Archive for May, 2014

News from Gamewatchers Safaris

Are you ready for some good news from Kenya?Check out the latest news broadcast from Gamewatchers Safaris!


Gamewatchers Safaris May 2014
Good afternoon!

Greetings Porini Enthusiast!

Sometimes the spotlight that is shone upon us by the international media can create a tidal wave which affects the whole population here in Kenya. We are currently seeing this with some of the publicity relating to recent changes in travel advice affecting certain parts of the country. As we all know, tourism in Kenya is regarded as the country’s natural asset so we would like to keep things in perspective and show the true picture of daily life here. With the constant, current and negative appearance of Kenya in the media, I would also like to take this moment to give a focus on some of the POSITIVE things that are happening from someone who is on the ground here, coming to work everyday, drinking coffee with friends and wandering around in the national park.

The media after all, needs to sell its news but here are some positive rays of sunshine from Kenya:

  • Kenya’s profile in the international community is set to rise as a UN agency:
  • The inauguration of a revamped United Nations Environmental Program next month will host more than 6000 international visitors in Nairobi

The Lake Turkana Festival is being held from 13th to 15th of June 2014:

  • The National Museums of Kenya in collaboration with the German Embassy and other partners invites you to join the exploration of the northern frontier and enjoy the myriad of beautiful colors of the different cultures and discover the hidden treasure of Lake Turkana

2 Kenyans win the Whitley Awards in the Annual Oscars for Conservationists

  • Dr Paula Kahumbu and Shivani Bhalla

2 athletic Kenyans win different marathons

  • Wilson Kipsang won the London Marathon and Rita Jeptoo won the Boston Marathon

2013 saw Kenya as the World’s Leading Safari Destination at the World Travel Awards (the Oscars of the Travel Industry) Condor is increasing its flights to Kenya! International airline Condor, which carries over 6 million passengers annually to 75 destinations in the world, has announced that it will increase its flight rotations from Frankfurt Germany to Moi International Airport Mombasa beginning end of July to four flights a week.

Kenya’s natural landscape consists of endless savannahs, incredible wildlife, enduring cultures, unspoiled beaches, remarkable coral reefs, equatorial forests, blazing deserts and cool highland retreats:

  • Extra ordinary journeys in adventure, exploration and leisure

Need I say more? I will let you discover and explore for yourself visually as you read on.

With best wishes,


Aleema Noormohamed
Marketing Executive

Gamewatchers Safaris

Kenya in Action

An authentic journey through the wild: beautiful footage of wildlife seen from Porini Camps filmed by Ken Roggow of Timberpak Video Productions A different point of view of Ol Pejeta: Seen From Above Alison Buttigieg & Olli Teirilä flew into the Mara to stay at Porini Lion Camp in Olare Motorogi Conservancy and made this video of 100 seconds of shots of what they saw! They liked it so much they are coming back next month when we re-open.

Traveller’s Choice – Porini Mara Camp

TripAdvisor announced the Top Ten properties in Kenya for "Exceptional Service": PORINI MARA CAMP came first!

TripAdvisor’s 12th annual Travelers’ Choice awards goes through its user reviews and rating over 12 months into lists of its most highly recommended destinations, attractions, beaches, islands, exceptional service hotels and resorts. Porini Mara Camp bagged first place in the top ten hotels for exceptional service in Kenya! and came 4th out of 10 in the top ten hotels for romance in Kenya!

Conservancy Update – Porini Amboseli Camp retains its Gold Eco rating certification!

Ecotourism Kenya promotes responsible tourism practices within the tourism industry. This entails encouraging the adoption of best practices in the use of tourism resources, working with local communities and managing wastes and emissions.

The Eco-rating certification Scheme is a sustainable tourism certification program that aims to promote responsible tourism in Kenya. Launched in 2002 by Ecotourism Kenya in cooperation with tourism stakeholders in Kenya, the program’s focus is to recognise best practices in environmental conservation, responsible resource use and socio-economic investment among tourism accommodation facilities by awarding qualified applicants assessed under the scheme with a Bronze, Silver or Gold eco-rating certification based on their performance.

The Eco-rating certification scheme follows a systematic procedure that assesses a tourism accommodation facility on its environmental, economic and socio-cultural performance. The criteria has been designed to suit local requirements and is aligned to the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC) formed under the umbrella of the United Nations (UN).

Porini Amboseli Camp is proud to retain its Gold Eco rating due to its potential for nature conservation and involvement in community well being.



Cheetah Chat: an update by the Mara Cheetah Project on cheetahs in the Mara provided by Femke Broekhuis, Project Director

Malaika is not having much luck raising a new litter. Since Bawa left her we know of two litters being born. The first litter was killed by lions. A few months ago she gave birth to another litter north of Paradise Plains but unfortunately she seems to have lost this litter as well – the cause however is unknown. Lets hope she has more luck with the next litter.

Photo Courtesy of Femke Broekhuis

Kisiri’s two sons left their mum in February 2014. Kisiri is often sighted around Keekorok, but in early March the two boys were sighted all the way in the Mara Triangle. It is likely they are roaming around trying to establish a territory of their own.

Amani’s three sub-adults (2 males and a female) have now split. The female, who was recently named Imani, meaning "Faith" in Kiswahili, is being sighted on a regular basis. Unfortunately we have no idea where the two males are, but like Kisiri’s sons they too are probably roaming far and wide in search of a territory. Seems like there is a bit of competition over space!

We are sad to announce that Saba (Amani’s mother) has passed away. She was one of the oldest cheetahs in the Mara and at the age of about 10.5 years we think she might have died of old age. The good news is that Amani and her cubs are doing well and are frequently seen around the Double Crossing area.

Photo Courtesy of Nic Elliot

The Ol Kinyei female raised three cubs to independence – two females and a male. They left their mum in July 2013. In the last update a male was seen – we have now also seen one of his sisters in Naboisho and Ol Kinyei. She has been named "Lupita" after Kenya’s recent Oscar winner. We are still keeping an eye out for the second female.

Photo Courtesy of Benjamin Kisemei

We recently sighted a ‘new’ male near Rhino Ridge. According to guides this male was often seen in this area but no one has sighted him in over a year. When we found him he was amazingly feeding on a buffalo calf! After that sighting this male was seen again in Olare-Motorogi Conservancy.

Photo Courtesy of Risa Rakwa
About us – Meet the Fleet

We are ready for the high season and hope that YOU will be joining us on safari soon! Our Group Maintenance Manager, Mr Naeem Aslam, has worked tirelessly with his team and has given our entire fleet a new facelift! The team has spent countless hours and energy to ensure the fleet is ready to take you on the safari of your life! From the overhaul of the engines, to the redesign of the body of the vehicles, to increasing the internal space as well as increasing the panoramic view for landscape and game viewing, Naeem now heads a fleet of 31 vehicles which include our 4×4 Landcruisers, Landrovers, and Noahs for safaris and transfers. Naeem has been in the tourism industry for 10 years and has vast experience in operation and maintenance management.

Open-sided game-viewing vehicles, a small part of our large fleet
Putting a face to the team: Naeem Aslam (pictured 4th from the right) and the hands-on mechanics

For more information on our vehicles, please visit our website

In This Issue Kenya in Action Porini Mara Camp – Traveller’s Choice! Porini Amboseli is GOLD Cheetah Chat About Us – Meet the Fleet Voting deadline Extended!15th June 2014Cast your vote here. World Travel Awards Nominations "Africa’s Responsible Tourism Award" "Kenya’s Leading Safari Camp Brand" "Africa’s Leading Tented Safari Camp" " "Kenya’s Leading Inbound Tour Operator Quick Links Planning Your Safari Special Offers

Ban on use of UAV’s aids poachers say conservationists


(Posted 31st May 2014)

The Kenyan government has done itself and wildlife protection in the country no favour when in a knee jerk reaction not too different from the recent FCO anti travel advisory, it in a sudden change of mind apparently banned the use of UAV’s aka drones to survey conservancies and private game reserves, citing once again obscure security reasons for the ban.

A regular conservation source from Nairobi was swift to denounce the decision as paranoid and only benefitting poachers: ‘Like the Brits over reacted two weeks ago with their ban on travel to parts of the coast so did our government here. We were all waiting to see how the trials on Ol Pejeta were going before deciding to move towards such surveillance equipment ourselves but from what we hear government has suddenly pulled the plug on this. I have no idea how much money Ol Pejeta has invested in this technology but the fact that KWS also talked of going that way and that other conservancies were closely watching until initial results were out speak for itself. The only beneficiaries of such a ban can be poachers who must be celebrating this brainless decision by government. First, I know that Ol Pejeta has had some form clearance already from the military of the Nanyuki air base for the initial trials they did. Secondly, I am sure that the KCAA has also been involved because those things criss-cross the airspace over the conservancy and so do light aircraft, so there must be measures in place to make sure there are no incidents. But most important, it is only through the use of modern technology that intrusions can be detected in a timely manner and measures taken to intercept poachers, follow them and corner them. This stinks to heaven like Kimayo’s directive [Kenya’s top cop who in a shoot from
the hip banned tinted windows on all cars only to have to withdraw the order
shortly afterwards under the threat of legal action] to ban tinted windows. Security will be enhanced when responsible organizations use such technology, not put at risk. Whoever took that decision should be sacked for aiding and abetting poaching which the use of such contraptions was to reduce and prevent. The things done under the pretext of security in our country are making me shake my head. One wonders if those civil servants actually know how what they are doing or just blunder their way from one to the next’.

In a wider context does this decision right now mean that with the left hand government is beating its right hand and vice versa, as the poaching crisis is ongoing and all hands are needed on deck, aided by the latest technology and not deprived of it because a faceless bureaucrat issued an order banning the use of airborne UAV surveillance. Flying light aircraft for aerial surveillance, while an option, is however very expensive and requires spotters besides the pilot in the aircraft, while night surveillance with light aircraft is literally impossible. Drones however can fly both during the day and at night, are cost effective to operate and are controlled by trained personnel with the option of government actually attaching staff to the control rooms to ensure that nothing untoward happens with the UAV’s, not that such a scenario is even remotely an option considering the parties involved.

The verdict for now surely must be that the Kenyan government shot itself in the foot again and one wonders just how many more bullets that foot can take. Watch this space.

Serengeti Highway court case draws to a close – verdict expected on 20th June


(Posted 31st May 2014)

The long wait for a verdict by the East African Court of Justice in Arusha, pronouncing itself on the application to hand the Tanzanian government a permanent injunction to stop them from building a highway or any sorts across the Serengeti, is drawing to an end. Sources in Arusha have confirmed that notice has been served on the plaintiff and the defendant that the court will announce its decision on the 20th of June this year.

The Tanzanian government had tried in vain to have the case thrown out of court and when failing in the first instance then moved to the appeals division of the East African Court of Justice where they again lost, having a panel of judged hear the application and then decide the fate of the Serengeti which is tied closely to the outcome of this case.

Conservationists are now looking forward to the decision and while no one can presently predict the outcome are hopeful that plans to build a highway can be stopped. For more information about the case also visit the Save the Serengeti website via

Meanwhile will the Tanzania Tourist Board shortly launch their new mobile app ‘Destination Tanzania’ which can be downloaded for free from the Apple store for iPads and iPhones but is also available for Android smartphones and tablets.

Use of solar energy increases in Kenya


(Posted 31st May 2014)

Cheli & Peacock’s Tortilis Camp in Amboseli has just installed a full solar system which has replaced the generators used so far, substantially reducing their carbon footprint and making the camp even more ecofriendly than attested to before through Eco Tourism Kenya’s Silver Rating.

Extensive solar panels were put into place, discreetly away from the main areas of the camp frequented by guests and a battery and control room constructed to ensure that the sensitive equipment is kept safe from rain and sunshine.

After months of hard work filled with calculations, negotiations, and installations of over 190 solar panels on a site larger than 500m², we are finally there! These panels power 48 batteries, each weighing 216kg. By going solar, we will be able to reduce our use of diesel by 28,000 litres a year, dropping our CO2 emissions by approximately 60 Tons per year!
Tortilis Camp was one of the first ‘eco-lodges’ of its kind in East Africa winning the Tourism For Tomorrow Award after only one year in operation. Kitich Camp in the Mathews Range and Elephant Pepper Camp in the Masai Mara also run on 100% solar power. All our camps have either a Silver eco-rating (Elsa’s Kopje, Kitich Camp, Tortilis Camp, Lewa Safari Camp) or a Gold eco-rating (Elephant Pepper Camp & Joy’s Camp). [The ratings are awarded by Eco Tourism Kenya
after an extensive audit]

In our pledge to be a leader in Responsible and Sustainable Tourism, we continue to strive for Gold at all properties and there are plans to extend 100% solar energy among the entire portfolio of camps.

(Stefano & Tortilis Camp Manager Andrea in the control room)

Cheli & Peacock have over the past decades established themselves as one of Kenya’s leading upmarket operators of camps in some of the most spectacular locations and raked in awards after awards, locally and internationally for their exceptional settings and quality of hospitality and service. For more information about their camp locations visit

eTN – Exciting news from the global market leader

As you might know many of my articles are published via eTN – the global leader in e-communications to the travel, tourism, aviation and hospitality communities around the world. I have been privileged to be associated with eTN from nearly the very beginning and have been writing for them since 2001.

Here are some truly exciting news as eTN has upgraded the platform to include more pictures, videos and even Skype uploads to bring the news, as things happen, even closer to you.

If you have not done it yet, mark the eTN site as one of your favourites on your browser and do subscribe, for FREE, to our eTN Rush Edition across the day or the daily summary. Below is the announcement just made by the eTN Publisher Juergen Thomas Steinmetz

Thank you for reading!

Dear eTN readers,

It has been over 15 years since the inception of eTN. We are indebted to you for your continued support all these years. You have inspired us to continually better our services, hence the many various incarnations that you’ve seen and supported.
Therefore, it is with great delight that to inform you about some of the exciting changes we have been experimenting with.

For the purpose of engagement, eTN articles now have the capability to include unlimited photos as well as embedded videos (including YouTube). Now more than ever, eTN is arguably one of the most dynamic travel and tourism media outlets in the world.

To read/view an article that has multiple pictures, click on the link:

To view an article that contains an embedded video, click on the link:

Influential, interconnected and impactful are the criteria to which we uphold today’s eTN articles. In particular, eTN 2.0 allows us to capture on video interviews (including SKYPE) to take on the day’s most pressing issues or simply to “Shoot the Breeze” with some of the movers and shakers in today’s global travel and tourism industry.

Our average article is now seen by more than 1.3 million visitors to our web portals, those searching our social media channels, and those reading our articles in our always expanding syndicated network. This is in addition to our 198,000+ travel industry subscribers, PLUS approximately 32,000 subscribers to eTN Rush, our breaking news alerts published up to 10 times a day 24/7

If you are interested in receiving eTN Rush – it’s FREE: Simply click here to subscribe.

If you’re interested having your articles, press releases or story ideas to be covered by eTN please or click here.

Since our humble beginning, eTN is on par as one of the oldest in global and independent travel industry newsletter – 15 years running! During which we have made some valuable alliances (CNN, UNWTO, WTTC, SKAL, PATA, WTM, ITB, IMEX to name a few). As well, we have garnered some anonymous supporters or official sponsors.

Anonymous supporters and official sponsors included tourism boards, CVB’s, airlines, hotels and resorts, associations, attractions, trade shows, events and more.

These monetary support have helped us stay afloat in the last few difficult years of economic recession.
Words are not enough to describe our deepest gratitude.WE THANK YOU!

If you wanted to become a sponsor (official or anoymous) please contact us.
For advertising information please visit

Please let me know what your think about eTN, and how we can make it even better?

Aloha from the eTN Headquarter in Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA!

Juergen T Steinmetz

New Congo Nile Trail road makes progress


(Posted 31st May 2014)

Karim Gisagara, one of the main brains behind the launch of the Congo Nile Trail three years ago, yesterday reported that some 60 kilometres of the new road, which will eventually connect the entire 227 kilometres of the trail between Kamembe (Rusizi) via Kibuye (Karongi) to Gisenyi (Rubavu) have been completed while work on the other sections is ongoing.

In late November last year did the Rwandan Senate take issue with the slow pace of progress on this crucial road, which not only connects the two ends of Lake Kivu with each other for the ease of local transport and improved trade but is thought to be a crucial tourism road. Rwanda Tourism is keen to diversify the offerings and attractions for tourists and opening up the shores and islands of Lake Kivu and connecting them with forests like Gishwati and Nyungwe, key attractions for foreign tourists, is the key to bringing more visitors to this part of Rwanda, beyond the main activity being gorilla tracking in the Volcanoes National Park.

Following the Senate’s intervention has the Ministry of Infrastructure clearly heeded the demands and pushed the completion of the first section through at a faster pace.

Kamembe is connected with Kigali by double daily RwandAir flights and seen as the springboard to Nyungwe Forest National Park but also the starting point from where hikers and mountain bikers begin their journey along the shores of Lake Kivu towards Kibuye and Gisenyi. Mountain bikes are available for hire once prior arrangements have been made as are qualified guides and accommodation along the trail ranges from simple but clean base camps to small hotels and lake side resorts. Three subtrails are now also open, besides 6 main trails into and through Nyungwe Forest National Park, namely the Pfunda, Gisovu and Shangi trails which add between 30 and more than 50 kilometres each to the trail distance. They are however worth exploring as they open up some of the most scenic sights of Rwanda, otherwise rarely seen but, going by this correspondent’s own experience after several visits to the area, most definitely missed by those coming all the way to Rwanda and ‘only’ seeing the gorillas.

For more information about the destination visit and for details on flights from Kigali to Kamembe click on

Condor set for an added flight to Mombasa from early July


(Posted 30th May 2014)

Information has been obtained that Condor, the German charter airline, is planning to up their current three weekly flights from Germany to Mombasa and on to Zanzibar to four, come July.

While the added seats will not make up for the loss of the charters from the UK, which were halted in a panic reaction to a travel advisory issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which going by common undertones from Kenya was aimed at nothing else but to inflict pain and damage on the Kenyan government and by prolongation the tourism industry, at least will it allow for greater numbers of German tourists to come and visit the Kenyan coast.

Although the flight moves on from Mombasa to Zanzibar, an East African island destination with growing appeal in Germany, has the announcement rekindled hope among the tourism and resort stakeholders at the coast and reaffirmed the strategy to continue working existing markets alongside new and emerging markets to showcase Kenya as a safe and desirable destination for tourist visitors.

Charter flights to Mombasa from Europe started to fizzle away from as early as February this year due to a lack of demand and with many tour operators no longer willing to guarantee the minimum number of seats needed to operate such charter flights without incurring losses, several airlines decided to cut down on flights to reduce their risk, leaving the Kenya coast for the first time in decades short of flight capacity to fill the resort beds.

Watch this space for more emerging news as and when information becomes available.

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