Kenya September 2018
It’s been 5 long years since last visiting Kenya and what a horrendously long time that has been.
My love affair with Kenya began in 2004 when I went on a Safari Skills course, ran by Andy on behalf of Exodus. I stayed at Kicheche Mara Camp and have favoured Kicheche camps ever since.
Whilst the camps have moved, they are as good as ever. However, the locations they have moved to aren’t as prolific with wildlife as they were in the early years. This could of course be because the game in general isn’t prolific. With the human population ever on the increase, requiring land to live on and land to live from, there’s a very fine line between wildlife having the freedom to be wild and mans need to carve an existence from the land. In my experience, the two do not complement each other and whilst most people convince others that they believe in conservancy and the requirement for wildlife to flourish, the reality is that we are all fooling ourselves.
I’ll get off my soap box, because I could go on and on, but don’t think you are reading this to listen to me rant!
Our first camp was on the Laikipia Plateau. An area I haven’t travelled to before, but one I wanted to visit because of its links with the Northern White Rhino (NWR). Sudan, was the last male NWR is buried here and the last 2 female NWR are in an enclosure here. The policy on the reserve is ‘shoot to kill’, in an attempt to protect the Rhino and Elephant populations from poachers.
The Reserve here is extremely dry and as a result there is A LOT OF DUST. Lots and lots of dust. Many professional photographers have more than one body, camera body that is. Each body with the photographers preferred lens attached. This can both save time when you are required to act quickly with a photographic opportunity and ensure that the body of the camera doesn’t get swamped with dust if you need to change the attached lens.
I don’t have that luxury and as money is always a bit tight, I chose to hire the Canon 600 mm lens I used on the trip, my other lens being my treasured 100-400 mm. I also chose to hire the 600 mm as I have never used that particular lens before and wanted to compare that to my previously owned 500 mm lens.
Back at the camp I quickly found that my camera body was suffering from the dust – as was everything else! And wouldn’t you believe it, I had left my ‘blower’ for cleaning said body in Niarobi. Disaster.