Happy New Year everyone!

Looking back at 2014…

Family News

The Cheffings Family is all well. Zoe is 11, Oscar is 10 and Ella 51⁄2. They are all thriving at school and in the outdoor environment offered by life in Kenya. Zoe continues to excel academically (don’t know where she gets that from!). She also represemts her school in the ‘A’ team in a range of sports, and is looking forward to the school field hockey tour to UK this coming March. Her horseback skills also continue to improve with her 2 ponies that she competes on regularly at dressage and show jumping. Oscar’s concentration lies more on the sports fields where he excels, although there is also nothing wrong with his academics. His interests certainly lie in the outdoors – sports, safari life, insects, snakes, etc, etc. Ella is simply full of joy and fun, and always brings lots of life to everyone around. She is very good at making sure she isn’t forgotten about! Fiona stays busy keeping them all under control as well as with her real estate business that continues to thrive. We did have some sad days earlier in the year with Fiona’s father passing away after a short illness, a difficult period for all. We, as well as all the other family members, were all in the UK to lay him to rest in October.

Safari News

2014 was another good year in the safari business for OnSafari, in spite of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, that developed inevitable concerns for travel to East Africa. However, with personal reassurances and confidence restored, we had a good year, with visitors from New Orleans, Chicago, Denver, Austin, Houston, Belgium, France, UK and South Africa. Many of you were here this year and we had some very memorable times, with extraordinary sightings.

These safari activities can all be followed on OnSafari’s Facebook page. If you haven’t watched the video yet: Watch the video. Please also stay in touch with the OnSafari website www.onsafarikenya.com.

OnSafari’s exclusive campsites in Tsavo East on the banks of the Galana River, and in the Mara on the banks of the Mara River are at the core of these fabulous Kenyan safaris. Keeping us all comfortable, but also as close to nature as possible, staying immersed in the wilderness and wildlife, is what its all about, and luxury mobile camping keeps us there.

Being kept awake at night by elephants in amongst the tents in Tsavo, or by the noisy hippos in the river outside the tents in the Mara is a good thing! The comfort in the tents and quality of the experience continues to improve all the time with consistent upgrades in all departments.

Combining staying at these exclusive camps in the wilderness, with beautiful boutique style private lodges is still the way we operate. There are beautiful new lodges and permanent camps developed every year. We are also visiting Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania on a regular basis in search of those experiences not available in Kenya. The Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda and the Chimpanzees in western Tanzania are fine examples of these experiences. The wildlife encounters this past year continue to inspire myself as well as all the lucky visitors. There have been both heart stopping moments with close encounters, and awe-inspiring moments in breath-taking beauty. This is nature in action and it continues to be my desire to get you to see these events, and to appreciate the extraordinary scenes as much as I do.

Kenya News and Views

Kenya has had a difficult year away from the fabulous wildlife zones. The government has continued to struggle to grasp the evolving situation. The crisis in Somalia has continued to be a thorn in the side of Kenya and perpetuates the perceived security issues throughout the country. Although the Al Shabaab militants continue to affect security in the northern Somalia border areas, the rest of the country and particularly the National Parks and Reserves have not been affected. Our neighbourhoods, schools, social activities and lives in Nairobi are the same as they have ever been. Safari operations have been unaffected, and we are seeing better wildlife then ever before.

So, the West African ebola crisis, and the Somalia crisis have certainly hit Kenya’s tourism hard, especially the beach tourism, but in spite of this Kenya’s economy continues to grow at a rapid pace. Consistent national economic growth figures of between 5 – 7% each quarter are being recorded. Business is thriving and real estate values are through the roof. A new railway network is under construction, roads are being re-carpeted, and Mombasa has been classed as the 2nd busiest port in Africa after Durban.

Conservation

We have expanding conservation activities in the form of community conservation in lands outside of National Parks and Reserves that is very encouraging. When the local communities such as the Masai and Samburu people get involved and request for assistance in conserving their lands and wildlife it is a very good thing. With conservation comes security and effective anti poaching. Read more on the efforts and successes of the Northern. Rangelands Trust here: www.nrt-kenya.org

The wildlife crisis facing African countries continues to be the high levels of elephant poaching throughout the continent. This is now firmly an international issue. Revenues from ivory are used to finance violent African militias and other terrorist organizations that then lead to international terrorism events. It is thought that poaching generated USD 5 – 6 Billion in 2013. In East Africa, while Kenya has certainly seen her elephants targeted, reasonably effective anti-poaching efforts from the Kenya Wildlife Service and private organizations such as The Tsavo Trust www.tsavotrust.org have limited this to an estimated loss of less than 1,000 elephants in 2013/14 to poaching. The Tanzania tragedy is something else entirely with an estimated loss of 10,000 elephants to poaching in 2013, http://eia-international.org/wp-content/uploads/EIA-Vanishing-Point-lo-res1.pdf We must continue to set high values to our live wildlife, and the best way to do this is for large numbers of visitors to visit us! In this way, wildlife pays and governments and communities then look after it. Come and see these magnificent animals yourself – that is what will save them.

Wishing everyone the very best for a happy and prosperous 2015.