Camp Manager's Diaries

Wild dogs, elephants & clouds of butterflies

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2014 has been a great year for the elephants around us and many guests have been privileged to see them on their guided walks. Occasionally walks have had to be shortened due to the elephants using the same paths! A unique experience which guests have loved.

We’ve also had great excitement with the sighting of wild dogs on our walks. Some of the local community have unfortunately lost goats to the dogs. However, the Samburu community believe that wild dogs host the spirits of their ancestors and should be protected. In addition, a new initiative by the County Council compensates any livestock lost to wild animals – a great move forward for the conservation of our beautiful wildlife.

In March the Cheli & Peacock Community Trust held a conservation competition with nearby Engalia Primary School – 124 children took part, together with some parents on the school committee. There was a question and answer session, plus the children sang songs and recited poetry about the Big 5 – in both English & Swahili. All the children received a certificate for entering the competition and the winning team won a trophy donated by the Trust.

The Kitich family continues to grow. Day Watchman Lolokuria & Tent Attendant Laparaine became proud fathers in December. Sumuland, our Waiter/Barman, became a father for the seventh time in March – congratulations to his wife for her remarkable stamina!

The Kitich area continues to have an abundance of butterflies year round. We now have butterfly & tree guides available for all guests. The guides have also been donated to the Engalai Primary School, plus our local Namumak Rangers. There is now fierce competition to identify the most species!

Our birding groups were amazed at the diversity of species found within the Mathews’ Range. Kitich has a checklist of 328 species!

We closed camp in April & May for the welcome long rains during which we carried out maintenance and further in-house training. Being back, the forest is looking lush & green and we cannot wait to re-open camp on June 15th!

With warmest wishes

Sally & Karl

Nightly visitors at Kitich Camp

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Kitich Camp and the Mathews’ Range are home to some very special species. We recently installed a trail camera and have been delighted with great results in a very short period.

For the ‘techies’ amongst us, the trail camera is a passive device mounted where we expect to have good sightings and is activated by movement or a rapid change in ambient temperature. In essence, the camera remains off until something comes into its sensor range. We’ve been experimenting with positioning the camera but have been getting great results almost every time.

We were aware of the high leopard presence around us but these elusive, nocturnal creatures are often difficult to see. Since installing the trail camera we have had regular sightings and have captured many of our nightly visitors on camera, including this spectacular shot taken in the early morning hours only meters away from our sundowner spot in camp!

One of several leopards visiting the camp at night
One of several leopards visiting the camp at night

We have also managed to get an image of this beautiful leopard in daylight, only 20m from the manager’s house!

Here are some more pics of night-time visitors exploring Kitich Camp:

Elephants roaming through Kitich Camp at night
Elephants roaming through Kitich Camp at night
And a mongoose right in front of a guest tent
And a mongoose right in front of a guest tent

A few nights ago, we had a little ‘problem’ with the camera. The resident lion pride, which we regularly hear roar in the evenings and at night, took the camera and carried it away up the river. The camera was attached to a log, weighing around 25 kgs and the log was tied on to a tree. The lions picked up the log, broke the rope between the log and the tree and carried the log off along the river and into the reeds.  Luckily, the lions were good enough to keep the camera dry while they crossed the river. It took around 1 hour of hit and miss tracking to find the log and the camera the next morning. We first found the camera, then the log and then the camera backing plate, around 500m from where the lions took it. We are thrilled that the camera is still working, except that the backing plate has a couple of teeth marks on it:)! The strapping that held the camera on to the tree is in 3 pieces however, well chewed by the lions…

From this attack on the camera we only managed to get some photos of the ground while the lions were carrying the camera – but we will try to get some good pics of the lions next time they’re in camp!

Till then, our warmest wished to you all,

Karl & the Kitich Camp team


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Welcome to the new Kitich Camp website, we will be sharing with you news from camp, including special wildlife sightings and exciting happenings in the conservancy. Best wishes Karl & Sally.

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