I walked with my head high,
My limbs agile...my breathe steady
In an alley there lays a dead cat,
I'm awash with grief,
Once more I'm reminded....
I am but a rotting flesh...
I bow my head in humility
"Just Returned Today From Kenya - Very Sad State of AffairsAs someone who loves Kenya, her people and her wildlife and who reads the Nairobi papers daily, I know that tourism has been down. However, I never dreamed how down it could be.....I spent two full weeks in a Kenyan National Park and am still in a state of shock. On several days there were only 2 clients in camp; numbers went up this weekend to 26 on Saturday and 21 on Sunday (this camp is normally full with 40 - 50 people in camp.I have always traveled with Southern Cross Safaris in Mombasa for all my 28 trips. They have been in business since 1957 and in addition to being a tour operator, they own two camps, one in Tsavo and one near Amboseli. Mike Kirkland, the owner of SXS has done so very much for wildlife. He and Trevor Jennings built a camp in Tsavo around 1998 and had the vision to put in two waterholes for the wildlife (a large one for the elephants, hippos and large animals and a smaller one for the smaller species).Please let me eunumerate some of the other things Mike has done for wildlife over the years. When the Aruba Dam Bridge was ruined by a storm, Mike re-built it; he stopped Aruba Dam from being made into an artificial waterhole; two years ago he had four new boreholes drilled (not for camp water but to supply water to the two waterholes for the animals); he has gone to great expense to see that the waterhole has been dredged out of all dirt, mud and dung on two occasions; Mike and his staff built the Ndara Plains waterhole; he started and funds the Wema Centre in Mombasa for human orphans and sees they are all housed, clothed, fed and educated (going so far as to treat all the children to a trip to Tsavo a few months back so the children could learn about their Kenyan wildlife. He supports the Tsavo Trust and supports and has driven in the Rhino Charge. I am sure there are many other things Mike has done to help wildlife that I am not aware of. Thank you Mike for all you have done to better the lives of Kenya's wildlife over the years!Why am I giving this "commercial" to Southern Cross Safaris? Because most of all I believe in what they do for wildlife. Secondly there are so many tour operators, camp and lodge owners who make their money from wildlife, pay their monthlybills and pocket what is left over without doing anything (or very little) to contribute to the well-being of wildlife. I salute anyone in the business who supports wildlife by actively doing something positive to make the wildlife's lives better.If tour companies, camp and lodges are in trouble now because of low tourism, what will happen to the wildlife if those who are doing so much to help wildlife have to "close shop"? Before you stay at any camp or lodge in Kenya, please request information from them of what they actually contribute to wildlife itself and what projects they have been involved in make life better for the wildlife.I still do not believe the entire drop in tourism is due to "travel advisories". Most of the people in camp I saw were international tourists. Usually there are quite a few "wealthy" Kenyans who visit there - but until last weekend there were none. Therefore I would like to challenge Kenyans who are able to afford a stay in the park for a day or two to PLEASE SUPPORT tour companies and camps and lodges like Southern Cross Safaris to enable them to continue with the caring work they have done for wildlife, and insure you are contributing to HELPING WILDLIFE and not just someone pocketing the profits. The same should be said of NGO's. What have you actually done to improve wildlife's health or safety?
My hope is that I am not offending anyone but instead encouraging more camp and lodge owners to follow Mike's example and get involved in helping save wildlife."