DSWT Patron Kristin Davis visits Amu RanchJan. 23, 2014

During January 2014 the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Patron, Kristin Davis, visited Project Amu, one of the Trust’s Saving Habitats initiatives in the Lamu District on Kenya’s remote north coast. Kristin, who has loyally supported the work of the DSWT for many years, spent a few days in Lamu visiting Amu Ranch where the DSWT in partnership with the Lamu Conservation Trust are working to protect and conserve 63,000 acres of diverse coastal forest and the incredible concentration of wildlife which exists there.

many wildlife drinking from one watering hole

At sunrise on an early boat trip up the beautiful Milihoi Creek, Kristin was guided by Robert Carr-Hartley, founder and trustee of the LCT, to Amu where they enjoyed a morning game drive through the north eastern end of the ranch towards Ziwa La Buni, a popular natural lake attracting hordes of wildlife. Despite the Lamu region beginning to dry up after healthy rainfall in past months, Amu Ranch remains beautifully green with plenty of natural waterholes still offering fresh water to the many wildlife species inhabiting the area. Having seen a plethora of wildlife including coastal topi, big buffalos and lots of birdlife including an eye-catching group of White-faced Tree Ducks and a huge Saddle-billed Stork, Kristin was given a further tour around the ranch and visited the new Milihoi Ranger Outpost, one of the ranch’s two security camps where rangers patrol daily combating poaching, bushmeat snaring, illegal encroachment and livestock grazing.

Watering hole on Amu Ranch

At Milihoi camp, Kristin had the opportunity to meet the Project Amu team, including the ranch’s rangers, Mwalimu Badi and Omari Twalib Mzee the Project Manager, who was proud and excited to introduce Kristin to the team and explain the day to day operations of Project Amu and the Lamu Conservation Trust, as well as the local communities’ ambitions for protecting their culture and environmental heritage. Heading back to the boat before the tide went out Kristin enjoyed her return journey through the ranch spotting herds of giraffe, red duiker, buffalo, warthog and oribi, feeling blown away by the scale of nature in this little known part of Kenya.

The lamu archipelago

The following day Kristin visited Lamu Old Town, walking through the narrow streets, learning more about the history of this world heritage site and the melting-pot of cultures which has made Lamu into the cultural feast it is today. When in Lamu one must also experience a trip on a dhow, a beautifully crafted wooden sailing boat traditionally used by the coastal people for fishing. Sailing gently along the mangrove forests and through the creeks of the Lamu archipelago, a dhow is a perfect way to enjoy the birdlife of the area quietly and naturally floating along with the wind.

a traditional dhow
Kristin Davis at Lamu

On Kristin’s final day she wished to return to Amu Ranch once again, this time heading towards Lake Ividho stopping at Lake Mkumbi along the way where she was fascinated by a pod of over 25 hippos, all happily bathing in the cool fresh water of the lake surrounded by huge herds of wallowing buffalos and eland, topi, warthogs, baboons, waterbuck and giraffe.

many hippos live on Amu Ranch
big buffalos on Amu

Any visitors to Amu Ranch are always astonished by the dense range of habitats and flora and fauna of the area, which is unlike any other place in Kenya and which still hosts such an abundance of wildlife. Through the DSWT, Kristin Davis supports Project Amu and the Lamu Conservation Trust, which is working tirelessly to preserve this area’s natural diversity whilst working with the local communities in protecting their traditions and cultures and supporting them in achieving a sustainable way of wife.

Giraffe with babies

Please support the Lamu Conservation Trust and Project Amu however you can, the DSWT takes donations for the LCT through the DSWT website by selecting ‘Project Amu’ from the dropdown menu www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/is/donate_now_lct.asp

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