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May 20, 2016

Safari Trails By African Travel Solutions


Twelve ivory towers burned in Kenya on Saturday, the 30th of April, sending thick plumes of ash and smoke over Nairobi National Park as elephant and rhino tusks smoldered.
A rainy Saturday afternoon brought together heads of state from several African nations and hundreds of onlookers to watch Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta set fire to over $172 million worth of illicit wildlife goods.
A somber mood took over the crowd as the event began. They listened to the gust of wind feeding the flames, and the crackle of burning ivory, rhino horn and other items. Bright red embers bloomed inside the 10-foot high by 20-foot wide pyres, turning the coveted white ivory tusks to nothing more than charred animal remains.
This was the most significant demonstration against poaching in the region and the largest burn of illegal wildlife products in history.
“The rising value of elephant ivory trade, illegally on the international market, has resulted in a massacre in the rainforest of Africa,” Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta told the crowd. “In 10 years in central Africa we have lost as many as 70% of the elephants. The elephant, as has been said, is an iconic symbol of our country. Unless we take action now we risk losing this magnificent animal.”
It took Kenya’s Wildlife Services 10 days to build the crematorium that contained the 105 tons of elephant ivory, 1.35 tons of rhino horn, exotic animal skins and other products such as sandalwood and medicinal bark. This was Kenya’s fourth such burn in a practice that goes back to 1989 — an idea hatched to combat the worsening poaching crisis.
The tusks alone — from about 8,000 elephants — would be worth more than $105 million on the black market, according to wildlife trade expert Esmond Bradley Martin. The rhino horn, from 343 animals, would be worth more than $67 million. That’s one and a half times more than Kenya spends on its environmental and natural resources agency every year. But the Kenyans say that the stockpile is not valuable — it’s worthless.
“From a Kenyan perspective, we’re not watching any money go up in smoke,” Kenya Wildlife Service Director General Kitili Mbathi said. “The only value of the ivory is tusks on a live elephant.”

This new and distinctly unique Mara Engai Wilderness Lodge is nestled amongst pristine Kenyan Ravine forest on the Oloololo (Siria) Escarpment. Overlooking the amazing Masai Mara National Reserve and Wildebeest Migration Route, with around 120km of unbroken views across the vast savannah of the Masai Mara – it is simply breath-taking. In Maasai belief, Mara means the spotted Land, whilst Engai is the Maasai God who created what we have labeled as the 7th wonder of the world.

Nestled in a secluded location, 1000ft above the Masai Mara Triangle on the  Oloololo escarpment with uninterrupted views over the incredible landscape and Great Migration Route, the lodge is cleverly designed to blend into the natural environment and for guests to enjoy the stunning scenery with large private viewing decks and panoramic restaurant.
The lodge features spacious tented accommodation, beautifully furnished with king sized, comfortable beds, full en suite facilities including waterfall showers and private viewing decks – some overlooking the stunning Masai Mara and others nestled within the ravine forest.

Indulge in the masterpieces created by their talented chefs, prepared with fresh produce from their own organic garden. Dine in the spacious restaurant with panoramic views, within the intimacy of your own private deck or even al fresco in the bush.  The organic garden has been cleverly designed with rain water collection and irrigation system, and crop rotation to reduce impact on the land and water consumption. The gardener and his team work closely with the head Chef to ensure the availability of fresh produce from peppers, lettuce, onions to melon, tomatoes and herbs, all year round.


Daily Game Drives
Unique to Mara Engai Wilderness Lodge are their Pinzgauer vehicles which offer a whole new experience when it comes to game drives. Along with their exceptionally highly trained and experienced guides you will be sure to see the very best Game that the Mara Triangle and Masai Mara have to offer. Game drives are scheduled twice a day but there is also flexibility during peak
Migration to stay out all day so you are sure to catch nature’s greatest show on earth.

Walking safaris

Or “Bush Walks” as they are often referred to will usually identify tracks; highlight interesting insects; talk about fascinating plants; and discuss the ecosystem in general. It’s a great way to appreciate the smaller wildlife, which can’t be so easily seen from a vehicle, as well as to experience the excitement of being out with the big game.

Hot Air Balloon Ride

For those looking for a wildlife viewing adventure of a different kind, they offer Hot Air Balloon Safaris over the Masai Mara. The adventure begins just before dawn so that you can experience the first pink and orange tones of the rising sun. Watch in awe as the mighty balloon fills, climb inside the basket and you are off on a wildlife viewing like no other.

Bush Breakfast

Not many experiences are more memorable, or as typically Kenyan, as breakfast in the bush. Setting off first you enjoy a fascinating game drive into the bush where, at one of their specially chosen breakfast sites, a full English breakfast will be cooked before you. Enjoy a glass of chilled ‘buck’s fizz’ while you savour the experience.

Maasai Experience

Just outside Mara Engai Wilderness Lodge is a small settlement of a traditional Maasai community. A traditional Maasai homestead is known as a “Manyatta”. Clients are encouraged to visit this Manyatta if they are interested in Maasai culture and would like to experience a way of life unchanged for centuries.

Bush Picnic

In order to get the most out of your safari experience, on longer days out so that more ground can be covered across the Masai Mara, the lodge will set you off with a feast of a picnic with table and chairs so that your game viewing is uninterrupted.

Lake Naivasha Country Club, which dates back to the 1930s and has since been transformed into a sprawling 55-acre property with a variety of accommodation and guest facilities, including cottages, a swimming pool, and sumptuous gourmet dining. The club has recently undergone major refurbishment to elevate itself as the leading business and leisure hotel in Naivasha.

The Reception has been restructured to have two work stations. New furniture and décor adorns the reception and the main bar. The restaurant has been upgraded with a more extensive buffet layout.

The room categories include 13 Standard Rooms, 23 Premium Rooms, 11 Deluxe Rooms, 2 Executive Suites and 1 2 Bedroom Presidential Suite. All rooms have undergone an extensive refurbishment updating their color schemes including new upholstery, curtains, modern head boards fitted with International sockets and USB chargers, and bathroom vanity.
Standard, Deluxe and Premium rooms have new furniture with a separate dedicated writing area with an ergonomic seat and luggage rack. Standard and Premium rooms now have a sitting area within the rooms. The mini bar has also been revamped to now include a coffee station in all rooms.
The Presidential Suite has been fitted with wooden flooring and a 4 poster king size bed in both the rooms.

Both the Sterling Blue & Fish Eagle Conference rooms will be fitted with a sound proof partition which will allow for 2 conferences to be run concurrently.

The swimming pool has been fitted with new tiles and renovated washrooms.

Uganda will launch e-Visa applications effective 1st June, 2016. The details which could be obtained read as follows:

1) Anyone arriving from 1st June 2016 who require Visas must have applied online, and on completion and submitting the application, intending travelers will receive a bar coded email notification.

2) On arrival at any border post, airport or land borders, that email must be presented and the bar code will be scanned into the immigration system. A Visa sticker will then be printed, including a scanned in picture and will be inserted into the passport on payment of the respective Visa fee.
3) For any Visa extensions, again the process is due to be completed on line though it is thought that anyone in Kampala may apply in person at the Immigration Headquarters at the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
4) These applications will be for regular single entry Visa, the common East African Tourist Visa (covering Kenya and Rwanda besides Uganda), multiple entry Visa and Business Visa.
5) Access to the application platform can be found at

It is not known if Uganda, like Kenya, will also, for the time being, allow a parallel process of Visa on arrival, and we will share this information with our readers once clarification is sought.

Children of all ages are now welcome at the Ark. Set in the heart of the Aberdare National Park, the iconic lodge The Ark overlooks a floodlit waterhole and salt lick, which attracts a host of awesome wildlife. Modeled after Noah’s Ark, The Ark has four viewing decks with balconies and lounges to provide superb game viewing from the comfort of the lodge. The animals come to you!
The Ark had a strict child policy where children under the age of 7 were not permitted at The Ark unless on special once-a-year ‘Children’s Nights’. The new child policy at The Ark will now make it the perfect unique getaway for families.

On 4th May, the Kenya Airports Authority announced that all International arrival functions have been moved from the Parking Garage at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

All Kenya Airways and Sky Team Partner Airline flights arriving at JKIA are now being processed from Terminal 1A Arrivals. All international arrival functions by other airlines will now be processed from JKIA’s new International Arrivals Terminal 1E.
18 immigration counters, 5 baggage carousels and 6 customs checkpoints will ensure speedy processing and minimal delay thus improving the overall experience of passengers arriving in Nairobi.
This will provide a major boost to the destination as arrival numbers have progressively risen over the past few months and more and more tourists are returning to Kenya following sustained marketing campaigns run by the Kenya Tourism Board and the private sector.

A Visitor Visa on arrival is still available at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, and visitors can stay for up to 30 days with this visa.  The current fee is US$ 50 for a Single Entry Visa, US$ 100 for a Multiple Entry Visa and US$ 20 for a Transit Visa. Children under 16 years of age accompanying their parent(s) to Kenya will be exempted from paying visa fees.

Don’t miss out on the ongoing exciting Seat in Coach Packages in our specialized 4×4 vehicles for the most authentic safari experience around!
Did You Know

With 20 percent of the world’s total landmass, this continent stands out for its size and unique geography. How much do you know about Africa. Africa has more countries than any other continent!
Though it is not the largest continent, (that’s Asia), Africa has more countries than any other continent – 53, to be exact. It’s also the second most populous continent, behind Asia.
1/3rd of Africa is desert! Sand, bedrock and stone cover one-third of Africa with land that is scarcely habitable. At 9 Million square kilometers, the Sahara is the largest desert in the world.
The now extinct Dodo bird was endemic to the island of Mauritius, east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. It was hunted to extinction within 50 years after the Dutch settled the uninhabited island in 1638.
Three of the world’s ten largest lakes are in the Great Rift Valley! A series of faults stretching from Ethiopia to Mozambique, the Great Rift Valley is home to three of the world’s ten largest lakes – Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika and Lake Malawi.
Category: Blog

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