An Internship in Samburu – Meeting a Super Model

An Internship in Samburu – Meeting a Super Model

Had I been asked to look forward a year ago, living in the Kenyan bush with a supermodel, her family and the crew of Glamour US magazine is not the answer I’d have given. But that’s exactly how, in the middle of wild Samburu, an adrenaline fuelled, action packed, calm yet chaotic week of March turned out to be.                                         Watching how photographer Nathaniel Goldberg and his dedicated team planned, shot and pulled together a collection of eclectic photographs was fascinating; seeing how the Glamour team worked endlessly, individually and as a whole, to make sure every single detail was as it should be was an insightful sneak peak into the incredibly precise world of fashion journalism. Then all coming together to dine beneath the stars at the end of each day was just a little surreal, a little magical and somewhat memorable.   Doutzen Kroes, a true professional, took life in the bush in her stride. Elephant Watch Camp was alive with both the buzz of the natural world and with the photo-shoot, and her beautiful family was a joy to be around. Whilst all involved thrived on the novelty of such a glamorous shoot in the middle of the bush, the wild still remained truly wild: scorpions still ascended tent walls, the wildlife still chose where and when they’d be – and if they were to be spotted – and a model on foot with only a tree between her and entire herd of wild elephants had to be taken seriously,...
NEWSFLASH!

NEWSFLASH!

We’re very excited and proud to announce that our leopard-lady, Saba Douglas-Hamilton, will soon be sharing some of our best stories from Samburu in theatres across the UK! Starting on April 12th and running until May 3rd 2016, her talks will be a delightful mixture of barefoot adventures and fascinating encounters with the many sentient creatures she’s studied as a wildlife filmmaker around the world.  Together with the latest scientific insights into the world of elephants, the dramatic frontline of conservation with Save the Elephants, and behind-the-scenes glimpses using clips from TV series such as This Wild Life, Big Cat Diary, and the Secret Life of Elephants, the talk is sure to bring a blast of African sunshine to your evening and is suitable for all the family! Her talks will be taking place in the following regions and cities: Southwest Home Counties Midlands Scotland Taunton Leatherhead Shrewsbury Aberdeen Salisbury London Morecambe Oban Exeter Camberley Halifax Stirling Swindon Tunbridge Wells Bathgate Venues and dates with links for direct booking can be found on her website www.sabadouglashamilton.com, or here below: 12th April    Camberley Theatre, Camberley     01276 707600 16th April    Shrewsbury Theatre, Severn Walker theatre      01743 281281 SOLD OUT! 17th April    Swindon Wyvern       01793 524 481 18th April    Exeter Corn Exchange  01392 665866 19th April    Leatherhead Theatre   01372 365141 20th April    Tunbridge Wells, Assembly Hall  01892 530613 21st April     Taunton Brewhouse 01823 283 244 22nd April    Salisbury City Hall 01722 434434 24th April    Bathgate Regal 01506 630 085  25th April    Sterling, Macrobert Arts Centre   01786 466666 26th April  ...
My Favourite Elephants

My Favourite Elephants

The Save the Elephants team in Samburu can individually recognise about 1000 elephants, and have been monitoring them closely since 1997. For ease of reference each family is named after a category, like the Storms, Winds, Acacias, or Native Americans, so individuals bear names such as Tempest, Harmattan, Polyacantha or Sioux. What makes these elephants special is that they are part of one of the biggest remaining free-roaming wild elephant populations in Kenya that come in and out of the Samburu and Buffalo Springs national reserves at will, ranging vast distances across the wild frontier of the Ewaso ecosystem in the Northern Rangelands. The conservation efforts in north Kenya stand heads above other parts of Africa, because of the collaborative nature of the work that is done by the NGOs, community conservancies, game ranches, government agencies and parastatals based there.  Nothing is achieved in isolation, so for all our successes and triumphs at Save the Elephants and Elephant Watch Camp, I’d like to credit also our partners at Kenya Wildlife Service, Samburu County Government, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Northern Rangelands Trust, Ewaso Lions, Grevy Zebra Trust, Milgis Trust and the many Community Conservancies whom we have the pleasure to work with. In addition, from time to time we find orphaned or injured elephants (and other animals), and have to call upon the services of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust who unfailingly answer our cries for help by scrambling a rescue plane or immediately sending in their mobile veterinary unit. Thank you all! Right! Back onto elephants. Today, I’d like to celebrate some of the elephants I love best. Like Babylon, above, from the Biblical Towns, the oldest and most beautiful matriarch...
An Internship at Elephant Watch Camp

An Internship at Elephant Watch Camp

We went into a state of frenzy. We threw down utensils we were clutching. Paint went splattering; crayons were thrown across the tent, which was left wide open as an open invitation to inquisitive monkeys, who thankfully did not notice our absence. Shoes were grabbed and shuffled on hurriedly as we ran towards the mess tent. On the other end of the phone, an excited voice had exclaimed, “the river is coming! Hurry!” We shuffled down the sandy banks to the riverbed and watched as the unstoppable water crept down the river. Our sandy playground was submerged. Our doors for the river-fairies, made from sticks and plants with vast amounts of love and detail, were covered in a flash by the long-awaited water and bubbles of froth. Warriors and camp staff joined us and we all stood elated, as the dry river was revived, revitalised and renewed. There was an air of celebration; the symbol, and cause, of a new cycle of life was here. I stood silently, watching the river fill as it trickled round our feet, until the thought we were standing on dry sand just minutes ago, seemed quite absurd. The holes dug by animals desperately seeking water were flooded as water splashed over the edges like waterfalls, until they were removed from sight completely. The river speed increased and we retracted to the banks to watch for a few moments more. Tonight, in true Samburu style, we will revel in the delight of the Ewaso Nyiro’s rushing return, on top of the sundowner hill. Susan, kuja. Every muscle in my body froze as I recognised the...
Our Wild Life in Samburu

Our Wild Life in Samburu

The more you watch elephants, the more you slip into their mind-scape and begin to see the world through their eyes.  Most of what I know about them I learnt by osmosis growing up amongst them while my parents did their research in the ’70s.  Later on, I was able to match my intuitive interpretations with what I read, which opened my eyes to the deep magic of the natural world. Spending time with elephants you appreciate how tender they are to one another, how independently minded each can be, the daily challenges faced by a matriarch as she tries to persuade her family to follow her lead, or her courage in times of danger.  Watching them opens up a window onto the whole world around them, because they are constantly interacting with all the other animal and plant species they live amongst.  So you can slip quietly from intense observation of one species to the next, until the inter-connectedness of all things becomes apparent. Perhaps what I’ve learnt most from growing up with elephants is the importance of this inter-connectedness – the fabric of life upon which we all depend – and of how critical wild spaces are for our sanity. It was perhaps this longing to return to natural “silence” that prompted Frank and I to relocate to Samburu district to bring our kids up at Elephant Watch Camp.  Both of us are deeply committed to the cause of saving elephants, but we also felt it was an amazing opportunity to open our kids’ eyes to a very different way of life and give them time to explore their imaginations and creativity while their brains were still uncluttered. At first they...
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