africa

The cruel reality of nature

This looks like a sleeping baby monkey but the harsh reality is that nature can be as cruel as it can be cute and fluffy. This is in fact a dead baby vervet. It had just been killed seconds before we arrived. It’s grief stricken mother sat with it briefly and then walked away. Two other monkeys nearby – a mother and baby – had terrible bite marks on their backs so we can only assume that a male vervet attacked both mothers and babies. New dominant males in monkey families will kill all the babies that aren’t sired by[…]

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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[…]

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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[…]

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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[…]

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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[…]

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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,[…]

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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.[…]

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