reticulated giraffe – these 5 animals are only in the Samburu region of Kenya (northern parts of Kenya). We stop for a bush lunch near a natural spring and eat with some curious Grevey’s zebras and then head off to Saruni.

If you want to follow our honeymoon adventure through photos check out our website!

September 23, 2010. Tags: , , , , . Travel. Leave a comment.

Africa, Honeymoon, Here we come!!

August 21-22, 2010

In the spirit of the Friends Monica and Chandler honeymoon episode Mr. K and I arrived at JFK airport expecting a free upgrade to first class.

Me: Hey! how’s it going? It’s our honeymoon we were wondering if there is anything available in first class. (wink wink)

Emerates ticket man: Yes there is for an upgrade fee of $8,000 a ticket.

Me: OK. What about business class?

Emerates ticket man: yep $4,000 a ticket

Me: OK. how about emergency row seating.

Emerates ticket man: (makes a whispered phone call where only thing i make out is honeymoon couple.) Yes we have something available.

We may not have been first  class but we got the most pimped out seats in coach, the first row with about 4 feet of empty space in front of us and an extra seat in our row (which later acted as a trash can for all the wine bottles we consumed.) Then we met Jesse our flight attendant friend who hooked us up the rest of the flight, our honeymoon was off to a smashing start.

So a 12 hour flight to Dubai. What to do what to do, well there was movie watching, photo book reading, pong playing and flight watching – where we realized that we were flying over Iraq – Baghdad etc, are there no such things as no fly zones anymore??

Soon we arrive in Dubai and yes it is as designer as everyone says  – pretty much 5th ave in an airport where they sell $127 headphones like JFK sells .25 cent Posts. So here we are thinking that we are in the most modern totally together airport, where the chairs are not just sitting chairs they are recliners.

Finally Nairobi where was meet our driver Gibson holding a sign reading Kocubinski/Ritchey just past baggage claim. It has secretly been a dream of mine that a drive will meet me with a sign at an airport waiting to take me away to a exotic place, and now my dream has  true (but even better than my dream since my dream has turned into my honeymoon with Mr. K. )We are truly blessed.

We jump on our Safari bus and head to our hotel a 5 acre oasis in the middle of the city. Beautiful. We have dinner and are now turning in for what should be an awesome day of giraffe and elephant sanctuaries, open air markets and much more!

August 22, 2010. Tags: , , , . love, Newly Wed Notes, Travel. Leave a comment.