LATEST NEWS AND HAPPENINGS FROM 2010
Another year gone and the temptation is to wail and moan at the fact that 2010 seemed to only be 6 months instead of the normal 12 months. But that would the same as making old peoples groans each time you get out of a car, or climb out of a chair. The best, they say, is to take life by the horns and fill it with safaris of one kind or another.
That is certainly the way Julie Kirby plans things. We had been on a previous safari together and Julie knew she could tweek it here and there and put together a group of nine of the coolest cowgirls in California for a horseback safari in Maasailand (Northern Tanzania). We spent a couple of days riding out, and back to our main tented camp; and then we had our staff go ahead of us in lorries and put up lightweight fly camps. We would arrive in the evenings to the fire lit and ice cold G&T’s held out as we climbed stiffly off the horses. The safari was such a success that we are working on ways to get another group together for something similar. We thought the next one should include husbands and birdshooting. That way some people could be riding and others birdshooting. Francolin breasts wrapped in bacon with a slice of Jalapeno inside are the perfect accompaniment to a sundown Gin & Tonic.
It is always good to get old friends back on safari and it was this way with Sissy Lavigne (with Daryll, Ellen and Zoomboy), Rick Russell (with Jim and family) and Ken Coe who all came on long safaris of one kind or another. Ken traveled with David Banks and Matt Brown of the Nature Conservancy who have just opened an Africa Office and it was a pleasure to be able to travel and spend time with three such great conservationists.
Then these old friends and safari companions always tell their friends to come on safari and so it was that I was able to do safaris with the Sandefers, the Penns, The Davis’s, The Bridges, the Georges and the Shannons.
Since it never pays to sit still, the Ker & Downey Tz people have been working hard to stay ahead of what other operators can offer. For me as a guide this means I get to stay ahead of the curve and what other independent guides can offer.
MWIBA is a new conservation area that Ker & Downey Tz has just developed. It borders on both the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation area. Since it belongs to K&D, we get complete freedom to do whatever we please while on safari in the area. We can walk, do night drives, camp out and climb kopjes. And like our Maasailand Block (Natron), Ugalla, or Moyowosi, your safari has total and exclusive use of the block. There can be very few other safaris that offer an entire area of several hundred square miles for just your group on safari.
Most people find it difficult to understand two concepts when I explain why my safaris are different to others.
The first is the size of our concessions. We have private access to areas of, on average, 1000 sq kilometers. According to a conversion chart I just looked up, that is 247,000 acres for just your safari. And to make it even more amazing, these areas border on other wild areas, National Parks or hunting blocks. So the size of the wild country surrounding us on safari is immense.
The second is that people often do not fully understand what an exclusive safari is (unless they have REALLY been on one). And if someone has not been on safari at all, it is difficult to explain to them how different it is to be on safari with ONLY your group of friends or family. That means it is possible to stay an entire safari in private camps; it means you never have to share a safari vehicle with strangers; and it means you get the guide for just your group. People often believe they have been on an exclusive safari when in fact they shared camps and often even shared vehicles with other parties.
Having said this, I do like to mix this privacy with a visit to Ngorongoro Crater or the Serengeti National Park, how can one come all the way to Africa’s prime safari destination and miss these iconic locations.
Of course my safari highlight was my trip to Mexico which I have just come back from. Plans are already well under way to get back to Alamos for an extended period when things are quiet this side of the ocean.
The safari season this year is busy but I still have space:
In the first two weeks of July – this is a popular time because of school holidays in USA and has come available due to a cancellation.
In the second half of September until 10 October.
So till we meet again, take care
Below are a few photos from some of the year’s safaris. Pls click on images to view enlargements: