31 January 2014 by Joy's Camp
We are just wallowing in fun – based at Joy’s Camp in beautiful Shaba for the passed two weeks, and we have until the end of February to enjoy it!
Stefano & Liz at Joy's Camp
We have a change over of managers, so we are here to review how the camp is running and handing over to new managers (sadly for us!). The food has always been excellent here at Joy’s, but we are still enjoying working with the cooks on menus and dishes; putting lots of good stuff in the camp veggie garden – and trying not to put on weight. Liz is pruning the gardens, and Stefano is working with the guides. How could life be better!
Dik Dik on the path
We have 3 families of wild, but relaxed Dik Dik in the camp, that just wander past you on the path (above) and Mr & Mrs Von Der Decken hornbill (below) still pose next to the dinning room at lunch time. Did you know that both Dik Diks and the Von Der Decken hornbill mate for life? Funny fact so close to Valentine’s Day!
Von Der Decken Hornbill making a heartshape with tehir beaks
Last night, clients also saw a Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl sitting in the tree next to tent 7 and got some good photos.
We have an excellent guiding team at the moment, most of whom come from the area, and whom we are very pleased with. Highlights have been a huge male leopard stay with a group of guests for 1.5hrs before a final snarl and loping off to hunt in the dusk, many sightings of the striped hyenas with clients now realizing how special that is! A birding group that saw 107 species in a morning, plus the William’s Lark – Shaba being the only place in the world to see him.
Leopard in Shaba, photo by Ninian Lowis
Striped Hyena - rare sighting in the daylight
We are looking at night gamedrives, trips to Magado Crater, and have heard of some more lovely springs in Nakuprat – so watch this space!
Sorry to make you all jealous – Best wishes Liz & Stefano
18 September 2013 by Joy's Camp
We are the bearers of fantastic news! Our resident Somali ostrich couple – through dedication and vigilance – successfully hatched 12 chicks. Here is Dad is taking his turn to sit on the nest just prior to the hatchings. Incredibly, an ostrich egg can weigh as much as two dozen chicken eggs.
The Somali Ostrich is a subspecies to the Ostrich and is endemic to Kenya’s north. It is more beautiful than its common cousin, its feathers having a more vivid black and white, with blue neck & thighs (rather than pinkish), which become bright blue on the male during the mating season. The females are slightly larger than the males and browner in plumage than other female ostriches.
Ostriches live in small flocks which typically contain less than a dozen birds. Alpha males maintain these flocks and mate with the group’s dominant hen. All of the group’s hens place their eggs in the dominant hen’s nest – though her own are given the prominent centre place. The dominant hen and male take turns incubating the giant eggs, each one of which weighs as much as two dozen chicken eggs.
Here at Shaba our ostriches tend to be more monogamous and this couple have been together for a while and we were delighted with their brood of 12.
Sadly, after a few days the family reduced to 9 chicks – probably taken by smaller carnivores and raptors.
Though they cannot fly, ostriches are fleet, strong runners. Adult ostriches can sprint up to 43 miles per hour. They use their wings as “rudders” to help them change direction while running. An ostrich’s powerful, long legs can also be formidable weapons. Ostrich kicks can kill a human or a potential predator like a lion. Sadly young ostrich chicks have none of these attributes and are highly vulnerable, as we found out from this incredible picture taken by guest Dee Drummy – 1 poor chick taken by a martial eagle on, ironically, Friday 13th September.
1 poor ostrich chick taken by a martial eagle
Contrary to popular belief, ostriches do not bury their heads in the sand – though the parents must have been tempted after this occurrence.
On a happier note, Dee & Brian Drummy also took this fabulous pic of our aardwolf mum peeking out from her den. Mother & cub are doing extremely well!
Our trailcam is going from strength to strength – more in our next blog.
For now, kwaheri ya kuonana!
Karl & Sally
25 August 2013 by Joy's Camp
What a great few months we’ve had here at Joy’s Camp!
It’s been a high season packed with incredible wildlife sightings – 6 lions on a giraffe kill, bat-eared foxes and striped hyena seen almost daily, the stunning sightings of a caracal, a civet cat seen regularly, the secretive and rare William’s lark often spotted on the lava plains, huge buffalo herds of over 200 and, most excitingly, the amazing discovery of an aardwolf den with pups!
Aardwolf at Joy's Camp
The aardwolf is one of the most elusive species – resembling a thin striped hyena, but with a more slender muzzle, sharper ears, black vertical stripes on a coat of yellowish fur, and a long, distinct mane down the midline of the neck and back.
Have a look at these – can you spot the species?
Aardwolf at Joy's Camp
All these shots have been taken by our recently set up trail camera to record movements, especially of our nocturnal visitors! As you can see we’ve had some incredible shots taken within the first few weeks: 1. Striped Hyena, 2. Leopard, 3. Porcupine, 4. Aardwolf, 5. African Wild Cat, 6. Civet!
Shaba is drying up now following the rains earlier this year. Fortunately here at Joy’s Camp we have a natural spring in front of us – a real oasis for Shaba’s wildlife and a very popular spot at the moment, where a few nights ago we heard a lion killing a buffalo while sitting at the bar and enjoying our G&Ts with Stefano and Liz!
Views from the bar at Joy's Camp
On another note we wanted to say a huge ‘karibu’ to our two new guides – Arnold and Abdi. Arnold holds a Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association (KPSGA) bronze level and also holds an Animal Trailing Certificate and the Level 1 FGASA (Field Guides Association of South Africa). Abdi, a KPSGA bronze guide, is currently studying for his KPSGA Silver Level. We wish Abdi all the best with his studies and with his exam later this year.
Our warmest wishes to you all,
Karl & Sally
6 February 2013 by Joy's Camp
Welcome to the new Joy’s Camp website, we will be sharing with you news from camp, including special wildlife sightings and exciting happenings in the conservancy. Best wishes Karl & Sally.