Smiles from the Milgis, despite harsh drought..

We all try to keep a smile on our faces.. it can only do us good!

Debrazza, ( all our rangers are named after animals, plants or mountains in our area,  this will be their radio call name )  Many of you safari-ites will know this wonderful scout.. He is full of character and fun.. He knows every tree in the forest and knows what each plant will cure.. 

The Milgis Trust’s influence covers an area of about 6000 square kms in this spectacular part of northern Kenya, , and employs around 90 People from the communities … 30 are scouts/rangers fully uniformed and all have a radio, then under them we have 40 what we call Lkiramats who cover when the scout is away, or helps him when things get chaotic.. The rest are admin, drivers,  tractor team, vet, family planning, watchmen etc..

The meeting below is the Lkiramats.. They all walk to the chosen spot, the furtherest, almost 200 kms to get to there and back to their location on the way gathering information, taking in whats going on in other areas, talking to any one they pass.. so they arrive with lots to talk about.. Generally a meeting will take about 3 or 4 days, when all aspects are covered, they may make some patrols together, they dig wells for the wildlife etc..

Lanner falcon, come to the meeting as well!

Each person has lots of time to say whats in his thoughts, and to discuss.. It always a very happy time where every one is down to the same level.. enjoying each others company..

‘Modon’.. Blue naped mousebird.. this kind gentle person works closely with Debrazza, and the two of them know the forest in the Ndotos like nobody else..  How he got his name was quite a few years ago… He was chosen, then a warrior, by Debrazza to show us ‘whitys’, up to the top of the mountain.. He was wearing a blue cloth on his head to save his hair style,  from being ruined in the very thick bush, as he wanted to keep it nice for the girls!! After 3 hours of cutting his way through the tangled flora we emerged at this most beautiful ridge with a view to die for.. It is so striking, over looking the vast range of the Ndoto mountains.. ( in fact its my home page photo for the )

Honey badger, ‘Ngore’ our second operator based on the top of the Ndotos.. on Suruan …also full of energy and takes his job very seriously.. He helps with the scouts communications and reports from the east side of the mountains, and right into the desert.. 

Every two months we have a scouts or a Lkiramat meeting some where in the bush.. No expensive hotel, food, or transport!… just a few mattresses, maybe nets, a couple of big saucepans….

Lkiramat meeting

Big smiles from the manager.. He’s always happy and runs a good meeting, lots of fun and laughter..

Very often the issues talked about are serious.. whether it be poachers, sick elephants, fires, lions/hyenas/wild dogs killing livestock etc .. But we try to keep things light..

The all important record keeping 

Just a whole lot of smiles!

A very dry year so far.. The rains are late and People and wildlife are suffering.. Despite this we keep a smile on our faces and keep positive for rain..



Stress is every where… The drought is harsh and many peoples livestock is struggeling.. The Milgis lugga is still VERY DRY.. Not usual for this time of the year.. see the dust in the air..

On the lugga its hot and dry..

Coming back home after our last trip

Dusty and hot.. very hot..

Pastoralists moving here there and every where

End of March there was a little hope that the rains arrived but it sprinkled a bit and disappeared

Abdims storks saw the rain and thought things were looking up?!!

Our elephants are doing ok.. Despite tough times..

the elephants are still ok.. We have not had to start digging wells for them as there is still water near the surface on quite a few luggas..  Thank goodness.. Its because the rains had been good to the west in the Kirisia hills for the last few years.. So good that the lake levels in the rift valley have surpassed levels of centuaries!! ..

the water is still close enough at the surface for the elephants to dig.

Vulturine guinea fowls digging for water

Theres also been lots of challenges, Fires have been lit by irresponsible people on the move which has caused the elders more stress than they need at this time..

Here below is on the luggas, but we’ve had a terrible time on the Ndotos.. Massive acreage has been burnt in the Ndoto forest and our scouts have been trying the best to stop the ‘games’.. The question is always..   WHY WHY WHY..

Recourses are at their lowest so what will burning achieve.. 

What a sad sight..

A terrible destruction

Damage from one of the fires

so close to burning these beautiful trees, so important in the cycle of nature for the animals.. These Acacia Tortilis, produce, leaves, flowers and the most nutritious pods of all, and yet these guys tried to burn them.. 

Despite all this theres no point in mopeing, so we have been finding new routes for our safaris through paradise and beyond..

Recce.. Some times we were crawling on our hand and knees through the bush.. Debrazza was determined there was a way!

The mountains, the views.. JUUUUUST peaceful.. Nothing else just nature.. 

Once we had found a route we headed up with the camels..

camels and Alimisio..


Alimisio and Upe

While the advance team work out the route the camels stop for a eat..

Move on for abit…

another break..

the mountains make us all feel good


Burian, body guard discussing something.. and Pete

Burian and Kosi.. Always happy..

Feeling good..

no wonder look at the view

wild asparagus, the aroma is all over..

snake eagle

South Ndotos

Our newly recruited Lkiramat for this lovely place.. He knows it like the back of his hand!

The plains of the many hills

saddling up

the kitchen..

beautiful things seen in transit..

european roller

White throated bee-eater

Flowering lianas

patterns in the sand


collecting water

Gorgeous gorges through out the hills.. one thinks they are dry but there are small pockets of water, difficult to get to, but we came across a lovely Samburu lady doing her washing in the middle of nowhere..

just behind the well was this beautiful spotted tree snake.. the lady said it was her friend.. She says they have an agreement, the snake goes into the well to eat the frogs and gets stuck down there and every morning she rescues it..

Upe and Poi.. Growing up into wonderful dogs…

Talking of smiling.. Heres another resident of the gorge!.. black mamba with his BIG SMILE!!

We thought the colouring of this butterfly? maybe moth? was pretty special.. 


Beginning May, .. We woke up to WATER IN THE LUGGA!!!.. Our joy did not last long as it was pure mud.. it had poured with rain in one spot, but most of the area was worryingly dry.. 


These 3 hyenas came running thinking it was lovely new water but sadly it was just too muddy.. 


I was not able to post the above blog, and two weeks later I have MUCH MORE GOOD NEWS.. its rained properly.. in almost all areas!

After a fact finding trip to the desert, we come home to this.. 16th May 2021.. The rain has been amazing AT LAST and VERY late.. Anyway…. All the luggas have flooded and every one is smiling properly NOW, not just putting a brave face!!

Next blog will be all about the desert and the future work we have on our hands.. 

One thought on “Smiles from the Milgis, despite harsh drought..

  1. Dearest ΗEllen
    I read your blog twice and lived through all those wonderful moments…animals, birds, snakes, moths, and best PEOPLE, your wonderful scouts that do such a great job as guardians of that extraordinary part of paradise which thanks to you we have come to know. AND TIME TO COME BACK!
    We would love to plan a trip this Xmas if we’re allowed to travel!!! How would that sound?
    Sending so much love to you all
    Sophie and Andrew xooxoxoxox😍

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