Drought in the horn of Africa, including north-eastern Kenya
No doubt, many of you will have seen the dreadful reports of the famine developing in the horn of Africa, particularly in Somalia, eastern Ethiopia and north-eastern Kenya.
We do keep in touch with local conditions, and follow all adverse weather reports which could possibly affect the regions in which we operate.
In northern and north-east Kenya, the areas in which we operate in are limited to the Mathews Range, Samburu, Meru and the Laikipia, all of which are many miles from the Somali border. In these areas, the main rains fall in November, and the lesser rains in April/May. It’s true that rainfall in the latter period this year was extremely poor but in the Mathews, an unseasonal fall of 2 inches in June brought welcome relief and a lot of new growth. They even briefly halted the ‘singing wells’ (indicative that the local people had sufficient water elsewhere).
Meru is well watered by numerous river systems so a shortage of water is never a problem, only the impact on habitat. Reports from here indicate that pastoralists are taking cattle into the park (indicative of tough times) but the game-viewing has been excellent and the wildlife is still in good condition.
Like Meru, the pastoralists around the Laikipia and Samburu region are finding it tough. Many of the private conservation areas along the escarpment have sufficient grass and are helping out the local communities.
In the southern part of the country, areas like the Masai Mara normally receive good rainfall, albeit that the coverage can be sporadic. This year is a prime example of the western side of the Mara receiving significantly more isolated showers than the central and eastern sectors which could become very tough later in the season. Good management in conservancies such as the OlareOrok has resulted stock piles of hay for the local Maasai to draw on in these tougher times. Game-viewing continues to be spectacular in the western sector particularly.
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