THE WONDER

We are so excited to share THE WONDER a  film by Goh Iromoto and Courtney Boyd, featuring The Lowis Family.

http:/https://vimeo.com/292862818

“To depart on safari is not only a physical act, it is also a gesture. You leave behind the worries, the strains, the irritations of life among people under pressure and enter a world of creatures who are pressed into no moulds, but have only to be themselves; bonds loosen, anxiety fades, the mind closes against the world you left behind like a folding sea anemone. Enjoyment of the moment, the true delight in living, in life as it is and not as others have made it, all this returns. Each breath you draw gives pleasure, you wake with a new sense of wonder at the pure light shining on golden grass and the web of thorn, and the cooing of the dove.”
Elspeth Huxley, The Mottled Lizard.

The footage for THE WONDER was shot on a two week safari in Kenya on an itinerary that included Shaba National Reserve, the Suguta Valley, Lake Turkana, the Aberdare National Park, Mount Kenya and the Masai Mara.  We are so grateful to Jamie Roberts of  Tropic Air, Lewa Wilderness, Enasoit Camp and Koros Camp for all of their help and for having us to stay and of course our amazing safari crew and our children.

We hope that we have inspired you to join us on safari exploring our beautiful continent.

Amazing Stick Insect

Incredible stick insect found in the MaraIMG_8283

Family camping on Lake Ellis

We spent a magical weekend camping and  fishing on Lake Ellis in blissful solitude – not another soul around and no phone signal! We had beautiful sunny days and clear chilly nights.  A tiny snowfall early on our last morning was a gentle reminder that we were camping at over 10,000 feet.
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We drove through various vegetation zones including forests of bamboo and Hagenia.

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IMG_7989The drive up is stunning – we had to do a bit of road mending as we went and Jamey, Amelia and I were  put to work with a shovel walking  ahead of the car as we climbed.
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Our campsite was spectacular. We  soon had ourselves all set up and ready to fish.
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Our little camp was super comfortable and we celebrated Jamey turning 17 with freshly caught trout and birthday cake.P1230668-(1)

Dawn over the Lake with the peaks beyond.

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Dinner




Just a note

“We are finally home from all our travels. It is hard to express our feelings about our trip with you all. It truly was a highlight of our trips anywhere.

I would like to point out some special special things, but as I think about them, they are too numerous for this note. Suffice it to say that from the first moment, our experiences exceeded all expectations—animals(from elephants to cheetahs, lions, gazelles, topis, I could go on and on), scenery(oh, beautiful Kenya, the expanses of the plains, the sunlight, the grasses, flowers, mountains, rolling hills), food(what can I say, we all put on weight!!), the camp experience(hot water in the morning and for showers!!!) but most of all our experiences with you all, your children, and guides Elijah(a godsend for kids), Jackson(I wouldn’t have made it out of the lava caves without him, believe me), and all the rest of the guides too. And Kip—a man of patience and integrity. We are so lucky to have met him and had him with us also. The Masai are wonderful people in every sense of the word.

And Ninian: what can I say. We were so fortunate to have him with us. The word guide does not even begin to describe him. His knowledge of animals, plants, you name it, added a dimension to our trip that I know we would not have had with any other person. And above all his temperment with our group—well, let’s just say he is blessed with lots of patience; but most of all his enthusiasm was so contagious. We are very lucky to have benefitted from his experience and love of Kenya.

Again, I would like to say how great it was to have met your beautiful children also–it added so much, and I know the children loved having Amelia along. Jamey seems to be growing up as fearless as his father—you saw him run with Ninian after that Python!

And a very special thanks to Lara.  Everything was taken care for us beyond any expectations we might have had. I know without you none of this would have run as smoothly and efficiently as it did. We are ever grateful.

We count you all among our friends now. How lucky we are.

With much affection.”

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The Mara in August – camping amongst the migrating herds of Wildebeest and zebra

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IMG_3634Camp was surrounded by tens of thousands of wildebeest and zebra.

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Mnemba Island – Exquisite beach retreat

Mnemba Island off the coast of Zanzibar in Tanzania  is the perfect place to go at the end of a safari to relax and unwind before heading home.

P1150113The lodge only has 12 rooms – all thatched and open, with plenty of comfortable places to relax , each with a fabulous sea view and direct access to the beach. Bare foot luxury at its finest.

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This is a small and exclusive lodge, it only takes around 25 minutes to walk around the island  and the sand is the prettiest whitest sand we have ever seen, littered with shells, and the sea is aquamarine and clear. We felt as though we had the place to ourselves.

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The island lies within a marine reserve and there are several turtle nests that the management keep an eye on until they hatch. We were lucky to be woken up one night to watch a turtle laying her eggs – a first time experience for all of us. The next day our luck continued and we got to watch a hundred or so turtles hatch from a different nest and make their way to the sea. It was incredible.

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We swam with wild dolphins, Jamey and Ninian went diving every day, we goggled, ate delicious food, had massages played in the sea and came home feeling utterly spoilt!

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Samatian Island, Lake Baringo

We have just returned from an amazing trip to Lake Baringo in the heart of the Great Rift Valley where we stayed at Samatian Island Camp. The lake is famous for its incredible birdlife (over 400 species have been recorded here!)  but it is also home to  hippos, crocodiles and a small population of Rothschild giraffe reintroduced by NRT and the  Ruko  conservancy which includes over 16,000 hectares of community land on the Eastern shores of the Lake.  Over the past three years the waters of the lake has risen to unprecedented levels,  rising over fifteen feet.

Opinions vary  over the reasons for the risen water but the most likely explanation is  that the changes are due to seismic shifts in the Rift Valley floor.  Sadly the rising waters have destroyed  homes, hotels and left many people displaced, but it has also changed the Lake and the surrounding landscape. What was once muddy brown has now become crystal clear. Forests have been submerged creating a haven for fish amongst the tree trunks. The fish population which had dwindled has exploded.  The camps and lodges are reinventing themselves and the lake remans a birders paradise.

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View from our bedroom

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Clear water and water plants create a haven for fish.

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Resident Verreux Eagle Owl  – know as WOO

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The Samatian swimming pool currently under water.

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Wild flowers added brilliant splashes of colour to the landscape.

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Cormorants and Darters nesting in submerged trees.

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Land of the Big Cats – Serengeti

Ninian has just returned from a short safari to a remote Eastern corner of the Serengeti that was closed to the public for the past 20 years. He was one of a handful of select guides invited to help site a new camp (Namiri Plains)  that will open this July and to choose the best areas for game drives.  In the three nights they spent in the area they saw 80 lions, 16 cheetah, three leopards, honey badgers, caracal, an African Wildcat as well as numerous plains game and big bull elephants. We are very excited that this area will now be accessible and look forward to sharing it with with our guests.

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Safari Do’s and Don’ts – top tips from Ninian and Lara

 

Over the years we have traveled all over Africa always searching for new places to share with our guests. There are a few key DO’s and DON’Ts that can make your safari a really special experience.

Watching the sunset from the Laikipia Highlands in Kenya

DO the research and talk with friends and friends of friends who have already been on safari. They will know what you will like and their take on the places you are thinking of going will be honest. They will have spent enough time with Ninian to know if you are going to enjoy his company as a guide. They will also know if you will like the camping or if you would be more comfortable staying in lodges. Most of our safaris combine both, but we are very flexible and ultimately want you to get the most out of your experience.

Lowis & Leakey private mobile camp

DO talk to us often during the planning and in the run up to your trip– the more questions you ask us the more we can tailor your experience to suit you and what you want to get out of it.

DO make sure each person has their OWN pair of binoculars. If something exciting is happening you don’t want to miss the moment because you are sharing. Ninian says “DON’T go for the very expensive brands. I think you need to go for the Nikon “Monarch” range. The magnification should be 8×32 up to 8×50 or 10×42 up to 10×50. The 8×32 will be plenty. The second number is very important, the “32” relates to the width of the lense and this controls the width of your view but also the amount of light that comes in (important in the evening). So do not buy an 8x pair that is less than 32, and do not buy a 10x pair that is less than 42. The bigger magnification needs more light. Do not spend more than $230 on the binoculars unless you are going to use them every year.

DO bring a camera. I have a lightweight Lumix with an optical zoom that I love because it can go in my hand bag and Ninian uses a Canon 650 D. If you don’t have a camera and don’t want to invest in one, then an  iPhone or Samsung Galaxy would work well enough to document your trip. In fact some of the most beautiful images I have seen have been taken on smart phones! DO bear in mind that you can’t alway get close to your subjects so a proper camera with a good lense is best for wildlife photography.

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If you want a private guide and your CHOICE of best lodges and camps then DO book and plan in advance as the best places and the best safari guides like Ninian get booked up a year or more in advance.

Having said that, DON’T worry about looking into booking at the last minute, if you don’t ask it won’t happen, and sometimes things fall into place and if they don’t we won’t sell you a trip we aren’t comfortable with.

DO purchase trip cancellation insurance.

 

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DO speak with your Doctor  and always follow the advice they give you regarding innoculations  and anti-malarial prophylactics. Requirements for Yellow Fever vaccinations vary from country to country so make sure to check.

DON’T forget your prescriptions and DO bring a  basic first aid kit.

DO drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration which can make you feel miserable. You will need to drink more than you do at home as you are outside in the elements. Ask your doctor about powdered electrolyte concentrate which you can  add to drinking water to help keep hydrated – bring some in your medical kit.

DO leave your heels at home! If your stay includes a city en route where you will want to be more presentable or fashionably dressed then pack two bags and leave your city clothes stored during the safari.

DO pack carefully, it is essential to pack lightly, preferably in a duffle bag that will fit in the hold of a small aircraft or the back of a car easily. You should be able to get laundry done in most places weather permitting. We find that dressing in layers works best.

DO pack for all weather. Weather can be unpredictable, so make sure to include a few articles of clothing for unforeseen hot or cold days as well as a waterproof jacket. DO check on the expected weather in the country you are going.

DON’T forget a HAT, GOOD SUNGLASSES and good SUNSCREEN. There is nothing worse than feeling ill from sunstroke or the agony of sunburn. The sun is strong enough to cause third-degree sunburns if you are not careful, so apply sunscreen regularly and cover up. For more information on getting the right sunglasses check out How to pick good sunglasses.

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DO rely on our local knowledge. Its easy to post pretty photographs on nice websites but they don’t always tell you enough about the actual place, people or experience.

Contact us to  book your safari.

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Mud, mud, glorious mud
Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood
So follow me follow, down to the hollow
And there let me wallow in glorious mud”

When Flanders and Swann wrote this in 1939  they were picturing hippos but I think they would agree that it is just as suited to this happy herd of elephants. It was magical to watch as they frolicked and played one afternoon on Lewa Downs.

 The elephants were one of many highlights on this spectacular safari. If you have a moment have a look through some of Ninians other photos by clicking here.

Elephant 1 ©Ninian Lowis

Elephant 2 ©Ninian Lowis
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  • About us

    Lowis & Leakey is a dynamic African safari company founded by Ninian Lowis and his wife Lara Leakey. We are based in Kenya where Lara and Ninian’s families have been involved in exploration and safaris since the late 19th century. Ninian is a professional guide who has over 20 years of experience leading safaris throughout Africa. Lara runs our office and manages the safari logistics as well as the day to day business of the safaris. Both Ninian and Lara delight in sharing their passion for Africa’s people, wildlife and wild places with their guests.
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