Deserts are ‘medicine’ for all ailments!!???

We left the mountains with all the greenery…  Even thinking to ourselves… “What are we doing heading into the Kaisut desert!!!.”. The area is experiencing a proper drought again and YES life is hard… BUT its funny, we ALL loved being out there so much.. Camels loved the sand, the wind, the midday sun, the freshness of the desert early mornings and evenings.. AS WE DID.. BUT in the desert, one has to be careful or it can catch up on you..

Water is the issue.. We came across people walking many many kms to water, some up to 40-50 kms in a day.. I mean its incredible.. ALL with a stride and positivity that you don’t see in in our modern world…

Anyway… I think, what is so amazing about deserts is the life in them… SO MUCH.. and sooooo healthy.. AND of course the wide huge open vistas…

Deserts are made for camels!..
Camels are made for deserts!
Camels are very comfortable here!
In the balance.. The erosion leaves incredible shapes every where.. This rock looks like an eagle about to take off..
The sunrises!.. this was a really lovely start to the day
The last day of the waning moon, because of the early starts to the mornings you appreciate what the moon is doing every day.. The moon is every thing !!

We are still on our “holiday”..  

I leave you with just a whole array of pictures of the beauty, remoteness, and wildness of this magnificent place on earth..

Also a bit on the work our scouts are doing, the wildlife.. 

each picture speaks for itself.. 

These gerenuks were watching some thing over the other side.. Later we found the tracks of a cheetah.. We sadly disturbed the hunt
and here its was.. a lovely cheetah track in the sand.. Unfortunately we disturbed this cheetah and she dropped the chase..
After quite a few years, here we are standing on ‘Simons’ rocks.. Where 6 years ago we had a celebration of my brothers life.. I have to pinch myself that ‘we made it happen’.. today it is his birthday!
When you meet people in the desert you never just carry on, you stop, have a chat find out the news from where he’s come from and pass on your news..

This is how our scouts work.. a lot of talking, delving into what’s going on and who’s up to what.. Remember every one, knows every one!!

Two of our desert scouts… Our Rendille man from Kargi described else where, and on the left a very influential ilkiramat ‘ Milgy’ which means Acacia Senegal from ‘Lmikenya’ a half Rendille half Samburu community that live in the desert.. We got to know them in 2015 at Simons rocks.. ‘Milgy’s’ father’s grave is near the runway and we first took him some tobacco, so as to allow safe passage.. We walked with this wonderful man for a few days, got to know him and how he is working.. I was so impressed..

I know almost all of you reading this have been on safari and have met some of our ‘Milgis’ scouts briefly and we describe how we operate on our website but for those that don’t know .. The Milgis Trust works in a completely different way than all others.. Our approach is gentle, we don’t fight, or threaten.. WE agree!! Agreeing takes a lot of talking and persuasion.. The work of the Milgis Trust  is very simple.. We want to secure the future for the pastoral peoples and animals.. (Wildlife and livestock) and this will NOT happen if the environment is not on the top of the list of issues!!  Our scouts and informers live with in their communities, when times are easy, after the rains they are at home .. each person takes responsibility for the conservation matters and tries his best to make sure every one understands the implications of not caring.. When its dry, the scouts are off with their livestock as do the neighbours, and the wildlife as well, some times travelling far and wide, so its great, they can spread the word..

We have regular meetings so that each and every scout/ilkiramat has their word and they can all work out the best way to get the message across, and how to best deal with some of the issues rearing up..

Each man or woman chooses an animal, bird, tree, or mountain for his code/radio name.. and now these names have stuck and they are all influential caring people with healthy focus on making sure the future is GOOD!!

I like to get to know all and every person that works out in the field for the ‘Milgis’ personally, and by walking with them we get to know each other..

the finest swift, the mottled
these tiny pygmy falcons enjoying evening from their tree
planning from the top of the lava flow the next days route, taking into account the camels need water
Africa!
the light is fabulous today.. We are heading to a place called Aparen..

Water is a very fragile issue out here.. one mistake and its too late.. AND one is restricted in what one can do as even camels can’t last forever! SO we had to change all our plans because the wells at Apparen were nearly dry.. We decided to head towards Ilaut where the camels could find water .. it was going to be a 50 km walk to get there and back from our camp but it seemed we had no choice.. BUT A community nearby,  Lmikenya about 18 kms there and back, VERY kindly offered to give our camels the little water they had and to push the 100s of goats supposedly coming that day for tomorrow..

A very very kind gesture, and HUGELY appreciated forever..

The generosity of people out here in these deserts is extraordinary

Just for interest.. Ilaut is a famous place if you are a camel owner.. Its been a traditional place to water your camels for years and years…  Hundreds and hundreds, some times thousands of thirsty camels would be watered in a day.. The beautiful warriors all singing as they bring the water up from deep wells.. A wonderful place of gathering of people and animals..  It can be the MOST amazing sight, to remain with you forever.. its an all day affaire and all the stories and news exchanges ‘hands’… In an normal year it would have been the place of choice to water our animals, and collect information, BUT because of the drought most of the camels have headed towards the Chalbi to the area we saw the rain in May 2021, and we took the kind offer to go to Lmikenya!

Another time our search for water takes us this most beautiful valley..

early walk into this beautiful valley in between the lava flows..
goats leave early morning for Aparen and there’s a very clear queue.. first come first get..
desert shapes
Aparen .. the wells are almost dry.. A lot of waiting around but plenty of laughter, banter and positive talk down in this lovely valley.. Miles away from  the world
Apparen water holes.. nearly dry .. unheard of for so many years.. the people here, so incredibly friendly and big smiles although the water level is so low..

Actually that same afternoon a man sadly slipped into one of the deep wells, night mare of note, they are about 30 or so feet deep, trying to bring the last few drops for his friend’s goats.. He broke his arm and damaged his foot, but survived.. They got the traditional ‘broken bone’ doc in and in no time he will be back on the road !!

Two of our very important and wonderful desert scouts.. The one on the left is from Kargi on the edge of the Chalbi desert.. code name ‘ Korole’… He knows every one, that is any one.. especially with in the Rendille and Gabbra elders.. Highly respected in the area and a valuable addition to the desert group.. the man on the right is from the south end of Ldonyo Mara, and is looking into the poaching of the wildlife in the desert.. Takes his work very seriously !! top man for the job..

And so, with these good men on the job, things are improving on the piki ( motorbike ) poaching side. We are moving in the right direction… . One step at a time.. With the good support of the people now living out in the desert with their cows, because of the good grass there, we are winning BUT absolutely can not let our guard down..  luckily also the animals themselves fight back sometimes and one of the poachers was wounded by an oryx..

An aardwolf.. We saw two this trip.. That brings my personal count to only 4 in all my life
And yet their dung heaps are ALL OVER THE PLACE!! they only eat ants .. can you believe it!
The white headed vulture.. so very rare we saw 3
The incredible scenery with the mountains and the red earth

Drought is an interesting phenomena… in fact its almost good ..  Especially if the people remain nomadic..  Some areas get fabulous rain like this year further north in May 21.. What we found is A LOT of pastoralists have travelled long long distances to find pasture, and the good news is they are finding it!.. And although this area looks drastically dry, we know the rains will eventually come and  the land will bounce back

This beauty had its young hidden in the dry brush and was willing to give her life to save its life.. with this don’t mess with me look..!
The magnificent golden breasted starling!

EARLY START!

When you are in the desert its essential you are up with the stars, 4 am, making tea for the team..
Early morning set off from camp.. camel being saddled up.. no time to waste in the mornings.. its the time to be out on the road!.. midday is when one catches up with sleep!
The sun rising behind Baio.. the light in the mornings and evenings is just so fabulous..
the long early morning shadows
Walking in absolute silence just the pads of the camels shuffling on the sand
Lgelegele’ our aardvark waiting for the radio call up from base.. He is very excited to report the tracks of 2 giraffe, ( mum and youngster) coming back into places they had disappeared from.. We have a team specifically looking after this situation.. and while doing this have fallen on ostrich poachers again… this time blinding them with a bright torch and hamstringing from behind… luckily a risky business, ostriches can be very dangerous as one of the poachers found out!
We are incredibly concerned for the ostriches.. they are being destroyed for their feathers and their fat.. Its VERY high on our list of issues .. We have the support of KWS thank fully..
I have to say one thing about the Rendille people.. they live in a very harsh place out here.. They NEVER cut trees for their livestock, and their dogs do not chase wildlife.. why I don’t know.. We saw many wild animals very close to humans and every one lives happily together and this picture of this Bustard with the goats was a testament to this..

There were Bustards around every corner.. amazing!! the sounds of bustards calling ring out constantly!

Kori bustard
buff bellied bustard
white bellied bustard’s
very rare Heuglin’s bustard..

Come on you lot!! YES I’m talking to YOU reading this!… come and walk with us, come and get cured from all your ailments in the desert.. Minimum time you need is 2 weeks!….

WALKING, just walking is good for you.. You have time to ponder and time to process you’re thoughts!
Its really lovely out here! the wide open spaces and the silence is good for you!
Rock kopjes are like magnets.. you see them from a long way away and you can’t resist homing in!
Lodermurt.. this gigantic rock piercing the sky near Laisamis.. 100 kms away!
These ‘marti’s’ as they are called in Samburu, million year old lava flows that shape the landscape and give other plants a life, with the rich soil on them, giving so much richness to the area.
How this baboon survives, he’s looking very healthy! BUT obviously finding lots to eat on the ‘marti’
Goats and Sheep coming down from a days grazing on the ‘marti’
The camel team enjoying a higher point to watch over the camels as they browse, for the afternoon.. Also makes it perfect place to listen to the bells of the camels.. In a herd of 35 camels about 10 camels will wear bells.. the ones that stick with the herd and the wonderers so you can basically sit in a nice spot and listen and know where every one is..
Here the camels come home to where they left there loads.. The camel is the most incredible safari animal.. they are very happy to travel to new places every day, to find new forage every day.. they like to be handled and spoken to by their handlers.. and of course on our side they don’t need water every day, and they won’t starve if there’s no food..
home for the night..happy to be hobbled near there handlers, and to chew their cuds
I reiterate.. this is not an advert..pretending, to be the real thing … walking in these REMOTE AND WILD places is the real thing this is good for your health!
the space!
the colours
the harshness brings one down to earth
the wildlife!.. the impeccable Somali fiscal
the contrasts!
the UNBELIEVABLE scenery..

Being with nature and under the stars..

Finally .. new moon last month.. the people were excited because by the way it was sitting absolutely square to the sun it will fill with water.. It hasn’t rained yet but it will be very welcome, and lets hope the ‘bucket’ fills up!

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