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Elephant Encounters in the Mara

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As we haven't had our normal rain fall this year the rain showers have come a little later than expected. However we can always tell before it rains as the elephants come down from the hills, where they go when the land is dry.



 

We have had some lovely sightings if the elephants, especially two the big family herds. Unlike a lot of elephants in Kenya at the moment (due to the threat of poaching, elephants have got shyer or a little more aggressive) these guys are all very relaxed. 

Kyle has had some lovely walks following them across the ridges and watching them graze and interact with each other with no interest in his being there.

We had a lovely encounter a few days ago, at a new sun downer spot we have found on the top of a rocky kopje looking down the Olrare Orok River.  We climbed to the top of the boulders and watched a family of elephants emerge from the thickets below us. At the same time the offbeat lion cubs were practicing their hunting skills with a herd of Zebra on the ridge opposite, so our attention turned to them.

A little later we saw the elephants had moved off out of the river bed for the night. Just before dusk one of the guests and the managers had to "mark our territory" before heading home. We climbed up a little to the covered area behind us, as we looked up we had to take a double take, as the boulders on the top seemed to have turned in to Elephants! About 20 feet in front of us were the family of elephants we had been watching earlier. They has silently moved up the hill behind us. Hiding behind the rocks we were able to safely watch them for about 10 minutes or so before it got too dark. So we had to leave our giant friends to get back to camp for supper. 

We all felt very privileged for them to have let us watch them so close. 

 

 

 


Voting is now open for the 2015 Safari Awards!

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Please take a minute to vote for Offbeat Safaris.

To vote click on the link below:

http://www.safariawards.com/voting/

Thank you!


Kicking off the season with superb game viewing.....

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As Archie returns from assistant guiding in Botswana and the Offbeat horses are well into their fitness program, we are getting ready for another outstanding season of riding with the migration in the Masai Mara.  There will be plenty of exciting news to come over the next few months and if you want to get in on the action contact us now on riding@offbeatsafaris.com

Spaces are now very limited but you can still sign up for our Laikipia ride (31 Aug - 10 Sep) which is set to be one of the best on record.  With little rain, riding across this dry country has resulted in game viewing optimised to the maximum....don't miss out on this very special experience.
Best wishes from the Offbeat Riding Team
MORE FROM THE OFFBEAT COLLECTION....

OFFBEAT MERU CAMP
Meru National Park

Well what a fantastic start to the season. Frank the giraffe has been throughout the camp, making sure that his gardening skills don’t go unnoticed; he is becoming quite a valuable member of our team here!  As the Acacia Tortillas trees have started to drop their seeds, quite a delicacy amongst the herbivores around these parts, elephants, buffalo and all sorts of other animals have wondered around camp. They tend to give us our space as much as we give them theirs.
Incredible sightings of lion have been seen by all; currently we have a pride of six, whose territory includes the whole area around camp. We have also had some magnificent leopard and rhino sightings in the sanctuary.

As the holidays get into full swing, we have had several family groups through. Children of all ages have learnt how to make bows and arrows and the art of traditional fire making!
We are looking forward to a busy action packed month for July!
 

Regards from Craig and the Offbeat Meru team

OFFBEAT MARA CAMP
Mara North Conservancy

It’s been an interesting and noisy few weeks at Offbeat Mara, with the grunting from the local migration of wildebeest surrounding camp, and the thunderous roar of lions from the Offbeat Pride.  Two new males have taken over the Offbeat pride, leaving all the females with cubs fleeing to new areas to keep safe. Unfortunately, one 10 month old cub didn’t quite make it.  In camp during dinner one evening, we found him quietly seeking shelter in a bush behind the cars. Sadly in the morning we found his body just outside of camp. However there have been sightings of one of the old males and a female with five cubs not far from Lion Ridge. We wait in anticipation for what will happen next!  
All our guests so far, have taken the opportunity to explore the Mara on foot. We have recently started walking safaris and Kyle, a trained walking guide, has discovered some wonderful walks and seen lion on foot on almost all of them. Guests have been enjoying walking to bush breakfasts and sundowners, from a short stroll to more athletic hikes!

 Kyle, Lara & the Offbeat Mara Team

SOSIAN LODGE
Laikipia

Sosian would like to introduce our wonderful new tree house by the Acacia Dam!

Whether you are having a picnic, or just sitting with a sundowner, you will see a huge variety of animals coming to drink at the water. Most frequently seen from the concealment of the Tree House is a boisterous male hippo, who likes very much to show off his teeth with a large yawn of warning! 


We expect to be using the tree house a lot over the next few busy weeks...come and experience it for yourself!

Salaams from Simon, Rosie & the Sosian Team


Out with the Old, In with the New

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At the beginning of the season we noticed The Offbeat Pride were very dispersed. And we hadn’t seen any of our females or their cubs for a while. This being, because two new young males have kicked out our older two and taken over the pride. 

During dinner one evening in camp, we were alerted by Ken, the waiter that there was a lion sitting in the bushes behind the car, 30 metres or so behind us. The night watchman led us to a safe spot, where we could watch it and work out what was going on.

With the roaring of lions getting closer and closer, the little thing was terrified; enough to come into camp and seek safety. We knew it was fleeing from the ne­­­

w males who were on a mission to get rid of the previous blood line and to make the females come back into aestrous.  

We returned to our dinner discussing this predicament and the cruel realities of nature. During pudding, one of the Males came in to camp looking for the escapee, but the noise of us around the dinner table kept him at bay. 

We had to let nature take its course and leave them be. When we woke the next morning, the spot the cub had been laying in clearly showed it was in no good way. We heard from the watchman that the lions had come back into camp a few more times and the cub moved off into the bushes behind camp. We found its little body. It had bite marks along its back and a pierced lung. Its mother hung around for the next two days and the males came back in a number of times as well, to check that it was dead. 

We started to worry about what had happened to the prides other cubs. After talking to guides from other camps about it, we heard that some other females with cubs, the right sort of age as ours, have been seen in other parts if the conservancy. 

 About 4 days later another unexpected thing happened, our old males made an appearance again! Along with them, our females with their cubs! So as you can imagine the roaring at night is spectacular!

 


We are on the move!

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This month we are focusing on one activity per property which you will see outlined in the sections below.

We would also like to announce that after nearly 7 years of operating the office from Sosian, we are now moving to Nairobi.  Paul & Shiro (reservations), Lilian (operations) and Antony (accounts) will all now be based at The Stables, in Karen, Nairobi, whilst Charlotte (marketing & consulting) will remain at Sosian.  All phones numbers and email addresses remain the same and the new postal address can be seen below.  For any of you in, or passing through Nairobi, please come and see us!

 
Best wishes from the Offbeat Team
ACTIVITY FOCUS....

Riding at SOSIAN
Laikipia


Over half our guests at Sosian will saddle up and venture out into the bush on HORSEBACK with one of our experienced riding guides.  Game viewing in this way is hugely rewarding as you blend into the landscape and become part of the natural eco system.  With excellent horses and some extra fun in the form of a cross country course, riding at Sosian is an unmissbale activity for all abilities.

Click here for a detailed factsheet on riding at Sosian.



 

Walking from
OFFBEAT MARA CAMP

Mara North Conservancy


Offbeat Mara Camp are thrilled to announce that they are now offering WALKING SAFARIS.  Kyle Ray, the new manager, holds a firearms licence and is an experienced walking guide.  Exploring the bush from foot has to be one of the most rewarding ways to see and understand the African bush.  From the Big Five, down to the Small Five, Kyle will make walking from Offbeat Mara Camp a super alternative to game drives.

 
Click here for a detailed factsheet on walking safaris from Offbeat Mara Camp



 

The Rhino Sanctuary at
OFFBEAT MERU CAMP

Meru National Park



The stunning, yet still underused Meru National Park is a true hidden treasure, especially when considering the huge eighty square kilometre RHINO SANCTUARY.  With approximately 40 white rhino and 20 black rhino it is one of Kenya's top rhino viewing destinations.  These prehistoric animals have become well accustomed to vehicles and photographic opportunities are excellent.

 This is definitely not something to be missed whilst staying at Offbeat Meru Camp.



 

Walking & game drives with
OFFBEAT RIDING SAFARIS

Masai Mara, Laikipia, Amboseli

Offbeat Riding Safaris are of course synonymous with game viewing from horseback.  However, all our guests also get to experience the bush from foot and vehicle too.  Whether you WALK to the top of an escarpment for sunrise or GAME DRIVE into the Mara Reserve for excellent photographic opportunities, safaris are varied and catered for everyone. 

Equally, non-riding partners are very welcome and will be well looked after by our team of guides and spotters.  Riders and non-riders always meet up during the day for bush lunches and the riders will also join game drive and night drives.

 To find our more contact  riding@offbeatsafaris.com

For ENQUIRIES please contact

bookings@offbeatsafaris.com


Copyright © *2014* Offbeat Safaris * All rights reserved.


Our NEW mailing address is:
Offbeat Safaris
PO Box 825 - 00502
Karen
Nairobi



Our NEW physical address is:
Office 64
The Stables
Karen Road
Karen

Nairobi


 

05 June 2014

To celebrate the return of the Great Wildebeest Migrationto the Maasai Mara plains, Jonathan Scott, prolific wildlife photographer,safari guide, conservationist and TV presenter shares his top Mara experiences while the Kenya Tourism Board highlights this seasons special offers for visitors to experience the spectacle for themselves.

The great migration of wildebeest, zebras and the big cats that prey on them, known to be the greatest wildlife spectacular on earth, can be witnessed in Kenya’s magnificent Maasai Mara National Reserve each year during the months of July to October. Often the herds arrive in June and tarry until November, but one thing you can always be sure of seeing whenever you visit the Mara are its fabled big cats.

Jonathan Scott is the co-presenter of the BBC’s Big Cat Diary, Big Cat Week and Big Cat Live serieswhich were watched by tens of millions of people around the world. Repeats of the programmes can still be seen on television to this day with hundreds of clips on YouTube. Scott first lived in the Maasai Mara in 1977 and here he has selected his top three experiences in the place that he and his wife Angela, who is also an award-winning wildlife photographer, call their second home:

Inspirational introduction to the Mara:‘Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, where lions stand golden in the dawn, their breath raw and frosty. Mara, the Maasai’s ‘spotted land’, kingdom of all the predators. It was here during my first visit to Kenya in the early 1970s on a four month overland adventure through Africa that I had watched a pair of black-maned lions striding slowly across the windswept plains, their sharply-focused eyes turned skyward. Overhead, vultures wheeled effortlessly on outflung wings, pinpointing the position where other lions crouched flank to flank around a freshly killed zebra. The sight of those lions was to change my life.’ Jonathan Scott (Kingdom of Lions: Kyle Cathie. 1992)

Meeting the big cats:‘We know the Marsh Lions better than we do many of our human friends. The pride is dominated by four magnificent pride males known as the four Musketeers. At night we lie in bed and listen to their thunderous roars echoing across the plains from Musiara Marsh - or from the Bila Shaka lugga (an intermittent water course) at the heart of their territory. Though Angie and I love the essence of these big cats it would be unwise to ever presume that they are our ‘friends’. Their lives are ruled by the threat of violence; they are wild creatures that play by their own rules and speak a language very different to ours. Their story has no ending. That is what keeps us wanting to set out early each morning to discover what new is happening in their feline world. Here in the Mara you can enjoy your very own ‘Big Cat Diary’.’

An unforgettable birds-eye view: ‘Only the far-ranging vultures can claim to know the secrets of the great migration. Only they know how far the herds travel, and where to find the vast armies from one day to the next. To solve the riddle of the migration’s whereabouts, you must fly. And if you are lucky enough to take a balloon ride over the Mara’s timeless grasslands during the dry season you may see for yourself the great herds on their annual pilgrimage through the living Eden called Mara. I married Angela my sweetheart in 1992 in a beautiful ceremony on the Siria Escarpment overlooking the Maasai Mara’s animal speckled plains and took a balloon ride to celebrate. There is no better way to round off an aerial adventure than to relax with a sumptuous breakfast and a glass of ‘bubbly’ – maybe even two as long as you aren’t driving!’.

Source: Kenya Tourism Board


Looking forward to the new season

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Offbeat Safaris is very much looking forward to the start of our new season.Our camps, lodges and horse riding safaris all open on 1st June for the new season. We have been busy in the office season marketing, renovating and resting! But we are fresh, ready and excited to welcome you all to our beautiful country.There has been some negative press recently on Kenya, but the safari parks and areas are far from any area that has been mentioned in Travel Advisories and it is business as usual here. We cant wait for our first guests of the season to come and see for themselves!Now back in the camps we will have more regular updates here, on our Facebook page and Twitter feed so please do stay in touch with all that is Offbeat Safaris.For those who have not booked yet please contact us on bookings@offbeatsafaris.com or contact your favourite tour operator.Karibu OffbeatThe Offbeat Team


Offbeat's Travel Advice to Kenya...

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 Having reviewed many of the recent travel advisories for Kenya over the last few days, we felt it may be useful to have a general overview.  Whilst we on the ground are well informed we realise that those abroad may not be aware of the full and accurate details.

 

The UK government have issued what seems to be the most comprehensive and accurate statement:

‘The FCO advise against all but essential travel to Mombasa island and within 5km of the coast from Mtwapa creek in the north down to and including Tiwi in the south. This area does not include Diani or Moi international airport. The British Government does not enforce its travel advice. It is for individuals and travel companies to make their own decisions about foreign travel advice and information available from other sources into account.  Our travel advice for Nairobi or any other part of the country has not changed. The British Government is not evacuating its citizens from Kenya. Some British tourists flew out of Mombasa last week on the advice of their tour company, following their decision to discontinue their charter flights to the area.’

Australia –

Overall, exercise a high degree of caution whilst travelling in Kenya.  The same level of advice is also given for most other African countries including Tanzania and South Africa.  For some areas in Kenya, such as Mombasa and Isiolo, advice is given to reconsider travel.

 

USA –

Travel advice for tourists has not changed and they stipulate that there are norestrictions on travel to Kenya's most popular tourist destinations.  These include Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru, Hells Gate, Samburu, Tsavo, Amboseli, Lamu Island and Malindi

 

It is useful to acknowledge that at no point have tourists been targeted in the recent events.  In fact quite the contrary, it is Kenyan nationals who have been affected.  Airport security, like the rest of the world, is thorough, and safari destinations, not least due to their remote nature, are entirely safe.  We therefore urge anyone planning to travel to Kenya on safari, to consider the above information.  Please contact us if you would like to discuss this further.

 

Many thanks,

Piers Winkworth & Tristan Voorspuy


 
Copyright © 2014 Offbeat Safaris, All rights reserved.

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