WILDLIFE IN CAMP
Elephant Watch is eco-friendly in every aspect. There are no fences or boundaries separating us from Nature so many animals live alongside us or are our neighbours. Bull elephants hang out in Camp quite a bit, especially after the rains, as this is when the Acacia tortilis trees come into fruit, sprinkling their highly nutritious seedpods onto the roofs of the tents. The elephants love to scoop these up with their trunks in big mouthfuls, so will often come very close to where you are sleeping at night. But there’s no need to fear – just relax in your bed, and enjoy their presence.
On your first night the unfamiliar sounds of the bush might make you jump, but you’ll soon learn to differentiate the grunts and barks of baboons from the moan of a lion, whoop of an hyena or cough of a leopard. It’s like learning a new language, full of colour and meaning. At dinner, you will often glimpse the friendliest of our night creatures, an exquisite little genet cat that likes to slink through the Mess tent to see what bugs are on offer, and will sometimes even jump up on the table. Yellow-winged bats with enormous ears wheel about beneath the stars and tiny Scop’s owls call in the trees.
At first light, the dawn chorus of birds will serenade your dreams as you stretch out like a cat, slipping out of bed to don shoes and step outside in search of wild things. You’ll find the sandy paths around Camp covered in the footprints of civet cats, porcupines, elephants, leopards and mongooses, and just like an early morning newspaper, you’ll soon learn to read the signs in the sand.It’s amazing how much goes on.
Good quality binoculars are highly recommended at all times – a magnification of 10 x 42 is perfect – and you’ll be delighted by the pair of Verreaux eagle owls perched high in the branches near the Mess tent, troops of monkeys tumbling in play through lianas, the flashy head-bob of an Agama lizard on a log, and the Kigelia trees bustling full of birds. No matter where you are there’s always something interesting happening.
Your Samburu hosts are constantly close by to escort you to your tent or accompany you on walks. They will happily point out a multitude of hidden creatures that you may not have seen as well as all the interesting things they get up to, and keep you safe at all times. The golden rule is to be slow and gentle in your movements around animals, and respectful at all times of their personal space. Good neighbors become good friends.
While snakes and scorpions are present in and around Camp, they are seldom seen. Most snakes are harmless and are an important part of the rich web of life that surrounds us, but in view of the venomous few, we highly recommend using a torch at night to light your way,please watch where you are going and make sure you shake out your shoes in the morning before putting them on in case of creepy-crawlies. Better safe than sorry!
Elephants can come very close to your tent but you do not need to fear them – just enjoy their presence. Watching them from your tent or verandah is totally safe, but it is important to be respectful so try to screen your body as much as possible and keep a distance so as to not encroach on their space. Never attempt to feed the animals or approach them on foot.
At night, Samburu warriors will escort you between the tents. It is always good to use a flashlight so that you can see where you are putting your feet. The sounds of the bush will seem most unfamiliar at first, but after a while you’ll get used to it, and soon the dawn chorus of birds will be a welcome wake-up call.