all the little things
Although lions and elephants are definitely the big draw of safaris, there are plenty of small things that are also worth appreciating in the African wild. Take dung beetles, for example, which look like minituare flying rhinos as they buzz around in search of a suitable ball of animal excrement to roll. Or the dwarf mongoose, whose curious face can sometimes be seen poking out of hollow tree trunks and abandoned termite mounds.
For D, one of Meru’s main attractions was its incredible variety of birds, many of which were no bigger than a dwarf mongoose and quite a lot flightier. Our visit coincided with the weaver nesting season – two weeks during which thousands of male weaver birds build their nests and create a furious din as they attempt to out-compete each other for mates.
There are dozens of weaver varieties and we did not try to spot them all, though a few stood out quite distinctly, including the golden palm weavers, the white-headed buffalo weavers, and the black-headed weavers.
Sitting atop the safari vehicle, D saw dozens of bee-eaters fluttering by and nearly drove his family mad with his attempts to photograph them.
We also saw numerous kingfishers, go-away birds, doves, and sandgrouses, as well as various predator birds, including eagles, hawks, and harriers.
Moving to East Africa from a country whose most oft-glimpsed bird is the drab city pigeon, Kenya’s seemingly endless avian variety dazzles the eye. Meru has way more than its fair share of colorful birds and, despite its relative remoteness, is a must visit destination for any aspiring ornithologist.