Elephant Adventures

Shaba/Samburu Region Trip

The overnight flight into Nairobi can be brutal. Get some sleep. When you land a sensory overload begins from the moment you hit the crowds at immigration. Swarms of people wafting $25 to keep cool and show the authorities you mean business about getting into Kenya.

Bags recovered you head to the 4x4 truck after the greetings and pleasant site of familiar faces. So the 6 hour drive begins, first stop a great trout restaurant half way for smoke cured bit of meat, bone and heaven. Pulling into the Samburu/Shaba reserve as the sun begins to dim you realise you are remote. Really remote and that the giraffe and water buck that you saw on the way in is just the beginning of a long night of hyena calls, elephant rustles and lion roars.

We had arrived and could not wait to be awoken at just before dawn to coffee and biscuits in readiness for the first drive of the day. A drive that would involve no cameras, just sun glasses and binoculars to experience the terrain, the land and catch a couple of wild animals go about their day.

Shaba is an amazing landscape. Raw, untouched and where commercialisation exists it is very basic and done tastefully. The sense of space is unimaginable, from the several vantage points with a great set of 7x50 eye pieces you can survey tens of miles of scrub, trees, grasslands and see an emptiness teaming with life.

Shaba was the first time I really felt that I had started to see Kenya. Hilly and mountainous with iconic trees and of course the lion mountain (look out for that on the home page). The week would be full of washing in crocodile rivers, bathing in springs as cheetah and lion watched on and most importantly get very close and personal to some of earth most amazing animals. The Elephants of Samburu.

My guide each day would push us to new experiences and greater challenges in search of the images I had pre visionalised and are now available to purchase. To spend time with the Elephants was both humbling and awe inspiring. To track them throughout the day and find them again the next morning was almost a routine which we began to enjoy.

Shaba and Samburu has varied terrain in only a few tens of miles. Choosing the end of the dry season meant the Elephants would hug the Ewana Nijo River and each day we would dine as guests of a family of 70 plus Elephants. Upwind and accepted. There is no greater feeling to marvel at being part of this herd.

The Elephants develop personalities, they get familiar with you being around and so it started to develop into the part of the trip when the photographs began. My plan was to capture 5-6 images in the region that would make the cut and best represent those moments in time of these Elephants.

Images that when displayed would represent the animals and the region. A window into their world and one that almost felt like the viewer had witnessed. By creating Fine Art Images, i would capture a true moment in the life of the subject. Never to be repeated, real in place that would hopefully one day still be there, unspoilt and raw as I had found it.

8 days later we returned with smiles, stories and a set of memories. Looking forward to the next trip, always smiling at the last.

In recent days the BBC PLANET EARTH LIVE series has begun to feature some of the Elephants in Samburu that we got to spend time near.

The tick list:

  • Nikon/Pentax
  • Thinktank/Peli
  • Virgin Airline Tickets
  • Supportive family