Dear Friends,

Much has happened since we’ve last updated you. Our inaugural Ladies Only Big Cat Safari was a great success! It was followed up with what turned out to be a boys safari at Lerai Safari Camp, a new camp for us located in the Olerai Conservancy adjacent to the Masai Mara.    

Little did we know when we returned home in early March that we may have just completed our only safaris for the year.  Covid-19 has changed everything.

In this newsletter, we talk about Safaris in a Covid-19 world, Books and Movies to get you excited about Africa, How to Plan for 2021-22, and, of course, share some photos.

Enjoy!

Bush breakfast with our wonderful ladies group
This young male stopped by to say “jambo”
We spent some time with this young giraffe and his family as they made their way across the open plains
Boys being boys. For the first 3 years elephants are very playful – learning to to interact with others, developing their muscles, and play fighting.

Safaris in the World of Covid-19 – Need for flexibility

Travel in the future will require flexibility. Despite uncertainty, guests should still make plans to travel on safari, with the understanding they may need to change their plans due to circumstances beyond their control.

Most of our safaris for this year have been rescheduled for 2021. The camps and operators have been extremely accommodating to our guests. They have made it clear we are important to them and want us to experience their wildlife and hospitality and are waiving any fees for out guests to reschedule their safari.

While the impact of Covid-19 on humans and wildlife is affecting countries around the world differently, in Kenya it is felt on both sides – humanitarian and wildlife. Kenya’s game parks rely on tourist dollars to pay rangers and staff to protect Africa’s remaining precious wildlife from illegal poaching. Without rangers, staff, tourists, and safari vehicles in these areas, wildlife poachers have unsupervised access to kill elephants, rhino, lions, giraffe, and other bush meat animals for profit.

As a leading tourist destination for wildlife in Africa, Kenya faces the dark reality that it could take decades to recover from the loss of wildlife caused by this epidemic.

Like many things with Covid-19, this story continues to develop. It will be important for tourists to return to Africa as soon as it’s safe. We are continuing to plan and schedule future safaris. Assuming it’s safe for guests and staff, the trips will go as scheduled. If not, we will evaluate the situation at that time. A lot of lead time and preparation goes into planning a safari, we believe continuing to move forward is the right decision for us.

One of the 3 males in a pride of about 12 lions
Mom comes to check on her young daughter in the Olerai Conservancy

Getting in the African Spirit – Movies, Books, and TV Shows

While we can’t travel to Africa at the moment, we can still dream! I’ve compiled a list of Movies, Book and TV Shows to help you get in the spirit so you’re ready to go when the time is right.

Movies

Out of Africa – If you want to get a glimpse into colonial times in East Africa, with a bit of romance and drama sprinkled in, then set aside a few hours for this classic. Before the movie came out in 1988, Kenya was a place for the rich and elite to go on safari. After this hit the screen, tourism in Kenya exploded.

Gorillas in the Mist – Primatologist Diane Fossey spent 18 years of her life studying the social interactions of mountain gorilla families in the Virunga Mountains of Rwanda; without her efforts, it is a real possibility the animals would have been extinct today.

The Lion King – It might be animation and talking lions rather than real-life nature scenes, but adults and kids alike can’t fail to be inspired to take a safari holiday after watching Simba on screen!

Born Free – The true life story of George and Joy Adamson and the orphaned lion cub, Elsa, they adopt.

Books

The Elephant Whisper by Lawrence Anthony – Lawrence Anthony devoted his life to animal conservation. He was asked to accept a herd of “rogue” wild elephants on his Thula Thula game reserve in Zululand. His common sense told him to refuse, but he was the herd’s last chance of survival: they would be killed if he wouldn’t take them. Based on true story. (my personal favorite)

Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story by Daphne Sheldrick – Daphne Sheldrick, whose family arrived in Africa from Scotland in the 1820s, is the first person ever to have successfully hand-reared newborn elephants. She helped establish the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, which many of our guests have visited.


TV Shows/Documentaries

Big Cat Diaries – A BBC series filmed in the Masai Mara which made the marsh pride of lions world famous.

Africa on BBC – This is a journey through five regions of an amazingly diverse continent, taking you seamlessly from its wild terrain and landscapes to intimate encounters with its mesmerizing creatures.

Planet Earth on BBC – David Attenborough celebrates the amazing variety of the natural world in this epic documentary series, filmed over four years across 64 different countries.

National Geographic Channel – A number of specials on Africa, including life safari drives.

Sharing customs between cultures often happens on safari. Here one of the ladies introduced our guide, Josephat, to a banana wrapped in a pancake (crepe) with peanut butter. He never tried it before and now has a new breakfast food.

How to Plan for 2021-22 Safari Dates – Time to Start Planning

With much of the 2020 safari season rescheduled for 2021, availability of preferred dates for those without 2021 reservations are going to be extremely limited. This will also put pressure on availability for 2022. If a safari is on your list, and you can be flexible, now is the time to lock in prime 2021-22 dates.

For 2021 we have two Big Cat Safaris weeks available:February 12-20
February 25 – March 6 (designed for photographers)
There is availability for Private safaris in 2021 and 2022.  Contact me to schedule a meeting to discuss your private family or small group safari.

A visit to a local Maasai village if always a highlight for guests
Morning stretch by one of the “Fast 5” male cheetahs

Polar Bear Safari – Join us for our Inaugural Safari

We are heading to Churchill, Canada October 25-November 1, 2021 to experience polar bears up close and personal. Four spaces remain for this unforgettable trip. Please contact me if you have an interest.

Snow Leopard Safari – Quest for the White Ghost

We are returning to the Himalayas of northern India to search for the elusive snow leopard in April 2021. If you think you might have an interest contact me for details.

I hope you enjoyed this update.  Please forward this newsletter to your friends and family and ask them join our quarterly e-mail newsletter

For the latest updates and news, Like our Facebook page and visit our website.

Warm regards,

Peter

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