The Kenya safari   Gazelles.

Thomson’ gazelle

Travel to Kenya holiday safaris to witness the various types of gazelle’s .Maasai Mara safari is the best destination that you can witness Thomson’s gazelle. Thomson’s gazelle is the smallest of Kenya’s gazelle and is the best favored prey of the cheetah. They form a congregation of 50 to 70 forming a group called harem with a single dominant male holding a harem of 10-70 females with young ones.

It’s noted that the young males usually form a group together in bachelors herds which can form to about hundred and above individuals. They move from place to place looking for greener pastures in time of dry seasons. These gazelles are often found mixing together with Grant’s gazelle, zebras and wildebeests in the Maasai Mara plains. When these gazelles sense any danger they stamp, wave their tails and bounce on the air alerting the entire group. They team up and follow up a cheetah to ensure that the cheetah is out of their way instead of escaping a way!

The Grant’s gazelle

Holidays in Kenya especially Safari in Maasai Mara makes you to distinguish between the Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelle. Grant’s gazelle is large compare to Thomson’s gazelle and rather pale in color with distinctive leaf-shaped mask around its eyes. It has a white tail and dark stripe down the back of the thigh, with females occasionally have dark stripe along their flanks. They are just herbivores like Zebras and wildebeests who are often found mixing together in the plains.

The Gerenuk gazelle

Safaris in Kenya especially Samburu national reserves is the best destinations to see the Gerenuk type of gazelle. It has tall hind legs with long neck which enable to browse on the tip of trees and bushes while feeding. They feed on buds, leaves and even climbing plants. They best suite arid areas and thus very rare to be seen drinking waters in pools. Travel to Kenya holidays to differentiate all these gazelles!Image

The Dik-dik gazelle

Dik-dik is a small antelope which reaches a height of only 35-45 cm at the shoulder. They pair for life and it is seldom you see a Dik-dik on its own. They feed on food which consists of leaves, buds, flowers, fruit as well as grass.Image Salt is extremely important in their diet and they die very quickly in captivity if salt isn’t readily available. It is only the males that have horns, but sometimes these can’t be seen clearly as they may be hidden by the tuft of forehead hair. Kenya wildlife safaris is the best place to  see these gazelle especially in Samburu, Mara and Tsavo national reserve are the best places to experience these rare species of gazelle.

TheKlipspringer gazelle

The Klipspringer is a shy, often difficult to be spotted. They inhabit rocky terrain with bush cover and during the day one of a pair may be seen standing motionless on watch on a rocky outcropping. They are preyed on by Leopard, Caracal and Crowned Eagles. They have a varied diet which consists of leaves, flowers, fruit, grass and beard moss and, like the Gerenuk, they stand on their hind legs to reach higher foliage. ImageThey need little water and in the dry season they don’t tend to drink at all, getting what they need from their food. Traveling to Tsavo west national reserve is the best safari in Kenya to witness this kind of gazelle.

The greater kudu

The male Greater Kudu, is an impressive animal with its long spiral horns and distinctive markings. The females generally are hornless although some females do grow small ones, but like the males they also have the narrow white body stripes, broad white nasal strip and white cheek spots. The females travel in small herds of around 6 to 12 individuals, often accompanied by a male. Their diet consists of leaves, buds and grass; leguminous plants are an important part of their diet. Despite the impressive set of horns they rarely attack preferring flight to fight, even when cornered old males tend not to defend themselves.

The Lesser Kudu gazelle

The lesser kudu as the name suggests, is smaller than the Greater Kudu. Males reach a maximum weight of 108kg (Greater Kudu males can weigh up to 315kg) with females weighing up to 70kg (215kg for the Greater Kudu). Lesser Kudus have between 11-15 vertical white stripes on their bodies and large white patches on their necks and chests.Image They live in bush land with Acacia and Commiphora thickets. They are browsers and eat a wide variety of plant material including the fleshy leaves of succulent plants and the leaves, shoots, buds, flowers and pods of various Acacias. They also eat fruit. Grass is only included in their diet when it is very young and green. They are very shy and very, very alert and this makes them difficult to spot. They tend to be found in small groups and close relatives may remain together for a number of years.

The Eland Gazelle

Kenya holidays offer you the best destination to see this type of Gazelle Eland known to be Kenya’s largest antelope. A male can weigh up to 942kg and a female up to 600kg. Males grow bigger and get heavier throughout their life and their dewlap (the large flap of skin which hangs below the neck) also increases in size as males gets older. They have scent glands on their hind legs just above the hooves so they leave a scent trail as they walk through the grass.

 They are mostly found in woodland and savanna of Kenya like Maasai Mara plains. Despite of their massive size, they are rather shy animals and disappear silently into the trees if disturbed. They browse on herbs and foliage and their system is adapted to a high protein, lower fibre diet. . They also eat acacia seed pods and marula fruit but are attracted to the early flushes of greenery that you get after the rains.Image

Elands are gregarious but they don’t stick to a single herd and there is movement between groups. They band together in open areas for protection and also come together in impressively large numbers in response to the appearance for greenery after showers and thunderstorms. Females and young animals tend to be more nomadic than males (particularly older males) and they also form larger groups just like other animals. Traveling to Kenya tours and safaris makes your safaris a complete turnaround trip!

Sharon chepkirui

Kenya holidays safaris

Soin Africa safaris


Kenya Beach Holiday

The Kenya coastal city of Mombasa is one of Africa’s major tourist destinations that offers beachholidays. Travel to Kenya holiday to enjoy luxurious beach holidays and the calm ocean breeze at our best resorts for all your holidays in Kenya safaris. Experience Soft White Sandy Beaches famously the Warmest Ocean in the World with Kenya holidays.  Taste! Discover and experience a deep sea fishing expedition, boat riding with Kenya Beach Holidays among other recreational activities as you explore many other funs with Kenya beach holidays.Image

For many decades, beach holidays in Kenya have attracted more tourists in our country both international and local tourists putting Kenya among the top rank countries in terms of tourist arrivals. Our tourists not only are being attracted with these luxurious resorts or camps but also the quality assurance in terms of delivery services to all our clients offered by tour operators and other service providers in the industry. Kenya beach holidays are not only meant for travelers or explorers but also honeymooners are known to be the most popular clients that enjoy these safaris and lots have testimonies regarding the same.Image

Our beach holidays in Kenya have for long time remain to be the main attraction in the Mombasa coast sites with clients adventuring to the ruins and other historical sites like Forth Jesus, Vasco Da Gama pillar in Malindi which isMalindi’s most famous monument, is the bell-shaped Vasco Da Gama Pillar, erected by the Portuguese explorer as a navigational aid in 1498. The coral pillar is topped by a cross made of Lisbon stone, which almost certainly dates from Da Gama’s time, and stands on the rocks at the northern end of Casuarinas’ Beach.Image

With beach holidays in Kenya, you also have the opportunity to witness the Agiriama dancers who for long known to perform drum beating in different styles during various occasions and known for marrying many wives as their customs allowed them. They consider children as bringing wealth to the family after marriage. Travel to this world for a real time experience in our safaris with Soin Africa safaris.

Sharon Chepkirui

Kenya holiday

Soin Africa safaris

Kenya luxurious accomodation in the wilderness

Visit our Kenya holiday safaris for a  luxurious camps/lodges in the wilderness of  Maasai Mara. They are the best and luxurious accommodations in the park where you can enjoy outdoor activities like Kenya wildlife, photographic and serene atmosphere. What better way is there to enjoy all of these other than in sheer luxury? These classic accommodations   will help make your safari a truly unforgettable experience. Strategically located on an oxbow of the Mara River it offers various elegant suites stylishly designed to give you both comfort and exclusivity together with ambiance, fine dining, swimming pool and of course a spa.Image

However, they also provide you with an excellent viewing point of sun downer and sun set just at on your balcony sides. What drives you most are the lullaby echoes sung by various birds awaking you early morning for the Kenya amazing sun rise!

Ranging from lodges, hotel, resorts and camps enables you to choose Kenya facilities that suite your taste and preferences. With these excellent facilities, these will make your Kenya holiday safaris enjoyable and memorable.Image

join us to these comfort zone in all your Kenya holiday safari!

Sharon chepkirui

Kenya holiday

Soin Africa Safaris

Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya.

On my recent visit to Lake Nakuru national park, we were rewarded, beside the absence of many flamingoes to see a great many other birds and mammals, especially the Rhinos. we had great photography opportunity.Image

Undoubtedly, this park is a must visit destination for birders. Flocks of both lesser and greater flamingoes sometimes numbering 1.5 million can be seen here together with almost 450 other species. The park was gazetted as the first bird sanctuary in Africa in 1960. A species of fish oreochromis alcalicus platensis was introduced at that time to curb mosquitoes, but in turn supported a number of secondary consumers mostly birds.  This lake is a transient home to a large number of Palearctic waders who use it on passage or winter.Image

The lake is not only for birders, because it is a national park, there are other larger animals including the Black and the white Rhinoceros, Rothschild giraffe, water bucks, leopard, lion, buffalo etc. This park therefore will serve all purpose for both birds and big game. There is no better place in Kenya to watch white Rhinos.


Kenya wildlife safaris.

Soin Africa safaris.

Tribute to a Leopard with a life well lived. OLIVE March 2000 TO 25th Sept 2013.

I received some very sad news early in the morning of the 25th September 2013. A friend and fellow guide Raphael Koikai, the head guide at Mara Intrepids camp, called me to break the news that our famous Mara leopard, Olive was dead. I was on a game drive watching wildebeests crossing the Mara river very early in the morning. Upon hearing it was Olive that was found dead, I soon headed to the location where she was seen, at least to confirm it was her. Image

When I got to where she was, I found Raphael and some rangers. I went on to examine the dead animal and was able to confirm it was Olive. She had bite marks on the back of her neck, which seemed like a lion bite. I did check around the area where she laid and found evidence of some struggle. I could see where she dug her claws into the ground which shows that there was a fight. I was joined by Onesmus Irungu, a guide at Rekero camp who has also been a keen follower of Olive, and together we tried to piece together what could have happened.

I have known this particular leopard since she was born in March 2000. She was born to Bella, the female leopard who later become a star on the BBC’s Big Cat diary/week. I was able to work on this programs as a leopard behaviour consultant and spotter since 2003, with the then presenter, Saba Douglas Hamilton. I later teamed up with my friend and fellow guide Jackson Looseyia in 2008 when he joined as a presenter, taking over from Saba to work on the leopards together with me, and we made a perfect pair with similar passion, both being fans of the Talek leopards.

Olive was born in a under the roots of an old fig tree around a bend upstream from Zebra crossing or KD Talek special campsite, on the Talek river. Her father was an old male which roamed the Talek river between the above campsite and Fig Tree camp. He also ruled the area south to Maji ya Fisi. Olive was born with a sibling, a male, which I did not give name. When Olive and her brother were about one and half a years old, their mother moved them further downstream of the Talek, extending her home-range to the forest across the river from Mara Intrepids camp. Unfortunately, this happened to be a territory of another male leopard we used to call Big Boy. When Big Boy came across Bella and her cubs, he attacked and killed Olive’s brother in November 2001. He hanged the dead young leopard up an olive tree at the end of a small stream that runs into the Talek. Coincidentally, Olive just died about 30 metres from the tree where her brother was hanged! Bella did not leave the place again even after losing her male cub to Big Boy. She settled around here and went on to have a new litter of cubs in 2003 with Big Boy. This were Chui and Ntito, who also starred with their mother on Big Cat diary in September 2003. I first saw the cubs under the exposed roots of tree on the Talek (near death crossing) on 11th July 2003 when they were about 2 months old. I and my fellow guides from Mara Intrepids, and a few others who were keen leopard ‘seekers’ kept seeing her around this location.

In August 2003, Jonathan Scot, who is my mentor, role model and friend and also BBC’s Big Cat TV presenter, called me, to inquire if I knew of any ‘’photogenic’’ leopard along the Talek. The BBC’s Big Cat Diary program was set for September that year, and has always been, they had picked on Half Tail, another leopard to the North who starred on this program before. However, just before the program started, Half Tail had disappeared, just when everything was set to go. Jonathan and the then series producer, Nigel Pope, came to see me at my then work station at Mara Intrepids. That is when I introduced to them Bella. I remember, as we sat for a drink and went through introducing myself to Nigel, I did not miss to talk about the vultures and their threats in the Mara! Nigel found a passion in me for these birds and told me, I think we will want to cover your story and link the vultures with the cats!, and this is how I and my fellow researchers, Munir Virani and Simon Thomsett appeared on TV during the Big Cat Live program, with a short review of our research and efforts to create awareness about the vultures. Back to the leopards, after a week of recce, they settled on the Talek female, as she was known then. Since she was very calm and easy with vehicles, she became an instant star for the TV program. Her popular hunting area was a place which was later named, death crossing. This is because she would hide below the bank of the river to ambush crossing wildebeests. I remember at one point, she killed 3 wildebeests at the same spot. Thought the film crew only captured 2 kills!

Due to Bella’s popularity, Olive lived in the shadows and nobody actually followed her at that time. The female cub, Ntito, left her mother and brother quite early, and we did not follow up much on her too. Chui stayed with the mother until when he was about 3 and half years old, which made him a male cub with the longest recorded stay with the mother. We were even worried the two will in-breed. Chui was later to be seen on the Mara Triangle near the border with Serengeti. A friend and fellow guide, Ninian Lowis took pictures of him at this location, and were able to confirm it was him. Bella continued to roam her home range, though she did not have any more litter after Chui and sister, although we thought she lost a litter at some point in 2007. When we saw her in October 2008 during the shooting of the Big Cat Live program, she was ailing and we thought she died soon after as we never saw her again.

When she died, Olive appeared from her shadows. She was initially not relaxed with cars, since not many people had been following her when Bella was still alive, except for the usual rare sightings. We used to see her across the river from Mara Intrepids camp on the edge of the small riverine forest, in particular a certain African Olive tree (Olea africana) where she will go up to rest. We then decided to name her as the leopard of the Olive tree, and this later became her name as Olive. Up to this point not many people knew of her, not until she starred like her mother on the BBC’s program Big Cat Live in 2008, together with her two daughters, Binti and Ayah, plus her young son then Kali. Olive had her at first known litter in early 2007. I first saw the cubs in March that year. The cubs were 2 females, which I gave the names, Binti and Ayah (refer to my earlier blog posts). However, I only named them in 2008. The name Binti (Swahili for daughter) as she seemed a favourite daughter of Olive. The other female cub, Ayah (Swahili for babysitter) got her name due to her baby sitting occupation of their younger sibling, a young male. This was the male cub born in March 2008. Ayah, continued to baby sit their brother as she was not relaxed with cars, unlike her sister Binti and their mother. I named the male cub as Kali (Swahili for fierce), this was due to his behaviour around kills, he would take over the feeding and kept everyone else away despite his size/age. Ayah and Kali stayed together for long time and we would always see them together, and this confused many guides who thought Kali was Ayah’s cub. The whole family stayed in the same area and at some point we would see all the four of them. A friend and fellow Mara based guide, Federico Veronesi, at one time got a photo of all the four together, which is a very rare sighting with leopards.Image

Olive had another litter, 2 male cubs in 2009, these were Paja (Swahili for twin) and Nkaiyoni (Maasai for a boy) The cubs were first sighted at Olare-Orok river crossing on 27th July 2009, with the mother carrying one of them. A picture taken by a guest at Intrepids of Olive carrying her cub on the Talek river bed taken on 15th August 2009 appeared on my blog post of 27th August 2009. (See ) she had moved the cubs and hid them under the roots of a warbugia ugadensis tree on the banks of the Talek near Gunia (muindi) vehicles crossing. Olive amazed us when she left the young cubs for almost 3 days and moved to an area called Double crossing, where she met and mated with a male leopard in the area. The male was one that we had named Ridge male, because he was mainly found along Rhino Ridge and Double crossing area. At first we though she may have lost the cubs ( But one guide from Rekero, Joseph Seng’eny told me he has been seeing the  even as the mating was going on almost 5kms away). I followed them closely after this and found out that, the mating was actually her way of drawing the male who fathered the 2 cubs to the area where the cubs were. This was the first litter she had with a different male. All the other previous cubs were sired by a male called Big Boy. The same male who killed Olive’s brother in 2001. It was now important for Olive to have the new father of her cubs close to the den, since the area was in Big Boy’s territory, and the cubs risked being killed if he comes across them. True to her tactics, just a day after coming to the den with the new male, the cubs emerged and joined them. Some guests from Freeman camp said they saw Olive, Ridge male and the cubs walking upstream of Olare-Orok river, moving further away from Big Boy’s territory limit. I documented this mating and put together a small story on my blog, posted on 23rd August 2009, under the title Olive’s Riddle. The two, Paja and Nkaiyoni grew up successfully and left the mother’s home range after being pushed away by their father when they came of age.

Olive had another litter in October 2010. The cubs were a male and female, which I gave the names, Shujaa (Swahili for Hero, after Heroes’ month of October) and Bahati (Swahili for lucky one) Shujaa was a male and Bahati a female. The cubs were first seen on 5th October 2010 under the exposed roots of a uclea divinorum tree on the Olare-Orok river, near the junction with the Talek river. The den was near a baboon sleeping quarters, so she got harassed and had to leave the place for the safety of her cubs. On 28th October, while I and my guests sat around the fire at the bar at Mara Intrepids in the evening, we saw Olive across the river moving up and down calling. We didn’t know why she was calling until the cubs responded to her calls from under our feet! Without our knowledge, Olive had moved her cubs and hid them under the wooden deck at the bar area. When we heard the cubs I and the security staff shone the torch under the deck and saw the cubs. We then asked the guests to leave the area, as our presence and noise could make her think the cubs are in danger and could react aggressively. When the place was quiet and after the lights went off, she came for her cubs and moved them to unknown location where she hid them for sometimes. She was next seen with the cubs when she was leading them out of the small forest between Mara Intrepids and Explorer camps on 5th December 2010. The male cub disappeared shortly and we remained with the female, Bahati.

In early 2012, around Feb/March, olive had another litter with Ridge Male, these were two cubs which I named Saba (Swahili for seven, being the 7th surviving cubs, but also an African girls’ name, and this was in reference to Saba Douglas Hamilton, who worked with me on the leopards for Big Cats program before Jackson Looseyia) to the other cub, a male, I named him Nane (Swahili for eight, the cub was thought to be younger of the twins) refer to my face book posting around this time, when I circulated the names and everyone agreed to my suggestion. Nane died at around 3 months and we think she was killed by lions. This left Saba alone who has been with the mother all the time, and was about to be replaced on her mother’s side by a new litter when the tragedy happened. Bahati, the older sibling to Saba, never left her mother’s territory though was is now independent and has even been seen mating with a male recently. She had kept coming across or even joining her mother together with Saba. We have always seen Bahati and the heiress apparent to Olive’s territory. Because Bahati is older, I think Saba will be pushed out of their mother’s territory. Just before Binti and Ayah parted ways, I did witness and document on my blog, a fierce fight between the two. Olive is survived by seven offspring, who will carry her legacy. These are, in the order of birth; Binti & Ayah, Kali, Paja & Nkaiyoni, Bahati and SabaImage

When I grew up in our village, my father and every elder would tell me the one animal you MUST stay close to is a cow! This being the livelihood of the community and backbone of local economy and every man is supposed to like cattle. I never knew it will come a time any other animal will compete for a place in my heart with my cow, until Olive came around! This is one leopard, I followed more than any other cat around, in the process, I learnt so many things about leopards from her. I saw her hunt, kill, ambush etc… in on many occasions, most of which I couldn’t document in pictures.

You can also see other updates I did on Bella, Olive etc. on on this blog you can see stories dating back to 2004 which I used to submit on a monthly basis.

Olive, the leopard queen of the Talek river will surely be missed by many of her admirers around the world.

Paul Kirui.

Kenya wildlife safaris.

Soin Africa safaris.



Leopards are known to have powerful jaws and inhabit part of Africa and Asia, and a variety of regions, such as tropical forests, brush and scrublands, rocky hillsides and even the high, cold slopes of the Himalayas. Its among the Kenya big cats that not only make Kenya to be a competitive edge but makes a country with big five!

Powerful and agile, the leopard is an efficient hunter. It stalks its prey, creeps to within a few meters, then leaps or dashes at the victim, which is dispatched by a bite in the back of the neck or smothered by a throat bite.

Males are usually larger than females. The weight range for males is 37 to 90 kg and for females it is 28 to 60 kg

These species are threatened by over-hunting for the fur trade by most communities like the Maasai. Its stealth and secretive ways have made it a prize for the trophy-hunter. Although hunting restrictions recognize the need to protect the animal, demand and high prices have encouraged poaching and trade in illegal skins, and human settlements have destroyed much of their ecosystem making them to scare away from human settlements.

However, leopards are very beautifully animals that attract many tourists in Kenya. Its among the Kenya big five which has boost Kenya as the best destination that offer Kenya safari holidays to both local and international tourists.

Paul Kirui

Kenya safaris holiday

Soin Africa safaris