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Walking/Bush Safaris
This can be a peaceful experience, but unlike what you would imagine it doesn't usually allow you to get much closer to the game, as they see people on foot as a threat whereas vehicles aren't. This is probably due to Maasai and Samburu activities. On one occasion we walked for an hour and only saw a dung beetle!
The Elephant we came across on our first bush walk at Loisaba We gave it a wide berth!
Elephant, Loisaba.
25th Dec. 2002
Wherever you walk, whether in a national park or private game reserve you will need an armed escort. This usually has to be arranged a few days in advance if a KWS Ranger has to be brought in. The private game reserves usually have their own guides readily available. The guides/rangers will also offer you advice on the game, their tracks and spoor as well as local skills such as which plants can be used to clean your teeth or used as medicines.

As you'll probably be tracking across the bush with long acacia thorns and wait-a-bit bushes you'll need long trousers and sturdy walking shoes if not boots.

If you have been walking through grass then check yourselves for ticks. Knock them off before they bury in to your skin, otherwise you may find yourself having to 'burn' them off, which I tried once only to give myself a blister. If they have clamped on then the best method to get rid of them is to smother them in grease or vaseline - that prevents them breathing and they eventually fall off.

Your guide should lay out some of their rules and hand signal directions before you leave. They are for your safety, so pay attention. We know of a group that were charged by a Lioness protecting her cubs and we had to skirt around a lone male Elephant in musk - they can be very dangerous!

Camel Safaris
Camel safaris are available at many locations in East Africa, but usually on the private game reserves. They are often run by local Samburu or Maasai tribes who benefit from the income they generate.

Camels are not the easiest animals to mount and when they stand-up or kneel down you'd better hang on tight! Once you're up you'll quickly sway to their gait. As you're so high up you'll get tremendous views over the bush - but hold on as it's a long way to fall!
Camel safari at Lewa Downs. We did this after an early morning walking safari and a bush breakfast. Quite an active morning for us!
Camel Safari, Lewa Downs.
23rd Dec. 2002

Me getting used to the quad-bike. It isn't as easy as motorbike as you can't lean into the corners!
Quad-bike, Loisaba.
13th Jun. 2003

Quad biking would usually be available on the private game reserves or ranches where they are used as a working vehicle, rather than sport for the tourists. We spent a happy morning biking around Loisaba. Again we had an armed escort - just in case, but saw little game as the bikes are just too noisy!

Balloon Safaris
These can only be undertaken in a few locations e.g. Masai Mara, in Kenya and the Serengeti, in Tanzania.

As spaces are limited and it can take a few days to organise you should book it before your departure (if possible) or let your guide know at the earliest opportunity. You may safari only once and it is an experience you wouldn't want to miss. Note, many consider the cost prohibitive, but bear in mind the locations are remote and all fuel has to be transported.
Departure is invariably at dawn, so if your lodge is far away you'll have an early start and may have to travel many miles across rough tracks in the dark. That's the drivers responsibility - you can catch up on your sleep.

Balloon trips very much depend on the wind (and the skill of the pilot), so it is touch-and-go what you'll see. But the landscapes are worth it, even if you don't see much game!

The support vehicles tend to know where you'll be landing and will have raced ahead to set up your champagne bush breakfast.
'Simba' balloon just after take-off over the Serengeti at dawn - don't forget your warm clothes!
'Simba', Serengeti.
26th Dec. 2000
A very worthwhile experience! Don't forget your warm clothes - long trousers and jackets, as you may fly over 1,000 feet above the ground.

Helicopter Safari
Well, we thought the balloon safari was excellent - but that was before we had experienced a helicopter safari!
Picture of the Eurocoptor EC 130 B4 Squirrel - the quietest helicopter in the world offers great safari experiences second to none!
Eurocoptor, Loisaba.
1st Jan. 2004
We believed these had stopped as the lodge sold the helicopter and laid-off the pilot, but its rumoured that Tropic Air has bought the helicopter and started airborne safaris again, operating from a base in Laikipia. This obviously limits the experience to those who's schedule passes through areas within practical flying distance! As well as short local safaris, they also offer longer trips to: the Matthews Range in Northern Kenya; Mount Kenya; Silali Crater in the Suguta Valley.
Much of the experience is in the hands of the pilot and we can't offer any advice on this as we don't know their pilot. But it offers the ability to travel far and wide into areas inaccessible to vehicles and like our short trip allows you to drop onto a steep hill with magnificent views over the surrounding countryside to enjoy a unique sundowner experience incomparable to any other! Well, that's saying something.

The helicopter used is a 6 seater (plus pilot) Eurocoptor EC 130 B4 Squirrel model - the quietest for its size anywhere in the world - important for minimising disruption to the game.