Client Review: Sherry's Bucket List Conquered in Kenya

21 June 2018

BELOW IS SHERRY'S REVIEW OF HER RECENT ADVENTURE TO KENYA WITH HER DAUGHTER...

"I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Kenya with my daughter. Although I live in Africa, I’ve never been to Kenya, and the country has always been on my bucket list. I flew from Harare in Zimbabwe, landed into Nairobi – and before I knew it, we were in the air again and off to the bush. Using the back roads, we set off with Nicholas our first driver from El Karama with his knowledge of the wildlife and birds. My partner is a very keen twitcher, so I knew if I did not come home with an impressive bird list I’d be in trouble.

One of my first sightings was a kori bustard (picture above) displaying to his lady suitor – who would deny this impressive male? Along the way we saw the beautiful superb starling in all its glorious colours, as well as Von der Drecken’s hornbills, Speke’s and Holub’s golden weavers, and vulturine guineafowl (see below), to name a few. I was on a roll!

As we travelled through the diverse terrain and vegetation, many a bird chorus could be heard. I was soon to learn as a novice that there are many birds to identify in Kenya. There are sounds like the coucal’s call, which is a deep repeating sound, like someone filling a waterbottle (‘doo doo doo doo’), then the red-chested cuckoo, who says ‘piet my vrou’ repeatedly. They say he is ‘the rain bird’! Then amongst all the beautiful doves you have the ring-necked dove, whose call is telling us ‘to work harder’. You hear the larks, cisticolas, weavers, and many others throughout the day. And of course there is the white-bellied go-away bird (below) shouting, ‘Go-away, go-away’, warning the wildlife of danger lurking, and so the bird sounds go on.

At dusk we found the white-browed robin-chats and Kurrichane thrushes, and then into the night we heard nightjars and the haunting very deep ‘huhhu’ of the Verreaux’s eagle owl.

Through our journey, we came across the majestic grey crowned crane (below), secretary bird hunting for snakes, lizards, etc., and the prehistoric-looking ground hornbills. Oh how lucky we are to have seen an amazing range of birds, from the large ostriches to the very little red-cheeked cordon-bleus.

My favourite sighting was when our guide Rana from Karisia Walking Safaris stopped the driver to chase after a honeyguide to find the beehive. This we had to see (footage below). Unbelievably, the honeyguide led him to the POT of GOLD. We soon had combs of dripping honey. The indignant honeyguide was not far off, letting us know how he felt. Rana then explained that we had to leave a little honeycomb on the floor for the bird, otherwise the next time, the belief is, he would not lead us back to the POT of GOLD, but to a snake pit or some other horrible critter. What a fabulous experience.

I loved hearing all the bird choruses and stories, and felt that I finished my safari in Kenya soaring like a bird over the Mara Plains in a hot air balloon. How lucky was I to have such great tutors in the bush. Many thanks to all the guides who helped contribute to my list of 222 birds, and also to Yellow Zebra, as this trip was more than I could ever have imagined for a bucket list adventure."

If you’d like more information on birding safari in Africa, feel free to call us on 020 8547 2305 or send us an email at [email protected]