28 August, 2017

Fresh Look in Voyager Beach Resort

Hooray!! We have a fresh look now.
Our goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best, but legendary. We went out of our way to ensure that your stay with us is more than comfortable. We promise you that you will be delighted if not impressed by our service.

Superior sea view




Executive sea view



Superior garden view




Junior suite garden view



Executive suite sea view



Executive suite garden view



23 August, 2017

The Migration Series

Weather

Dry but with very cold early mornings - temperatures as low as 15 degrees Celsius. The day warms up to 30 degrees Celsius.
Evenings get cool with temperatures at 18 degrees Celsius.


Rivers
There have been no rains in the Mara for some weeks except in the northern and eastern parts which has made it possible for the rivers like the Talek and the Olare Orok to swell and flow.
The Mara River – the life-lung of the Mara – is quite high meaning that there is some rain in the Mau forest - the source of the river.


Wildlife

With the onset of the migration, there is spectacular wildlife with the big herds of wildebeest and zebra spread all over the savanna grasslands.



There have been fantastic crossings over the Mara River with lots of wildebeest and zebras crossing at different points. All seem to be heading towards the Mara Triangle and to the salt lick at Enkoiguaate at the base of the Oloololo Escarpment. This area is very lush because it was burnt recently before the rain for fresh grass to regrow.
Some of the crossings have been at Lookout Crossing and Paradise Crossing.
At Rhino Ridge and Topi Plains near Mara Intrepids and Mara Explorer camps there are several hundreds of wildebeest and zebra making their way to the Mara River.



An interesting observation:  An albino zebra on the southern side of the Mara Intrepids and Explorer camps.



During the annual migration of the wildebeest from the Serengeti, elephants tend to move to less crowded areas but there have been sightings of families of up to 15 individuals by the riverine forests in search of pasture as there is hardly anything for them to eat on the plains.
Rhinos have been seen at Olkeju Rongai and around Chemarta.
Buffalos are common but out-numbered by the migrating wildebeest and zebras. Several hundreds’ are calving.  
Eland are also common by the sundowner site by the camp.
Giraffe, impala and gazelles are in plenty despite the dry season.





Predators

Lions

Ridge Pride: doing very well with the pride growing in size with a new set of cubs. Most of the adult females are also pregnant.
The pride has been at Double Crossing and having a great time hunting wildebeest every two days. The three sub-adult males (Mandevu) and their sister Ashlina seem to be getting pushed out of the pride. They have been seen on their own trying to hunt near Rhino Ridge. The dominant males - Blacky and Lipstick- are still in charge of the pride, going strong.



Paradise Pride and the Rekero breakaways: Doing great. They have several cubs.

The Musketeers are in charge of both prides. The prides are around Paradise Crossing and Chemarta hunting wildebeest and zebras.

Long Face who was the dominant male for the Maji ya Eland pride has been loitering around Rekero Crossing and Smelly Crossing. He seems unsettled since he was pushed out of his pride by the four nomads. He was last seen alone at Smelly Crossing.


Lookout Pride: Is below Lookout Hill doing well with the Notch boys in charge though they seem to be getting frail due to old age.

Cheetahs
The coalition of five male cheetahs who are of different ages have been giving us some very good sightings in most parts of the park.
They are also hunting wildebeest and at times they have made multiple kills. They seem to move a lot at night. They moved into the Olare Orok Conservancy for a night and the next day they were seen at Olkeju Rongai which is quite a distance for them to cover in a night.



Imani has left her cubs. The cubs are moving around Rhino Ridge, Possee Plains and Maji ya Eland. They have been successfully hunting - though the kills are small and sometimes they lose them to hyenas.

Malaika - the grand dame of Mara - and her two cubs are also in the same area but a bit further at Concrete Crossing near Lookout Hill. The cubs seem to be doing well but Malaika is getting weak and less efficient at hunting.


Leopards

Bahati: She and her two cubs have been elusive and spotted only once at Mara Intrepids’ Swing Bridge across the Talek River.

Her elder son Safarilink was seen in the same area. They are doing fine and the little cubs are growing.
Kaboso and her two cubs and the older cub are doing very well. They have been seen together sharing kills.
This family has been roaming between Olare Orok River and Kaboso crossing point. They have been hunting wildebeest calves as they cross the rivers.


News alert!

African Wild Dog

We had another rare sighting of a lone hunting dog at Double Crossing who was a bit nervous, running up and down.
The African hunting dog has a satellite collar fitted by researchers to learn more about his movements.
In the early 20th century, the African hunting dog was almost shot to extinction as farmers saw it as vermin.
Numbers are now on the increase.




Senior driver-guide at Mara Intrepids Camp
By Raphael Koikai 

22 August, 2017

Great Rift Valley Lodge and Resort Fun fact

Trees/shrub

Common Name: Cape ash

Scientific name: Ekebergia capensis

Swahili Name:   Kundambara
    



                 Uses and treatment
·         Part used: Leaves, fruits, seeds and stem
v  The wood is locally valued for furniture. Used for light construction, poles and tool handles. It is suitable for light flooring, joinery, interior trim, ship building, vehicle bodies, sporting goods, toys, novelties, vats, food containers, boxes, crates, matches, turnery, veneer and plywood. It is also used as firewood and for charcoal production.
v  The bark, roots and leaves are widely used in traditional medicine. Bark decoctions, infusions and macerations are taken to treat gastritis, heartburn, dysentery, epilepsy, gonorrhea and as vermifuge.
v  Applied externally to ulcers, abscesses, boils, scabies, acne, pimples and itching skin.
v   A powder prepared with the bark is sniffed against headache, colds and sinusitis.
v  A root decoction is taken as a diuretic and to treat kidney problems, dysentery, heartburn, headache and respiratory complaints.
v  The root is chewed as an expectorant. Charred pulverized roots are sniffed for treatment of headache and blocked nose.
v  Leaf macerations are used internally or externally to treat headache, fever, cough and skin complaints, and they are taken as a vermifuge.
v  The wood is used by Zulu people to facilitate childbirth.
v   Decoctions of various parts used traditionally in central Ethiopia as an anthelmintic for the treatment of livestock
v  Bark and roots have been used as poison.
v  In southern Africa, the bark has been used for tanning.
v  The fruit is edible but usually not much liked.
v   The foliage is browsed by livestock in the dry season.
v   Planted as an ornamental, particularly as a roadside tree, but also as a garden tree for its attractively coloured fruits and for shade.
v  It is occasionally planted for soil conservation, as a windbreak and as a shade tree in coffee and banana plantations.
v  The flowers are a source of nectar and pollen for honey bees.
Fun fact:
     




Visit us at Great Rift Valley Lodge to see the natural phenomena that was discovered by the road constructors 6 km from the lodge. The lava channels are amazingly deep and wide. The road construction had to be diverted to KSARANI shopping centre.   

Written By: Kilonzo, naturalist at GRVL                     

           

06 July, 2017

2017 Migration in Mara

The Maasai Mara has been a beehive of activity over the last two weeks as the migration season has started early this year. The migratory herds from the Serengeti have started crossing Sand River into the Mara while other herds are coming through the Roan hills. Between Lookout hill and Olmisigiyioi at Meta Plains there are big herds of the migratory wildebeest coming to Olkeju Rongai. We anticipate that in a few days’ time they will be making their way into Possee Plains and cross Talek River. Most rivers are almost dry due to the prolonged dry spell – so the crossings may be easier. The grass is quite dry and not in plenty because the corridors used by the migrating animals have been fenced off as the land has been subdivided by individuals. It’s a matter of great concern to conservationist. Topi plains is teaming with thousands of wildebeest and zebras most of whom are residents heading towards the Mara River at the main crossing and at Chemorta crossing points. It is festive season for the predators and we have been seeing a lot of kills by lions, leopards and even hyenas. The Notch boys have permanently settled with the Look Out pride. The pride has several cubs doing very well. The Ridge pride with the dominant males Blacky and Lipstick are doing very well around Double Cross making multiple kills in a day. The cubs are doing great. They are very healthy. The pride is getting bigger by the day. There are three young males - they have been pushed out but are still trying to hang around. It is a matter of time before they become nomads and fully independent. Paradise pride led by the Musketeers are also doing well and are between Paradise plains and Chemorta. They are feasting on zebras and wildebeest. The Olkeju Rongai pride is at Burrungat plains also waiting anxiously for the migratory herds to get into their territory. They are still not settled since the attack by the four nomads who kicked out Long Face who was the dominant male in the pride. Cheetahs Sightings every day. There is a new coalition of five male cheetah who have been doing in the Mara. They are believed to come from the Serengeti. They were first seen in Naboisho conservancy. They are now around the Mara Intrepids. They have been killing impala and young wildebeest daily. Musiara had a new set of four cubs but she lost three. She is around Olare Orok conservancy. Malaika with her two cubs are Possee plains – she’s struggling because she’s getting old.

 Compiled By: Raphael koikai

14 March, 2017

GRVL Fun Facts

Trees/shrub

Common Name: Broad-leaved Croton

Swahili Name: Mfurufuru





Usage and treatment

Part used: Leaves, fruits, seeds and stem
 Attractive tree often planted to provide shade in plantations
 Stabilizes and enriches the soil
 Seeds are used as a fish poison
 A vegetable salt is prepared from the ashes of the burnt leaves
 Most parts of the plant are used to treat various conditions
 The juice from the leaves is used as an anthelmintic to rid the body of parasites and toxins
 A root decoction is used as an anthelmintic for tapeworm
 The juice is also for dealing with skin problems, applied on wounds to hasten clotting and treat sores, warts and ringworm
 The leaves or young shoots are eaten to treat fever and oedema
 A boiled leaf decoction is drunk, or the ashes taken orally, as a treatment for cough
 A decoction of the young leafy shoots, combined with Justicia schimperiana, pepper, butter and milk, is used in the treatment of jaundice, and for an eruptive disease resembling small-pox
 An extract of leaves is used against itchy scalp, as a purgative, to treat malaria and venereal diseases
 The bark is an ingredient for effective purgative and vermifuge
 The seed is eaten to procure abortion
 A preparation of the seed is instilled into the ear as a remedy for ear-troubles
 The crushed leaves and seed mixed are drunk in water as a remedy for tapeworm.

Fun fact:
 Eburru forest has diverse habitats
 It’s home to 188 known species of birds
 Here are some of the most beautiful ones

Doherty's bush shrike

Eastern double-collared sunbird   
By Kilonzo, senior naturalist at the Great Rift Valley Lodge