Wow! It’s less than a year since we started OTA and the beginning of July marked the beginning of our first peak season in operation. I’m not sure what happened, or how it did, but Francis is running all over the country for most of the month in one direction while I’m running in the other direction – we have a good amount of work to keep us busy and we are so excited!
Today sees Francis in the Maasai Mara for the third time in less than two weeks; tomorrow we take our fourth group to Lake Naivasha in ten days; and we have had two groups in Tanzania so far this month! It’s much more than we expected and we have all of you, our supporters, to thank for it. Without the comments and sharing and word-of-mouth promotion that you are all doing for us we would be sitting in Nairobi with nothing to do. So this blog post is a huge THANK YOU to our supporters.
So do you want to know what we are so grateful for?
We started the month with Bec and Scott on a short Maasai Mara safari. The Great Wildebeest Migration started very early this year and so they were lucky to be able to see some massive herds.
Prue, Pat, Thom and Dina of Global Voices started their July with a Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater trip. They saw four leopards in their short time there and even saw one leopard get chased up a tree by a lion!! They also saw some lions having a tiff over the meal, which fortunately didn’t get too nasty.
Mark from Transparency Travel, a voluntourism organistion based in Nairobi, asked us to host his parents on their East Africa visit. We went to Lake Naivasha first, where they cycled in Hell’s Gate National Park and did a morning walk in Wileli Conservancy. On both trips they saw so many animals, which was even more special as they were on foot or bike, enabling them to get so much closer. From Naivasha we went to Maasai Mara where again the migratory herds made quite an impact. From Maasai Mara they made the long overland trek down to Dar Es Salaam via Moshi. Now they are on a train from Dar to Livingstone and will continue their journey all the way to Cape Town.
While Francis was in Dar with Mark, Daijie and her daughter Jennie arrived in Nairobi and I got to take them to see the Elephant Orphanage and Giraffe Centre – neither of them wanted to get a sloppy giraffe kiss, but hand feeding them was cool!
On Wednesday Prue and Pat arrived from Mombasa and joined Daijie and Jennie for a few days in Lake Naivasha. We all took a boat ride on Lake Oloiden, which is a soda lake adjacent to fresh water Naivasha (quite an extraordinary phenomenon). Hippos and flamingos are the highlights of the lake …. except when you accidentally sail over the top of a submerged hippo! He popped his head up at exactlythe wrong moment and nearly tipped the whole boat. It was quite frightening, but a near-death experience always makes a good travel tale, right?!
So now Francis is in Maasai Mara with Daijie and Jennie, watching the Maasai from a nearby village perform traditional song and dance. And I, after saying farewell to Prue and Pat at the airport, am preparing to take Kira and his family to Maasai Mara tomorrow, while also organising another group to take a day trip to Hell’s Gate for a day of biking.