Monday, 7 December 2015

Top Ten Things To Pack For Your Safari

Top ten things to pack for your safari:

1.     A hat – the equatorial sun is strong! So make sure to bring a hat to protect your face
2.     Sun-cream – Along the same lines, bring sun-cream to prevent sun-burn
3.     Bug spray – we don’t have many mosquitos at camp but it’s a good idea to bring bug spray to keep any bugs away
4.     Light layers – pack and wear light layers to accommodate varying temperatures, preferably in neutral/earth tone colors
5.     A camera – be sure to bring your camera, with extra batteries and memory cards, to capture your safari
6.     Comfortable shoes – it’s a good idea to pack comfortable, sturdy walking shoes
7.     Sandals – for the warm afternoons, walking around camp, and making your way to the swimming pool
8.     Swimming costume – on the note of the swimming pool, be sure to bring your swimming costume/swim suit
9.     A jacket – pack a rain jacket/wind breaker for the odd rain shower and/or a warmer coat for the evenings, as it can get chilly

10.  Your sense of adventure – be prepared for a wonderful experience and come ready for adventure

Saturday, 7 November 2015

October - It's good to be back at Ekorian's Mugie Camp

It has been thirteen months since I left Mugie, and although in many ways it feels like I was just here last week. But the myriad changes that have happened around camp betray this. Probably the most notable change is the constriction of the pool.  An oasis in the midst of thousands of acres of bush, the pool is on a large, raised deck made of the native olive (Ekorian, in Turkana) and eucalyptus wood. There is a large picnic table and spacious corner seat, and plenty of room to spread out. A plunge in the pool is just what’s called for on a hot afternoon.

Another new addition to the camp is the reception area – a shady, marulla roofed building in which to receive guests and with a comfy and cozy wifi area to charge phones and gadgets and to connect to the Internet.

On this trip I am very fortunate to be helping at the Mugie School. The school is comprised of a central assembly area surrounded by one long lunch room building, a staff room, and about six, two classroom buildings, a large veggie patch and a dormitory for the 20 girls with physical disabilities who board there. There are about 130 students and it is a public school on private property so hasn't had to follow suit with the other public schools and be on strike for five weeks in September/October. Because of this public/private combination, Mugie privately employs five of the teachers and the Ministry of Education employs five. Sending their children to the school is almost compulsory for Mugie employees and the education, the uniforms, and the 2 or 3 meals a day are at no cost to the families - Mugie ranch foots the entire bill (through personal funds, donors, and sponsors).

I am assisting in a nursery/pre-unit class – ages 5 to 7 and enjoying it tremendously. The teacher is Madame Agnes, a friendly, passionate woman who has a great rapport with the students - who also clearly respect her. The day begins with tidying up the classroom and a handkerchief and fingernail inspection. The first class is English, then a 20 minute break to play on the playground, then math (or environmental science or creative arts depending on the day), and then a break for porridge and P.E. and finally, Kiswahili before lunch and nap. They're a remarkably well-behaved class, especially for such a young age group. After each subject, Agnes has them copy down or complete the exercises she has put on the board, in their workbooks, which we then mark. Agnes teaches something by explaining it, writes it down on the board, and then has them write it in their books - oral, visual, and kinesthetic teaching. And the stuff they're learning seems quite advanced to me. When we have P.E. the daily routine is to play football so I station myself in a goal, and Agnes is in the opposite goal - it's a massive field.  The children are playing completely barefoot, or with only a shoe on their kicking foot, or, the most creative footwear I see, there is a little boy playing in wellie boots... quite a contrast to the soccer-cleats and ideal playing conditions at home. After P.E. we have Swahili and I busily jot down new vocabulary words. The students come to school knowing only their tribal language - Turkana, Samburu, or Pokot usually - so learn Swahili and English when they start school. So, when they leave school at 15/16yo they can speak three languages -  English, Swahili, and the language of their tribe - pretty impressive. The lessons are taught mostly in Swahili and with a bit of English.

On week two I brought with me pencils, sharpeners, and rubbers for the class, something I found them to be very short on. Their expressions of sheer joy and words of heart-felt appreciation were extremely touching. And I asked Agnes if it would be ok for me to bring a picture book and read to them everyday. So, at the start of their English class I read whichever book I’ve brought that day and we discuss it, an opportunity to learn new words and work on pronunciation. I’ve also taught them a few songs – “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” and “If You’re Happy and You Know It” are favorites so far. I’m thrilled to be given the chance to learn from them and from Agnes, and to participate and contribute where I can.

It is such a joy to be back at camp – a place that my heart feels so happy. And I plan to make the very most of the next couple of months.

Top Ten Things To Do At Ekorian's Mugie Camp

Top Ten Things To Do At Ekorian’s Mugie Camp

  1. Watch elephants swim and play in the Mugie Dam, from the vantage point of a kayak.
  2. Go for a game drive where you are sure to see buffalo, zebra (maybe the rare Grevy’s Zebra), the endangered Jackson’s Hartebeest, impala, waterbuck, and maybe lion or cheetah. Or go on a night drive and spot the dusk and nocturnal game – hyenas (both striped and spotted), mongoose, jennet cats, porcupines, and more.
  3. Have sundowners, a Tusker or a glass of wine, at the “Sundowner Tree” - the iconic acacia on the conservancy planes.
  4. Take a walk with the Mugie bloodhounds on their daily training exercises and watch these amazing dogs work.
  5. Fly camp for a night – end your game drive at a beautiful and inviting fly-camp, have dinner by the fire, and sleep under the stars around the fire or in a tent, up to watch the sunrise with a hot cup of tea or coffee, and then have breakfast around the fire.
  6. Return from your fly-camp by camel! Ride back across Mugie and have a whole new view of game and the bush as you peacefully traverse the sanctuary.
  7. A guided bush-walk across the planes is the perfect way to see and learn about the often-overlooked flora and fauna.
  8. Visit the Mugie School and meet the wonderful headmaster, Bernard, and, if you like, join in a game of football with some of the students.
  9. Enjoy a bush breakfast or picnic lunch –the best way to truly have the whole safari experience, taking in the quiet hum of the bush as you sit over a delicious and freshly made, home-cooked meal.
  10. Relax in camp for the afternoon – take a dip in the pool, read your book in the shade of the pool deck (watching elephant, giraffe, zebra, waterbuck, and more, wander past), practice archery or play volleyball on the lawns, jump on the trampoline, or enjoy watching the resident birdlife.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Ekorian's Mugie Camp Partners With Fairtrade Eastern Africa For The 'Fairtrade On Holiday' Program

We are proud to announce this morning, a partnership with Fairtrade Eastern Africa as the first hospitality establishment to join the #FairtradeOnHolidayProgramme by purchasing Fairtrade products for use in our camp.

By stocking Fairtrade products, we demonstrated our ethical commitment to our guests as well as positively impact the producers of these commodities by allowing them earn a fair price for their products as well as use #FairtradePremiums to develop their local community.

Find our full interview on

See Fairtrade Eastern Africa's work areas on Youtube: and Like their Facebook page on