Camp Tanzania 2015
CAMP TANZANIA 2015
This year Hugh Christie once again embarked on a Camps International expedition Team, this time to Tanzania. We had a fabulous time on our month's expedition and were, once again part of the most brilliant team with King Arthur's Community School from Somerset, The Purbeck School from Dorset and Ormiston Rivers Academy from Essex, and were led by our Mountain Leader, Adam Browne. Whilst we were based in Moshi for much of the trip we had the opportunity to travel around the country, staying in Kidia, Mount Meru, Tanga and Ndarakwai. We undertook some community and wildlife conservation project work and summited Mount Meru - thanks to Adam and Ashley (our Tanzanian guide) for looking after us on the mountain.
Yet again, we have all made life long friends out there and undergone personal development on this trip. Thank you to Camps International and Adam Browne, in particular, for keeping us safe and providing us with some memorable experiences.
Week 1: CAMP KIDIA
Camp Kidia is located right on the boundary of Kilimanjaro National Park. On a clear day, this majestic mountain can be seen towering above; we were already so high up, without having even having climbed it!
Surrounded by lush, green vegetation consisting of maize, banana and coffee plantations, this region can be cold but is incredibly fertile and provides the local community with a source of income. One of the highlights of Kidia is the interaction with the people, such a joyous occasion as they don’t get many visitors and are such welcoming people.
The team had an opportunity to undertake a range of project work in the community, including soil erosion prevention and teaching at the local school, farming and the opportunity to build a mud hut for one of the poorest families in the community. In addition to this we had a chance to participate in some cultural activities with the local people, including singing and dancing and cookery lessons. There was also some time to relax, playing football with the locals in the evenings. Kidia also provided us with a chance to acclimatize for our mountain trek.
Week 2: MOUNT MERU
Mount Meru may not be the highest mountain in Africa but it is renowned as one of the most challenging and rewarding treks and is one of Africa’s highest and most beautiful volcanoes. Mount Meru stands at a little over 4,566 metres and is the fourth highest mountain in Africa. The mountain is a stunning feature of the Tanzanian landscape, standing tall above the town of Arusha and offers unparalleled views of its famous neighbour, Kilimanjaro.
This 4-day trek passes through parkland, montane forest, a giant heather zone and moorland. The summit is reached via a narrow, barren ridge that provides stunning views of the ash cone lying several thousand feet below in the crater with Kilimanjaro providing a stunning background. Mount Meru also offers you the best wildlife viewing of most other mountain treks because of its central location in Arusha National Park. The park boasts over 400 species of bird, elephant, buffalos, baboons, warthogs, colobus monkeys and a variety of antelopes.
An unbelievably tough but incredibly rewarding experience.
Week 3: CAMP TANGA
When you walk into Camp Tanga you feel the fresh sea breeze in your hair, this same cool breeze entices you onto the beach admire the wonderful Indian Ocean view.
The team experienced authentic local village life by living and working alongside this charming fishing community, and seeing firsthand how your hard work is benefitting the area. Project work focused on improving community life such as building traditional houses for those in need, an ongoing project that directly benefits families within the village. There was also a chance to teach in the local school and to do some marine conservation project work, making use of the old flip flops that wash up on the beach and turn them into artwork.
At night, the team enjoyed sitting on the beach or around the campfire as bush babies called from the tree canopy and the moon rose over the ocean. They also had an opportunity to enjoy some r’n’r time, snorkelling in the Indian Ocean.
Week 4: CAMP NDARAKWAI
Ndarakwai is a very important part of the Amboseli/Ngasurai eco-system and helps to preserve vital seasonal elephant routes. Many species (lesser kudu, Grants gazelle, warthogs, impala, wildebeast, giraffe, waterbuck, bushbuck, hyena, etc), are permanent residents around the camp, while others (eland, zebra, buffalo, elephant, cheetah, etc) use Ndarakwai seasonally.
With views of both Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Meru, the camp is very basic and was home to the team whilst we participated in a range of wildlife conservation activities including digging a waterhole and making elephant poo paper.
We also had an opportunity to visit a local Masai boma to see how the local people live, and we were lucky enough to go on safari in the Tarangire National Park where we saw a host of animals in the wild including elephants, lions and the very elusive leopard!
Click HERE to see the photo gallery of our amazing expedition
CAMP KENYA 2013
The Hugh Christie Camp Kenya Team had the most amazing time in Kenya on our month's expedition in Kenya in the summer of 2013. We were part of the most fantastic team with King Arthur's Community School from Somerset, The Purbeck School from Dorset and Burnt Mill Academy from Essex, and were led by our truly awesome Mountain Leader, Dan Biddle. We had the opportunity to see different parts of the country, staying in Tsavo, Muhaka, Imani, Nanyuki and Mount Kenya. We had a chance to relax and safari and have also undertook some worthwhile and rewarding project work and, on the last leg of our expedition, completed our ascent of Mount Kenya which was one of the toughest things we have ever had to do - thanks to Dan and Nixon (our Kenyan guide) for motivating us and getting us up safely. An amazing sense of achievement for us all.
We had a slightly epic journey home as we were due to fly home on the day of the Nairobi airport fire, and ended up taking 58 hours to get home, travelling through 5 countries (including a long border crossing into Tanzania in the middle of the night!).
We all made some life long friends out there and learnt so much about ourselves and other people on this trip; an unforgettable experience. A huge thank you to Camps International and Dan Biddle, in particular, for looking after us so well and keeping us safe.
Week 1: CAMP TSAVO
Camp Tsavo is a spectacular place. Set in the middle of an 80,000 acre private conservation area bordering the world famous Tsavo National Parks, this slice of paradise offers a once in a lifetime chance to live alongside amazing wildlife in the heart of the African bush.
Camp Tsavo is a permanent camp, set out like a traditional African village and is surrounded by spectacular panoramic views of the Rukinga sanctuary on all sides. More than 50 species of large mammals inhabit the sanctuary, including lions, cheetahs, leopards, African wild dogs, elephants, buffalos, hyenas, giraffes and endangered Grevvy’s zebras. It is also home to over 300 species of birds, dozens of reptiles and amphibians and thousands of insect species. We got to see many of these on safari.
Whilst at Tsavo we had an opportunity to work on some wildlife conservation projects including making elephant dung paper, wildlife monitoring in the Rukinga park and erecting an oil and chilli rag fence to deter elephants from destroying crops. We also worked in Sasenyi Primary school digging trenches for the foundations of a new classroom.
In addition we had a Bush Adventure day where we were put in teams and had to compete to build survival shelters and make fire. This day ended with a climb to Sunset Rock and a few cold drinks watching the sun set.
Week 2: CAMP MUHAKA
Camp Muhaka is a permanent bush camp set in the heart of a small rural African community on the lower slopes of the Shimba Hills. Built in 2007, this beautiful camp sits in the middle of a forest, rich in palm and mango trees that provide cooling shade from the heat of the sun, where monkeys and bush babies inquisitively watch you from the canopy (and so do the enormous spiders!).
The camp’s central location in the village means that the primary school that we were working on is just across the road and it was only a short walk to the sacred Kaya Muhaka forest where one of the conservation projects is based. This gave us a chance to experience first hand the positive effect that the Camps project work has on the community.
We worked for four days in the Islamic primary school at Muhaka to lay the foundation and floor of a new community library and classroom block – we also shaped and laid the first few bricks of the building. This was hard work and back-breaking but very rewarding work and really helped us all to bond as a team.
Whilst at Muhaka we had a couple of well deserved R’n’R days at the beach, to relax and socialise with our new friends.
Week 3: CAMP IMANI
Camp Imani is a charming rural camp situated in the heart of the Tsavo ecosystem. The camp is located at the Imani Women’s group and Itinyi Primary School is just across the road. As a long standing centre for the women’s activities, this camp draws its charm from being part and parcel of a successfully managed community based enterprise with various small poultry and permaculture projects dotted around the grounds. Living in such close proximity to this wonderful community gives a special insight into traditional African life and gives a chance to experience first hand the positive effect that the Camps project work has on the community. Plus, there is a host of amazing wildlife right on the doorstep!
At Imani we were able to work on a range of projects including shelling corn, beadwork, digging trenches at the Itinyi Secondary School to combat soil erosion, painting classrooms and hanging doors in the classrooms. We also had the chance to visit a local church service and climb into the hills on our summit preparation walk to watch a spectacular sunset. With no light pollution and a timely power cut we also had a fabulous view of the night sky with its millions of stars, including some shooting stars and meteors.
It was a real pleasure to meet the fabulous Mama Mercy at Imani and to hear her story and a pleasure to work alongside the women at the camp.
Week 4: MOUNT KENYA
The expedition allowed us to challenge ourselves to climb Kenya’s highest peak and experience the exhilaration of trekking the second highest mountain in Africa. Mt Kenya stands at 4985m and is an amazing 5-day trek in some of the most beautiful scenery Kenya has to offer. Camps had chosen our route carefully so that we could take our time on this trek to give us the best possible chance of summiting. Our awesome Mountain Leader, Dan Biddle, and our fabulous Kenyan guide, Nixon, led us up the mountain and professional porters carried our rucksacks. On our final summit day, an early start saw us on the summit circuit path, which is arguably the finest walking trail in all of East Africa. We experienced stunning views, tarns, glaciers, ice carved rock formations and precipitous valleys, before reaching Pt. Lenana.
Although our mountain climb was physically demanding and mostly wet and cold, it was a fabulous experience and we all felt extremely proud that we managed to climb the mountain and get as far as we did – all of the Hugh Christie students summited; an amazing achievement!
Week 4: OL PEJETA
The Ol Pejeta Conservancy is a not-for-profit organization situated in Kenya’s Laikipia County adjacent to Nanyuki town. It is East Africa’s largest Black Rhino sanctuary, the only place in Kenya to see chimpanzees and holds some of the highest predator densities in Kenya.
The Ol Pejeta revenue generating enterprises include world-class wildlife tourism and a fully integrated livestock production system. Ol Pejeta Conservancy aims to develop as a financially self-sustaining and innovative model that achieves conservation in a manner that produces tangible social benefit at both a local and national level.
Ol Pejeta is a mosaic of grass plains, wooded grassland, Acacia woodland and evergreen thicket extending for over 350 square kilometers. Ol Pejeta boasts an astounding variety of animals including non-indigenous chimpanzees and the Big Five.
The combination of amazing wildlife and stunning views across the open plains, including a stunning view of Mount Kenya. This was a fabulous place to relax and wind down after our mountain climb and we were rewarded with pizza, hot showers and a fantastic safari experience.
Click HERE to see our amazing photo gallery of the expedition!