Friday, June 18, 2010

Governors' Camp Host KKOS Mara Rianda School Children - May 29, 2010

Colin Smit was away on leave for a while, but on his return he was able to organise another expedition from the local Mara Rianda Primary School on 29th May. As usual they arrived at the camp for sandwiches and a cold drink, a practice session on using the cameras and spent about two and a half hours on the wildlife drive. Instead of a teacher, one of the parents accompanied the children this time. Colin was sure the driver-guides much appreciated a chaperone being sent along to help keep the kids focused and organized in getting the most out of the experience!

Many thanks to Colin and all of the wonderful Governors' Camp staff who have become the most consistent Safari Group to give regular support to the Kenyan Kids on Safari program! The local Kenyan kids , their parents, teachers and the entire communmity greatly appreciate the opportunity to learn more about the wildlife in their own backyard's world famous Maasai Mara Reserve, to drive right out amongst the animals with driver-guides who are also skilled naturalists. Bravo to Governor's Camp!

Sylvester Naimodu, above right, is very happy to have seen many elephants and buffalo, and was amazed to get so close to them while learning their habits. All of the kids get instruction in using individual telephoto cameras while on the drive - often their first time to ever take a photo! When they get back some of their best pictures are printed and given to them to take back to show their friends. The cameras and printers are supplied by KKOS.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dedicated to all the people who suffered from the March 2010 flooding of the Uaso Nyiro River


Just a few months before the terrible floods in Samburu early March 2010, Kenyan Kids on Safari from Kiltimany were racing along the river banks and joining in sing-song at the first overnite tenting campsite set up by local kids from the area.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

March 2010 KKOS Game Drive at Governors' Camp

GOVERNORS’ CAMP KKOS Game Drive for Mara Rianda School Kids– March 6, 2010

Colin Smit of Governors’ reports:

"The second group of children were taken out on Sat. 6th March. Again, much fun was had by all and the young people were very appreciative.

As yet they have not written the short letters on how they saw their experience, but the headmaster has assured me he shall get the kids on to this. A short note on Mara Rianda Primary School:

The school is situated 100 miles west of Nairobi and 50 miles south of Narok and was started in May 1988. Initially built of mud, the classes are now more permanent thanks to efforts on the part of Governors Camp and The Big Cat Diary.

A borehole was installed in 2005, but lighting equipment is still one of the school’s many needs. There are over 600 hundred pupils at the school, so money is tight! As with many African schools, some children walk up to two hours each way to get to and from school and so funds are being requested for a boarding house (dormitory). An English man, Richard Long, has a taken great interest in the school and has set up a trust for them (The Mara Rianda Charitable Trust). His email address is Obviously any small thing people do for them is appreciated."

Governors' Camp Host KKOS Mara Rianda School Children - Jan 20, 2010

GOVERNORS’ CAMP KKOS Game Drive for Mara Rianda School Kids– Jan 30, 2010

Colin Smit of Governors’ reports:

Kids view lion left foreground.

“Today shall be the first official time we are taking a group of children out on a safari! I am to fetch four of them from the local school (Mara Rianda) at 14:00pm together with the head master of the school. We’ll meet a driver at the camp where we’ll have a soda and some sandwiches before setting out. I’m looking forward to this!

The afternoon 1400 hrs went really well, with the kids having a whole lot of fun and taking something like 450 photos with KKOS cameras! I have sorted through these and made each member of the group a collage using the KKOS printer - with the best ones from their own camera. I have made arrangements to meet the children on Monday again and to organise the next excursion. Attached are some of the best photos. The adult with the children is the school headmaster who accompanied the kids.”

Kids take pictures of other kids viewing wildlife.

They even tracked a cheetah and her cub.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Intrepids Hosts First Tenting-Game Drive for Local Kids in Samburu

Intrepids Samburu Safari Camp Tenting-Game Drive Safari; December 8-12, 2009

SAMBURU INTREPIDS SAFARI CAMP provided tremendous support to Kenyan Kids on Safari (KKOS) for the first tent camping and cookout experience for local children in the entire region.

During the week-long event, the children won the hearts of hundreds of Intrepids’ tourists as well as the local staff with their singing around the camp-fire, located in a secure, park-like setting just off the entry drive to the camp. No one had to urge the Intrepids’ security staff to pay special attention to the children’s campsite at night, such was the alluring attraction of their joyful singing of African, Christian and American songs.

Intrepids supported the KKOS, Kenyan Kids on Safari, staff with Naturalists Francis and Stephen, and Magdalena from the Young Adventurers Club, plus driver-guide Dom to take them on an exciting game drive each day in one of the well-outfitted tourist safari vehicles. The children quickly learned for the first time how to use the digital telephoto cameras and spotting binoculars provided to Intrepids by KKOS, along with printing equipment to give each participant six prints of their best pictures of friends and wildlife.

KKOS also provided Intrepids with two new four-person Coleman tents for the camping experience, in which the children learned to clear their own campsite and erect the tents.

The children received their first swimming lessons in the camp pool, joined in races along the riverside sand, and gathered for dining in the tourist dining room when it was too rainy to cook outside.

Shivani Bhalla, KKOS coordinator for Northern Kenya, drove over from her Ewaso Lions campsite near Sasaab Safari camp and spent several days assisting with the Samburu Intrepids’ program.

Tony and Ali, Sasaab managers, met Todd and Joanna at Intrepids, discussing their recent success in taking 11 Kenyan children on Safari. Encouraged by the children’s and community response to the program, as well as outspoken enthusiasm of their tourists for taking Kenyan children on safari ,they plan to do this as a regular feature at Sasaab.
Kiltimany Kids Learn to Swim - click to see video

Twenty-one children participated in the camping and safari experience. The children were between the ages of 9 to 15 years old , plus Victor, age four-and a half years, for whom the older kids insisted on taking responsibility. On the last day nine children were picked up at the local school for a late afternoon safari drive in the “stretch” Intrepids’ Land Rover. Each child selected a favorite animal photograph identification tag to hang around their necks.

For all of these local children, this was their first time to see and set up lightweight camping tents, camp and cook out together and, most importantly, their first time to go on a wildlife safari in a real safari vehicle, as visitors from other countries are able to do. All of the children were provided with digital telephoto cameras and binoculars for the duration of their safari which they learned to use for the very first time. At the conclusion of their experience, each child was then provided with some of their own photographs to take home.

Below, are just a few letters that were written by the children following their experiences with KKOS at the Intrepids Safari Camp, Samburu , Kenya:

GROUP ONE - December 8-9, 2009

After orientation the children set up the tents where they will spend the night. Because of rain squalls, the game drive is postponed until the next morning and the kids get swimming lessons in the Intrepids pool in betweenn the heavier rain. It's too wet for a cook-out under the stars, so they have dinner in the lodge with the staff.

See the video on Youtube by clicking -

The first step is to clear the area of sticks and acacia thorns, making a pile for firewood and preventing puncture of the waterproof floor.

Then, they lay out the tent, drive the corner pegs and raise the tents, inserting the ridge poles.

Finally, all put together, they joyfully gather inside. The camp house keeper came back later and placed mattresses and beding inside fit for a sultan.

Everything stayed nice and dry while they sang and slept through a gusty, rainy night - with the night security staff checking on the area all through the night.

Eunice Imana, “Cheetah”, 9 years old, Girgir Primary School-

“Joanna helped us set up the tents and how to use the cameras. The first day we took lunch in the restaurant because of rain and cooked out the second day. Magdalene taught us some songs in English. We changed clothes and went swimming with Joanna.

The next morning we went on a game drive and saw dik dik, olive baboons, reticulated giraffe, elephants, gerenuk, and beisa oryx. I am so happy because I have learned much in this life experience.

Joseph Lesampowa, “ Lion”, 14 years old, Kipsing Academy – “It was Tuesday when we were told we were going to meet Todd and Joanna, sponsors of Kenyan Kids on Safari. We all rushed into the school bathroom to prepare for the journey, making ourselves spic-and-span like a new pin.

Once at the Intrepids’ campsite, we all gather, as the Englishman says – ‘Unity and Strength’ – to put up our camp tents. They give each of us a special picture of the animal you like for identification. After spending time in the tents singing and then swimming, we go to a talk by Mr. Francis about our Samburu culture which we all understand about them.

As we now note ‘early to bed and early to rise’, we go to bed in our tents and sleep perfectly – only to be awakened by a gentle ‘mambo’ at the tent flaps at 6 am with juice and cookies for our first wildlife game drive in a regular tourist safari vehicle. In the Samburu Reserve we saw dik dik, giraffe, baboon,oryx, impala, elephant and gazelle. It was my important day. I will never forget!

James Lowakutuk Ntoopai, “ Giraffe”, 12 years old, Kipsing Primary School

–“On Wednesday, we all met at school and were picked up to go on the game drive. We went for lunch at the camp and were told on our way to choose our favorite animal . I like the giraffe so I chose the giraffe. We got a picture of the animal to put around our neck. The next day I saw two young giraffes necking in play fighting.

After we were given the animal pictures, we got to meet Todd and Joanna. They told us that they have a program that Kenya kids get to on safari. Together with them, we went to camp where we made a tent together. We collected all of the fallen branches, sticks and dry grass to make a fire to cook and stay warm.

Todd showed us how to use the camera to take pictures on the game drive, but the rain fell.

After the rain, Joanna taught us how to swim in the Intrepid’sswimming pool. Then we we tried to go on a game drive, but too much rain. We came back, had supper, joined in some sing-song and went to sleep in our tents. On the game drive next morning we saw animals like dik-dik, impala, birds, giraffes and elephants.”

Bryan Makanga, “ Elephant” , 7 years old, Happy Times School in Nairobi –

“When we were at the game camp, Joanna taught us how to build the tents. After the rain started, we went into the tent. Then we had supper and went back for sleeping. It was early in the morning. when we were told to wake up for the game drive. We went to wash up and went out to the safari vehicle. Joanna gave us cameras to use.
A few kilometers from the camp, we saw dik-dik, olive baboons, reticulated giraffe, impalas , gerenuk and beisa oryxs. After the game drive, we went back to the camp with a lot of happiness.”

Daniela Peter, “ Impala” , 12 years old, Girgir Primary School, from Archers Post near the other end of the reserve –

“I live in a town known as Archers Post, and I am a real Kenyan. Yesterday we were taught by Todd and Joanna how to swim and make our tents. After that we were taught by Magdalena how to sing some songs. We were to go on the game drive but the rain started so we had to go very early the next morning. We had supper at night and then the girls went to one tent and the boys went to the other tent.

On the game drive, I saw a lot of giraffe and zebra. The zebra is a beautiful animal because it has stripes colored in white and black.”

In addition to wildlife, the kids took great pictures of each other and the staff. Here's Daniela's potrait of Intrepids' Naturalist Francis, with todd to left in the background.

Victor Kariuki Kamau, “ Yellow Throated Sand Grouse”. Victor is 4 1/2 years old, from Kirinyange District, son of the Intrepids gift shop manager –

“I saw new animals for me as mongoose (left), giraffe, elephant, and monkey.”

Sindi Imana, "Leopard", 12 year old, class 6, Muslim Primary School -

"At Intrepids we met Joanna and Todd with Kenyan Kids on Safari. They taught us how to set up tents in a clearing by the camp entry and how to use cameras in a meeting at the lodge when it began to rain. So we went swimming instead of the afternoon game drive, which would be the next morning.

After dinner inside the lodge dining room, we went back to the tents which had been made up with mattresses and bedding. We sang many songs together in the tents and told stories before going to sleep very comfortably.

After a wash-up in the early morning, we go for our first game drive ever in an Intrepids safari vehicle. Our drive was so enjoyable because we have seen many animals - giraffe, dik-dik, impala, beisa oryx, elephants and baboons."

Samburu Intrepids-KKOS – GROUP TWO - December 10-11, 2009

Kiltamany Primary School – All of this group of children are from Kiltamany Primary School. Kiltimany consists of five tribal Samburu manyattas, each surrounded by fences made of thorny acacia tree branches, and having a combined population of about 1500 people plus numerous livestock running free or housed in a boma or kraal for protection at night. There is no electricity or solar panels, no sewer or water system, no phone service, no transportation, etc. Water is drawn from the nearby river and the nearest town of Isolo is two hours drive or a two-day walk.

Mpaasin Lenlos , favorite animal – Lion, 15 year old

“ I have gone to Samburu Intrepids, and we have seen many things – camping, swimming and wildlife. Todd and Joanna showed us how to use the cameras. It was not as hard to learn to use as I thought.

Afternoon time we went for game drive. We see many animals such as Grevy Zebra, Giraffe, dik-dik and Impalas. The next morning we went again on game drive and saw many more animals. I was very happy.”

Albert Lekoitip, favorite animal – Leopard, 15 year old

“I have just visited Samburu National Park to see the wild animals. Before starting to the Park, I came to Intrepids lodge to practice using the cameras provided by Kenyan Kids on Safari. All of us start knowing how to use them by taking pictures of each other.

Driving through the Park I see many wild animals like giraffe, antelope, gerunuk, and buffalo. Returning to Intrepids, the Naturalist Francis explained to us about the five major animals in Samburu – Grevy zebra, gerunuk, Somali ostrich, reticulated giraffe, and Beisa oryx.

Following dinner at the lodge, we went to our tents and slept very well. Early in the morning we drove to Buffalo Springs National Park where I saw buffalo grazing and many other animals. I was ready for the great breakfast at Intrepids when I returned.”

Raphael doesn't get to see a leopard, but the charming Dik-Dik are everywhere

Raphael, favorite animal – Elephant, 13 year old

“I have just seen the Big Five animals in the Samburu Game Reserve - Grevy zebra, gerunuk, Somali ostrich, reticulated giraffe, and Beisa oryx. Then we see some small animals like the Secretary bird and dik-diks. After eating at Intrepids with lots of juice and many fruits, we are shown the computer by Francis and then sleep in our tents..”

Anjello, favorite animal – Cheetah, 15 year old

“Yesterday I joined the Kids on Safari at Intrepids and saw things I hadn’t known since my parents born me. I have never been to Samburu National Reserve, though I live right beside it. Before going there, Todd taught me how to use the camera, including the telephoto to bing the image nearer. It was wonderful to go in the game drive car like a tourist to watch the animals. When we are in the park, we saw impala, gravy zebra, and young giraffe play fighting each other by slamming their necks together.

After finishing dinner, we went to the tents, which was wonderful since it was my first time sleeping in tents. I slept very well and full of joy. Early the next morning we went to Buffalo Springs National Reserve and saw many buffalo and impala, coming back to the lodge for breakfast with a lot of happiness.”

Anjello didn't capture a cheetah, but a Martial Eagle

Linah, favorite animal – Giraffe, 12 year old

“After seeing many different animals in the park, Francis told us all about them. Dinner was very special and different from what we eat at home. Sleeping in the tent was really nice.”

Linah got this great picture of giraffes "necking", slamming their necks against each other in practice fighting.

Chari Lengamunyak, favorite animal – Zebra, 12 year old

“I came to Intrepids to learn about wild animals and how to take pictures of them or just enjoy watching them for their beautiful color, the difference between male and female and what they use to feed the young ones. I enjoyed the game drive very much and learned many things.”

Chari likes zebras, but the beisa oryx also has contrasting markings.