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WHAT & WHERE IS KULAFUMBI?

1724670-982768-thumbnail.jpg 'Kulafumbi' is our family home in Kenya, East Africa. 'Kulafumbi' is a play on the Kiswahili words "kula vumbi", which mean "eat dust", because it was so hot and dusty building our house in this remote, wild, wonderful place. Kulafumbi borders the Tsavo National Park - with no fences between us and the Park, the wildlife comes and goes of its own free will and treats our land as its own, which is exactly how we like it. In turn, we provide a protected area for the wild animals to do as they please. This protected area also creates an important buffer for the river, which forms the boundary between us and the park.
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ON-GOING SPECIES COUNT

1829439-992202-thumbnail.jpg Look how many species of animals & birds we've spotted to date at Kulafumbi:

MAMMALS: 43+
REPTILES &
AMPHIBIANS: 18+++

BIRDS: 199+
INSECTS: Too many to count

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Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems..."

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« If you don't look very carefully, you may never see (Tsavo West in close up) | Main | Not Exactly a Sitting Duck »
Wednesday
May182011

Tsavo West...A very special place indeed

Tsavo West at this time of year may be mostly overcast and grey, with uninspiring light for photography, but you can still find all the magic in the world that you desire there. Tsavo West has to be one of Kenya’s (if not Africa’s) most scenic parks, with the iconic massifs of Ngulia and Kichwa Tembo towering over the bushland, dotted with giant baobabs, flowering delonix trees, acacias heavily laden with weaver bird nests and those rusty orange-red-brown rock formations so loved by leopards, hyraxes and raptors.

Ian and I spent last weekend in Tsavo West, with half a hope of seeing some Black Rhinos in the Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary (which holds sixty rhinos), but with the recent rain meaning the rhinos were not bound to use their regular watering holes, it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. The region around Ngulia is real rhino country – thick plant-diverse bushland - and sometimes it's hard to see further than twenty yards off the road:

Once upon a time before poaching took such a toll on this beautiful land, many rhinos roamed free in this part of the world. Nowadays you have to be very lucky to see one. In the end, despite much silent waiting at waterholes at dawn and dusk, we did not see a rhino this time, though happily we saw plenty of evidence of them everywhere:

Plenty of other equally unique animals, birds and plants more than made up for our lack of rhino sightings. We started with a grey-day lone buffalo bull, taking it easy by a waterhole with oxpeckers on his back:

 An equally grey day Tawny Eagle on its nest:

Tsavo West’s thick bush country is not only ideal for rhinos, but also for other browsing species like Lesser Kudu. At first glance, this looks like a wide empty expanse of bush:

 But take a closer look, and a male Kudu is revealed browsing on some green shoots:

The early mornings provide picture-perfect moments, as the sun gently highlights the eastern edge of the baobab trees:

A bush breakfast consists of toast fired in the open air (by my husband, no less!):

While we breakfast, a flawless male Lesser Kudu emerges cautiously from the bushland:

And the birds reveal themselves in dizzying variety, colour, shape and size:

A tiny male Pygmy Batis  Fischers Starling

Vulturine Guineafowl

The Black-capped Social Weavers are breeding in great profusion in the isolated acacia tortilis trees that punctuate the bushland:

This makes for irresistible pickings for the Gabar Goshawks which tear apart the nests from the top to get at the helpless quarry within:

An immature Pale Chanting Goshawk chooses to hunt lizards along the edge of the road:

Zebra and Giraffe congregate around the waterholes as the day heats up:

While the Grey-headed Sparrows get busy feeding on grass seeds:

Turning our attention for a moment to flowers, I think this is Commelina petersii - darker blue than the Commelina flowers we get at Kulafumbi:

An impala ram is majesty personified:

Warthogs enjoy a good scratch after their midday mud bath:

Tsavo West traffic jam, caused by a male Masai Ostrich hogging the road:

The afternoon falls gently over Tsavo West:

Evenings can hardly be said to be stressful, the only chore being stoking up the fire, before settling down to enjoy the encroaching night:

Fading sun rays on Mount Kilimanjaro to the west:

Very last light over Tsavo:

And so to the final act of the day: the unfurling of the large white Ipomoea longituba blossoms, which only flower at night, awaiting the nocturnal hawk moths' pollination services...

 

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Reader Comments (6)

Beautiful pictures and a very magical area. Tsavo West has long been a favourite of mine. What area were you camping in?

May 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBryan

Thank you Bryan. We were in the Ngulia area. It's so magical, and one of my favourite parks too.

May 18, 2011 | Registered CommenterTanya

You 2 are very lucky. Looks stunning......even breathtaking.

Greetings Bart

May 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBart

Hi Bart. Good to hear from you. Yes, Tsavo West is truly breathtaking...a very, very beautiful place. Hope all is well in Holland...

May 18, 2011 | Registered CommenterTanya

Splendid pictures Tanya, looks like the ideal place to unwind, hope you and Ian are well.....................Leo

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLeo Johnston

Next time you come to Kenya, we should all go there. You would absolutely love it.....birdlife is tremendous, apart from anything else. Hope all is well in Canada...it's such a shame we won't make it for your birthday celebrations in August, but another time hopefully. Sounds like you are all going to have a fabulous time.

May 22, 2011 | Registered CommenterTanya

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