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Meet the new Offbeat Mara & Offbeat Meru team!

Posted by: piers

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We are thrilled to welcome our new managers at both Offbeat Meru and Offbeat Mara camps.  We have exciting times ahead with our fresh and dynamic, all Kenyan team, plus fully renovated camps with new tents and interiors....meet the team below....

OFFBEAT MERU CAMP
Manager: Craig Allen

Having been born and brought up on a farm in Kenya, Craig then headed to South Africa for secondary school.  Knowing that he wanted a life in the bush he undertook guiding courses in South Africa and then into Zimbabwe, were he completed a hunting, guiding and lodge management course.
Having lived in Africa his whole life Craig feels most comfortable in the bush with wildlife being a big part of his life. He has traveled around Eastern and most of Southern Africa in pursuit of this. 
Returning to Kenya and to Meru is an exciting move for Craig, especially as his older brother, Adrian was the one who built Offbeat Meru Camp with Piers and managed it for the first 5 years....so Craig certainly knows Meru and the camp well!


 

OFFBEAT MARA CAMP
Managers: Kyle Ray & Lara Simpkin

Kyle and Lara joined the Offbeat team this month. After managing lodges in Laikipia they wanted a change of scenery and have landed in the Mara.
 Kyle was born and brought up in Kenya. He has done various bush-training courses in Botswana and also holds bronze KPSGA. From a young age Kyle was passionate about the bush and spent a lot of time in Tanzania with his Grandfather and the Maassi, who taught him a great deal about life outdoors. Kyle loves to lead nature walks and share his knowledge and passions. His biggest love is snakes, he gives talks and encourages people to understand the importance of these fascinating creatures.
After finishing University studying Arts and Events Management, Lara came back to Kenya where she also grew up. She spent a lot of her childhood on her fathers camel safaris exploring Kenya. Her biggest interests are art, painting, design, cooking and wildlife.  With an events background she is great at creating unique experiences for every guest. 



 
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Copyright © 2014 Offbeat Safaris, All rights reserved.

A Masai in Hong Kong: David's report on his visit to Hong Kong...

Posted by: piers

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David Njapit                                                                                                                                          5th March 2014

Hong Kong Visit Report 5th March 2014

 14/3/2014 Day 1

I left Nairobi with Qatar airline to Doha at 17:30hr. I reached Qatar-Doha at 22:300, connected to another flight to Hong Kong at 1:55 and took about 9 hours to Hong Kong.

15/3/14/ Day 2

Mara Thompson met me at the airport and we headed off to Helena May the Hotel where I was going to say.

My first surprise was the tallest build I had ever seen in my life. I chilled the rest of the day and got over the jet lag.

16/3/14 Day 3

We headed off to the Harrow school where we had a stand at their “International Day” I talked to many children and parents and took a lot of photos with them. I did a presentation about “MY WAY OF LIFE”, tricks in dodging dangerous animals, Kenya’s amazing wildlife, the work I do and a bit of Masai warrior dancing. There were about 500-700 in the audience. At 6pm the auction for the prize ended and I presented the prizes. The school was very big and the kids where very nice and their parents too. I went back in the evening to the hotel I was staying at.

17/3/14 Day4

In the morning I had an assembly at Kellet school. One of the most expensive schools in Hong Kong as I was told. I talked to them, very similar to what I said and did at Harrow school and also got interviewed by the 6th former for the school magazine.

In the evening I talked at the Royal Geographical Society in front of 300 people, the largest event and we showed them the film “Games of Lions” by Derreck Beverly showed by David Murray a guy from Botswana.

At the last minute I entertained them with a Masai dance and tricks of dodging dangerous animals in Kenya. They were a very knowledgeable group and very keen on conservation. I was asked lots of questions on what measures we do to protect the decline of our wildlife in Kenya.

18/3/14 Day5

At 2 pm I had a press media event with the glory and the good of Hong Kong travel writers. There were about 23 Journalists who interviewed me and ask about Aardvark and Offbeat Safaris. That was my first time talking to so many Journalists, I enjoyed it. In the evening we had an open house party. No presentation but lots of chatting and networking, I even met a friend of Piers who is based in Hong Kong.

19/3/14 Day6

I went back to Harrow School and talked to children who study geography about Kenya. They were very nice and keen to hear about Kenyan geographical features, wildlife and beaches. In the evening I held a talk at Helena May the hotel where I was staying. David Murray also showed the film, we then had dinner afterwards.

20/3/14 Day7

In the evening we hosted a party on a Junk boat out in the harbor. No presentation but lots of networking. A nice way of seeing the city glowing at night from the sea. My first prawn was an awful taste.

There were lots of questions asked by the guests about my Masai way of life. How many cows did I pay for my dowry? What does ‘fokot ekule’ in Masai mean?? And lots of other questions on how to plan a hennery.

21/3/14 Day8

I was taken to the peak to see Hong Kong from the highest point, Stanley market where I bought several things for my wife and kids and friends. I also went to the Hong Kong Zoo, I liked the ornithology site and the primate zoo. I took lots of photos.

22/3/14 Day9

We went to Kellet School for their “International day”. It was the most expensive school in Hong Kong. About 800 kids with their parents/ I did lots of talks with the kids teaches and parents. Children entered a competition of counting how many zebras in the picture. They really enjoy it and later on the prizes where drawn and I presented them.

23/3/14 Day10

My last day in Hong Kong and I left at mid night to the airport. We went via Qatar (Doha). I had an amazingly long flight.

 

Conclusion

It was a fantastic experience which I am glad happened. Thanks Aardvark and Offbeat Safaris for organizing the trip, I was well cared for by Mara Thompson and Alice.

Thank you and see you soon.

 

David Njapit

 


What Offbeat Safaris have been up to this month:

Posted by: piers

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David Njapit, one of the Offbeat Mara guides, has just returned from a trip to Hong Kong! David spoke to thousands of people in Hong Kong about the Masai and their culture and told the story of the Offbeat Pride and the continuing saga that has formed the Pride as it is today.
It was the trip of a lifetime for David and a great opportunity for him to describe his life as a Masai in the Mara as well as spread the word about the conservation work in the Mara North Conservancy, to which Offbeat Mara conservations fees are directed.
Having also done a similar trip to the USA in past years, David is fast becoming the Mara's most travelled guide!
 

From all the Offbeat Mara Team 

OFFBEAT MARA CAMP
See what else Offbeat Safaris have been up to this month...

OFFBEAT MERU CAMP
Frank in camp!
Photo by Sean Flatt

Another great season comes to a close and Meru never fails to deliver.  The game viewing has been great, and all round it has been another wonderful year in paradise!  We have had more lion kills, we have had caracal sightings and as ever, huge herds of buffalo and elephant and plenty of plains game around.  Everything is getting ready for the rains, and you can certainly tell the build-up has begun…it is hot and humid and grey clouds are starting to roll in. The park has had a super year of rains, and is really flourishing as a result.  
 
Next season we expect the game to be better than ever, with populations steadily increasing, and lots of babies should be frolicking about in the dew dropped grass.  June & July are always a beautiful time in Meru – so green and all the flowers and butterflies are out.
 

As the sun sets a new dawn will break, and with that will come new adventures.  Sean and I would like to say “Kwaheri.”  We have had the most spectacular two years at Offbeat Meru Camp. It has been a great home and family to us. We have decided to move on and experience other areas that this beautiful country of ours has to offer.  Although we will miss the team and the camp terribly, it will be in good hands and here is to a great season ahead!
Salaams,
Tanyth, Sean and the Offbeat Meru Team.

OFFBEAT RIDING SAFARIS
(photo by Billy Dodson )

Having just got back from safari it is fair to say The Mara did not disappoint. All the guests were treated to the spectacle of wild unadulterated Africa, the only continent on earth where nature can be seen unspoiled.

Our fantastic group of guests enjoyed their fair share of drama!  Charging elephants provided some fun and games and kept some of our party glued to their saddles - certainly enough to concentrate the mind anyway! We saw large herds of buffalo and a huge selection of plains game. However the highlight of the trip has to have been the cats. We had wonderful sightings of two cheetah brothers and were fortunate enough to get very close to two different prides of lions over fresh kills....
Read more from Rosanna's blog...

Best wishes from Tristan and the riding team



 

SOSIAN

This month we would like to thank all of those who have given to our community and wildlife. Earlier in the month we had the Pando’s to stay from Argentina and due to their kind donation to our Sosian Community Education project we have been able to buy 30 desks and chairs for our local school, as well as 5 new black boards.  Over the past years we've managed to build new classrooms, kitchens and boarding houses, as well as cover teacher salaries and provide equipment, all with kind donations from guests, which Sosian add to with the labour and machinery to make it happen.
This month we also had auction prize winners, who had bid for a Laikipia safari, including two nights at Sosian, in order to help raise money for Space For Giants.  This organization are doing a great deal of conservation work in Laikipia, and all of Kenya, to tackle elephant and rhino poaching and Sosian are proud to be working closely with them.

Best wishes from Simon, Rosie & the Sosian Team!


Don't forget our selection of fantastic special offers.......


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Copyright © 2014 Offbeat Safaris, All rights reserved.

To our friends in Hong Kong

Posted by: piers

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If you are free you should go along to this at the Hong Kong RGS - David is one of out Top Guides at Offbeat Marahttp://www.rgshk.org.hk/public/event.php?pageId=54&eventId=601

Offbeat Safaris Feb Newsletter - Lions, Lions & more Lions!!!

Posted by: piers

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Leaving camp early in the morning always provides plenty of action in Meru and one such morning didn’t disappoint.  With a stunning sunrise we quickly found a large herd of elephant with many youngsters playing in the morning sun…this was then followed by two impressive bulls sizing each other up with the most powerful crack of their tusks, as loud as thunder.  The sheer strength is mind blowing.
 
After a well-earned bush breakfast we came across a tower of giraffes. The build up to the rains must have brought with it a build-up of testosterone, because as we turned off the engine to watch these elegant beauties, two males also started to size each other up.  To watch Giraffes necking each other is quite an extraordinary experience. Whilst looking so gentle and elegant the power with which they throw their heads at each other is remarkable. 
 
After lunch in camp and some time to cool off in the pool our guests were then fortunate enough to come across a wounded buffalo that afternoon, having a stand-off with two lionesses and a lion.  A fascinating scene drew out before us as the darkness descended, and the lions tried in vain to bring the buffalo down…however, despite her injured leg, the buffalo still managed to hold the lions off and live to see another day!

Salaams, 
Tanyth, Sean and the Offbeat Meru Team

OFFBEAT MERU CAMP
(photo by Sean Flatt )
See what else Offbeat Safaris have been up to this month....

OFFBEAT RIDING SAFARIS
(photo by Billy Dodson)

At this time of year we really do sometimes feel like we have the Mara to ourselves.  With a lovely groups of Finns this month it felt like we were the only ones in the Mara, with huge expanses of open plains, scattered with plenty of plains game and no one else in sight.  As usual the big cats never fail to disappoint, with wonderful day and night viewing whilst they rest and hunt.

Back at home, at Deloraine, Archie continues to work with the young horses, on the polo pitch and the cross country course, producing our fabulous all rounders to then give a great safari experience too.  As we approach our off season the preparations continue in anticipation of our peak migration season.  Contact
riding@offbeatsafaris.com for availability over the migration months.
 Tristan and the Riding Team!

SOSIAN
(photo by Sean Outram)

Simon & Rosie have been kept busy over the past few weeks with lots of guests escaping the cold of Europe and America. Sosian has been hot and dry in the last few months which makes game viewing easier and cattle farming harder! The game has been really good with large numbers of elephant permanently along the Ewaso Narok river and the predators also in residence at most of the major waterholes. Two of our lioness’ have had cubs including one of the oldest lions on Sosian who is over 14 years old producing a litter of 4 cubs which have been seen quite often and pictured here. for the first time...
 
The Sosian family has increased with the birth of Oscar William Outram on the 21st February. We are now all back at Sosian and being kept very busy by a 2 week old baby and his 3 year old brother! The new tree house has been finished at Acacia dam and will be able to stand up to a full lodge for sundowners, bush meals our just to spend the hours watching the African bush moving at its own pace accompanied by the resident hippo in the dam. Our stables have also been rebuilt and the Sosian horses now have  very luxurious housing to rival the lodge!   Photos will follow.


 

Best wishes from Sean Outram
(Sosian General Manager)


OFFBEAT MARA CAMP

The Offbeat Lion Pride have returned to Lion Hill after their sojourn into the Elephant Pepper Pride territory. Despite their presence the resident leopard, named Mbirika by Richard Broadley, is still making regular appearances around camp and is becoming ever more brave and comfortable around the safari cars.

 

Two cheetah brothers have also returned to Mara North Conservancy and been seen regularly by guests. Night drives have proved to be the highlight for most guests visiting Offbeat Mara in February. We have seen lion kills, hyena’s and lions fighting (with the hyena’s winning and stealing the lions kill!) leopard hunting and plenty of Aardwolf.

 

The Mara is still looking beautifully green and with the low season approaching it is an incredibly peaceful place to come and relax and appreciate the abundance of wildlife living here.


Best wishes from Katie and the Mara Team!


Don't forget our fantastic special offer 

EARLY BIRD 10% DISCOUNT ON ALL NEW 2014 BOOKINGS

BOOKED BEFORE 31ST MARCH


at Offbeat Mara, Sosian and Offbeat Meru


For ENQUIRIES please contact

bookings@offbeatsafaris.com


Copyright © 2014 Offbeat Safaris, All rights reserved.

Early Bird Discount!

Posted by: piers

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Don't forget to take advantage of our EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT...

 

10% off all new 2014 bookings that book before 31st March!


From Sunrise to Sunset

Posted by: meru

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A couple of days ago I went out with the guest and we had the most spectacular day, filled to the brim with action! 

We left at 06:15, the morning was crisp, and the bird song was in full chorus. 

We have had a couple of showers in the past week which means that the grass around the triangle and in between camp and Murera river is sprouting new shoots so all the game has moved in.

As we approached 97 the Sun surfaced above the horizon with such breathtaking beauty.

 

 

Not far from that, we came across a huge herd of playful Elephants.

The babies were frolicking about in the morning sun in the glistening golden grass, too cute for words! Tenderly entwining their trunks, nudging and nestling each other.

 

 

It is incredible to watch the affection between the youngsters.

It is so worthwhile to spend time with these beautiful creatures, and watching the interaction between the members of the herd serves a powerful reminder of why we are trying so hard to preserve these beautiful creatures.

 

We started moving forward, we were on our way to the south of the park, the herd stretched all the way to Murera river, and when we got close to the river we saw two bulls sizing each other up.

 

In complete contrast we watched the power of these animals.

They were playfully fighting, but as they connected the crack of their tusks meeting was as loud as thunder.

 

The sheer strength is mind blowing


The south of the park is much drier at the moment, so the game was scarce. We set up a bush breakfast and had a leisurely morning just enjoying the hustle and bustle of being in the bush.

On the way back we came a cross a Tower of Giraffes. The build up to the rains must have brought with it a build up of testosterone, because as we turned of the engine to watch these elegant beauties, two males also started to size each other up.

To watch Giraffes necking each other is quite an extraordinary experience. Whilst looking so gentle and elegant the power with which they throw their heads at each other is remarkable.

 



After an exciting action filled morning we had a light lunch and all enjoyed a restful afternoon.

Seeing as the morning was so productive, half of our guests decided to enjoy the pool for the afternoon, but the other half set off for a “gentle sundowners”.

As they approached Murera river they spotted a lone buffalo and stopped to have a look at her.

At a closer look they noticed that her leg was injured, she had a gash on her back leg. Discussing what could have caused it, two lionesses interrupted the conversation. They had been lying low in the scrub. 

It became obvious immediately; that they were about to witness a kill and that it had already started before they had arrived. Stan radioed it in, and we jumped into the cruiser with the other guests, assuming we’d arrive to watch the lions eating.

However, this was not so!

The buffalo was putting up the most incredible fight. We arrived and this male lion was sitting on this anthill, having a rest. The others had watched him take a hit to his side (although no skin was broken).

 

The two other Lionesses were lying low again in the scrub, gathering all their energy for a next go.

The buffalo too was lying down, mustering all her might for the next fight.

After about 20 minutes the two lionesses saw a window of opportunity, thinking that surely the buffalo was weak now. They stalked behind her and started crawling through the grass, only the tips of their ears showing.

But the buffalo could sense their approach. She bounced up; the lionesses gave a short chase before she rounded on them baring her horns. 

She stood square on, and held her ground.

Several attempts ensued, but she outsmarted the lionesses every time.

As evening fell, she was still standing…

The lion joined the attack now, but fruitless never the less.

There is no doubt that this buffalo was injured, now with a couple of gashes on her neck, back, buttocks and legs, but whether she survived the night, we don’t know. As we left the lions were no closer to taking her down, and she was no closer to resigning to her fate. 

The sun set, and we were left in the dark!

 

Salaams, 

Tanyth, Sean and the Offbeat Meru Team

 


The Lion Saga

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There has been plenty happening at Offbeat Mara. We have been following the Offbeat Pride as they continue with their strange behaviour. Luckily Richard Broadley, who regularly visits Offbeat Mara, has been in camp and is helping keep us updated on the current situation with the Offbeat Pride. Our guides currently believe that the three big males are trying to bring the Offbeat lionesses and Acacia Pride lionesses together without much success. We haven't seen the intruding male in the last few days but we believe he has killed at least one of the younger cubs from the Offbeat Pride. To complicate matters further there is also a lone female belonging to neither the Offbeat or Acacia Pride who has been separated from her cubs by the Offbeat males and is desperately trying to get back to them. Without her near them they are unlikely to survive. 

 

On the plus side with the lions having temporarily moved away from camp the resident leopard has got increasingly bold. Most guests have caught a glimpse of him around camp and he seems to like visiting the area around tent 3 in the early mornings. 

We have had lots of interesting guests in camp over the last couple of weeks. We would like to say thank you to Dan Sura who as a Hall of Famer fisher has generously passed on some great fishing tips and now we are hoping to start catching some bigger barbells and cat fish! We have had Richard Broadley who also visited us again and is keeping us updated on the Offbeat Pride.  Camp is relatively quite at the moment and the Mara is still gloriously green and warming up making it the perfect time to visit.

 

From James, Katie and all the team at Offbeat Mara 

 


An Unexpected Sunrise

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It was dark and rather chilly at 6 o’clock when we set off to Baboon Rock to watch the sun rising next to Mount Kenya. With some blankets, cameras and a few sleepy-eyed companions we clambered into the Land Cruiser thinking that we might have been slightly too enthusiastic at last night’s dinner where this plan had been concocted.

we arrived at Baboon Rock, the sky had lightened enough for us to see where to place our feet as we climbed up. With a cup of tea and a couple of baboons watching us quizzically from the edge, we settled in to watch the sunrise. Unfortunately Mount Kenya was hidden behind some clouds but as the sun started to appear, the sky was resplendent with shades of pinks and oranges. Below us were two family herds of elephants having their morning expedition of pushing over trees, snapping branches and feeding.

On the list of must-see animals, wild dogs were in the number one position. Simon (kindly) decided to show me a video on his camera of some wild dog puppies playing in the road a few months previously. I was slightly jealous but trying my best to conceal it, I handed him back his camera more determined than ever to see these wild dogs. It could not have been more than a minute after handing back the camera that Simon called out unexpectedly that there were wild dogs. Thinking that this was some kind of sick joke I asked if he would be ever so kind to point out where exactly he thought he saw these creatures. Sure enough, there they were, a whole bunch of black dots trotting down the road directly towards us.

The packing up of the tea-cups and biscuits must have happened in record time as we bolted down the rock and leapt into the Land Cruiser. Driving straight past the herd of elephants we had been watching earlier and rounding the corner, the pack of wild dogs (pups and all) appeared in front us. We watched them as they came across the elephants but they were on a mission with food on the mind. Hardly paying any attention to the elephants, they continued on their mission.

Following the pack, clicking away on our cameras, we watched as they split up to surround a herd of impala. Luckily or unluckily depending on whose side you are on, the impala managed to escape by leaping over the puppies and nearly into the Land Cruiser. Unsuccessful on that round the wild dogs continued with their ears flattened and a determined run. From behind us came a sound mixed of howls, yelps and barks as one wild dog caught a hare. There was no way that he was going to share his hare with any of the others. Watching this pack of wild dogs as they continued on towards the river in search of more food had made for one of the most unexpected and enthralling mornings in a very long time.


It's all about the Big Cats!

Posted by: mara

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January has flown past and has been a month dominated by the big cats. Almost every guest who has stayed at Offbeat Mara this month have enjoyed a plethora of leopard, cheetah and lion sightings. The lions in particular have produced some wonderful moments for our guests. In the last month the Acacia pride have really flexed their muscles and have taken down a hippo, a buffalo and numerous eland, amongst other animals. The pride now numbers more than 27 and are more than a match for any other animal on the Mara plains.

The Offbeat pride have also been very active, particularly after dark. Our most recent guests witnessed the magnificent sight of the whole pride minus the three males hunting together. Needless to say it was a successful hunt and they feasted on both impala and thomson gazelle on that particular evening. On a separate evening the same guests (the lovely Parish family) witnessed a lioness catching a baby gazelle before tossing it to her cubs to kill it. Although a little gruesome this was the sort of sight that wildlife photographers wait years to catch. The three big males have been absent for the past couple of weeks which has allowed an intruding male to honeymoon with one of the lionesses. We saw this male looking very tetchy a few nights ago and looking at his size and age (probably around 4-5 years old) I very much doubt he will hang around when the older, bigger resident males return. Aside from the lions we have also had some great leopard sightings around camp, including a face-off between one leopard and a number of hyena, as well as plenty of cheetahs, all of whom are looking very healthy.

Camp is looking great at the moment and our head chef James is outdoing himself everyday providing fantastic meals for the guests and us. Obviously the news of his culinary skills has spread and we have been joined in the dining tent by a Genet Cat and a number of bush babies in recent weeks. It’s a wonderful experience to see these animals so close up.

 The weather has been fantastic this month, with beautiful sunny days and cool, starry nights. However the occasional big rain has kept drought away and the Mara is still looking lush and green. Below are some great photos courtesy of our guest Jeremy Llewelyn-Jones  who has captured perfectly the animals and colourful landscapes here


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