Day 1 (Sunday, 5th November)
The flight from the UK to Nairobi landed after dark, and so there wasn’t a great deal of the countryside to be seen until the following morning, apart from what seemed to be hordes of Marabou Storks perched on the tops of trees lining the roads through the city streets. The first full day had as its objective a journey from Nairobi to the northern game reserve of Samburu, culminating in a short game drive before booking into Samburu Lodge for a two night stay. The journey took most of the day. We started off with breakfast at around 7:30, stumbling straight away across African Pied Wagtails around the breakfast tables. Returning to the room unearthed a couple of Speckled Mousebirds.
The final part of the journey turned into a rally, since once we had passed through the last checkpoint, which was apparently to sieve through for Somalian refugees, we proceeded to tear along a very uneven yet wide track through increasingly interesting shrub and bush country to eventually arrive at the gates of Samburu. This was where the real fun started. Once through the gates, I vacated my shotgun seat in the bus when the roof was opened for proper game viewing. No sooner had we set off than a small collection of Reticulated Giraffes crossed the track around us, interspersed with a few Grévy’s Zebras. Birds continued to be by and large difficult to identify, since the primary objective for the group was to see mammals, although we did stop to take in a huddle of 3 juvenile Ostriches. However, we did unearth a single Kori Bustard, plenty of Vulturine Guineafowl, lesser numbers of Yellow-necked Spurfowl, various Glossy Starlings, and noisy groups of both White-browed Sparrow-weavers and White-headed Buffalo-weavers. Despite the late start to the game drive, we totted up more mammalian wildlife in the guise of Gerenuk, Grant’s Gazelle, Impala, impressively close Elephant, African Buffalo, and a pair of somnolescent Lions. We reached the Lodge as the light was fading, but not too late to spot a handful of Vervet Monkeys monitoring our progress through the grounds with interest.