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I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anybody could ever want to own.
Andy Warhol

Nairobi national park is unique in a lot of ways but the most popular is that it is the only national park in a city. You have three options… a game drive, a walk at the Nairobi safari walk or a visit to the animal orphanage. Personally, I do not visit the orphanage because I do not like seeing wild animals in cages. You see, I live in Laikipia, a place where wildlife roams freely in and out of conservation areas so it would not make sense for me to pay a few shilling just so I can see some sad looking lions in a confined space ( no offense)

I made my maiden game drive to the park on 31st st December 2017 with my sister and nephews who given a choice would have preferred to go to a mall. After making the payments, we ventured into the park hoping not to get lost (not sure if there is an option to take a guide and at what cost).

Different people have different experiences from the great Nairobi National park but this is what stood out for me…

  1. The cityscape

I have seen beautiful photos of rhinos and giraffes with a backdrop of the city from different photographers and I have always thought it is pretty cool. I can confidently report now that it is way cooler when you are there to see it for yourself. There was a giraffe on the tarmac that made sure we knew who had a right of way. My nephew was upset that we were too close to it yet the park rules stated that we should not get too close to the animals.

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The zebras and the city

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Boss giraffe

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  1. The people

Every one we encountered in the park was amazing and genuinely excited to be there. Different people stopped us to find out if we had spotted any lions. Sadly we did not see any on that day. One person tried to convince us that if we followed him we would see some elephants but the truth is all wild elephants were trans-located from the park to avoid incidents of human wildlife conflict. Elephants are generally migratory creatures so you can imagine what would happen if they were to move around in the city. If you want to see elephants, you would have to settle for the calves at the David Sheldrick wildlife trust which is open to the public everyday between 11 AM-12 Noon through the KWS central workshop gate opposite Multimedia University.

We may have not been lucky with the lions but we saw many ostriches, lone male impalas which got me wondering why the impalas at Nairobi national park do not form bachelor herds and prefer to go it alone and lots of other animals.

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we all have that one friend…
  1. Ivory burn site

Kenya, under the leadership of president Moi, burned about 10 tonnes of ivory stock pile in 1989. This was a desperate measure to devalue ivory and send a message to the international community that ivory was only valuable when attached to a living elephant. Shortly after the ivory burn, international ivory trade was banned under CITES (Convention on international trade in endangered species). You can read more here.

In 2016 president Kenyatta presided over the biggest ivory burn in Kenya at the Nairobi National park next to the 1989 site. At the site, there is white ash from both ‘ceremonies’ which is equivalent to over 120 tonnes of ivory. There is a warning not to collect the ash from the site as it is a symbol of Kenya’s commitment to elephant conservation.

How effective burning or crushing ivory is to conservation efforts is debatable. I wish someone would come back to after a year or two and tell us if there has been any change, decrease or increase of elephant poaching or if we still have people trafficking ivory through our airports. There was a lot of hype and debates on this topic and I wish someone keeps the conversation going so we know whether we are making progress or not and what can be done better.

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There is a bench at the site which was probably donated by a well wisher in memory of someone but when my nephew saw it he thought someone actually died there…

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Morgan, someone died here! said my dear Kyle
  1. Too close to wildlife?

A while back, national geographic posted a photo of a hyena carrying a glass bottle photographed at the Kruger National park in South Africa. The caption read ‘one of the saddest things to witness in nature is man’s impact of the wild. Careless people don’t realize the impact of their trash on wildlife’

This reminded me of another post by Olpejeta Conservancy of a beer bottle probably thrown out from a moving vehicle inside the park. The Facebook post referred to the person that threw it as a moron but instead of seeing the bigger picture, people chose to call out Olpejeta for calling a paying customer a moron. I have expressed my feelings over litter over and over again and yet everywhere I go it never gets better if the two incidents are anything to go by.

Nairobi national park was no different. As we exited the park, we came across this pack of baboons by the road. In this group there was a little one playing around with a plastic soda bottle. Another monkey at the parking lot was licking off the remains from a yoghurt container and what made me angrier was there was a father who got too close and seemed to be encouraging his child to get close to the monkey. There was another one was on a roof with a plastic bag. Every one including the park rangers went about their business which made me feel like I was the only one who was bothered by this situation. My two cent is Nairobi National park should invest in better trash cans which won’t be accessible to the monkeys or better still, go the Karura forest way by banning all plastic bags and containers from the park.

Don’t be the kind of person that travels just to tick off some destination off their bucket list, don’t be the kind of traveler that has no respect for their environment…travel because you genuinely want to connect with nature and make the world a better place by leaving each place better than you found it

That said, it gets really frustrating seeing the same litter problem in all the conservation areas I visit. This is a replica of what happens in our everyday environment and this is not going to change unless we make personal efforts, educate our children on the impact of litter on our environment and speak up against this vice.

Side bar

Please note that cash is not an acceptable mode of payment at the gate so please carry your card or load your MPESA.

For more stories and photos check out @kuhiwanjohi on instagram.

Thanks for reading.

Take care of your environment.





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Once a year, go someplace you have never been before.

Dalai Lama

I have been to Laikipia North so many times now I have lost count. I assumed by now I would know all the corners but my recent participation in the great grevys rally reminded me there is a lot I am yet to see. I was privileged to attend the inaugural rally in another beautiful space in Laikipia North in 2016 and wrote about it here . When I was informed my team was going to Tumaren camp, I was a bit hesitant since I had no idea where that was and rumor had it that it was too close to Nanyuki town but then again I am always open to adventure and one can never turn down a trip to Laikipia North because as long as you stick to your lane you are in for a free game drive, amazing landscapes and rock formations. (Note to self write a book on Laikipia north someday).

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The rocks…


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Our journey to Tumaren started at around 7 AM from Nanyuki. The drive was generally pleasant as we were lucky to find a herd of elephants with lots of calves at a watering hole near Laikipia wilderness camp. If you know me well then you would understand how excited I get around elephants (People give me funny looks ).

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The eles

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We also found beer cans on the road which most likely came from another #ggr team that went ahead of us. I get really annoyed by people who litter. I can not understand how you can make a conscious choice to spend a lot of money and time in a conservation event as big as this and at the same time be a part of the litter problem by trashing a conservation area. We stopped to collect the trash which is insignificant if you think about the problem from a broader perspective.

At some point we had a flat but luckily we got help from a well wisher who happened to be driving a vehicle as our jack malfunctioned. We took a few photos and had a great time getting to know each other.

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The team and the rangers

For the rest of the drive to Tumaren, I was in worlds unknown since I had never been past Mpala research center. I was able to recognize a small town, Ilmotiok, and the familiar landscape of the North. We got to Tumaren at around 11 AM where we were welcomed with a cup of tea in classic Kenyan style despite the scorching sun. We then set up camp and headed out for a drive.

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We couldn’t find any grevys or giraffes for a while but interestingly when we found a lone grevy and got all excited ready with our cameras to shoot, we were accused of trespass by a local. Most of the conversation was in Maasai so I didn’t understand much but we sorted it in the most diplomatic way possible. Our ranger assured us that we were within the borders of Tumaren… okay we were at the border.

We moved on and found a dazzle of about 15 grevys and two plain zebras, our spotter Machira can confirm this figure since his estimations were annoyingly accurate.

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Spot the trouble maker?

I loved  Tumaren’s walking safaris concept. They major on walking /camel safaris unlike most of the parks I have visited in this region. Of course the rules still apply that you must be accompanied by an armed ranger for protection since they understand the terrain as well as wildlife behavior, keep a reasonable distance from the wildlife and whatever you do DO NOT disturb them.

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The transport…

Before I digress further, we went tracking on foot and despite the heat I was super excited. We tried our best to single out the grevys so that we could get clear photos but the plain zebras kept creating chaos. Eventually we got a few shots which I hope will help in the analysis.

at the end of day one we were treated to a spectacular sunset and I spotted a spotted hyena on top of a rock on our way back to camp (see what I did there)?

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In the evening, We told stories by the fire, some of us ( read me) almost sat on the fire because I was afraid of the cold…in my defense I almost froze while camping at Naibor and am still hang up on that. (cameras were charging so no photos)

The next morning, we set out before sunrise. The animals were out to play. We found a hyena and her cubs playing on top of a rock, there were quite a number of gerenuks (giraffe necked gazelles) which were extremely shy and a few giraffes which we were happy to track on foot.


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Spot the gerenuk?
Patterns (reticulated giraffes)
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Another gerenuk
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Nothing beats the view from the top.

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Sunrise Day 2

We had a great experience at Tumaren apart from a few hiccups here and there the major one being that our driver was not conversant with the area and was afraid to go off-road despite having a 4WD. If we were in another park that doesn’t allow tracking on foot,we would not have gotten anything done since we would have been restricted to the designated paths away from the zebras and giraffes. Generally though he was a great guy with a great sense of humor. I guess the wilderness especially as extreme as Laikipia north was just not his cup of coffee.


1. Tumaren is a beautiful place that offer a amazing walking and driving safari. You can get a tailor made package depending on your preference. Check out their official website for more information and prices.

2. You can access Tumaren by driving on the Nanyuki Doldol road , take a left towards Juakali and proceed straight through Mpala research center, Elkarama ranch etc etc. You can also follow Nanyuki Ilpolei route via musul. From our campsite we could see Musul from a distance. Tumaren also has an airstrip for those who would prefer flying there.

3. Get all your supplies in Nanyuki if you are camping. If you stay at the lodge you will be sorted.

4. Network coverage is non existent so be ready to leave the tech world behind.

5. This area can get extremely hot during the day and cold at night… Pack appropriately.


And finally…

A big shout out to the county government of Laikipia (tourism department), Sema Laikipia and the rangers who took care of us at Tumaren.

To the grevy zebra trust… Thank you for the opportunity to be part of this event.

Until the next one

Plant a tree this rainy season

Do not litter or make excuses for people who do

Take care of your environment

Love, respect and conserve wildlife in your own small way

Go out and have an adventure!

leave a comment…

Love & love.



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Hey guys,

Would you like to go on an adventure of a lifetime? Are you a conservation/ wildlife enthusiast? Would like an opportunity to get involved as a citizen scientist? The great grevys rally 2018 is coming up at the end of this month 27th -28th to be specific. I had an opportunity to participate in the rally in 2016 which turned out to be the most epic weekend.  If you ask my friends they will tell you I have been talking about it for two years!!

Overview (over-simplified )

 The great grevys rally  was originally designed to estimate the population of the grevy zebras through photographing the right side of the zebra and later using IBEIS (Image based Ecological Information system) to analyze the data. According to the last census the estimated figure stands at 2350. Grevy Zebras are  classified as one  of the most endangered mammals and  are only found in parts of northern Kenya and Ethiopia.

In this years great grevys rally teams will be photographing both the endangered grevy zebra and reticulated giraffes.

In my post today, I would like to give you guys  a guideline on what to expect as a citizen scientist based on my experience in 2016.

How to identify a grevy zebra

  • It is slightly bigger than the plain zebra
  • It has a white belly
  • It has narrow stripes
  • It has a broader neck and larger ears.

This is not a comprehensive list but I hope it is a good start before you come up with your own observations once you take part in this event.

A plain zebra photographed at  Nairobi national park
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A grevy zebra photographed at Mpala research center

There are three species of giraffes in Kenya ( the reticulated giraffe, Rothschild giraffe and Maasai giraffe) since the grevys rally will be taking place in five counties in northern Kenya, Laikipia, Samburu, Isiolo, Meru and Marsabit, you will most likely only see the reticulated giraffes here so you will not have a challenge identifying them.

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Reticulated giraffes photographed at Mpala research center

   The rally organizers will provide one  GPS enabled camera per team which you will use to photograph the right side of both the grevy zebras and reticulated giraffes. You are supposed to get as close as possible to the animals to take photos but please please do not harass them.  You will need a lot of patience since you will find them in groups but the rules of the game dictate that you have to single them out to get good individual photos. This is going to be a challenge but trust me you will enjoy the hide and seek.

PS you are allowed to carry other cameras.

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A dazzle of grevy zebras ( Mpala research center)

Some will hide in the bush while others will play in the sand in classic donkey style. You will look at your photos at the end of the day and wonder what you were doing but do not worry it is part of the process. The side shows made the experience worthwhile in 2016.

Play time ( Mpala research center)

But eventually you will get good photos

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The type of photo you should take (right side of a grevy)
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or this one

The plain zebras will come out to play as well… do not let them confuse you

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Common zebra ( Mpala research center)

Now that this time we will be photographing reticulated giraffes as well, I can already foresee a challenge if they behave like the one in the photos below but you have to admit they are pretty amazing photos.

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  You will find a lot of other animals… photograph them as well, you will appreciate the photos later trust me. Before ggr2016, I had never seen so many elephants in one day and at such close proximity. There was a scary moment though when an elephant charged at our vehicle. We later found out it had a calf…classic protective mother.

Remember to keep a respectful distance.

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You will meet amazing people. I met more than half my team on the first day of the rally and they turned out to be amazing people. I also met some cool photographers and reporters from CNN, ran into my high school classmate Beryl Wambani (then working for NTV),  the US ambassador to Kenya Bob Godec and the amazing professor Dan Rubenstein popularly known as Zebra Dan for his outstanding research on Zebras.

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Kids from Mpala primary school
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My team + 2 guy in the  fro Amref


Professor Dan explaining something to Robin Kriel (CNN) and Bob Godec (US ambassador to Kenya)

     You will come across amazing landscapes in the five participating counties. If you haven’t chosen a destination yet, allow me to be biased because I am after all #proudly_laikipian… Choose Laikipia. Come and experience Laikipias finest. It may give you a new perspective of Laikipia different from what has dominated the media since late 2016.

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The bow (Mpala research center)
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Beauty in motion
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A Mpala research center sunrise
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Views from below and top
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 Finally, you will have an amazing adventure to jump start your 2018 and you will have contributed towards the conservation efforts for two endangered species.

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My squad and amazing driver/guide (He knew all the right places to go)


 My question is…What are you waiting for? Register your squad here today!  I hope to see you all in Laikipia or read your stories from other participating counties.

Adventure awaits!!

Leave a comment or question and I will be happy to answer.

Yours truly,


If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere

Vincent Van Gogh.

Hello everyone & happy new year!

I hope you all are having a great start to the new year. After having a super amazing 2017 I couldn’t think of a better way to start the blog this year than taking a photographic journey through my year.
I had a chance to visit quite a number of places that I had never been to, had the most amazing road trips to Marsabit, Kisumu, Homabay and Mbita, sat at the shores of Lake Victoria where I was treated to amazing views and  witnessed the most gorgeous sunset in Kericho (Sadly I didn’t take a photo)… I could go on and on. 

Below is a sneak peek. I hope the photos inspire you to go out more, appreciate nature, conserve your environment and  live your purpose.

Cheers to an amazing and adventurous 2018!

Leave a comment.

Love and blessings


A view of Mt. Kenya from Oljogi conservancy
A buffalo bachelor herd (Olpejeta conservancy)
Sunset in Naromoru
A Mt Kenya Sunrise
The great north road
Interior Decor (Jambo Mutara Camp).
Elephant view point (Samburu Simba lodge)
A Southern white rhino at sunset (Olpejeta conservancy)
A Lewa Wildlife conservancy  sunrise
Jackson’s horn bill (Lewa wildlife conservancy)
Beautiful landscapes at Lewa Wildlife conservancy at sunrise
more of Lewa
Betty is her name…you can meet her at the giraffe center Nairobi
My sister Njoki and Betty ( Girrafe center).
my favorite rock formation (Laikipia North)
Magical views from Musul (Laikipia North)
Sunset shot from Homabay Market
A sunset boat ride at Homabay
A view from the top (fourteen falls)
Road tripping through the North… I hope to camp on this mountain in 2018
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Close encounters (Oljogi Conservancy) PS I hope to see a wild Leopard in 2018
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More close encounters ( Best moment 2017)
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Natural very cold pool (Ngarendare forest)



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Hey there my good people,

A couple of weeks ago, I was looking for a weekend plan. It had been a while since I had gone for an adventure. I had seen a post on Instagram from a local travel company about an adventure in the forest trip so I reached out to the travel company and paid for the trip.  I then worked to get a day off from my boss which is usually harder than going to the moon but I succeeded. On the eve of the forest adventure, I got a call from the travel company to say that they had a ‘transport hitch’ so the trip had to be postponed to a later date. I now suspect that was a lie because almost a month later, I still have not gotten any communication on the new date for the trip. This incident reminded me why I do not like organized group activities because they almost always backfire.

I was very disappointed but I had to look for a plan B. I called my cousin in Nakuru, my friend in Maralal and another friend in Kajiado (Okay I was desperate).  Nothing positive came out of my phone calls until I called my friend Terry in Nairobi and asked her if she would go to the fourteen falls with me. I had always wanted to go there so I was super excited when she said she was in.

As I embarked on my little adventure the next day, I read about the destination on Lucia Musau’s blog so I had an idea of what to expect… beautiful scenery, the sound of water and foul smell.  I met my friend at Roysambu, boarded a matatu to Thika another one to Kilimambogo and a bodaboda to the falls.  I should mention here that to get to some destinations, public transport will serve you just fine so never limit your travel to when you get your own car/ hire a car / fuel a friend’s car. Of course having private car is more comfortable and convenient… I digress.

On reaching the fourteen falls, we were welcomed by a very charming ‘Kanju’ guy  who literally dropped the barrier like he would for a car and made me walk through confessing that when I go there again I would be driving my own car to which I said Amen (I know God heard that). There was a lot of activity around the falls with different vendors, school children on a school trip and guys offering to take us on tour around the falls at a cost. The first guy charged us 300 shillings, the second 400 and the third 500. We found a good spot to take in the scenery and get my camera settings right before deciding whether to take the guide’s offer or not.

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Of the many tour guides, one, Jose, was very persistent. He charged us 300 shillings (3$) per person and told us that we would decide if it was worth it at the end of the adventure.

We started off with the scariest boat ride ever. The boat was wooden and there was some dirty water on the floor. I could paint a picture of how scared I was while Terry laughed at me but in my panic mode I still managed to capture a few beautiful shots from the boat.


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We then walked through some very hot rocks with our guide gracefully carrying my pink bag and shoes until we got as close the cliff as we could.

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I mentioned earlier that I had read about the foul smell but I guess this was my lucky day because it wasn’t there. The first thing I noticed however when we got close to the falls was the heaps of litter (plastic bags, plastic bottles and beer cans). I tried not to let it ruin my day but just when I thought it could not get any worse, I saw a bunch of young kids taking their sodas and beers then throwing the cans in the river! It is very unfortunate though that the county government of Kiambu has not put up any dustbin / waste disposal point. I believe this, together with   DO NOT LITTER signs would make a significant difference.   I also hope with the plastic ban, there will be a bit of change.

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Part of the litter gang and a result of their work below


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A close up of the falls

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Jose was very patient with us as we posed for the best photos. We then crossed over to Machakos County through a wobbly bridge. Ps you have to pay 20 shilling to use this bridge if you do not have a guide.

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View from the bridge

We walked through the rocks, jumped over puddles and sometimes had to slide through very strong currents under Jose’s excellent guidance. At some point I was afraid the water would carry me over the cliff and was screaming my lungs out. My adrenaline was pumping but the view from the top was worth every struggle.  I took some of my best photos here… landscape, trees, people and young love. This would be a good spot for a date on a budget while connecting with nature.

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View from the top
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Young love

I could go on and on. My verdict, this was a great day but you need a very open mind so as to not get lost in everything that is wrong with the management of the fourteen falls. From some of the comments I read on trip advisor, the area needs a serious make over.  One review says the place stinks, is full of rubbish and has very expensive guides…apparently this person was charged KES. 4500.  Another review notes that the place needs a sitting area, restaurant, washrooms and safety equipment.

We left just before Sunset with a promise to be back hoping to find a better place driving my awesome car.

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  • The entrance fee is KES. 100.00. If you decide to use a guide you will pay extra depending on your negotiation skills.
  • This place is not child friendly
  • The location’s review on magical Kenya page is a joke I know your target is the international tourist but please let us be real! Check it out
  • The fourteen falls are part of Athi River (second longest river in Kenya 390 km) which drains into the Indian Ocean as river Sabaki/Galana river.
  • If you ever go here and need an excellent guide call Jose 0796541283


Thank you for reading . Please leave a comment and until next time… Do not litter, avoid disposable plastics but if you must use them dispose them properly.

Love always




Pour me a sunset, kill the night and I promise to drink with you forever.

     William G. Herman


Hello my people,

Have you ever had an experience so surreal you cannot put it in words? Well that is how I feel as I post this about my recent game drive at sundown at my favorite park. You guessed right… Olpejeta! I have written about it before on All hail the marsh, our cheeky relatives and what we lost along the way.

On this game drive, I only covered a small radius of the 90,000 acre conservancy and below a few photos that best summarize my experience. I hope you like them  and if you would like to visit the conservancy, which I believe you should, here is a summary of what to expect:

  1. Unlike many parks in this region, Olpejeta is open to the locals anytime…no appointment needed.
  2. It is the only place in Kenya with Chimpanzees
  3. It is home to all the big five
  4. The paths are clearly marked so with or without a guide, you can figure your way around
  5. It is the biggest black rhino sanctuary in East africa
  6. It is home to the world’s last three northern white rhinos (1 male &2 females)

For more information on more activities, accommodation and park fees check out their website. 

Until the next one,

leave a comment

Love & love




Egyptian goose with her brood
An Egyptian goose & her brood
Lioness 2
A lioness by the road

Lioness 1

Sacred ibis
The sacred Ibis
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Southern white rhinos

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S white rhinos 1

S white rhino portrait


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A giraffe silhouette

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Giraffe silhoutte 3
A giraffe silhouette at a watering point
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The spotted hyena giving me the side eye

Spotted hyena bonding 2

Spotted hyena at sunset
Colors of nature!

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giraffe and hyena portrait
#thehyena #thegiraffe one shot


Me silhoette 2
sunset dance because why not?




Landscape view

We don’t meet people by accident. They are meant to cross our path for a reason.

Hello there,

It has been a minute but not too long I  hope. I don’t wan t to make excuses today so lets get right into it. In 2015 I made a terrible mistake ( story for another day) but in all that mess I met a great girl who was to become my friend (also story for another day).  Through this friend, I met another friend who was super excited about running the LEWA marathon 2017. We had only met virtually but we agreed that we would hang out after the marathon. So I found myself on the road to Isiolo very early Sunday morning ready for an adventure to unknown destinations with a person I had never met.

Grevy Zebra


Isiolo is the last town you would expect to find a traffic jam but on this day, a Sunday, the traffic was probably worse than that of the great Nairobi. The same happened when I was going to Marsabit ( read about that here). Maybe Isiolo doesn’t want me to drive through too fast.  So here I was with two complete strangers headed to destination unknown in the great Samburu county. We made our way to Buffalo springs national reserve and went straight to the swimming pool at Samburu Simba lodge.

The pool

I don’t know about you but this is a perfect spot to spend a day, say on a blind date and have conversations with even more strangers who are on vacation from different parts of the world.  What made it even better is that we did not have to take a game drive to look for the wildlife… wildlife came to us.

ELes and baboons

Elephants vs baboons

Those who know me know I  love  elephants so having a herd of elephants grazing by the pool must have been the highlight of my day. I witnessed an elephant bullying a grevy zebra and I thought it was being mean but turns out it had a little calf probably less that two months. I am no expert in estimating wildlife’s age but it was really tiny.

On the way out, I was lucky to see a number of  oryx (by the way what is the proper name for it?) It is one of the species that are only found  in arid parts of Africa above the equator.

the oryx with a viewOryx potrait

we also made a stop at the springs which are weirdly clean despite the fact that there is no visible outlet. Unfortunately I was too focused on taking photos of me and my now friends (no longer blind dates) that I forgot to take a picture of the springs.


  1. Buffalo springs national reserve is located between Isiolo and Archers post and  is managed by the county government of Samburu
  2. Entrance fee is Kes. 500.00 for Kenyan citizens
  3. You can also access Samburu national reserve from here without having to pay park entrance fee again
  4. There is a variety of lodges to choose from for meals and swimming… we were at the Samburu Simba lodge
  5. You will need a 4WD… the roads are quite rough.


We had an amazing experience there and I would totally recommend it. Samburu is waiting for you.

Until next time, go find your adventure, tembea Kenya and don’t be afraid to go on adventurous blind dates… It could turn out to be your best day.

A big thank you to Maryanne, Tom and Christine. you made my day!


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Love always