Plenty of rain on Loldia for the month of December and the farm is looking beautifully green and lush – it’s such a pleasure after the heat and dust earlier in the year. The lake has risen so much and at one point the road along the lakeshore was very close to being under water, but thankfully the rain has eased off for now!
High lake levels for December – photo credit Thor Karstad
It’s a beautiful time of year as there are also lots of baby animals being born in the form of zebra, warthogs and Impala. We had wonderful Christmas and New Year celebrations at Loldia – we had a full house with lots of lovely guests from both overseas and Kenya.
View from Loldia – photo credit Thor Karstad
What an incredible accomplishment for our conservation partners, Eburru Rafiki, who were able to purchase, plant and nurture 11,600 indigenous trees in Eburru Forest last year! Thank you to everyone who generously donated. It is definitely worth a trip to Eburru where one can enjoy an alluring forest track – escape the city, breathe in fresh mountain air and experience the meditative power of trees.
Indigenous tree seedlings – photo credit Eburru Rafiki
Eburru Forest track – photo credit Rhino Ark
The forest manager is Samuel Mundia from Kenya Forest Services. He is a wealth of knowledge on Eburu Forest and loves getting involved in the replanting schemes and promotion of sustainable tourism. You’ll find him in his office at the Eburru Forest main gate ready to help you with entry fees and any forest questions you might have!
Samuel Mundia – photo credit Eburru Rafiki
Eburru Forest is home to the incredibly rare Mountain Bongo, a large antelope weighing up to 700 pounds, perfectly camouflaged with a red coat in the case of females, and dark red to almost black in the case of bulls. They normally have between ten to thirteen white vertical stripes that help them blend into their bamboo habitat. They are browsers and feed on leaves and other forest foliage. Unfortunately their natural habitats are retiring and the Bongo Surveillance Program (supported by Rhino Ark), is a community wildlife conservation initiative which seeks to protect the precious few bongo that remain in Eburru, giving them a fighting chance to survive in their home.
While your chances of seeing a bongo are sadly very unlikely, there are over 40 species of other mammals that can be found here including leopard, Colobus Monkeys, Blue Monkeys and bushbuck. The forest is also recognized as a hotspot for an incredible plethora of birdlife within the greater Mau Forest Complex. Here is a stunning collection of five sunbird species captured by the talented Gus Akerhielm – take a look at his Instagram profile @light_on_feathers. All of these iridescent beauties are on the Eburru Forest bird list, so get your camera out!
Bronze Sunbird – photo credit Gus Akerhielm
Tacazze Sunbird – photo credit Gus Akerhielm
Scarlet-chested Sunbird – photo credit Gus Akerhielm
Variable Sunbird – photo credit Gus Akerhielm
If you happen to be somewhat of a budding photographer yourself, why not try your hand at capturing miniature wildlife in fascinating detail – such as insects. Close-up photography is a must for insects; they are small and intricate and therefore require much attention to detail. Most people come to Kenya for the Big Five, of course, but photographing these smaller forms of life opens a whole new world of spectacular colors, structures and an interesting dimension to your holiday shots!
Pretty on purple – insect photography – photo credit @rhino.ark
Speaking of ‘holiday’, now that the holiday season is over, we are looking forward to what the New Year will bring us at Loldia!
By Jess Savage, Governors’ Camp Collection.