Stories from the Tracker newsletter

Safari: Ol Pejeta, Nanyuki 8-10 September 2018

Join us for a weekend getaway to Ol Pejeta from September 8-10. We’ll spend two nights at Pelican House and explore the 90,000 acre Ol Pejeta Conservancy with its diversity of wildlife species including the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa. The Conservancy contains the Sweetwater Chimp Sanctuary for orphaned, abandoned, and rescued chimps; the Morani Information Center; the rhino memorial as well as other points of interest. It is Big Five habitat that is managed by integrating cattle ranching as an ecological tool. The proceeds from Ol Pejeta fees go to community development programs.

Pelican House where we’ll stay has been refurbished as last May. The house overlooks Pelican dam and has a traditional African colonial architecture with a large living room for socializing. It is a self-catering guest house and cottage that has spectacular views of Mt. Kenya.

Cost: 15,000 Ksh for adults pps; 9,000 Ksh for children under 12 years

Included: FB, lodging. Cost excludes Transportation costs and entrance fees.

Payments: Mpesa paybill, Business No: 400800, Account: 6571570019

Bookings: 0724 255 299, 2339158 or info@kenyamuseumsociety.org

Deadline: Until group limit is reached or August 1 at the latest. Our deposit is due then!

Safari – Lake Turkana and the Chalbi Desert: 24 Aug – 2 Sept, 2018

Safari – Lake Turkana and the Chalbi Desert: 24 August  – 2 September

The 10 day annual KMS trip to Lake Turkana comes with a difference this year!

Itinerary  Nairobi – Isiolo _ Archer’s Post – South Horr – Loyangelani – Mt Kulal – North Horr – Chalbi Desert – Marsabit – Isiolo – Nairobi

Transport in landcruisers

Accommodation in tents. Mattresses provided. You can upgrade yourself to bandas everywhere at only 1,000sh a night if you wish.

Food excellent FB throughout, except lunch on day 10.

Cost – Ksh 134,000 pp

Included transport, accommodation, all food, 2 nights lodge in Marsabit

Not included Marsabit park entry for 2 days (residents 500sh per day), lunch on Day 10.

Deadline for registration and full payment is 10 July. Book early. Only 11 places. Attendance conditional on booking.

For bookings and more details about the trip, please contact us on: 0724 255 299 or info@kenyamuseumsociety.org

Kids Dudu Walk, a short film on dragonflies – Saturday 9 December 2017

Kids Dudu Walk, a short film on dragonflies and behind the scenes tour of the Entomology Department.

Saturday 9 December 2017 – Nairobi National Museum
Insects (dudus) are by far the most diverse group of animals on earth. However they are usually overlooked because they are small. Despite their size, they play a major role in our lives. The Kenya Museum Society has organized a dudu excursion at the Nairobi National Museum, led by Laban Njoroge (Bwana Dudu). This kids’ outing, best for ages 6 -12 years, aims at creating environmental awareness for children from an early age by teaching them the importance of insects and how to appreciate them and enjoy them in nature.
Take advantage of this informative kids’ activity, led by an enthusiastic expert.
For planning purposes, please register (send name/s) and pay in advance
Cost
Member child Ksh 800
Non Member child Ksh 1,000
Age: 6 years and above
Note: pack snacks and / or picnic lunch, drinking water, a notebook and a pen for your child. They should wear comfortable walking shoes.

Bookings: 0724 255 299 or info@kenyamuseumsociety.org
Payment Options;
Safaricom – MPESA paybill No: 400800, Account No: 6571570019
Airtel Money – 0780 755 231

 

The Giraffe Centre and Bomas of Kenya – Sunday, 17 December 2017

Are you looking for a way to reward your loyal staff this December holiday?
KMS has organized a day outing that will intertwine wildlife, nature and culture.

The first stop will be at The Giraffe Centre, the creation of the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (A.F.E.W), for an opportunity to come into close contact with the world’s tallest species, the giraffe.  This includes Daisy, one of 10 Rothschild giraffes under their care, which your staff can meet head to head – literally – on the raised platform.
The unique cultural experience of seeing traditional homes, artifacts and dances of various ethnic groups of Kenya at Bomas of Kenya will be the culmination of the tour.
Included / Activities

  • Transport
  • Tea / Soda
  • Entry fees to Giraffe Centre and Bomas of Kenya
  • A short talk at Giraffe Centre to learn how and why they are taking care of this endangered animal
  • Nature walk/hike in the serene trail that goes down to the snaking Gogo River, with an alternate route back to the centre that will pass by the Warthog Den.
  • Guided tour of the traditional homes at Bomas
  • Cultural dances at Bomas

Cost:
Members’ staff: Adult  – Ksh 2,300     Child Ksh 1,900
Non-members’ staff: Adult Ksh 2,500     Child Ksh 2,100
Please register (send name/s of your staff) and pay in advance.
What to bring/wear;  picnic lunch, identification card, notebook, pen, extra drinking water, a hat and a warm fleece. Wear comfortable walking shoes.

Booking: 0724 255 299 or info@kenyamuseumsociety.org

Payment Options;
Safaricom – MPESA paybill No: 400800, Account No: 6571570019
Airtel Money – 0780 755 231

Jaza Train to Magadi Safari – December 16-17

A fun train to Magadi. This is an old-fashioned train that chugs along through beautiful scenery; the final descent to the lake is particularly breath-taking.
Magadi Soda Company owns the town. It must be the cleanest and most orderly town in Kenya. The company has an interesting history. If no one can be found to give us a talk, a synopsis of their history will be handed out. Lunch at the Magadi club and overnight at their tented camp. Though the area is stark and arid both the camp and the club have plenty of trees and lawn and the tents are air-conditioned!

Swimming- the club has a large swimming pool and a bar.
Weather- dress light and carry a swimsuit. You can also plunge into the hot springs at the lake.
Game- you will see mostly plains game. At the lake you see flamingos and other water birds.
Carry some drinking water and snacks to enjoy on the train.

Cost – 12,300 pp. sharing     Children 3-12, Ksh 9,800
Included- transport from and to the museum, train, FB at the camp.
Booking and payment by 9 December.

For more information and bookings: 0724 255 299 or info@kenyamuseumsociety.org
Payment Options;
Safaricom – MPESA paybill No: 400800, Account No: 6571570019
Airtel Money – 0780 755 231

 

Affordable Art Show

Affordable Art Poster Final 8 OctTHE AFFORDABLE ART SHOW
Everything under Ksh 100,000
25-27 Oct, 2013 Atrium behind the Louis Leakey Auditroium
of the Nairobi Musuem

Fri, 25 Oct 6:00-9:00pm – opening party
Entry fee Ksh 500 – includes 1 drink and bitings, entertainment

Sat-Sun, 26-27 Oct 10:00-4:00 – sale continues

After a 7 year hiatus, KMS is reviving what had been an annual event for the Society.
Over 125 artists will be featured.

All art will be less than Ksh 100,000; several pieces will be Ksh 10,000
Benefitting the National Museums of Kenya’s Permanent Art Collection to restore and frame select pieces

Contacts: KMS Office info@kenyamuseumsociety.org, 0724 255 299

Protecting a 60-year investment in world-renowned replicas

KMS funds shelving for the NMK Casting Department

By Benson Kyongo
Casting Department head

The Casting Department was established in 1963 as an answer to a pressing need at the museum. The National Museums of Kenya have the finest collection in the world of hominid fossils, along with many other examples of African flora and fauna. There is a tremendous demand from researchers around the world to study these artifacts. But original fossil skulls and bones are both too valuable and too fragile to handle frequently. So the Casting Department produces precise casts—or replicas—of these fossils that can be sent to other researchers for study.

These casts are not “counterfeits,” but precise, detailed, scientifically accepted replicas.

The Casting Department is an investment by the museum, since it generates revenues from cast sales. Clients across the globe include museums, universities, individual researchers and other related institutions.

The department also provides exhibition replicas to NMK museum galleries around Kenya. Some of our recent work is included in galleries on human  evolution and large mammals in the Nairobi Museum.

In 1967, the first two Kenyan casting trainees were recruited, Mr. Simon Kasinga and Mr. Kasilu. In 1977 they were both sent to the United States for specialized technical training. After their successful completion of this training, they became internal trainers at the department.

The department is expecting new technology donated by the Japan International Cooperation Agency to assist us in the many activities we undertake.

To produce a cast, one begins by making a mold. In casting, we have a “mother mold.” Every cast produced has a mold. These molds are important because once it is made, it will be used to reproduce subsequent casts without reusing the original specimen.

All the molds are catalogued with accession and shelf numbers for easy access. Over the years, we have built many thousands of molds, prepared for important specimens for various purposes.

One of our challenges has been the safe keeping of these important productions. Dust reduces the life of a mold. With our old wooden shelving, it was very difficult to keep out the dust. The wooden shelves were constructed in the 1960s. By 2010, the wooden shelves were tired with the burden of carrying all those molds for year. Dust and wood breakage were regular visitors to the department. We feared that this would be a continuing routine.

But then in 2010, after touring the facility, the Kenya Museum Society stepped in with a grant to provide new metal shelving, protecting the nearly 60 year of investment in molds and casts that NMK has made. I cannot forget energetic KMS Chair Pat Jentz who, apart from her very busy schedule, spent a lot of time with me in the lab, taking floor measurements, marking the areas, looking for a company to do the work and getting bids. I’m very grateful for her hard work.

The project has two phases. The first is complete, and the second is now under way.

I’d also like to thank all the KMS committee officials, members, staff and other who contributed in so many ways. We are very grateful. We also had the full support and blessing of NMK Director General Dr. Idle Farah, who took time form his busy schedule to help with fundraising. We also had great support from the Directorate Director Connie Maina. On behalf of hte casting department and NMK as a whole, we are honored. Again I say, “Thanks.”

KMS, keep the spirit.

The Karura Forest rejuvenated

Picture: John Chege and Alice Macaire. Photo by Leonard Gitachu

Cooperation from the local community is essential for the protection of threatened lands like Nairobi’s Karura Forest, says Alice Macaire, whose locally based efforts to protect the forest have led to its rejuvenation.

The Friends of Karura Forest conservation effort began in 2007, building on earlier effort by Professor Wangari Maathai, who originally rescued the forest from development. Electric fence now encloses 900 hectares of the forest, and 29 rangers and scouts patrol the area full-time.

At a gathering sponsored by the Kenya Museum Society, Macaire presented a film and talk about the efforts of the group to protect the forest, which is near the Muthaiga area of Nairobi. She credited people living in the adjacent Huruma slum with much of the eventual success of the project.

Prior to the conservation efforts, Karura had a reputation as dangerous spot. Muggings, robbery and violence were common. At one point, said Kenya forest official Charity Munyasia, they were discovering one dead body there per fortnight, on average.
To overcome these security threats, the Friends of Karura met with the residents in Huruma at a church in the slum. “A lot of people, predominantly men, shuffled in very ragged clothes, terribly yellow eyes, which I understand now is a result of drinking a lot of changaa to stop your hunger pangs,” said Macaire in the film. “Very desperate.”

When the group asked the residents about whether they would agree to fencing the forest, “To my amazement, they basically were for it.”

One of the community workers asked those in attendance if they knew the people doing the attacking in the forest. The men said they did. She asked, “Are they predominantly from your community?” and they said they were.

Macaire continued, describing the situation: The community worker asked, “‘Are they all from your community?’ and they said, ‘yes’ … and then there was this moment, you could feel this question coming, ‘Is everyone whose doing the attacking in this room?’”
There was a pause, then someone said, “We’re pretty well all here.”

“One of the men stood and asked, ‘Am I a better man if I attack someone in the forest, steal their mobile phone, sell it and feed my children? Or am I better man if I go to bed at night listening to my children crying themselves to sleep because they have no food?’
“Another youth jumped to his feet and said, ‘Please, please, find me employment. It’s very frightening attacking people in the forest.’”

From then on, the group as able to work with the community, providing some employment, setting rules for gathering wood and feed within the forest, and other benefits. They were aided especially by some dedicated local conservationists, including John Chege and Charity Munyasia, to fence some of the area and open it to public visits. More than 3,000 people visited the forest in the first month after the fence and gates opened, and 2,000 the following month. The group has ambitious plans for improvements that will make the visitor experience even better.

The forest contains a three-tiered waterfall, three rivers, bamboo groves, and more than 50 kilometers of hiking trails. There are also caves of historic interest from the time of the Mau Mau rebellion. Wildlife includes bush baby, bushbuck, bush pig, civet, dik dik, duiker, epauletted bat, genet and porcupine. Conservationists are considering reintroduction of the colobus monkey, which was once populous there, but has been eliminated from the area.

The forest is one of the largest gazetted forests in the world located entirely within city limits. There is a tiered fee for entering.
Macaire spoke at the KMS event held at the Louis Leakey Auditorium on Wednesday, 13 April, 2011.