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Patty Sep 16th, 2009 05:49 AM

My, those are big orphans! Adventures of Joyce, Rod, Mark & Patty in Kenya

Aug 31 - Nairobi
Sep 1/2 - Sandai
Sep 3 - Nairobi
Sep 4/5/6 - Ithumba
Sep 7/8 - Galdessa
Sep 9/10 - Finch Hattons
Sep 11 - Nairobi

Photos from Sandai

Photos from Nairobi

Still working on the rest. Trip report to follow.

joeyi Sep 16th, 2009 07:12 AM

I like the title, and I still laughing thinking about how huge the orphans were.

flowerpower Sep 16th, 2009 02:11 PM

As I have gone back and read over trip reports I have seen you are one enthusastic African traveler. I am enjoying many of your past reports and will surely enjoy this one.

Everyone looked bundled up in jackets - what were the temps that time of year?
Thx and look forward to the rest.


LyndaS Sep 16th, 2009 02:54 PM

Welcome back Patty! I think I may have to read ahead of my backlog in trip reports once you post!


simbakubwa Sep 16th, 2009 02:56 PM

Wow! You guys look cold! Was this really in september?

Did you go north to samburu at all? Was it any warmer up there?

sallysaab Sep 16th, 2009 03:23 PM

OMG Maalim is soooo big!
The Sykes monkeys are very cute.
I'm assuming of course the big babies we're at Ithumba, did you go to Voi?

Patty Sep 16th, 2009 03:58 PM

Thanks guys!

Thanks for your nice comments about my trip reports. Aberdare NP is between 6000-10000 ft in elevation so it's never too warm and in early September (end of winter) you definitely need jackets. The rest of our trip was in Tsavo East & West NPs between 1000-2000 ft and much, much warmer. There's a great variance in elevation and terrain in Kenya so you get a variety of climates. We found this time of year to be very pleasant especially in Tsavo as we'd only been there in summer previously when it didn't cool down much at all at night.

We didn't go north this time but I suspect Samburu temps would've been very similar to Tsavo where you'll see us in shorts and tank tops next.

I hadn't seen Maalim before so I was thinking OMG he's so tiny! No we never made it to Voi. The "big babies" turned out not to be babies at all. Just a hilarious initial reaction. You'll see in the next set of pics.


atravelynn Sep 16th, 2009 05:38 PM

Ithumba--I had the same reaction to that nicely lit shot of the ele herd. You fed them?

Your prompt posting of pictures is to be commended. I'll check out the first albums.

atravelynn Sep 16th, 2009 06:07 PM

I'll have to find out more about Sandai. The Sykes Monkeys and Giant Forest Hogs are certainly plentiful.

Leely2 Sep 16th, 2009 07:16 PM

Very good photos with funny captions, Patty--a winning combination. Ithumba looks quite interesting. I have tons of questions but will try to wait for the report.

sallysaab Sep 17th, 2009 12:27 AM

I am soooooo jealous, you really shouldnt have gone without me! Patty my email address [email protected] should you get a spare moment in the next couple of years!
I'll send you a pic of Maalim, little.

twaffle Sep 17th, 2009 02:47 AM

Lovely photos, Ithumba looks as good as I imagined it to be apart from the obviously dry conditions.

Patty Sep 17th, 2009 03:30 AM

Thanks again, everyone!

Last sets:


Finch Hattons

atravelynn Sep 17th, 2009 05:58 PM

I loved the mother ele and calf under the palms. Were you in the viewing platform when it was used for a scratching post?

At Finch Hattons, great turtles and crocs.

Patty Sep 17th, 2009 06:32 PM

I think that baby was with an older sister. We saw the little calf often around camp in a group of four that looked like it consisted of a mom, baby and 2 older siblings. The mom can be seen in the carport photo.

No one was ever in the viewing platform when that happened but it would've been funny if one of us was napping up there. I would've just thought it was Mark or Rod playing a prank!

Leely2 Sep 17th, 2009 07:40 PM

Wow, so dry. I am doing my rain dance right now. Saw the giraffe carcass; was that a zebra carcass as well?

Galdessa looks interesting too but Ithumba Ithumba Ithumba. On my mind.

Treepol Sep 17th, 2009 11:27 PM


wonderful pictures once again, thank you for sharing. I especially liked the giant hogs and the Ithumba eles. Aberdares is already in my draft itinerary for a future East Africa safari and I think Ithumba will also be there.

Look forward to the trip report,


Patty Sep 18th, 2009 04:29 AM

Yes that was a zebra carcass.

Thanks, Treepol!

GTG at Ithumba next year?

Patty Sep 18th, 2009 05:54 AM

<b>Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport</b>

We were really excited to be able to return to some of our favorite places in Kenya with Joyce and Rod this year. Our first stop was Petra Allmendinger’s ranch, Sandai, north of Mweiga near the Aberdares. Starting our drive from Runda (a suburb north of Nairobi city center) meant little traffic to contend with and we arrived in just over 3 hours. Petra’s brother and his family as well as some friends (who had lived in Kenya 15 years ago) were all visiting from Germany so she had a full complement of guests making for some lively evenings. We decided to take it easy and relax the first afternoon and Mark took the time to replace Petra’s broken guitar tuners with a set we’d brought with us. Tessa just started at a new school in Nakuru so unfortunately we didn’t get to see her. Tak, Nusu, Oscar and a new dog named Lucas as well as Hedgie, the food stealer, and her feline family were all still around. It’s always nice to see that none were taken by a leopard! Speaking of leopards, there was a leopardess with 2 cubs on the property at the time. We never saw them but Rod did hear her at 2:00am one morning.

With the guitar repaired and the one Rod brought along, we had an evening of music the first night. At one point Rod chose to play a song he was sure everyone would know and could sing along to but was met with blank stares and the sound of crickets instead! It wasn’t long though before he got his entire audience singing the chorus to Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport. Later we got a pretty good The Lion Sleeps Tonight going too.

The next day we went on a 10 hour excursion to the Aberdares and hey, I managed to remember to bring my camera along this time! The morning started out very misty so we all ended up borrowing jackets from Petra and her family. We thought we were extremely lucky when we saw 3 giant forest hogs very close to the road early in the day not realizing that by the end of the day we would have seen 10 of them! We’d seen one previously in 2005 but it was a fleeting glimpse and Joyce and Rod had seen one in 2006 that was so far away that they just had to trust their guide that the black dot on the hill was indeed a hog. Another one of my favorite sightings was a troop of Sykes monkeys in a bamboo thicket. When we stopped, they all started coming to the edge of the bamboo. Who was checking who out? The animals were being really cooperative today! We also saw a troop of colobus monkeys flying through the trees. Unfortunately none of us were fast enough with our cameras.

We stopped near Karuru Falls for a picnic. Normally you’d hardly see another vehicle in this park. However today there was already a KWS vehicle with 3 passengers parked there and as we were sitting down to eat, a bus with over 20 passengers from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa pulled up. How hilarious was that and how that bus made it there, I don’t know! Everyone else decided to visit the falls first so we patted ourselves on the back for prioritizing lunch. After our picnic, we walked down to the falls platforms which were enshrouded in mist. I started to tell Joyce and Rod that there really were waterfalls there and how beautiful they’d be if we could actually see them when the mist started to lift. Watching the falls appear was incredible and after we’d all enjoyed the views, the mist moved back in again. Perfect timing!

Back up in the parking area, one of the students approached Mark to ask what his binoculars were for. As Mark was explaining and having her look through the binos, a line of 10 had formed all wanting to look through them too! One student asked if the binos enabled you to see through the mist.

Other game we saw that day were buffalo, waterbuck, 2 eles (sadly one of which had a leg injury due to a snare, he’s been seen that way for about a year now), bushbuck, jackal, duiker, reedbuck, baboon and warthogs. We also made a stop to see Chania Falls. It was a long but really good day!

That night we helped celebrate Petra’s friend’s 16th birthday (well, it was some multiple of 16 ;) ). Petra’s living room turned into a bush disco with lots of dancing to ABBA and Gloria Gaynor. Us girls even managed to get a couple of the guys on their feet. However we’re under strict orders not to post the incriminating evidence. We had an Oscar<b>i</b> escort us back to our cottage that night but as payment for his services he demanded to sleep in the cottage with us. Maybe he heard the leopard too?

joeyi Sep 18th, 2009 07:34 AM

I think I'm going to have that song in my head all morning.

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