Origins, Patterns and Conservation of Biodiversity in East Africa

Nairobi – museum, serpentarium & departure – June 15

Blog post 10. Team C. Allen, Rachael, May

Goodbye Kenya!

We woke up this morning with that bittersweet feeling that comes at the end of every trip: happy to be going home but very sad to be leaving such an incredible place.

Professor Lougheed’s friend from his graduate days, Dr. Taye Teferi, visited and told us about his work. We also heard several entertaining stories from their PhD days. The morning was filled with both education and lots of laughs.

At 9:30 AM, we set off for our final adventure here in Kenya: the Nairobi Natural History Museum. We saw enormous storks on the way to the museum – maribus. They were the size of May, but only half as deadly. We watched as their “dulaps waggled in the wind”. (Thanks for that unforgettable image, Alyssa.) There was a lot to see at the museum, but a lot of us particularly enjoyed the “Cradle of Humankind” exhibit. It was fascinating to learn where we (humans) come from in the very place where we originated.

We also visited the museum’s serpentarium. We learned a lot about venomous snakes found in Kenya, reminding some of us of how grateful we were to not have run into any during our adventures. But we also saw some of the less dangerous reptiles in the serpentarium, with some of us being lucky enough to have had the chance to hold a tortoise and an African Rock Python.

We hurried to leave the museum at 1:00 PM and returned to the Kolping Conference Centre. After our last wonderful meal by the Bunduz chefs, the entire crew gathered together to give our farewells to Carol, John (1), John (2), and Chenze – having said goodbye to owner Mukhtar the previous day. Without them, the trip would not have been as wonderful or even possible. We arrived at the airport and shared hugs, handshakes, and heartfelt good byes. One of us even got an autograph from the entire Bunduz crew on their shirt.

We are leaving Kenya with bags full of souvenirs (and dirty clothes), bellies full of delicious food, brains full of knowledge, but most importantly, lives filled with the most incredible experiences.

Goodbye Kenya, and thank you.

Always time for a new bird species. A yellow-breasted apalis

An effective sign in the serpentarium

Neophyte ophidiophile Allen

Rachael with tortoise at the Nairobi serpentarium

Alyssa with a new friend

Steve with (from left) John G (John the second), Chenze, our co-instructor and coordinator Carol, and John (the first and our driver)

Departure lounge at Jomo Kenyatta Airport. Grace, Meg and Sol in back. Alyssa, Madeleine and I think Andy, partially hidden. Departure after 11 PM.

Arjun of the enigmatic smile. Always 12 steps ahead.


  1. Cathy Alex

    Thank you all so much for the effort you put into creating this daily blog.

    It was a gift to be able to see some of the magic you’re experiencing, and to learn vicariously through your adventures.

    Even though I didn’t go with you, I am now familiar with a few Kenyan birds, plants, reptiles and animals.

    More importantly you have helped me learn so much more about a country that I knew previously only by name. Along the way you’ve given me so much to think about and research for myself.

    My favourite takeaways from today’s post:

    1. Trespassers will be poisoned

    2. Rachael’s face with the tortoise.

    3. The departure lounge at the airport

    4. And this, so much this.. “ We are leaving Kenya with bags full of souvenirs (and dirty clothes), bellies full of delicious food, brains full of knowledge, but most importantly, lives filled with the most incredible experiences.”

    I’m so glad and grateful that you each got to go on this incredible adventure and that you were willing & able to share it with us.

    Thanks again!


  2. Hilary

    Thank you so much for these blogs to keep all the family and friends updated. We felt like we were right along with you! It looks like everyone will have amazing memories from this trip of a lifetime! It seemed really well orgainized and full of learning opportunities! Well done organizers!

  3. Mary Dillon

    I am sure you all felt that the departure was bittersweet, as that was the word I was thinking of when reading these final entries. I have learned so much and thoroughly enjoyed following along with the adventures of this great group of students, teachers, and guides.

    It’s amazing how even while in transit to a museum, the group was still making sightings and reporting on them (enormous storks!) The museum sounded like it had so much to offer—the cradle of humankind and all those snakes!

    This blog ends so beautifully. Yes, your lives have been enriched with incredible experiences. Thanks for sharing some of them with us.

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