Safari: The Audubon Shop Kenya Safari

The Audubon Shop Kenya Safari recently sent us a fantastic trip report and comprehensive bird list following their guided ornithological trip with Origins Safaris last year. The Audubon Shop Kenya Safari was a program of Caligo Ventures Tours and Travel, USA.  

Origins' guides Edwin Selempo and Joseph Gichanga escorted this trip to Nairobi National Park, Mount Kenya, Rift Valley Lakes Nakuru and Baringo, Kakamega and the Maasai Mara in Kenya. Here is an extract from the Audubon safari journal, for a full trip report and the Audubon Shop bird list from this trip please download the pdf's below:

Birds and Natural History of Kenya

What an incredible two weeks in a land that has it all! Thanks to one and all for making the trip of a lifetimeď more than live up to its billing. The African skies, plains, mountains, lakes, and forest made for breath-taking backdrops for one the most natural history-rich places on the planet. The trip list of 478 birds and nearly 50 mammals was enough to make anyone's head spin.

Fortunately, all were made palatable with the patient expertise of Joseph and Edwin, great weather, and relatively easy viewing conditions in a pleasant climate. The accommodations and food were consistently first rate, as were the ever-dependable Land Rovers from which we did more than 50%(!) of our field work. Kenya is definitely on my list for a return trip

Audubon Trip 2005 Report

Audubon Trip 2005 Bird List


  Mountain Gorilla
Names: Alyson & Gerry Pearce
From: Brighton, United Kingdom
Safari: Mountain Gorilla Safari, Rwanda

We are regular visitors to Africa and always look forward to every visit with as much enthusiasm as our first trip. However, I can honestly say my first visit to the Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda was the most exhausting and rewarding experience of my life. It took over 2 hours of strenuous, uphill trekking before we were even close to the group we were tracking, and then a further 40 minutes following their trail before we found them. Even then they didn't stay still for long, but with the first sighting my aching muscles vanished and I was transfixed. The group consisted of 7 members, 4 of which we saw, the 1 year old infant being a particular favorite.

The highlight of this visit was narrowly missing being knocked flying by one of the young adult gorillas charging past to join his family, and then watching as he then headed further down the mountain sending Gerry, my husband, flying! After our hour following these characters through the undergrowth, we returned shattered but exhilarated to the Lodge.

  Alyson & Gerry Pearce

The second day our guide, Alex, took pity on us and got us permits to visit a gorilla group who usually chose a lower mountain position for their foraging. This trek took only 40 minutes of steady climbing and the whole family of 8 were gathered in a clearing making it very easy to sit and watch them. We spent a wonderful hour watching the boisterous youngsters fight, eat and cause mischief! The Silverback, the largest on the mountain at 250 kgs, posed for our cameras beautifully and we all got some wonderful pictures.

Our two hours visiting these amazing creatures were incredible, and for anyone
with a love of wildlife I would say it is worth every minute of the journey,
the climb and the aching limbs!

"Thank you Origins Safaris for an experience we will always remember".

- Alyson Pearce

Names: Mary Alice & Wilbur N. Moulton
From: Arizona, USA
Safari: The Original East African Ornithological Safari, Kenya

We want you to know that the Bird Venture safari from which we have just returned was one of the finest trips we have ever taken. It was superb in every way. As birders the 400 species we saw was beyond our expectations. It was great advantage to have a private trip, a luxury we had not experienced before.

The trip schedule was perfect. It was great to experience such a wide variety of places. Meru was our favorite among all the places we visited, not only for the wildlife, but also for banda accommodations. Your staff made us feel like royalty. Our conversations with James Haigh gave us a broader perspective on many issues.

Above all we treasured our guide Richard Mbithi. His ability to locate birds by sight and sound continually amazed us. His driving skills on highways, country roads and no-road bush were a marvel. He quickly became more than a driver-guide; he became a fine traveling companion and friend. Please convey to him our appreciation for all his services and friendship.

In addition to the safari we enjoyed our stay in Nairobi, where we had the opportunity of visiting acquaintances and seeing some local attractions. In addition we spent a day near Embu with Kenya Habitat for Humanity projects which have an on-going relationship with our Prescott Habitat for Humanity.

In summary we had a great trip and would enthusiastically recommend it to anyone who would consider it.

- Wilbur Moulton

Names: Grace Harison and Linda Walker
From: Texas, USA
Safari: Historic Ethiopia, Mountain Gorilla Safari – Rwanda, Northern Tanzania,

Zanzibar - the Spice Island

It is with the greatest pleasure that Linda Walker and I extend our praises to Steve Turner of Origins Safaris for creating such a perfect trip for us to Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zanzibar. Every little detail went according to plan.

I would like to mention some of the guides so that you may credit them with exceptional knowledge, insight, kindness, courtesy, flexibility and humour. They are truly pre-eminent in their field.

To begin: our guide in Ethiopia, Solomon Tekle W. Tsadik, was outstanding. He possessed vast knowledge of his country, and he was so refined and courteous. He was with us throughout our stay there, which makes such a difference. When we parted, we were like old friends, infact, I have already received some photos from him about the lip plate women in the South of Ethiopia. What a lovely and considerate gentleman.

  Baby Gorilla

Next, our guide in Rwanda, Budaramani Frederic, or Fred as we called him, was wonderful. He was most engaging and accommodating. He did not accompany us on the trek to see the gorillas as this was left to the expert guides and trackers who always handle this part. By the way, Linda and I were thrilled with the trekking experience, and we did see the gorillas (8 in the Amaharo group on Mt Bisoke). 

This was no easy trek as we climbed up to 5,000 Ft. of an 8,000 ft Mt. We trekked through mud, rocks, rain, mist, and stinging nettles with guides hacking trails through thick bamboo. We went STRAIGHT up the Mt., and finally we saw the gorillas. They were very friendly and we got along very well during our one-hour visit with them. There were 5 other tourists in our group and all of them were MUCH younger. When we all returned safely, (6 hours later), all of them said how fit and able Linda and I were. Everyone received a certificate, which I will treasure forever. For me, it was like climbing Kilimanjaro. Linda and I loved everything about Rwanda.


Then in Tanzania, everything was flawless there also. Our guide, Raymond Ole Kosyando, was the perfect match for Linda and me. We were so happy that he accompanied us every step of the way, five days. We appreciated his vast knowledge about all the animals and the flora. What a difference it makes to have a guide who is well informed and articulate. We saw the elusive black rhino as well as two leopards and 4 cheetahs. The lions were wonderful as well as the plentiful elephants, giraffes, buffalo, wildebeests, zebras, etc.

Next, Zanzibar was exotic and wonderful. Our room had a balcony looking right out on the Indian Ocean with the colourful dhows and other boats. We ate lobster every day and had a splendid time going to Stone Town, a spice tour, and one to the Jozani Forest to see the Red Colobus monkeys. Our guide, Charles, was a perfect match for us with a great sense of humour and a store of knowledge. 

Grace Harison


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