Wild Dog and Elephant Experience

Day 1: Arrive Nairobi – Laikipia

On arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, you will be met and transferred to Wilson Airport for your onward flight to Laikipia. On arrival in Laikipia, you will be met by Warren who will drive you to your camp to arrive in time for lunch. In the afternoon, you will proceed for your first game drive in the vast wilderness of Laikipia and return to your camp at sunset for dinner and overnight at Laikipia Wilderness Camp (Game Package).

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Day 2 – 3: Laikipia

Laikipia is like nowhere else in Africa. It is a fully functional ecosystem of miles and miles of unfenced wilderness, and beautiful pristine scenery. The area boasts a wonderful variable landscape consisting of rocky outcrops and escarpments, palm fringed rivers, open plains and acacia woodland. The wildlife of Laikipia is on the increase and in greater numbers than almost anywhere else in Africa. This unique wilderness area is situated right on the equator and has an almost perfect climate of warm sunny days and cool starlit nights.  Here, one has the freedom to explore this haven in any way you can imagine.

This wonderful wilderness area harbors the second largest elephant population in Kenya, and is home to the biggest population of the rare and endangered African wild dogs. The Laikipia region is lucky to have the fastest growing population of wild dogs in Africa. In addition, it hosts every other conceivable large and small predator including the seldom seen Striped Hyena. The area is fantastic for big numbers of the rare Reticulated Giraffe, Hippo, Grevy’s zebra (only 3,000 left in the world), leopard, lion, Spotted Hyenas, and over 280 species of birds. The reserve allows you to enjoy the freedom of game drives in open vehicles both during the day and at night; the perfect time to observe unusual nocturnal wildlife such as Aardwolf, Caracal, Serval and Honey Badgers.

At Laikipia Wilderness camp, the Wild dog population remains stable with resident packs breeding every year. The timing of this safari is to coincide with the birthing season of the wild dog and rare opportunities to view and photograph wild dog puppies. Two packs breed here every year and have become accustomed to the presence of humans. This allows for some very intimate experiences as well as photography with these highly endangered, yet very charismatic predators. In the last few years, Laikipia has become an important area for conserving the endangered African wild dog. The wild dog, with its long legs, big ears and colorful patchwork coat is unique to Africa and only very distantly related to the domestic dog: the two species separated several million years ago and cannot inter-breed.

Each tent is built on a platform with a private veranda and behind the tent an en suite bathroom made of natural materials which is partially open to the skies allowing you to shower under the stars. Hot and cold running water offers just that little bit of extra comfort in the bush. The large mess tent is the central reception area with dining room, sitting room and library. Outside there is an open veranda on a wooden deck where we gather at night. There is a viewing point with a campfire right next to the camp, where you can eat under the stars. One can also arrange for private family dinners or romantic meals for couples and as many meals as possible are had outdoors where you see and hear that much more of the wildlife around you.

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Day 4: Laikipia – Samburu

You depart this morning after breakfast and proceed to Samburu by road where you arrive at your camp in time for lunch. Activities for the rest of the day will be organized by your guide Warren Samuels and overnight will be at Elephant Bedroom Camp (Full Board).

Day 5 – 10: At Samburu
The next six days will be spent at Elephant Bedroom Camp. During your stay, you will have extended morning game drives every day. We carry sumptuous picnic bush breakfasts in the car with us, consisting of a wide assortment of fruit, fruit juices, tea and coffee, home baked pastries and cereals, as well as eggs and bacon. We selectively choose scenic picnic sites with great views of the river, or on top of giant rocky outcrops. You return to camp for a delicious lunch followed by a brief siesta or a dip in your private plunge pool situated on your tent’s viewing deck. For the more enthusiastic photographers, there is a hide set up on a platform situated overlooking a waterhole nearby where one can photograph animals drinking. The afternoon game drive begins in the cooler hours of the day and ends with sundowners and bitings at dusk and an opportunity to view and appreciate a formidable star-studded night sky, before returning to camp for dinner.

On your game drives, besides having great opportunities to photograph large herds of elephants crossing the river, there is also a very good chance of seeing the Big Cats such as lion, leopard and cheetah.You are also likely to see and photograph some of the more unique wildlife species endemic to northern Kenya such as the Gerenuk (or Giraffe antelope), Reticulated giraffe, Beisa’s Oryx,  Somali Ostrich and the beautiful but very rare Grevy's Zebra of which there are only 3,000 left in Africa.

The birds of Samburu are prolific and you will have plenty of opportunities to photograph an impressive array of raptors, which includes Martial Eagles, Bateleur Eagles, Goshawks and the uncommon Pygmy Falcon. Then there are the birds that sport the most vivid of colors on their feathers, such as kingfishers, Barbets, Rollers and Bee-eaters.

Elephant Bedroom camp is nestled within a large Duom Palm forest on the banks of the picturesque Ewaso Nyiro River. Large herds of elephants frequent the palm forest daily to feed off the nutritious palm nuts, which they share with troops of baboons, vervet monkeys, herds of impalas and Grant's gazelles, warthogs, and a host of other wild animals that visit the camp daily. Whilst resident at the camp you will have the privilege of enjoying some real up close and personal moments with some of the resident young bull elephants who spend their whole day feasting off the Doum palm nuts scattered around the camp.

The main viewing deck and bar/dining area commands stunning views over the palm-fringed Ewaso Nyiro River, offering the unique opportunity to observe and photograph large herds of elephants and other animals coming down to the water to drink and wallow. One really does get the sense that one is literally, 'living amongst the Elephants' here.

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Your host and expert guide Warren, will assist you on game drives with setting up your cameras and getting you into prime photographic positions for best image capture. In between game drives Warren can assist with any camera tuition that may be required. There will also be opportunities to have photography 'Review and Critique' workshop sessions during this period. Evenings will be spent relaxing around the campfire or watching some of Warren’s latest films on elephants, followed by a short talk on 'The Making of '. Overnight will be at Elephant Bedroom Camp (Full Board).

Day 11: Samburu – Nairobi
After a sumptuous breakfast at your camp, you will get a final game drive in the reserve on your way to the airstrip where you will board your flight to Nairobi. On arrival in Nairobi, you will be received and transferred to a restaurant for a light lunch. Later on, you will proceed to the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage to spend some time with the orphans. You will later be taken to a restaurant for dinner after which you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back home.

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