Africa

The adorable bush flattening baby elephants of Samburu

While most of the elephants in Samburu National Park in Northern Kenya have been happily and quietly eating the new green vegetation that’s sprouted after the recent rains, two baby elephants have been approaching their food in a somewhat less civilised manner. No doubt a handful for their patient mother, these two siblings  – aged about three years old – have decided they’d rather flatten their food than eat it and have launched into a game of  ‘bash the bush’ wherever they go. Together they run from bush to bush stamping, squashing and attacking as many plants as they can – ears forward, trunks flailing, both[…]

READ MORE »

Why the Samburu of Northern Kenya are called Butterfly People

The local people that live in Samburu National Park are called ‘ Butterflies’ because of the beautiful colourful clothes they wear. They are a proud race of semi-nomadic people who still maintain their warrior culture. Samburu also have a special and deep relationship with elephants. They believe that God created man and elephants as brothers and that elephants have special powers. Whenever they come across an elephant carcass, they’ll place pieces of grass or greenery on the skull of the animal as a sign of respect. According to legend, the first elephant who lived with Samburu as their brother was working with a[…]

READ MORE »

The wild bull elephant that visits the STE research camp

We had a rather awe-inspiring visitor yesterday … an enormous 17-year-old bull elephant called Malaso who for some unknown reason, took exception to the special collar testing units that we’d set up in the morning on a patch of land at the entrance to the Save The Elephants camp. He strode into the camp, sniffed the heavy collars and their wooden stands which we’d positioned as part of an alert testing, and then promptly lifted them into the air and threw them to the ground as though they were mere twigs. He then happily munched on salt bushes while we[…]

READ MORE »

The cheeky chocolate-cake-stealing monkeys of Jinchini

In the gardens of Jinchini on the coast of Msambweni, Kenya live a band of Sykes monkeys who tear through the neighbouring properties like marauding pirates – sucking the pollen from flowers, licking leaves like their lives depended on it, stealing chocolate cakes, fighting over food and inhaling bananas left behind by the Humans. These comical monkeys, which consist of nervous mothers, gangly spider babies, boisterous and naughty juveniles and the larger ‘dude’ males with their moving caterpillar eyebrows,  series of squawk, barks and squeaks and unsubtle crashing from tree to tree, provide hours of entertainment every time I visit Kenya. They are such[…]

READ MORE »

From acrobats to askari – the faces of coastal Kenya

I’ve spent the past week relaxing at my friend’s coastal beach house, Jinchini, in Msambweni south of Mombasa, Kenya, as I prepare for my trip to Samburu and Namibia. It’s my fourth visit to Jinchini and the pace of life is still as it was when I first visited ten years ago. The toughest decisions here are what to eat, whether to lie by the beach or by the pool and which way to walk along the beach. Despite the fact there are two large hotels at either end of the beach and an enormous compound for a thriving moringa business,[…]

READ MORE »

From Net-A-Porter PR Director To Wildlife Photographer

This piece was first published in Refinery29 on Tuesday November 8 2016. Earlier this year, after a decade of working in the glamorous world of fashion magazine PR, I made one of the toughest decisions of my life – to quit my job and step into the unknown.  I vividly remember the day I resigned – hands shaking, palms sweating and my boss’s surprised face as I handed her my resignation letter. But I couldn’t ignore the voice in my head anymore – the voice that was telling me I was on the wrong path and I was running out[…]

READ MORE »

In celebration of elephants

I recent visited the amazing Howlett’s Wild Animal Park in Kent run by the Aspinal Foundation. I was there for six hours practicing my photography skills ahead of my trip to Africa next month to Samburu where I’ll be doing a photographic internship with Save The Elephants. While Howletts isn’t exactly the plains of Africa, it still gave me great insight into how elephants move and interact with each other especially the comical youngsters who rushed around with ears flapping and trunks flailing as only baby elephants do. I especially enjoyed watching some of the elephants stretching as far as they could until their legs were nearly folded[…]

READ MORE »

Stop the elephant slaughter

This is an old photograph I took with a Samsung digital camera nearly twelve years go in Kenya, Africa.The photo is of two elephants – brothers in fact – walking calmly across the plains of Tsavo East National Park. They were so relaxed around us that they almost walked into our jeep. The sound of their soft rumbling and sharp snorts of breath was captivating and moving. Later that night, a family of elephants visited a waterhole very near our camp and we were lucky to watch the herd drinking together. I have never been so close to wild elephants and probably never will again.[…]

READ MORE »

The Art of Doing Nothing in Kenya, Africa

After a eight year hiatus, I recently returned to Kenya to the beautiful coast of Msambweni, just a half hour’s drive south of Diani beach. Staying at the gorgeous colonial house, Jinchini, my friend and I indulged in the art of doing absolutely nothing. We swam in the tepid Indian Ocean and lolled under enormous palm trees by the pool. We ate fresh fish, prawns, lobster and fresh fruit every day, visited the local village, walked along the white beach flanked by tropical trees, wooden boats and thatched roof huts and marvelled at the iridescent colours of the sea and rock[…]

READ MORE »

A lush life in Kenya, Africa

This was one of the earliest posts I’d written – in diary form – about my first trip to Africa in 2005. Photos were taken by a Samsung digital camera so are a bit grainy and dark! Somebody Pinch Me! I’m in Africa! Have just woken up beneath a huge mosquito net in a massive room with a private balcony, our own en-suites and the most spectacular views overlooking a tropical garden and the ocean. We’ve been here only one day but had the most amazing time. We were met at Mombasa Airport by a driver who took us to[…]

READ MORE »