Cheli & Peacock Safaris Blog
Posted on 03.12.2015
by Liz & Stefano Cheli
(c) Michael Poliza
I know that you often get asked for donations for one worthy cause or another, but in this case I make no apology for doing so again. We need your help.
For over 30 years, the magical Maasai Mara has been a home from home for me, and the place where my passion for wildlife and its conservation was born. During this time I have personally guided many of you on breathtaking safaris to see the Maasai Mara and its great migration over the vast rolling plains dotted with hundreds of thousands of animals.
My mentor was Dr David Western, former Director of the Kenya Wildlife Service and Founder of ACC (African Conservation Centre), who taught me that wildlife, in order for it to succeed, must be able to earn their place on Earth and that local communities, who share grazing space with these wild animals, must also benefit from them in the simplest form of the “tourist dollar”.
I joined the board of ACC in 2002. I am a founder member and Chairman of the Mara North Conservancy and three years ago was asked to join the board of the “Northern Rangelands Trust“, another wonderful conservation success story, having established 27 separate conservancies in Northern Kenya.
Those of you who have not personally experienced the wonders of the Maasai Mara’s annual migration of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle may at least have experienced it on television and film, as the migration moves from the Serengeti in Tanzania to the Mara Reserve in Kenya before heading off into the neighbouring community and private lands.
However, the future of Africa’s greatest migration and the Maasai Mara ecosystem that supports it, is increasingly under threat. Populations of the Mara’s resident wildebeest which take refuge in the community and private lands, have already suffered a dramatic decline in the last 10 years.
(c) Jackson Looseyia, presenter of BBC’s Big Cat Diary
Scientists have linked this dramatic decline to the rapid increase in the break-up of
community ranch land into smaller privately owned parcels, as well as to the expansion of local towns, the fencing of private plots, the grazing of livestock and the cultivation of land for agriculture. This has resulted in a huge reduction in the availability of grass and water, both essential for the survival of the great migration.
The great migration is also critically dependent on the Mara ecosystem for its annual dry season grazing – each year the animals travel 1,500km, seeking grazing in Kenya during the dry season of Tanzania. They have roamed free for centuries, but now with the pressures and degradation of the land, all this could end. If we don’t manage the development and keep space for the great migration to continue moving freely, then all that we have achieved these past years will be lost.
This is why in 2009, we set up the Mara North Conservancy.
Our activities were endorsed in 2013 when the United Nations Environment Program acknowledged the importance of action, stating, “Urgent efforts need to be made to protect wildebeest migratory corridors and dispersal areas to ensure these great migrations for the future“.
As the Founder and Chairman of Mara North Conservancy (MNC), I am writing to you to ask for your urgent help. Please donate generously to MNC today, so we can protect the vital wildlife habitat of Mara North Conservancy for the great migration. Your gift of US$ 100, US$ 1,000 or US$ 5,000 can make all the difference.
In total we are seeking to raise US$355,000 to help the Mara North Conservancy in keeping space for the Great Migration.
Historically, tourism provided much of the funding for the Mara conservancies to manage and protect the community and private lands surrounding the Maasai Mara National Reserve. With the tourism crisis our ability to pay and cover all the costs is seriously challenged. And if the conservancies go, the jobs disappear, the land lease payments stop and we say goodbye to the remaining resident wildebeest migration as well as the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people of the Maasai community. Now MNC is partnering with 736 Maasai landowners to lease 61,099 acres (24,726 hectares) of vital wildlife habitat, providing many benefits to the owners of the land, including guaranteed monthly rental income (amount for lease), an income for over 5,000 Maasai family members, employment for over 450 Kenyans – 60% of which are from the local area – as well as generating well over US$ 1 million in charitable support for the local schools and clinics these past years.
Your donation to MNC will mean that we can continue to operate the Conservancy, through funding essential equipment such as patrol vehicles, anti-poaching vehicles, tractors, digital VHF radios, ranger bases, and increasing much-needed boots on the ground plus securing vital habitat by registering leases for conservation. With these key requirements, we can carry out wildlife protection and monitoring patrols and be much better able to work with communities to keep the area open for wildlife through the management of local towns, fencing and livestock grazing – the greatest threats to the great migration of Africa.
We are also well aware that further loss of wildlife and their habitat of the Maasai Mara could jeopardize other key tourism destinations in Kenya and the rest of East Africa.
Please consider making your most generous gift to Mara North Conservancy. Not only in honour of your personal experience and involvement in the Maasai Mara and your love for Africa, but also to enable your family and friends to visit the Mara in years and generations to come.
Any donation will help protect the greatest mammal migration on the planet.
Never before have we needed your help like we do now.
Thank you so much for your attention and much required generosity.
Thank you my friends,
Chairman, Mara North Conservancy
Posted on 01.09.2015
by Cheli & Peacock Safaris
We are very excited to welcome Patrick Bourgeix “Pab” to Cheli & Peacock Safaris!
Pab is joining Henrietta in the Cheli & Peacock Safaris Tanzania office thanks to the growth and success of our Arusha office!
Henrietta is especially delighted to welcome Pab to the team, saying his marketing, sales and technical skills as well as his knowledge of Tanzania are invaluable and best of all he’s fun to work with!
Pab says joining Cheli & Peacock Safaris is the perfect ‘next step’ in what has been a long but highly enjoyable career. It is also a wonderful opportunity to help continue the success of the Cheli & Peacock Safaris in Tanzania.
Pab started off as a guide from the age of 25, and has been in Product Management and Sales since 1990, before moving to EA in 2007 to become a Safari specialist. He operated in Kenya for 7 years and has been based in Tanzania since May 2014.
In addition to his passion for safaris and wildlife, Pab is a classical pianist, loves cooking and is extremely happy
settled in Arusha with his little dog Kay.
He can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org
Smart New Offices in Arusha
In October, the Cheli & Peacock Safaris offices in Arusha are moving to the all new smart and prestigious offices based in Arusha Coffee Lodge where we will be doing all our client briefings. Watch out for those delicious pastries and coffee!
Kaya Cole Joins the Specialized Safaris Team;
Kaya joins the Cheli & Peacock Kenya team today working closely with Caro and Antonia in the Specialized Safaris
Recently returned to Kenya from Singapore, she joins us with over 12 years work experience in management roles, marketing, events and customer relations. Welcome Kaya.
She can be reached on email@example.com
Liz & Stefano and the Cheli and Peacock Safaris Team
Posted on 17.08.2015
by Cheli & Peacock Safaris
THE NEW, UPGRADED STARBEDS
Liz and I and our two boys, visited Loisaba last week and stayed in the new Starbeds. Wow…fantastic upgrade with full proper running water, new platform entrance to the skybeds and 24 / 7 power. So yes the new Starbeds, 4 platforms of which one is a family skybed, a must-do experience.
THE NEW LOISABA
In January this year the 56,000-acre Loisaba Conservancy, which is a critical piece in protecting Kenya’s second largest elephant population, was permanently protected by transferring ownership to the Loisaba Community Trust. This move avoids the land from being sold off to developers. The Nature Conservancy raised funds to secure Loisaba and is now working in partnership with Space for Giants to improve conservation management and increase benefits to surrounding communities.
Loisaba sits in an elephant migratory pathway. Between Kenya’s North West Laikipia Plateau and Mt Kenya to the East. It also provides refuge for Kenya’s only stable lion population, and an abundance of other wildlife including Grevy zebra, wild dogs, leopard, and cheetah.
THE NEW LOISABA TENTED CAMP
In 1972 my late father Federico Cheli with an Indian contractor from Maralal called Mr. Bhola built the original Loisaba Lodge. It was a typical 70′s lodge design, small rooms and square small bathrooms. Many often would comment on this during our 15 years of marketing Loisaba. Well, 43 years later Tom Silvester, Liz and I and with collaboration and input from Elewana directors and the TNC directors are rebuilding.
We are creating a 24 bed Luxury tented camp on the original site that the old lodge was on, which burnt down in 2013. The soon to be “Loisaba Tented Camp” will have 2 suites of 90 sq meters, 6 standard tents of 65 sq meters and 2 double family units ensuite ( yes 2 tents each with own bathroom) . 2 infinity pools and of course all the activities that you are all so familiar with on Loisaba. A true, full of fun, family destination.
The tents will be a contemporary design with an organic feel to them, looking across that famous stunning 100 km view east, to Mt Kenya.
The rebuilt / refurbed Star beds are operating already and the Tented Camp will open hopefully for Xmas this year.
The chances are that we will also be building a Loisaba Royal Lodge / Camp which will be a 12 bed all suites on another lovely Loisaba site. So watch this space.
Liz and I are very excited about this project and as Cheli & Peacock Safaris we will be promoting it a lot.
Elewana will be managing the tourism product on Loisaba and hence their family of lodges across East Africa is ever growing.
Looking forward to sending you to Loisaba again.
Best to all,
Stefano & Liz
Posted on 25.07.2014
by Liz & Stefano Cheli
Dear friends and partners,
As part of our series of interviews we are talking to Caroline Hickman, owner and designer for the safari clothing label Hickman & Bousfield. Providing high end, classic safari clothing globally, Hickman & Bousfield pride themselves on always using the best quality natural fabrics. Here Caroline shares her invaluable advice on how to ensure you travel with the perfect safari wardrobe.
Very best wishes, Liz & Stefano
Advice on how to master the perfect safari wardrobe from top safari outfitter Caroline Hickman of Hickman & Bousfield.
Firstly, we all know what safari colours are – but why does it actually matter what colours we wear on safari?
Animals generally don’t like bright colours. It is well known that in East Africa the Tsetse fly like blue, so you should definitely keep clear of this colour on safari in that area. Black is too hot. It’s best to stay neutral and blend in and of course, some of the fun of safari is looking the part. Another bonus to a neutral wardrobe is it is much easier to cobble together at 5am when a lot of morning game drives depart.
What would be your top tips for putting together a safari wardrobe?
Layering is extremely important. It can be freezing first thing in the morning and then temperatures can soar. The sun is also very powerful as you are generally in close proximity to the equator, so I would highly recommend covering up rather than exposing skin to the sun’s intense rays. Leggings and long sleeved t-shirts are great staples. Ensure that your shirts are long enough for regular clambering in and out of safari vehicles. Don’t pack too much; most camps have an excellent laundry service should you need it. My last comment would be dress as yourself, but just adapt the pallet.
What fabrics would you recommend?
Cotton and linen. They are both easy to wash at the camps; they look better with age and breathe well. They also still look good when they are crumpled and sweaty, and you may not have an iron easily to hand in the bush!
One article of clothing you should never forget to pack?
A wide brimmed hat is essential. For ladies, I would say a sports bra. The terrain on safari is often rough and journeys can be more than a little bumpy.
Is there a clothing etiquette on safari?
Many parts of Africa are deeply religious including large Christian and Muslim communities. Dress respectfully and cover up. This is also sensible for practical reasons due to the strength of the sun.
Safari clothing is quite an investment, so are there other occasions for wearing items you purchase for your holiday?
All our clothes are versatile enough to wear at home. Linen shirts and our bush jackets in military green look great with jeans and our moleskin jackets sell extremely well for use in the UK. Safari clothes can be incredibly durable and our linen shirts will last for up to 10 years. I would always recommend that guests mix their safari clothes with items from the high street. You can pick up fantastic neutral chinos in stores like Gap and Zara. Mix safari items with your own clothes to avoid looking like you have been hit with the safari stick.
Where do you source your fabrics/materials?
The linen and cotton is mainly sourced from Italy. Cotton drill and moleskin comes from the Lancashire Mills in England as the quality is undisputed.
What inspired you to set up Hickman & Bousfield?
When I moved to Botswana three and a half years ago, I noticed a real lack of availability of quality safari clothes in natural fabrics. There was also an issue of year-round supply; you might get lucky some months with mainstream designers incorporating safari colours into a season but not necessarily for all the seasons. I was pregnant and had time on my hands so I took inspiration from my husband’s safari kit and durable military gear and set up Hickman & Bousfield.
What is your favourite animal?
It has to be a leopard. Sadly they keep evading me and I have only had a couple of sightings.
Hickman & Bousfield are offering readers of the Cheli & Peacock blog a 10% discount. Please quote the code hb-cp when ordering.
Please come and see Cheli & Peacock at the Rutland Birdfair from 15th to 17th August, 2014 and meet Stefano Cheli, and where there is also the opportunity to win a stylish yet practical Hickman & Bousfield moleskin jacket worth £395.