Australian Geographic Adventure goes wild in Kenya: chameleons

By Amy Russell 8 November 2013
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A day on the road offers the expeditioners a few pleasant – and colourful – suprises.

A day on the road offers the expeditioners a few pleasant – and colourful – suprises.  

I’LL ADMIT I WAS a little relieved this morning to farewell the humid, no-need-for-bed-sheets nights of Lake Baringo, and welcome in their place the cooler climate of our current destination: Rhino Watch Camp.

It took us a full days travel in our accident-proof  trucks (although at first glance they could be mistaken for no-nonsense military carriers, these Land Rovers have begun to feel as comfy as my favourite couch) to arrive at our home for the next five nights, but even the transit offers you a Kenya education.

Passing through the many towns and villages, I couldn’t help but absorb the sights and sounds of this foreign landscape. And I was most captivated by the colours: dusty and uneven mocha-toned roads contrasted starkly against the vibrant, motley collection of market stalls, shops and cafes that line the thoroughfare; and just as eye-catching were the local women draped in richly patterned fabrics, as they displayed their offerings of fresh vegetables, fruit and honey.

Built from what looked to be mostly corrugated iron and splintered wood, the small shops, hotels and restaurants couldn’t be more dissimilar to the concrete monstrosities of our own cities, but I did spy a few familiar sounding names; my favourite – a bar shack emblazoned with the title Hide Park Hotel.

The afternoon brought with it more colour when we stopped for some chameleon spotting at Nyahururu falls – a waterfall lookout popular with tourists. Although viewing and photographing the chameleons inhabiting the area usually involves bartering with the local entrepreneurs who charge visitors to see them, Chris managed to persuade two friendly chameleon minders to surrender four for a photo session in the grass, away from the crowds. 

We were like a group of overexcited children as we got up close and personal with the lizards, and we watched in awe as their scaly skins changed colour against the backdrop of our safari clothes. Macro lenses were invaluable here, helping us to capture the incredible detail of these tiny reptiles in full frame.

Hundreds of shots later, we reluctantly dragged ourselves away and continued on the road to Rhino Watch (RW). Nestled in the heart of the Mount Kenya area, RW differs just as much as Robert’s Camp did from our post at Amboseli – a well-executed strategy by Chris and Jess to ensure we get a feel for Kenya’s varying landscape.

It’s hard not to feel at home here in our luxury tents linked by stone pathways and surrounded by flowering gardens. I’m also excited to be back in the vicinity of big game parks; the experience of being that close to so many wild African animals is an imprint that will remain with me for a long time.

Anticipation is also building in the group as we begin to obsess over the creatures that have mostly eluded us thus far . . . the cats. Cheetahs, lions and leopards are all anyone can think or talk about, and with visits to Solio and Aberdare NP on the agenda for the upcoming days, it seems highly likely we’ll make contact.

To join a Chris Bray Safari in 2012/2013 check out his website. And, to find out more about Kenya visit

Keep an eye out for the full story in the May/June issue of Australian Geographic Adventure, and read more Kenya Photography Safari blogs here