Greetings from us all at Gamewatchers Safaris & Porini Camps!
As the end of the year approaches, we thought we’d update you with the latest news and scenes from our camps and conservancies in Kenya.
First Sightings of Fig’s Cubs
Previous Olare Motorogi Conservancy visitors – and other avid followers of our wildlife updates – will be pleased to know that Fig, one of the resident leopards, was recently observed with two healthy cubs.
Last week Chris Letoluo – safari guide from Porini Lion Camp, and the camp’s guests, were treated to the first sightings of the mother and her young family as they emerged from their hiding place.
Image by Porini guide Meshack Sayialel
It is believed that Fig had been hiding her cubs close to Porini Lion Camp, until they were a few weeks old and ready to venture out.
Fig has successfully raised cubs to adulthood in the past, though it remains a risky business as they will face many challenges and dangers as they mature and learn how to survive in their perilous natural surroundings.
Porini Camp guides and guests will be keeping a close eye on them, and we will bring you further updates as and when we receive them.
Roaring with Laughter!
Last week the UK’s Daily Mail featured this wonderful image taken by recent Porini Lion Camp guest Rose Fleming. This was taken in Olare Motorogi Conservancy, one of the best places in Africa to see wild lions in their natural habitat.
The photo seems to show two male lions laughing and sharing a joke!
Image by Rose Fleming
In reality the photos depict the Flehmen Response, which is when a male lion grimaces as it uses a sensory organ located behind the front teeth and the roof of the mouth called the Vomero Nasal organ or Jacobson’s organ to check scents. Frequently this is so that males can test if females are in season and ready to mate.
This form of behaviour is seen in members of the cat family as well as hoofed mammals such as zebras and rhinoceros and (somewhat disappointingly) has nothing to do with an animal sense of humour!
Ol Kinyei Conservancy is added to the IUCN Global Green List
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has admitted 15 new natural sites to the IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas, bringing the total number of sites on the IUCN Green List to 40 woldwide – the first global standard recognising best practice in protected areas.
We are delighted to announce that Ol Kinyei is the first Conservancy in the Masai Mara eco-system in Kenya to have been awarded this recognition.
"The sites on the IUCN Green List have reached a standard of excellence, with clear and measurable benefits for nature and local communities. IUCN congratulates the newly listed sites for the inspiring example they provide to protected areas the world over."(Inger Andersen, IUCN Director General).
Set up in 2005, Ol Kinyei Conservancy is exclusively leased and managed by Gamewatchers Safaris.
The conservancy is an area of 18,500 acres of community-owned land made up of individual parcels leased from the owners and set aside exclusively for wildlife, with 4 small and exclusive eco camps – no more than 1 tent per 700 acres and operating as seasonal camps with no permanent structures.
Visitors benefit from day and night 4×4 game drives and guided walks in an exclusive, pristine wilderness teeming with wildlife – away from tourist crowds.
To get an insight into what the "Porini Conservancy Experience" for safari visitors is all about – and how our sustainable low density tourism model benefits guests as well as the environment and local communities – see our web site: Porini Conservancy Concept.
Unmissable Wildlife Viewing – on screen and off
If you have not yet seen the latest natural world masterpiece from the BBC -"Dynasties" – then look out for it on BBC Iplayer.
This series follows five extraordinary animals – Chimpanzee, Emperor Penguin, Lion, Painted Wolf and Tiger – each fighting for their own survival and for the future of their dynasties.
Episode 3: Lion features one of the most famous lion prides in Africa – the Marsh Pride of Kenya’s Masai Mara.
The story follows the trials of two females and eight cubs as they face the perils of the African savannah, including raging herds of buffalo, rival prides, marauding hyena and, in a fateful turn of events, a clash with humanity.
If this has whetted your appetite for viewing lions in their natural environment then you need to ensure you choose the right location in which to see them.
Our Porini Camps in the Masai Mara are set in the Olare Motorogi and Ol Kinyei Conservancies which have the highest density of wild free-roaming lions in Africa. Guests take escorted walks and day & night game drives in the Conservancies and can also visit the Masai Mara National Reserve.
Join us on our Porini In The Wilds Safari for 6 nights, starting in Nairobi National Park and then on to our Conservancies in the Mara where you are guaranteed exhilarating lion sightings. Prices for a 6 night / 7 day safari are from US $2985* per person (*based on low season: 1-15 April and 1 Nov-19 Dec 2019).
A Celebrity Guest at Porini Lion Camp
Athlete Eilish McColgan, who represented Great Britain at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016 and won a silver medal at the 2018 European Athletics Championships, has been on safari with us at Porini Lion Camp and was amazed at how much there was to see in just a brief visit.
Eilish shares her adventures:
"Running wild!! After six trips to Kenya, we finally got to tick off the bucket list with a dream safari with Porini Lion Camp, Maasai Mara, Kenya. We were blown away the second we landed at Maasai Mara – like living in a David Attenborough documentary"!
Images courtesy of Eilish McColgan
"Within the first 10 minutes we saw a cheetah chasing down a gazelle – incredible!
We never dreamed that we would be able to see EVERYTHING within such a short time frame but we’ve been left speechless! From having breakfast with the hippos to watching a lioness chase Figlet the Leopard into a tree – it’s been breathtaking to be so close to the action.
Highly recommend Porini Camps and the Olare Motorogi Conservancy – truly beautiful".
Images courtesy of Eilish McColgan
Our Community Outreach Projects
Over the years, Gamewatchers Safaris and Porini Camps have participated in various projects to provide benefits and amenities for our partner communities living alongside the conservancies.
The local communities own the land and earn an income through setting aside areas for wildlife, so the future of the conservancies and Kenya’s wildlife directly relies on the communities seeing tangible benefits from eco-tourism that outweigh the returns that would otherwise be generated from alternative uses of the land, e.g. farming, ranching, charcoal burning, sand harvesting, real estate developments etc.
We support several initiatives aiming to improve the lives of local communities, to which our customers are invited to make contributions. Ongoing projects include supplying fresh water to villages, strengthening anti-predator livestock enclosures, supporting employment of wildlife rangers, fund-raising for schools and sponsorship of community members through Safari Guide training.
ATCNews : Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome is the publisher of ATCNews, Eastern Africa’s leading aviation, tourism and conservation news blog of its kind. Wolfgang has over 45 years of experience in the tourism, aviation and conservation fields in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, covering all aspects of safari operations, hotel operations and air operations. Since 1992 he resides in Uganda, previously living for 17 years in Kenya.