Jump to content

A Return to Kenya: September 2019


Recommended Posts

Return to Kenya: September 2019


Our first visit to Kenya was in January 2016, and we loved it. We wanted to try a different time of year, and to visit some different Conservancies




Our Itinerary:



2 Nights at The Boma Hotel

1 day in Nairobi National Park

Fly to


3 Nights at Porini Amboseli

Fly (via Nairobi) tp

Mara North

4 Nights at Kicheche Mara

Drive to

Mara Naboisho

4 Nights at Kicheche Valley

Fly back to Nairobi


We booked the international flights (BA London to Nairobi),The Boma Hotel and our guide in Nairobi National Park ourselves. The rest of the arrangements were made by Expert Africa – we had used these for previous trips and have always been very happy with them.


We saw a lot of birds - I have posted all of my birds in The Big Year Thread, so will only put a few in this report so that I do not overwhelm non-birders!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nairobi National Park

We booked Benson (Ben) Mugambi from Ben’s Ecological Safaris and were very happy with him.



( @offshorebirder    had used him, so we knew he was a real person!)


Our main focus for the day was on birding, but Nairobi National Park was a surprise. It was bigger than we had expected, much less busy (on the day we were there), it had a surprising variety of habitats and a good selection of mammals.


We were picked up at 6.30am by Ben, and it was a fairly short drive to the National Park, carefully avoiding the main flow of traffic in Nairobi.


In this section I will just give a flavour of what we saw


Our first sighting was delightful - a Suni


This one was only a few minutes past the entrance gate, hanging out near the fence



This one was a few minutes later, deep in shade

Suni are around 30–45 cm high at the shoulder and weigh 4.5–5.4 kg, so they really are tiny




There was a good selection of herbivores in the park – far more than we expected to see








Malachite Kingfisher – just at the side of the track - certainly the closest we have ever been to one

Edited by TonyQ
Link to comment
Share on other sites


Bohor Reedbuck


baby feeding




Bushbuck - a really beautiful antelope - but I suppose they all are!


Long-tailed Fiscal


Vervet Monkey






There are areas of grassland, sections of woods, and many bushy areas, providing a variety of environments of herbivores

Link to comment
Share on other sites


African White-Backed Vulture




White Rhino


Nairobi National Park is a good place to see White Rhino. It is also possible to see Black Rhino, but they are harder to find, and we didn’t see any.


Ever present but still beautiful Impala


Zebra and baby


Little Bee-eater

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have saved this sighting for last, although it happened in the middle of the day. It was one of the most thrilling of the trip!


A Serval



It walked on the road


We had seen a Serval on our previous trip to Kenya, but it was dark and in long grass for the whole sighting. Here it was a much clearer and more prolonged view. It really is a beautiful cat. I had thought of it as a spotted cat, but it also has a few stripes. It has really long legs.


It went hunting in the long grass – it would shuffle around and then leap in the air and land on the front paws, and presumably some unfortunate small rodent. I couldn’t get a picture of the leap – it was too fast and unpredictable (to me!)





It came back to the road, had a spray, walked along a bit and then disappeared into the long grass.




So not bad for Day 1!

Our intention was a Birding Day, but Nairobi National Park was much more varies and productive than we expected.

We still managed to photograph 65 species of birds during the day.



Edited by TonyQ
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Excellent Day 1. Looking forward to the updates from the rest of the trip

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Amazing! I am more excited about the suni as a spot but the serval sighting was very special. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gorgeous serval!  Eagerly awaiting more of what is promising already to be a great report. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Glad you are making a return safari to Kenya where we met you and @Thursday's Child in Meru.

We saw the Suni in Nairobi National Park, as well, near the entrance.

What a great serval sighting.

We are making a return to Kenya also next year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great start @TonyQ.  That  White-Backed Vulture portrait makes it look almost photogenic and I'm pleased to read that it's not just my photographic skills that are lacking when it comes to capturing a leaping Serval!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@TonyQ how lucky to have such a great suni sighting, this species continues to elude me but I suppose if I go back to Africa often enough I might one day catch a glimpse of this critter. Great serval shots too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



What a great start to the trip.  Looking forward to more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@TonyQ Beautiful photographs of some of my favourite animals especially the serval. Looking forward to your Selenkay leg as I stayed there in 2005. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Great photos. I now see the correct spelling of the cat called serval we saw in Botswana. It was beautiful in the dark while seated, but how much more so in daylight and in full view. So elegant and graceful. What a treat!

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Thanks for sharing the excellent photos and write up @TonyQ.


I am very glad Ben showed you and @Thursday's Child a good time in Nairobi NP


Looking forward to following along with this TR - perhaps after I return from Zambia (I depart day after tomorrow).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The serval is awesome, but is it my imagination (maybe my glasses need cleaned), or are its eyes somewhat blue?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

wow a suni! i don't think i've seen one yet. 


and a serval in daylight hours - stunning photos Tony and very very jealous. all the servals I've seen are in dark nights and in some grasses. 



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I literally gasped out loud at your serval photo! Such a fantastic sighiting. I am very jealous...haven't seen one yet in the wild....


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Those serval photo’s are out of this world ; I saw one very shortly this year on a night drive in Kafue and an other one  in South Luangwa in 2014 but I would love to see one in daylight 


Peter Bracquene

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very happy to see you are doing a report Tony, looking forward to it a lot! Awesome Serval indeed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Abhi @pault @Alexander33 @mapumbo @Atdahl @AfricIan @Treepol @JohnR @Kitsafari @mtanenbaum @BRACQUENE @michael-ibk

@shouldbewriting @offshorebirder @xnegvx

thank you very much for your encouragement. We were delighted to see the Suni as well as the Serval, and indeed enjoyed being out in the National Park

@MMMim thank you. The serval does have blue eyes - I am not sure how rare that is. I know most have yellow/tawny coloured eyes. Some leopards have blue eyes I have heard. (I did a search for Seval with blue-eyes and was horrified to find that they are kept as pets by some people in the US!.) Wikipedia talks about brownish or greenish eyes, but they look blue on this individual!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Selenkay Consevancy/Amboseli National Park


A quick car journey to Wilson Airport (The Boma Hotel is handily placed) for a 07.30 flight to Selenkay Airstrip. The plane left a bit early for the 30 minute flight as all the passengers were present!


We were met at the airstrip by Wilson (our guide) and Melita our driver. We had asked Expert Africa to request Wilson as our guide as he leads a number of birding trips for Porini, and is indeed very good at identifying birds.  The morning was spent as a game drive before returning to camp for check in/lunch.


We spent 3 nights at Porini Amboseli (which is in Selenkay Conservancy). The first day and the third day were spent in the conservancy and the second day was spent on a full day trip into Amboseli National Park.


During this section of the report I will combine the two Selenkay days rather going through a day by day account.


There were two Antelopes found in Selenkay that we were particularly keen to see – the Lesser Kudu and (one of our favourites) the Gerenuk. Neither are found in the Mara area.



Gerenuk male


Showing tha advantage of the long neck and being able to stand on back legs - you can see that the lower leaves have already gone





And the female - much more slender





We saw Gerenuk on a number of occasions in Selenkay, and were delighted each time - on of our favourite antelope!


Edited by TonyQ
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Soon after we were picked up from the airstrip we were taken to see a couple of young lions resting in some bushes. This one kindly raised his head to have a look at us



Amboseli is known for elephants, and there are also a number of them in Selenkay


A big tusker coming towards us


Having a rest against a tree - those tusks must be heavy!

I mentioned that we wanted to see birds while we were in Selenkay as it is a very different environment to the Mara Area. The Porini camp iteself was a good birding spot, and we saw lots on our trips in the consevancy. I will put a few in, but all are in the Big Year thread.


Tawny Eagle


Sulphur-Breasted Bush-Shrike


Green-Winged Pytilia


Little Sparrowhawk

Ground Squirrels were also common around the camp




Link to comment
Share on other sites

The other antelope we were particularly keen to see was the Lesser Kudu


A very handsome male




Female with just visible baby. You can see how dry much of the bush is - we were told there was virtually no rain in the recent period where it was expected


A better view of the baby


A young male

I think we had about 4 sightings of the Lesser Kudu -and they didn't instantly run away which they do in some areas. We were delighted to see these beautiful animals



Edited by TonyQ
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

Safaritalk uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By using Safaritalk you agree to our use of cookies. If you wish to refuse the setting of cookies you can change settings on your browser to clear and block cookies. However, by doing so, Safaritalk may not work properly and you may not be able to access all areas. If you are happy to accept cookies and haven't adjusted browser settings to refuse cookies, Safaritalk will issue cookies when you log on to our site. Please also take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy: Terms of Use l Privacy Policy