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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.

Fish farm

Fish farm lunch stop

We set off in a loose “convoy” of 6 safari buses, each with its compliment of 6 passengers. The drive was along roads of various conditions, until we arrived at the gates of Samburu about 1½ hours before dark. Most of the route was through populated areas, which meant no mammalian interest, and only a limited amount of birding presence. Those that were seen were mainly Pied Crows, Ring-necked Doves, Superb Starlings, and Common Fiscals. However, a perched Long-crested Eagle was picked up as we sped past its roadside lookout post. Two hours after departure, we stopped for a rest at a curio shop, which did turn up a couple of birds (Baglafecht Weaver and Red-billed Firefinch), before continuing to our lunch stop. This proved to be a refreshing experience, being an al fresco barbeque surrounded by woods, and based on a fish farm from which our lunch was extracted. A couple of Olive Thrushes during lunch preceded a tour around the grounds, which unearthed a Double-collared Sunbird (not specifically identified), 2-3 Mariqua Sunbirds, yet more Speckled Mousebirds, and, as we completed the walk, close and impressive White-eyed Slaty-flycatchers. A handful of Singing Cisticolas habituated their preferred marshy abode.

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.

Yellow-necked Spurfowl

Kori Bustard

Yellow-necked Spurfowl

Kori Bustard

Grevy's Zebra

African Elephant

Grevy's Zebra

African Elephant

Home

Paintings gallery

Video clips

Images

DVD

Contact

Site map

Links

Content

Introduction

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

Day 9

Species list

Text only