By Adam Bannister
Friday 12th July 2022
It is with great excitement that we bring you our new blog series. The first in what we hope will become a regular enjoyable read. With so much going on both at House in the Wild, and in the Wild Villas, we thought it is the perfect time to start to share our stories. Of course, much of the content in this series will be wildlife heavy, but we also want to share, from time to time, other aspects of what goes on at House in the Wild. House in the Wild is far more than a traditional safari – it is a rich, authentic and varied taste of life in the northern portions of the Maasai Mara. Coming to stay with us is a journey into understanding the realities of modern-day conservation; of understanding the delicate connection between wildlife and people. It is a refreshing chance to drop one’s guard, sit back and soak in the most gorgeous of landscapes, or the chance to roll up your sleeves and dive into an array of projects that have all been set up with the intention of improving lives for both the people and the animals who call this incredible place home.
House in the Wild is a most fascinating rewilding project, and with time this blog series will touch on just some of the work done to restore this ecosystem. Not long ago this landscape was under cultivation and farming – beans and maize once dotted across the horizon, and cattle, goats and sheep ruled supreme. Now, the crops have gone, and the livestock are managed in a holistic grazing system – the vegetation has recovered, and the wild animals have returned. Lions, Cheetahs, Leopards, Elephants and occasionally even the critically endangered African Wild Dog, now move with ease and reassurance across the land. House in the Wild is an example of how we cannot just have islands of protected areas. We need to continue to create buffer zones and maintain migration corridors. We must work together with the neighbouring communities, and make sure that their livelihoods are improved along with the preservation of animals.
In the safari industry, where children are often an afterthought, House in the Wild has maintained from the outset that children are central to their DNA. From the varied activities such as badminton, tennis, archery, beading, walking, fishing and mountain biking, through to the expansive grass lawns– you can be sure that this is the most fun, and kid-friendly safari destination in the Maasai Mara. In saying that however, the unique location, and delightful cottages sensitively located along the banks of the Mara River, also provide plenty of quiet private spots – ideal for a romantic getaway or adventure.
With the birth of our son, Leo, we wanted to make sure that we could bring him up in the wild, but also in an environment that allowed him, and us, to thrive as a family. There is no better, more suited place for this, than House in the Wild. Having worked in this industry for nearly 2 decades I can honestly say I have never seen a place as dedicated towards true conservation work – not the kind that is done just to be shouted about, or to tick boxes, but work that is done quietly, behind the scenes, because it is the right thing to do.
On my very first game drive I was treated to the most wonderful of sightings of two male cheetahs. In the last few days I have been blown away by the cheetah encounters, and the beauty of the landscape as a whole.
When you think of the Maasai Mara you are probably thinking of golden grass swaying in the wind, and flat topped trees dotted as far as the eye can see. Well, the area around House in the Wild is exactly that – breathtakingly beautiful.
The Great Migration is well and truly in the Mara. Hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, and zebra are now spread out across the Greater Reserve and the Mara Triangle. This means they are now accessible to us. We can pack you a picnic lunch and send you down south into the great massive herds. The sheer abundance of life will astound you. If luck, and patience, are on your side, you may just catch a dramatic river crossing.
It’s been fun getting to know the regular faces around camp. The birdlife, and general game, around the main dam is fantastic. I know you will be seeing many more photos like this in the months to come.
For Ranger Appreciation Day we hosted a Nyama Choma (Barbeque) for all the rangers of the neighbouring conservancies. A small gesture as a way of us saying thank you for the tireless work they put in to protect our beloved animals.
For the next few weeks we have Chef Paul Antolik at camp working together with all our chefs to take our food offering to the next level. He brings with him another level of professionalism and flare to the kitchen. Our taste buds are tickling with excitement.
Family is the most important thing in life, and it is also the most important aspect of House in the Wild. Arriving at a new job with a 5 week old is a daunting task, but Lippa and Peej, and the entire team here have welcomed us with open arms.
Being small, and flexible, we are able to delight guests’ multiple times, and in multiple places. A secluded drinks stop around a campfire to end off another gorgeous day in paradise.
As many of you know, lions are my spirit animal. I have been following lions (their stories, successes and tribulations) my entire life. I even just named my first-born son Leo after them. I am so excited at the prospect of spending time with the large Lemek Pride. From my first sighting with them it looks like they are strong, and affectionate. I am told that they have recently had their pride males chased off by 4 young males – inspiring moments, intriguing stories, and picturesque moments await.
Leopards are always a treat to see – even when they are fast asleep like this one was when we visited the Mara Triangle a few days ago. The camera traps around camp have seen 2 different leopards within 500 meters of our main area, and I even had the fortune of seeing one cross the road on my way home from dinner.
I can’t wait to learn more about all of this and to share it with you all. We invite you to join us on this adventure…