Origins, Patterns and Conservation of Biodiversity in East Africa

Kakamega – back to Nairobi – June 14

Blog Post 6: Alyssa, Kaida, Meghan

As a morning haze settled over our camp, we bade Kakamega—and our excellent guide Job—farewell. It was with heavy hearts we packed up our tents for the last time and loaded onto our trusty truck. As we drove by familiar landscapes, our minds wandered to all the amazing sights we had seen on our trip so far. Still, Nairobi-bound, our exploration of Kenya was far from over.

Views of verdant forests and dew-soaked tea bushes filled our windows, the rolling landscape disappearing into the mist beyond. Our ten-hour ride back to Kolping House was interspersed with snack breaks, card games,  naps, and many more glimpses of the wildlife that roam the Kenyan highlands. A troupe of olive baboons loitered by the roadside; zebras grazed alongside livestock in open pastures. As the hard-packed clay-soils of the Kakamega region thinned into a red dusting overtop the andesitic basalts common to the rift valley, soda lakes began to shine on the horizon. The striking hills bordering the valley captivated us all, but the most stunning sight of the day filled the shores of Lake Elementaita, where a flock of flamingos—thousands strong—stood on the shoreline, looking very much like the pink sands of a beach instead of the iconic birds they were.

We arrived at Kolping Conference Centre just as the sun dipped below the horizon, a few vendors awaiting us with their wares. We gladly made our packs a few shillings lighter as we prepared for our last dinner prepared by John (the second aka John G) and Chenze.

Though we were no longer in the rich tropical forest of Kakamega, the night-time herpetofauna hunt continued. The light rain enticed the amphibians to emerge, and Kaida stumbled across a mature Lake Victoria clawed frog by our rooms. Everyone excitedly gathered around to snap quick pictures of the unique frog. Later on, Kaida, Madeline and Grace discovered a small, unidentified frog on one of the many walkways around our compound.

With our long day of travel finally drawing to a close, we retired to our beds, eager to discover what our last day in Kenya has in store for us tomorrow.

Our resident Kakamega pied wagtail.

Lake Victoria clawed frog – just outside our dorms

Kolping Conference Centre, dorms to the right


  1. Mary Dillon

    Oops…I put this comment in the post for the wrong day. Sorry. I don’t see how to remove comments (maybe Steve can do that for me??)

  2. Mary Dillon

    Thanks for another beautifully descriptive account of a day in the life of visitors to Kenya. Verdant forests, dew-soaked tea bushes, baboons, zebras, and thousands of flamingos—what sights you are sharing with us!

    I have learned a lot by reading these blogs. Today, it was the word “andesitic”…I had to look that up.

    I greatly appreciate all the efforts that were put into writing these entries, and taking and sharing photos. It has been wonderful.

  3. Cathy Alex

    What a great day as your trip draws to a close!

    I particularly loved the image of the large flock of flamingos looking like a beach. So special!

    I’m going to miss this daily dose of nature’s most beautiful birds, plants, reptiles, insects and animals. Not to mention all the fun facts!

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