Your wilderness experience is only as good as your guide, and at Elephant Watch Camp we employ the very best: the locals. This is their environment. They have lived alongside these wild animals for millennia and their understanding of the landscape and animals is second to none. Our specialised training complements their own ancestral knowledge. This makes them superb ornithologists, elephant experts and among the best big-cat spotters in the business, as well as captivating storytellers with impeccable manners and an infectious sense of humor, which makes every activity great fun.
Your guides will carefully plan with you each day in the bush to ensure you enjoy and absorb every precious moment. They’ll explain how every animal, bird or plant survives and thrives here. They will show you how to track fresh paw-prints to locate lions with cubs or a leopard with a kill. They will talk you through what’s happening when an impala stag defends his harem from a hopeful interloper. Before long you will be identifying the matriarch in an elephant family, mimicking the midday call of a Von der Decken’s hornbill, or sketching the whisker spots of a big cat for the Lion Watch team.
Perhaps most importantly, your guides will proudly introduce you to the traditions and cultures of Kenya’s people and especially those of the Samburu nomads. Soon you too will see why we love this place and its people so much.
Born in the highlands around Mt Kenya, Alfred, 38, won a place on our scholarship programme and worked hard to earn a job with us. He has been with us since Elephant Watch opened in 2001, is rated as a silver-level guide with Kenya Professional Safari Guides’ Association, and says being a part of helping our camp flourish is “like watching my own babies grow up”. A highlight of his job is meeting people from across the world. He is a keen bird-watcher. “The bird I’m most excited to see? The Narina Trogon,” he says.
A Maasai, Simeon, 42, is an accredited professional safari guide and a trained ornithologist. He has worked with us since 1996, first in Naivasha and then Samburu, both as an assistant manager and senior guide. A highlight of his work so far was helping to translocate giraffe from Lake Nakuru National Park to a nearby sanctuary. He was once charged by lions that were disturbed while mating. “We drove off really fast and did not look back,” he says.
THE CAMP STAFF
Back at base, a large but unobtrusive team of highly trained and super-friendly camp staff – mostly local Samburu – is ready to help you with anything you may need. The Elephant Watch chefs – Beth and John – take great pride in surprising you with every delicious homemade meal, drawing from their own recipes and those crafted by Oria. This gives our cuisine a unique Italian-African-bush gourmet twist. Feel free to pop in and join us in the kitchen to swap recipes, chat or taste dishes. We love to learn new things.
At the bar and at the dining table, Philip and Samwel will happily provide you with whatever your thirst desires, and recommend our special juices or cocktails. Your luxury en-suite safari tent is kept clean, swept and prepared by Dipo, Joseph, Tanga and Njeri, while Lempunya is in charge of pumping water from our on-site well and distributing it to the rooms. Serayo, Kihara and Letipo keep the camp grounds fresh, safe and cool, while Lepurdat, Laur and Kobi-Kobi escort you to and from your rooms after dark, and stand watch around camp through the night.