Traffic in Nairobi wasnt as bad as I had imagined, in fact the local taxis (‘matatus’) were on strike (and are for another couple of days) to protest against police harassment. This meant tens of thousands of people had to find alternative ways to get to work – and that meant walking for many. It did give a clue as to how life might be with fewer matatus though – less chaos and a lot less stressful for road users. Some people feel that larger vehicles and better Public Transport might help. There is no question that roads are a nightmare in the city.
Mind you the road to the Mara was mentioned in the Press again the other day with arguments as to whose responsibility it is to maintain it – central goverment (Ministry of Roads) or the Narok County Council who say it is not their responsibility. It certainly makes for a very rough drive – and the reason so many people opt to fly to the Mara. Tanzania has greatly improved the access roads to their parks such as Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti
Continue Reading »
It is always hectic whenever we return from an extended trip overseas – a mountain of emails to reply to and a hundred and one things to tend to at our home in Nairobi. In fact we are on the road for so much of the year that we always find ourselves reluctant to leave again – we love our home which is in Langata, a leafy suburb of Kenya’s capital city just a few minutes from Nairobi National Park to the east and Giraffe Manor and the Giraffe Sanctuary to the west. But there are down sides too: rats in the roof chewing the electrical cables and setting alarm bells ringing, white ants devouring the beautiful wooden floor of Angie’s studio, the thunderous report of a water tank exploding – you name it, and we’ve experienced it over the years here in Kenya. It is an amazing country and whenever we drive back through the front gates we breathe a sigh of relief at re-entering our own touch of Paradise.
Continue Reading »
Sometimes life just gets the better of you, which it certainly has these past few weeks. Where to begin? All kinds of exciting things have been happening. We have completed our latest children’s book for HarperCollins called On Safari which outlines what life is like for Angie and me when we are on safari taking photographs and working on our books. It is a lot of fun and is our seventh title in the children’s series. We are about to set off for a month long safari to India – yes, we know it is going to be very hot but it will be good for tigers because they will be getting hot too and hopefully decide to hang out at the nearest water hole to keep cool. We are working on a new childrens book in India and at the end of the year we will be visiting Oman again to write a children’s book on life there. And we will be looking at all the best places to visit in India (its one of our favourite destinations) so that we can be sure to offer a really exciting safari there next year – why not join us on that adventure in 2010.
We are just putting the final touches to Stars of Big Cat Diary – a celebration of 12 years of Big Cat in words and pictures in association with Simon King and Saba Doughlas-Hamilton. There will be lots of Angie’s stunning images and lots of behind the scenes info on the series too, plus an update on all the big cat stars.The book should be in the shops by September and we will be promoting it at a number of events in the UK in late August. We will be at the Bird Fair in Rutland from 21 to 23 August as guests of Swarovski and giving three illustrated talks over that period, and speaking at the Lichfield Camera Club on the evening of the 24 August.
I just spent a week in the Mara filming an episode of a new reality show called To The Ends Of The Earth presented by Nick Knowles with James Honeyborne of the BBC Natural History Unit. More on that later but Shakira and her three daughters were all doing fine, as were Honey’s Boys, also Notch and his younger relatives down on Paradise Plain – all in fine form.
More from us tomorrow. Got to go to bed – its nearly 11.30pm and got an early start tomorrow in Nairobi
Hi everybody – just wanted to celebrate a glorious day in Kenya with you. Nairobi is our home and we live in a beautiful house overlooking the Ngong Hills – you know the kind of thing, the Out of Africa landscape that Karen Blixen immortalised in her book of the same name. The sun is shining, Little Cat is on the prowl (she is the prime suspect in the flea department right now), the dogs are lying in the shade (except Coco who is having her ears stiched – too much playing rough games with her son Slippers and Artemis our perpetual ‘infant’ labradour who still looks like a puppy but isn’t, though she is still sweet and innocent. Right now I’m writing a new chapter of Stars of Big Cat Diary (the Toto the cheetah cub’s story) and Angie is slogging away on her computer sorting digital files for the same book. She has just read me the riot act about editing images in the field to save her having to sort through so much dross and speed up our way of working – and she is right!
There is a silly weaver bird who keep pecking at its own reflection on my study window and one of these days Little Cat is going to knock herself out trying to catch it. I’m about to take a break and go and sit in the garden with Angie and just enjoy being alive in such an amazing place.
If any of you haven’t visited Kenya yet then put it in your diary – with the Masai Mara at the top of your safari list. And on that note don’t forget we will be hosting two safaris in the Mara in October this year before heading back to Snow Hill Island in the Antarctic. Have a wonderful day wherever you are.
It always takes us a while to come down off the high of working on Big Cat – and the Live series was no exception – so much adrenalin pumping during those few weeks that it is quite a dip when we pull the tent pegs and head back to our home in Nairobi. But as always great to see our family of four dogs and Little Cat – she is such a wild little thing at heart and just loves to be out on her garden patrol – she is the consummate predator and our birds and squirrels have to be on their toes to avoid becoming her next victim. She has that typical cat habit of bringing her prey in to the house to show them off to us – and on one occasion she dropped a snake at the foot of the bed – some wake up call!
What a relief we all feel now that the politicians have made an agreement to settle their differences and form a Coalition Government. You could feel the tension while we all waited for some good news – Nairobi has been calm these past few weeks but the suffering in parts of the country have been horrific. Anybody who has visited Kenya will tell you what nice people the Kenyan’s are – and if that sounds patronising it isn’t meant to be; it is the truth – just visit and you will see what I mean. People are welcoming to visitors, people smile, they say Jambo – hello – to strangers unconditionally. It was one of the things that most attracted me to this country when I first visited in Continue Reading »