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Apr
27

Cheap Flights to Nairobi-Raise Awareness

safari

safari

Attention all you Safari lovers: Poaching is on the rise. Prince William gave a speech a week ago about poaching. He said that in the years before the Tusk Trust was established in 1990, poaching was so widespread that elephant populations in many parts of Africa were threatened with extinction. The ivory trade was banned in 1989 yet in the last year poaching levels have returned to those of the 1980s.

black rhino

black rhino

And nowhere is this more apparent than in black-market prices for rhino horn. It’s more valuable than gold. Entire countries no longer have rhinos. A horn can change hands at $70,000 per kilogram (2.2lb), compared with $50,000 for a kilogram of gold. With an average horn weighing 7kg and worth nearly half a million dollars, it’s clear why they’re extinct.

According to the African Wildlife Fund, more than 900 rhinos have been poached across Africa over the past three years. Since the start of this year, 181 rhinos have been killed in South Africa, according to official figures.

dying

dying

Africa’s rhino population today is estimated at 25,000, but if poaching continues at current rates there may be no rhino left in the wild by 2025.

Elephants, too, are being poached at newly intensified  rate. In February, the Kenya Wildlife Service announced that 278 were poached last year. . Earlier this week rangers in West Pokot, in Kenya’s Rift Valley, shot dead five suspected ivory poachers, recovering 50kg of elephant tusks.

african elephant

african elephant

A national park in Cameroon recently lost some 450 elephants – almost its entire population. So you ask yourself, why am I telling you al of this? You’re just a travel blog, selling cheap flights to Nairobi? See, I am. But travel is awareness and awareness spread. Book a flight to Kenya, sleep at the Solio Lodge, wake to to see seven rhinos on the lawn and the frost-shattered horn of Mount Kenya piercing the dawn sky and you may just become an advocate for those animals.

solio lodge mount kenya

solio lodge mount kenya

In fact Solio Lodge is a wonderful place to see Africa and the efforts many locals have made to save their animals. Set midway between Mount Kenya and the Aberdare national park, Solio is Africa’s most successful private rhino breeding reserve.  They started back in 1970′s with 23 critically endangered black rhinos and 10 years later the first white rhinos were imported from South Africa. Today Solio has 67 black rhinos and 150 white rhinos – the highest density in East Africa. Fly to Kenya and see it for yourself!

solio reserve

solio reserve

The reserve itself is roughly the size of Nairobi National Park and is also home to lion, leopard, buffalo and a host of plains game including animals normally associated with northern Kenya such as beisa oryx and reticulated giraffe. Of all the big game only elephant are absent so the magnificent yellow-barked acacias are still standing.

Until recently Solio never figured on the tourist map because there was nowhere to stay inside the reserve. But that all changed with the opening of Solio Safari Lodge. Run by Tanya and Mikey Carr-Hartley, whose family have been involved in the Kenyan wildlife scene for three generations. So this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, really.

lovely

lovely

Solio’s five guest cottages are the epitome of safari-chic, combining traditional thatched roofs with floor-to-ceiling windows and spacious bathrooms with free-standing ceramic tubs.

At 7,000ft above sea level nights are cold, so every evening when you return after sundown in the bush you find your room steward has lit a blazing acacia-wood fire. You can even have a fire in the bathroom.

The cottages bathrooms!

The cottages bathrooms!

But the rhinos are the main attraction and at Solio they are hard to miss.

They are creatures of habit and easy to find.  Sometimes on a drive you can see  more than 20 rhinos in full view at the same time. Imagine that! The majesty, the wonder, more than worth a cheap ticket to Nairobi, right?

look at that horn!

look at that horn!

Now for the sad part- with thousands of Chinese at work in Kenya on new roads and other development projects, Solio has become a prime target for poachers and the reserve lost at least 12 rhinos last year.

But if you fly to Nairobi, you’ll be safe here. Poachers operate at night when tourists are safely tucked up in bed, but the rhinos are vulnerable in spite of round-the-clock foot patrols by armed rangers. To beef up security, the 30 miles of electric fencing at Solio is being upgraded and fitted with an automated intruder alarm system that will cost at least US $500,000. You book  flight to Nairobi and stay here, you are putting money into that effort, which should be a global effort. After all this is the planet we are leaving to our children. Leave them something to see.

african safari

african safari

Book your flights to Nairobi, take your children, educate them on the importance of conservancy, show them who is getting slaughtered and why. That’s what travel is all about, educating.

Solio Ranch | Near Nanyuki, 15565-00503, Kenya

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