Category Archives: Kenya

Elephant Updates! New Baby Calf arrives

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Now it’s time for Elephant Updates!

Elephant arrives at Ithumba, Kenya with her new calf

We recently heard from the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, where they welcomed two adorable elephants! Wild-living orphan Loijuk arrived with her new calf, Lili, in tow. 

Loijuk with Nannies Ithumbah and Naserian and baby Lili

As reported by the team at Sheldrick:

She was bursting with pride and very eager to introduce her to everyone (particularly Head Keeper Benjamin). Lili is the 31st known wild-born baby — and a testament to the Trust’s success in its 40+ years of rescuing, raising, and reintegrating orphaned elephants.
Things have really come full circle for Loijuk, who was orphaned 13 years ago. The Trust raised her, and she eventually transitioned to the wild, where she is now starting her own family. Loijuk was named after a dam near where she was rescued during a severe drought.
With plentiful rains, however, the dam becomes abloom with water lilies. For that reason, Lili feels like a very fitting name for her daughter. Moments like these showcase the multi-generational impact of the Orphans’ Project — and we’re so excited to watch this little family continue to blossom.
More news on their website. 
Baby Lili

More Elephant Pictures from Christina & John’s Kenya Safari

Christina and John recently traveled to Kenya with a small group, as they do 1-2 times a year. They stayed at the Ithumba Hills Elephant Camp.
Some photos and stories from that trip:  

First photo is Tuckwell, an elephant sponsored by one of our clients, Virginia B.:

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At the main watering hole at the Stockade this morning there was a herd of wild elephants mostly bulls. However, this little 3 month old [below] was with them, tried to nurse from two of the females (neither the mother because they had clearly not given birth) and the the bulls. Our guide Benjamin called Kenyan wildlife with information and Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi made the decision made to separate the infant and bring it into a pen.

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They skillfully did this. It was mad and very hungry but at Ithumba [Camp Tsavo, an Eco-Lodge Safari at Sheldrick], they do not have the formula for infants. No one had any idea of the fate of the mother but she was certainly not around. The helicopter was still on the ground after yesterday’s emergency so we understand that the infant was tranquilized and flown to Voi, a camp about 70km away where the right formula was available.

Our charter flight to NBO was at 10am so we will have to watch Sheldrick’s website to see how this all turns out. We all want to adopt this little survivor!

Two amazing incidents we are lucky  and privileged to have witnessed

Planning an Africa safari to see more lovely elephants up close?

Book your trip with one of our agents. We organize all your travel from start to finish so you don’t have to worry. 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com. 

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Safari Vets Help an Elephant with an Arrow

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Christina and John are currently in Kenya on their annual guiding trip.

In their most recent email, they share with us an experience witnessing emergency medical aid for a local elephant in Ithumba Hills, Kenya. 

Though the situation was quite serious, the elephant survived and hopefully will live for many years thanks to the care and professionalism that day.

*Warning, some of the photos may be a bit graphic for viewers. 

Elephant bull shot with a poisoned arrow

Yesterday evening at Ithumba, our guide Benjamin pointed out a huge wild elephant bull who had a serious injury to his right rump thigh area and back leg, which were badly inflamed.

He told us the Rangers had been looking for this elephant for 2 weeks, knowing it had been shot from a tree with a poisoned arrow.

He called the rangers who all headed to the watering hole around 11am, hoping the bull would show up. They had the helicopter with two vets from Ranger headquarters waiting to dart him for medical aid.

The bull shows up to the watering hole

The bull showed up! With all the elephant orphans safe and far, the helicopter pilot darted the injured bull. He stayed upright for about 5+ minutes before going down very close to our parked vehicles.

The team whips up into action

Then the action started! We were allowed to leave our vehicles and get ver close to observe. It was a gruesome task. The arrow was very deep with much tissue damage, but eventually, all was cleaned out.  They packed the deep wound with green clay. We were then told to get back into our vehicles because the elephant would come around very quickly – which he did.

Something you see only on TV 😌! It was an incredible experience to witness this from start to finish – altogether about 90 minutes.

Gruesome but awe-inspiring.

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Travel News: Europe Reaches Peak Temperatures

Europe reaches peak temperatures

The countries of Austria / Belgium / Czech Republic / Denmark / France / Germany / Hungary / Luxembourg / Netherlands / Switzerland / United Kingdom / Italy are expected to experience high temperatures as a heat wave sweeps across Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Temperatures are expected to rise to 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) from central France to northern Spain, while temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius and above are expected across other European countries. Authorities have issued alerts across Western Europe and implemented measures, such as opening fountains, pools and mist machines, and limiting the circulation of vehicles in larger cities, as a means to combat the rise in temperatures. Bus and train operations in several countries have been disrupted due to malfunctioning air conditioning and due to the temperatures of the train tracks. Officials have warned of continued transportation disruptions and asked people to stay hydrated and avoid getting overheated. Hot air moving north from Africa caused the heat wave and is expected to continue to cause above average temperatures until 30 June.

Virgin Trains Break Ground On Orlando Track Expansion

Orlando Sentinal reports Virgin Trains, formerly Brightline, broke ground Monday to expand passenger rail service to Orlando in a $4bn effort, the nation’s largest privately funded infrastructure project. This will serve to transport travelers, including cruisers, between Orlando International Airport and South Florida. ‘Connecting Orlando and Miami, two of our nation’s greatest cities, will provide tremendous economic and environmental benefits that will be an asset to Florida for generations,’ Virgin Trains President Patrick Goddard said at a commemorative ceremony. Goddard noted the service will ‘effortlessly connect the “Tourism Capital of the World” to the “Cruise Capital of the World.”‘ Virgin Trains’ Virgin MiamiCentral hub is located near PortMiami, and the Miami-Dade County Commission is deliberating the feasibility of a station directly at PortMiami.

JetBlue Can Now Expand Europe Long-Haul Strategy With Airbus XLR Order

Skift reports JetBlue Airways’ European strategy became clearer when the airline committed to an airplane capable of flying not only from the US East Coast to London or Dublin but also from Boston and New York to south, central, and northern Europe. JetBlue became the third US carrier to say it plans to fly Airbus’ newest narrowbody jet, the A321XLR. Airbus introduced the single-aisle airplane, which should fly as far as 4,700 nautical miles,last week at the Paris Air Show. American Airlines committed to 50 earlier in the week, while Frontier Airlines said it would take 18. In April JetBlue announced it would fly from its Boston and New York focus cities to London by 2021. But JetBlue didn’t say where else in Europe it might fly, likely because it didn’t have the right aircraft for Continental Europe. For London JetBlue had committed to the A321LR, which has a 600-mile range gap compared to its XLR cousin. JetBlue said it will take 13 A321XLRs, with first delivery in 2023.

Emirates Is First Major Airline To Launch Basic Business Class Fare

Skift reports Emirates has fired the first salvo in the unbundling of business class fares. Now you can buy just the seat, with none of the other trimmings that travelers are used to with top-tier carriers. It’s a brilliant and pragmatic strategy, one that gives more choice to travelers. The tension will now be maintaining that great luxury brand halo and still letting the premium cabins do the marketing hard yards for the carrier. The airline industry has seen a lot in terms of unbundling of economy fares. For better or for worse, that segment of the market now has a ton of options for consumers. As Skift forecasted in our 2019 Megatrend that premium mediocre has gone mainstream, travel companies, hotels, tour operators, and yes, airlines too, are increasingly looking for new ways to sell average products at luxury prices. You can buy a deeply discounted, basic economy fare that doesn’t include any overhead space, or, if you want more perks, you can pay incrementally more for priority boarding and civil treatment. The same currently cannot be said for business class. Typically you’re all-in on the fare, sometimes as much as $7,000 from New York to Paris. In some cases it comes standard with extras, like chauffeur service and lounge access, and in other cases it comes with a sad meal in a preflight lounge and a non fully flat bed.

Tim Clark, CEO of Emirates, told Skift when asked of the prospect of discounting business class: “You might just say, ‘OK, I’ll give you a special price, just for the [business-class] bed. I won’t give you the incentives. I won’t give you ground. You’ll get the business product in the air only, and that’s it.’ No chauffeur drive, no business-class lounge, no expedited [security] search. No uplifting your baggage allowance, et cetera. You just pay for the bed. I’ll give you a price for that. Maybe, if you’ve got business class seats going begging, that’s the easy way to go, rather than create a completely new product, which is going to upend the distribution systems, upend service delivery, and upend the logistical management on the operational side.” Emirates has rolled out what they hinted at two years ago. With a new slate of fares, dubbed “special fares,” customers are essentially just buying the seat. There’s no lounge access (unless you qualify with status), there’s no chauffeur-driven car, there’s only selecting a seat when check-in opens, and predictably, there is reduced mileage earning. Not only has Emirates rolled out this basic business-class seat but in 2020 the airline will also launch premium economy, thereby offering two different stepping stones for flyers ready to upgrade. Emirates is testing out the special fares on select routes and appears to be rolling them out slowly.

Passport Agency Boosts Minimum Routine Application Wait Time By 50%
WaPo reports just after news broke about the possibility of longer lines at airport security checkpoints, information now emerges about longer waits for international travelers before they get to the airport. The State Department’s Passport Services agency has increased the processing time for routine service to six to eight weeks. Until May 31, the interval between application and delivery was four to six weeks, meaning the new timeline is a 50% increase for the minimum wait. For those who can’t wait, expedited service is available at a cost. “Customers who need their passports more urgently than our routine processing time allows may request expedited service for an additional $60,” said a State Department official who requested anonymity. “For expedited service, processing time remains two to three weeks door-to-door.” Once they get inside the airport door, international and domestic passengers could face longer security lines. Earlier this week we reported that the Trump administration requested a 2.5 percent increase in airport checkpoint screeners for fiscal 2020 but expects a 4.5 percent increase in airline passengers. That’s a recipe for long lines. The department official declined to answer several basic questions about the longer wait, including the reasons for it. But the department did provide information indicating short staffing is the cause. In each of the past two years, more than 21 million passports and passport cards were delivered, “all-time record numbers,” according to the State Department. About 18.6 million applications are expected this fiscal year. In fiscal 2018, 137.5 million citizens had valid passports, representing a growth of almost 100 percent over the past decade. “To address high passport workload levels this summer,” he said, “the Department is leveraging all available resources to ensure processing times do not rise further and that they return to lower levels by September.” Leveraging includes temporarily assigning employees to assist with increased demand and setting up two satellite passport units with employees from other parts of the department.

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Travel News: Iceland, Jerusalem, Kilimanjaro

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Jerusalem’s Old City Now Accessible For Wheelchair Users 

Jerusalem’s Old City is many things: sacred to three major faiths, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and now, wheelchair accessible. After a decade of work that involved multiple private and public organizations in Israel, the city unveiled a comprehensive effort to make the Old City’s narrow alleyways and steep inclines more friendly to visitors and locals with mobility issues. The city is home to several of the world’s most sacred religious sites, namely the Western Wall, Temple Mount and Church of the Holy Sepulchre. As a result, Jerusalem is high on the bucket list for many of the world’s faithful. A representative for the Ministry of Tourism said that 85% of visitors to Israel spend time in Jerusalem during their trip. Now, travelers to Jerusalem will be able to download an app, Accessible JLM, that outlines the most accessible routes around the city to plan their travel in real time. There are also physical accessibility maps posted around the city.

World Unites To Fight Against Cable Car On Mount Kilimanjaro 

ETN reports thousands of people across the globe have come together protesting against the potential building of a controversial cable car on Mount Kilimanjaro, a World’s Heritage Site. In March 2019 Tanzania’s deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Constantine Kanyasu announced plans to install a cable car on Africa’s highest mountain, as a strategy to attract more visitors and boost tourism numbers. The cable car would be aimed primarily at facilitating visits among older tourists, who may not physically fit enough to climb the mountain, which, at its peak, stands 5,895 meters tall. Instead of the familiar views of snow and ice, this cable car would offer a day trip safari with a bird’s eye view, contrary to the eight-day hiking trip. But reaction has been swift, with an online petition against the project on the key World heritage site, attracting nearly 400,000 protesters around the World who ask the Tanzania to keep Mount Kilimanjaro ‘cable car-free’. Online petition points out the economic impact to about 250,000 local porters who rely on tourism activities on Mount Kilimanjaro alone, for their livelihood. Kilimanjaro is one of Tanzania’s major tourist attractions, drawing 50,000 climbers and earning the country $55 million annually.

Six Senses Hotels Unveils Iceland Property

Open Jaw reports with Iceland enjoying clean air, sustainable energy and high national happiness, it is no surprise that Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas is daydreaming about the country of fire and ice for its next development: Six Senses Össurá Valley. It will be a hub for people passionate about nature, wellness and adventure by day, and indulgent dining, comfortable beds and perhaps a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis by night. The rugged south-eastern coast of Viking country has an expansive and diverse natural environment. From glacier tongues, craggy volcanoes, ice-filled lagoons and geothermal lakes to untouched highlands and long black beaches; many of these natural wonders have become famed for their beauty and are visited throughout the year (via the single ring road). This is the mythical setting for Six Senses Össurá Valley, 4,000 acres (1,619 hectares) of privately-owned land in Svínhólar near Lóni. The flatland at the southern end is adjacent to the Lón Lagoon, which is separated from the North Atlantic Ocean by a beautiful black sand beach. This is the biggest gathering space for swans in the country and Six Senses will be involved in monitoring and protecting this Icelandic population. The first phase of the project will see the opening of a 70-guestroom resort and private cottages dotted on the surrounding land serving as an icon for sustainable living. Built using renewable and locally-sourced materials and adhering to high standards of energy and water efficiency, guest accommodation and residences will tread lightly on the earth while providing an uncompromising level of space and comfort.

Air Canada Named Best Airline In North America

Open Jaw reports this is the third consecutive year the airline has been chosen and recognized for the world’s Best Business Class Lounge Dining, Best Airline Staff in Canada, Best Business Class in North America and Best Airline Cabin Cleanliness in North America at the 2019 Skytrax World Airline Awards. It is the eighth time in the past 10 years the carrier was selected as the Best in North America by the World Airline Awards, which are based on passenger satisfaction surveys of more than 21 million global travelers.

Emirates Is First Major Airline To Launch Basic Business Class Fare

Emirates has fired the first salvo in the unbundling of business class fares. Now you can buy just the seat, with none of the other trimmings that travelers are used to with top-tier carriers. It’s a brilliant and pragmatic strategy, one that gives more choice to travelers. The tension will now be maintaining that great luxury brand halo and still letting the premium cabins do the marketing hard yards for the carrier. The airline industry has seen a lot in terms of unbundling of economy fares. For better or for worse, that segment of the market now has a ton of options for consumers. As Skift forecasted in our 2019 Megatrend that premium mediocre has gone mainstream, travel companies, hotels, tour operators, and yes, airlines too, are increasingly looking for new ways to sell average products at luxury prices. You can buy a deeply discounted, basic economy fare that doesn’t include any overhead space, or, if you want more perks, you can pay incrementally more for priority board​ing and civil treatment.

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Thanksgiving with Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya, Africa

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Happy Thanksgiving Week, friends and clients! Here at Willamette Intl Travel, we are so thankful for an amazing year of adventures and arranging dream trips for clients all around the world!

In this week of thanksgiving, we’d like to give a few sweet updates from our friends at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya, Africa. 

What is the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust?

This conservation project is dedicated to the protection and preservation of Africa’s Wilderness, particularly endangered species like elephants and the Black Rhino.

Willamette Intl Travel regularly organizes meaningful trips to Africa for clients, and 1-2 a year, the owners escort an exclusive group throughout Kenya, Namibia, South Africa or other African countries. It’s those meaningful connections with people and wildlife that make wild Africa one of our favorite destinations. 

Latest News from the Wildlife Trust

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photo courtesy of Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

MEET MERRU

On September 1, a calf was discovered stuck down in a quarry. His finders were divided; some wanted to claim him for bushmeat, while others were sympathetic to his plight. The latter group prevailed and got word to the KWS, who rushed to keep the baby safe until we arrived.
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The road to recovery for Merru, as we named him, has been difficult. For his first week at the Nursery, he was unable to sleep, instead pacing in circles. We persevered and, thanks to round-the-clock care and the moral support of the other orphans, Merru at last seems to be putting his traumatic past behind him.
LUALENI BECOMES A MOTHER
It’s a girl! We’re delighted to announce the birth of Lulu, Lualeni’s first baby — and our 30th “grandcalf” born to wild-living orphan. The new mum arrived at our Ithumba stockades last week with her little one in tow, clearly brimming with pride and excited to introduce us to her.
We’ve known Lualeni since she was just four months old, when she was abandoned. Although she wasn’t able to grow up in the wild alongside her mother, we’re thrilled that now — 14 years later— things have come full circle and she has the opportunity to raise her own family in the wild.
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SAVING A SNARED CALF’S LIFE
Our five Mobile Veterinary Units save hundreds of wild lives each year. This calf, treated by the Mara team, is one such patient. He had become entangled in a snare, leaving it caught between his jaws, wrapping around his head and slicing into his ears. Not only did this cause excruciating pain, but it also restricted his ability to feed.
The Unit’s KWS veterinarian cut away the braided wire, treated the wounds, and sent the pint-sized patient back to his herd with a positive prognosis. He had been living with the snare for at least a week, so we can only imagine his relief at being freed at last.
Keep up to date with the goings-on with the Wildlife Trust at their website.

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An Unsung Hero in Kenya

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Unsung Heroes in Tsavo West National Park…! What a great story from Kenya!

 

More Reading on Elephants & East Africa: 

8 Awesome Africa Accounts you should be following on Instagram

African Safari: Elephants at Tsavo East National Park

African Safari: Samburu Game Reserve Elephant Bedroom Camp

African Safari: Maasai Mara National Reserve

Conscientious Traveler: Iewa Wildlife Conservancy and Iewa Safari Camp

A Closer Look: Ithumba Safari Camp in Kenya

The Elephants that Came to Dinner

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8 Awesome Africa Accounts you should be following on Instagram

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We at Willamette Intl Travel love any photo of Africa we can get our hands on! Thank goodness for Instagram! We’ve stumbled upon some great wildlife and cultural photos of Africa, that we’d love to share with you. 

WIT Owners/Founders Christina and John go practically every year to Africa. In Portland, Oregon? Call Christina today to arrange your trip to Africa, or to simply find out more: 503-224-0180 or email inquiry@wittravel.com.

1. Gboxcreative

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Moving Shadows II, IV. #StreetsofAddis

A post shared by Girma (@gboxcreative) on

Get colorful with G Box Creative – freezing life on the everyday streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

2. South_Africa_through_my_eyes

Take a walk on the wild side of beautiful South_Africa_through_my_eyes, founded by Nina Zimolong, a photographer based in Cape Town.

Did you know: Willamette Intl Travel has a brand-new Instagram account! Follow us over at @Wittravel.

3. Originsafaris

Of course we couldn’t help but mention the awesome cultural and natural photographs by our friends over at Origins Safaris.

4. DSWT (David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust)

Who can help but “oo” and “aa” over the touching photos of the elephants and rhinos by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

5. Davidlloyd

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At Home in the Jungle

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The breathtaking photos of big cats and other African nobles, courtesy of David Lloyd, an NZ wildlife photographer.

6. Stevenchikosi

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A3 (Harare – Mutare Rd)

A post shared by Steven Chikosi (@stevenchikosi) on

We love the storytelling lens of Steven Chikosi’s account!

7. Wildlifeplanet

The feed of wildlife planet looks like something out of a fairytale picture book.

8. Margotraggettphotography

Conservationist and photographer Margot Raggett captures snapshots of animals at play, and in peaceful and quiet moments.

Follow us on Instagram for more glimpses of Africa – coming soon!

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