February has been unusually busy with guests from all corners of the world! With mid-seasons becoming more popular in the Mara due to the abundance of cubs and the wildebeest calving season, along with less visitors compared to the high season – we are receiving many guests who have booked into Loldia as it’s the perfect start or finish to their Kenya safari.
We are still receiving masses of compliments on the recent upgrades: guests are absolutely loving the new infinity pool – a cool, refreshing dip is extremely welcoming after a few hot days in the African bush!
Some recent guests of ours headed up to Nakuru National Park and had great excitement as they saw two male Giraffe having a serious ”neck’ fight. Male giraffes fight with their necks because it’s the most powerful and manoeuvrable weapon they have: ‘necking’ in the world of giraffes is one of the most violent and unpleasant activities they’re ever likely to engage in. Our guests were completely floored and said they had only ever seen such wild animal behaviour on David Attenborough’s films. The same guests also had good sightings of rhino and lion in the Park.
We really do encourage guests to visit Nakuru National Park as it is very accessible from Loldia House – only an hour and a half’s drive away. If you set off early and take a picnic breakfast with you, you can most likely avoid the heat of the day. The park is popular as your chances of seeing both Black and White Rhino are quite high due to its small size. The park also boasts over 450 bird species: the soda in the lake is a birding ‘hotspot’ attracting huge flocks of pelicans and flamingos. The contrasting colours of the blue lake, pink flamingos and the green scrub provide the most amazing photography opportunities.
Speaking of photography, we have had the pleasure of hosting William Fortescue who was engaged as our ‘in house’ professional photographer across the Governors’ Camp Collection portfolio of properties in Kenya. Will had already spent the whole of January in the Mara (not to mention the eight months he spent with us nearly six years ago at Governors’ Camp), before he got to Loldia, so it was a great asset to have him here interacting with guests, joining them on game drives, providing mini photo editing work shops and various other assistance to any of our guests wanting to capture the very best of their Kenyan safari. He has taken an amazing selection of photos while with us – both of the wildlife around the lodge, our stunning new interiors and upgrades, some really great staff portraits and of the many activities that we offer during your stay at Loldia.
In the fascinating world of our ‘Cast Of Characters’ – that is – all the individuals that make up the wonderful family at Governors (both animal and human), we had noticed a lone Colobus Monkey around the swimming pool and in the garden. Loldia manager Heather Wallington had tried to make it feel welcome as we do love to have such company, however it has since taken off, hopefully with a mate or the rest of a troop.
The Kenya Bird of Prey Trust on the other side of Lake Naivasha will soon be open to visitors, hopefully by the middle of this year. A few of our staff from Governors’ Camp Collection have had the honour of visiting this truly remarkable project where you can meet Shiv Kapila and his family of rehabilitated predatory birds. Shiv and his co-trustee, Simon Thomsett, are doing miraculous things at the Trust – enabling injured birds to fly again, or in the unfortunate cases where a particular bird will not return to the skies, he is managing to successfully breed them in order to secure their population numbers in the area. A typical day there includes a show around of the bird enclosures (where they are protected from other predatory birds and wildlife until they are released), and an informal ‘Q&A’ session with Shiv. We shall really be supporting this charity from Loldia, buy sending along any interested guests. There is no entry fee but the Trust kindly requests a minimal donation fee of Ksh 2,000 per person ($20).
Loldia’s night game drives are still proving to be a big hit with many guests – some February guests had great excitement as they spotted a leopard with a kill – and the rarely seen Aardvark! On the night of the 25th of February, at about 9:30pm, our guests and the staff witnessed a huge debacle of noise and and shaking of bushes, whereupon a family of bush-pig came flying out of the darkness. Everyone then saw two huge male lion laying low in the thicket – they had caught themselves one of the pigs! At the same time we noticed a very unsettled leopard high up in a big fig tree about 50 meters from the gate of Loldia House. It would seem the two lions had chased the leopard up the tree, before getting caught up in the distraction of the bush pigs. There was an obscene amount of noise for a short while but it was all very exciting nonetheless! The lion sighting is particularly special as we rarely see lion on Loldia – in fact Gary Hopcraft (who has lived all his life on Loldia, and managed to snap a couple of photos) said this was the first time he has actually seen lion in the area. We are not sure what brought them to Loldia, or how long they will hang around for – but what an incredible experience it was!
Meanwhile, up at the Loldia Airstrip there is a family of Jackal with three puppies which have been providing much amusement with their playful behaviour – this is also quite special as the pups are often hidden in an underground den.
In weather news, there was very little rain in February so the ranch is still very hot and dusty. Luckily the house is very close to Naivasha’s lakeshore, so we do get a constant breeze off the lake and our lawns are kept lush and green by the proximity of water. Plus – we have a super new infinity pool to fall into when the heat creeps up!
By Jessica Savage, Governors’ Camp Collection
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African Safaris by the Pioneers who Live in Africa