Friday, 14 October 2011

East African Safari 1985 Amboseli to Tsavo West

On Boxing morning we again woke to pouring rain and made our way from Amboseli to Tsavo
which is Kenya's largest wildlife strong hold,new species of mammal seen were Burchell's Zebra,
Grant's Gazelle and around Kilaguni Lodge,Rock Hyrax whose closest relative is the Elephant.
We found a number of Elephant pelvic bones indicating poaching activity.
After the morning game run we visited Mzimi Springs,which is located in the volcanic region of
Shitani where some 50 million gallons of water gush out daily from a lava ridge.

It was here we saw  Hippopotamus mating  amongst vast shoals of Barbel and their piscine
Our last day in Tsavo West was overcast,making our way through the lava beds a Klipspringer
showed well on a rocky outcrop.
However what lingers in the memory is the herd of ochre dusted Elephants that came so close
you could count the hairs on their eyebrows.
On approaching the Galana river it was in full flood,this brown raging torrent was bursting it's
banks,while Crocodiles lazed in the shallows.
The following day we had made our way to Mombasa,we pitched our tents a 100 yards from
Whispering Palms, I added the ubiqutous House Crow to my list along with a number of Palearctic
waders on the beach.
In the morning the ethnic lined streets of Mombasa and Fort Jesus held unusual views,
of Arabic Dhows on the Indian Ocean,a trip to Gedi a ruined Islamic city dating back to the 13th
century still shows portions of the Great Mosque. Disused wells held the uncommon Mottle throated
Spinetail nests,Sykes monkeys and a Palm nut Vulture were a surprise.
Our final night in Mombasa was hot and humid as we turned in early under the stars.
On the road again to Samburu ,on route we saw the Somali race of Ostrich and three species of
Stork  including the rare Eurpean Black Stork in it's wintering grounds along with Golden breasted Starling.Near the Galana river we recorded Nyanza swift and further onnear Ikuthe an Abyssinian
On the 30th we slept in the bush that evening on a goat trail in an Acacia copse.This was not a proper
camp site and we were all a little apprehensive.
The following morning a tribesman came through  the camp site with his goats and before breakfast I
had found a Bare faced Go Away bird in the bush by it's familiar call.
On the road again and finally we arrived at Samburu at 19.00 hrs,we camped near the Uaso Nuyiro
not far from the game lodge.We had a few drinks and a meal at the lodge and then retired for the
evening.We were tired from travelling but wanted to be ready for an early morning game drive.
It was New Years Day January 1984 we woke up early,after a quick breakfast we se off, a Goliath
Heron stood in the river holding  its place with ease while Crowned Cranes gracefully fed on grassy banks.A troop of Baboons clung to the trees near the river bank.
This Northern Frontier Province with it's splendid rugged landscape was very dry and hot but still
managed to show of it's special mammals,Reticulated Giraffes necks entwined in courtship ritual
for the camera.
grey dusty Beisa Oryx  meandered across the dry plains looking like latter day unicorns,
while the blue necked Somali Ostrich was the largest bird in view.Other birds of note were
Vulturine Guinea fowls,also the superb Grevy's Zebra  showed well.
Meanwhile back at the lodge the Samburu bird table held a host of birds including Red
billed Hornbill,Speckled Pigeon, and Superb Starlings.

After lunch we were treated to local dancing by the Samburu tribe,these tall elegant warriors
an  offshoot of the Masai performed well for the camera.
That evening we were disco dancing with the Samburu girls to Lionel Ritchie and
Michael Jackson it rather took the ethnic edge off the tribe.But we thoroughly enjoyed
these wonderful days and nights in Samburu,last thing Bat Hawks were hunting along the river
for nocturnal prey.
On the morning of the 2nd of January it was hot dry and sunny as we left Samburu for Buffalo
Springs,here some people had a swim, on the dry sandy soil I found a Cream coloured Courser.

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