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Fascinating Facts

The lion (Panthera leo) is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg (550 lb) in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger. Wild lions currently exist in Sub-Saharan Africa and in Asia with a critically endangered remnant population in Gir Forest National Park in India, having disappeared from North Africa and Southwest Asia in historic times.

Lions live for ten to fourteen years in the wild, while in captivity they can live longer than twenty years. In the wild, males seldom live longer than ten years, as injuries sustained from continual fighting with rival males greatly reduce their longevity. They typically inhabit savanna and grassland, although they may take to bush and forest. Lions are unusually social compared to other cats. A pride of lions consists of related females and offspring and a small number of adult males. Groups of female lions typically hunt together, preying mostly on large ungulates. Lions are apex and keystone predators, although they scavenge as opportunity allows. While lions do not typically hunt humans, some have been known to do so.

The lion is a vulnerable species, having seen a possibly irreversible population decline of thirty to fifty percent over the past two decades in its African range. Lion populations are untenable outside of designated reserves and national parks. Although the cause of the decline is not fully understood, habitat loss and conflicts with humans are currently the greatest causes of concern.

Visually, the male lion is highly distinctive and is easily recognized by its mane. The lion, particularly the face of the male, is one of the most widely recognized animal symbols in human culture. Depictions have existed from the Upper Paleolithic period, with carvings and paintings from the Lascaux and Chauvet Caves, through virtually all ancient and medieval cultures where they once occurred. It has been extensively depicted in literature, in sculptures, in paintings, on national flags, and in contemporary films and literature.

Come and see these magnificent animals at ol Donyo Lodge.

Fascinating Facts

The specific name multiflorus means many flowered in Latin, which is self explanatory. The flower’s former name, Haemanthus translates to blood flower, from haima, blood, and anthos, a flower (Greek), referring to the colour of the spathe and filaments in some species of Haemanthus.

The spectacular flower head is a huge spherical umbel consisting of up to 200 flowers, held clear of the foliage at the end of a solitary stem. Each plant will produce only one flower head in a season. A flower head can reach a diameter of 25 cm and a height of 110 cm, nearly waist height. Each flower is pinkish-orange-red with protruding stamens carrying bright yellow anthers. The flower heads last for 1 or 2 weeks and make superb cut flowers. Flowering is in late summer to early autumn (December-March).

Come and see the amazing plants at Lewa Wilderness.

Fascinating Facts

The open Savannah and forest around Rekero Camp is perfect habitat for the African Paradise Fly Catcher (Terpsiphone Viridis). This distinctive bird with an orange-rufous plumage feeds mainly on insects and spiders but also small berries. Their most striking features are their dark crested heads and sky blue eyes and bills.

Male courtship displays are very elaborate showing off their vibrant colours to attract a mate. The female lays between 2-5 eggs which are incubated by both the male and the female for 15 days, after which the chicks fledge 11-16 days and are dependent on their parents for one more week.

We are often joined by them strutting their beauty on the Jackal-berry trees around the mess and guest tents. Though they are not inclined to sit still for long, perseverance is often rewarded with some fantastic photos of these beautiful birds.

Come and see these fantastic birds at Rekero Camp.

Fascinating Facts

Within easy driving distance of The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille lives one of the most human-habituated troops of baboons on earth. They are part of a study, begun 38 years ago, by the famous primatologist Dr. Shirley Strum of the University of California and the African Conservation Centre.

The result is the potential for an up-close-and-personal, but safe, encounter with these fascinating and highly social creatures. The species is Papio anubis, the olive baboon. Anubis was an Egyptian god often represented with the head of a dog resembling a baboon. The troop has a large range but can often be found in the vicinity of Soit Oitashe a spectacular rock outcrop. Soit Oitashe is Maasai for standing rock.

This is a great place for a bush breakfast or “sundowners” after meeting the baboons. The timing works well as they are most active early in the morning or before sunset.

As well as your own highly knowledgeable personal Guide from Ol Lentille, a specialist baboon guide will be on hand to explain the subtleties of their behavior. A small fee is charged which goes to support neighboring communities.

Come and see these wonderful animals at The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille.

Fascinating Facts

Nkera means children. Traditionally Samburu children from age 5 to 6 years old will begin herding sheep and goats but in order to keep up with the changing world it is necessary for children to receive an education at least up to basic standard of literacy.

Ol Malo Trust has built an Eco Nursery School (ngang e nkera) to accommodate up to 100 children. It is modeled on a traditional Samburu manyatta (homestead) – round, organic, earthy, warm – the heart of the Samburu culture and family life. Built out of eco-friendly materials (wooden with thatch roofs) so that the school blends with the environment and can be moved, if necessary, to fit in with the Samburu nomadic lifestyle.

Further north in the Longopito area, which is less accessible, Ol Malo has already built temporary nursery schools, using large acacia trees surrounded by natural enclosures, creating a perfect nomadic classroom. The wonderful thing about these nomadic schools is that they are really mobile – when the manyatta moves, the whole school can be packed up in saddle-bags on donkeys and camels and moved along with it. The people have chosen the committees and teachers who will be trained by the Ol Malo Trust.

Come and stay at Ol Malo and visit this wonderful school and learn more about the Nkera Education project.

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