Why Laikipia? (for Sharon)

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Sep 1st, 2005, 01:18 PM
  #1
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Why Laikipia? (for Sharon)

Hello Sharon,

I didn't want to add onto an increasingly long thread, but I thought you might want to know why I thought Laikipia was a good substitute for Samburu, given what I know of your interests and travelling style.

It seemed like your main reason for wanting to go to Samburu was to see the northern species, like Grevy's zebra, reticulated giraffe, gerenuk, and Somali ostrich. Laikipia has the second-highest wildlife density in Kenya (after the Mara) according to KWS, and has a particularly high concentration of endangered species. All of the northern species you were interested in seeing are found in the area, and particularly good game viewing can be had at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, a private reserve in Laikipia. Because the reserves are all privately owned you have more options for activities.

You also said that one of your main concerns in East Africa was being stuck on the 'tourist track', and Laikipia is definitely off the beaten track. You would be one of very few visitors there.

Sweetwaters Game Reserve is part of the Laikipia area, and includes Kenya's only chimp sanctuary. Since you're very interested in primates, it seemed like a great opportunity for you to spend some time with chimps without undertaking the budget-busting excursion to Mahale.

In the end, of course, it's your safari! I just thought that it would be a good idea to put Laikipia on your radar since it seemed to fulfill so many of your wishes.

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 1st, 2005, 01:23 PM
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I just wanted to point out that the chimps at Sweetwaters are in an enclosed (though natural looking) area, so it's definitely not the same type of experience as seeing them in the wild, if that's your interest.
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Sep 1st, 2005, 01:28 PM
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Wow - two threads with my very own name on them...

Thank you for clarifying this again, Julian. I actually meant everything in the previous post in a GOOD way; that I was getting such good information and learning so much that I realized I may want to save up more money in order to really do East Africa right, if that makes sense. I do personally think I would like that area.
On another topic, when Sandi mentioned the lakes area, do you know what she meant?
Thanks again!
Sharon
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Sep 1st, 2005, 01:32 PM
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Patty - do you get to have any interaction with the chimps at Sweetwaters?

Sharon
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Sep 1st, 2005, 01:33 PM
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Hi Sharon,

I think she may have been referring to the Great Rift Valley, where Lakes Nakuru, Naivasha (sp?) et al are located. This is where lots of flamingoes and water birds can be seen. I don't know much about the area myself, as I'm not much of a birder and it didn't really appeal to me, at least for the forthcoming trip.

If you split Kenya and Tanzania, you could do certainly do one of them 'right'!

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 1st, 2005, 01:38 PM
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No, you don't get to interact as the chimps are behind a fence. There's a viewing platform area and also another more 'natural' looking area where there's an island surrounded by water (the water separates you from the chimps).

Rift Valley Lakes - Naivasha, Nakuru, Bogoria and Baringo.
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Sep 1st, 2005, 01:42 PM
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Julian,

Laikipia is mainly an area of big farms and cattle ranches that are switching to game farming and mainly luxury tourism (meanwhile they have a very good working marketing machine). Reminds me in some ways on similar areas in South Africa. Just two weeks ago I read Anna Merz's (of Lewa fame) "Rhino at the Brink of Extinction", and I still have her description of "agonising dust" in this "scarce landscape" in my mind. This is in large parts not the typical Africa savannah or bush land you might expect, although it gets better to the north, leaving the Central Highlands (for instance, Il Ngwesi and Sabuk - but this is strictly no longer Laikipia).

The chimps sanctuary at Sweetwaters is a wonderful refuge for the chimps from Burundi and elsewhere - however, this area is not natural chimp habitat, and the sanctuary with all its fences and concrete termite mounds looks more than a zoo in London than the real thing.

Mitch
 
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Sep 1st, 2005, 01:46 PM
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jasher -

Sweetwaters is in the Mt.Kenya area, not Laikipia. Maybe 10-miles, if that - Laikipia is a greater distance from Mt. Kenya. Besides, Sweetwaters is on the regular tourist route of accommodations. Lots of tours include lunch at Mt. Kenya Safari Club with the overnight at Sweetwaters.
 
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Sep 1st, 2005, 01:58 PM
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Sandi,

Sweetwaters is marketed as being in Laikipia. And if you look at the map of the Laikipia Wildlife Forum you will be surprised how large 'Laikipia District' apparently is:
http://www.laikipia.org/map-of-laikipia.htm

Mitch
 
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Sep 1st, 2005, 02:00 PM
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PS: Interestingly Lewa is NOT located in Laikipia District but Isiolo.
 
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Sep 1st, 2005, 02:04 PM
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Hello,

When I suggested Sweetwaters, I meant it as a day trip -- not as a place to stay.

Mitch, I don't think that having previously been a ranch or farm necessarily makes a reserve or the experience a visitor has there inferior, unless there is lack of game as a result (as at Madikwe). Phinda is a great reserve which was reclaimed from some derlict farms. In some ways, as Rocco pointed out once, the conversion of ranches and farms to wildlife is a positive move for both the local community and for the environment.

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 1st, 2005, 02:06 PM
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Sorry, meant to say that 'conversion from agriculture/stock to wildife is the most positive move possible..'

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 1st, 2005, 02:13 PM
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OFF TOPIC

Book recommendations for Julian:

"I Speak of Africa: The Story of Londolozi Game Reserve 1926-1996"
http://www.safari-shop.de/CoffeeTabl...#0-620-20646-2

"The Return: The Story of Phinda Game Reserve, 1990-2000":
http://www.safari-shop.de/CoffeeTabl...#0-620-24584-0

I assume that you know the first title, but I'm not sure with the second. Both are wonderful produced coffee table books - highly recommended!

Mitch
 
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Sep 1st, 2005, 02:24 PM
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Mitch,

I own the first one and have read the second. They're both wonderful books, and one of the reasons I'm really encouraged to see more efforts being made to move from farming to eco-tourism. It's not easy, but seeing how a place like Phinda was brought back to life is inspiring.

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 1st, 2005, 06:15 PM
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Do you see gerenuk regularly in Laikipia?
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Sep 2nd, 2005, 04:56 AM
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atravelnn -

We didn't see gerunuk in Laikipia, but then the area is so vast and we were only there 3-days (at Loisaba and Sabuk). But we definitely saw gerunuk in Samburu.

Mitch -

Sweetwaters may "now" be shown in the Laikipia area, but if it's less then 10-miles from Mt.Kenya - I'd say it's not. When Sweetwaters was built, nobody except those who lived/owned the big ranches knew of Laikipia which is way to the east of Mt. Kenya. The drive from Nanyuki the airport for Mt. Kenya, is a good 2-hrs drive (alternative to private charter) to some close-in areas of Laikipia. As numbers, maps, can impart on us what they want us to see/know. And, yes, Lewa is clear over on the other side of Laikipia - it's own conservation area, closer to Samburu which is north of Isiolo.

 
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