The weather during August was windy and because the wind has been from the south, it has been cool with temperatures ranging from 15C – 19C. There has been virtually no rain during the month apart from a short shower of 1mm during the evening of the 18th and a good downpour of 8mm on the 28th. On the few occasions that the wind died down, we were able to enjoy the wonderful scent from the many flowering Yellow-barked Acacia trees.
We now have two boats almost ready to take guests out on Lake Naivasha. The first is a newly refurbished, sixteen foot, mono hull boat with twin Yamaha 50-horsepower engines which can carry up to six passengers. This is very exciting as we are now be able to offer longer boating excursions as well as the option to take a trip over to Crescent Island! The boat is very spacious with plenty of shade or rain cover – depending on the weather. The other boat is a single engine 24-foot Sese, which can carry up to eight passengers which is ideal for shorter trips around the lake shore.
The evening game drives continue to be very popular with our guests. Amazingly, we have seen Aardvark on three separate occasions: the 14th, 20th and on the 28th of the month we saw two! The Aardvark is a shy, usually solitary nocturnal animal and is rarely seen. They feed on termites and ants which they dig out with their powerful claws on their front legs. The sighting on the 14th was out in the open, in the middle of our airstrip, and all of our guests were able to get a really great view of this rarely seen animal.
A rare sighting – Aardvark on Loldia – photo credit Dave Richards
We are very fortunate that a female leopard appears to have taken up residence on the rocky hill opposite the entrance to the Loldia House. She has been seen on three occasions by our guests, and on the evening of 19th during dinner, we were alerted that she was very close to our main entrance. Dinner was of course quickly abandoned, and all the guests climbed into our safari vehicles and were able see her for a few minutes.
The rocky hill behind Loldia where a female leopard has taken residence – photo credit Dave Richards
On other night game drives in August, sightings have included a family of Bush pigs, Spring Hares (we call them African Kangaroos), Scrub Hare, Silverback Jackal, Zorilla, Common Genets, Kirk’s Dik Dik, Bat-eared Fox, White-tailed Mongoose, Bush Babies (Lesser Gallegos), Defassa Waterbuck, Common Zebra, African Buffalo and hippos which are feeding several kilometres inland from the lake.
On one afternoon, one of our guests was watching a pair of Silverback Jackals searching for food when it became apparent that they had actually disturbed a Zorilla – which they then started to chase! Luckily our guide Sammy Mungai managed to get a photograph (and a video – watch it HERE) of this rarely seen mammal on his phone. Zorillas are mostly nocturnal, small carnivores that mostly feed on rodents and reptiles, which they dig out of the ground with their strong, sharp claws. They are able to squirt anal secretions (which are both nauseating and irritating) into the eyes of any creature attacking them, rather like the Skunk in America.
A Silverback Jackal inspecting a Zorilla – photo credit Sammy Mungai
Nearby Eburru Forest is an incredibly beautiful 8,715 hectares of prime indigenous forest area consisting of steep valleys, springs and waterfalls and rich biodiversity. We are very passionate to support the ongoing conservation work taking place in the forest and we encourage all guests to try and visit as the small entry fee ($6) contributes to the overall preservation of this precious mountain ecosystem. The Eburru Rafiki Committee managed to plant 10,000 seedlings (equivalent to 20 acres!) in May and June this year, despite the erratic rainfall after April. The seedlings planted are all indigenous to Kenya and suited to Eburru’s high-altitude volcanic soils. If Loldia guests would like to contribute towards this vital reforestation work, we are pleased to say that as of April 2019, the cost of purchasing, planting and nurturing a tree in the forest is just Ksh 70 (less 70 cents), per seedling over a three-year program.
We are delighted to hear that the steps being taken by Eburru Rafiki to conserve the forest, has resulted in wildlife numbers (and sightings) on the rise – which is what it’s all about! Images from from camera traps placed around the forest show leopard, Colobus monkey, bush buck and the critically endangered Mountain Bongo, which is very encouraging – particularly the Bongo of which there are thought to be only 12 individuals in this forest which represents 10% of its population known to exist in the wild. For more news and updates from Eburru Rafiki, please sign up to their newsletters using this link HERE.
A series of webcam images taken in Eburru – photo credit Calgary Zoo & Rhino Ark
Quite a number of our guests have been visiting Lake Nakuru National Park and although there a very few flamingos on the lake, the sightings of both Black and White Rhinos, Rothschild Giraffe and lions have more than made up for this. Two of our guests witnessed a male lion perched up a small tree, while underneath the tree in the shade, completely unawares, was a female White Rhino and her calf! Guests always take a picnic lunch with them to Nakuru, which allows them sufficient time in the park and another popular option is for guests to combine their visit to Nakuru with a stop-off at nearby Lake Elmenteita – were the flamingos are currently in their thousands.
Flamingos on Lake Elmenteita – photo credit Dave Richards
On Crescent Island you can walk safely among the wildlife including wildebeest, zebra, Masai Giraffe, Waterbuck, and both Grant’s and Thomson’s Gazelles – not to mention a huge variety of birds. Buffalo are ever-present on the island but remain at a safe distance – usually at the very far end.
Walk amongst the wildlife on Crescent Island – photo credit Marcy Yu
Lake Oloiden is another popular place to visit as it is only a 45-minute drive from Loldia and allows you to get very close to the wildlife along the lakeshore. There are many pods of hippo here, with many of them seen out of the water enjoying their mid-morning snooze. Finally, a good number of our guests took up the opportunity to visit one of the nearby flower farms this August. Flower farming in Naivasha started in the 1980s and has become one of Kenya’s biggest agricultural activities – with millions of stems being exported daily. It’s best to head to the farms early in the morning so that you can catch the entire process from growing and cutting to packing for export. It is quite a sight to behold!
Inside one of Naivasha’s flower farms – photo credit Will Fortescue
By Dave Richards Relief Manager, Loldia House, Lake Naivasha.