Australian Geographic Adventure goes wild in Kenya: eagles

By Amy Russell 8 November 2013
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Day 4 introduces the safari troop to a whole new selection of African wildlife.

Day 4 introduces the safari troop to a whole new selection of African wildlife – that of the feathered variety.

WE’VE TRADED THE HOT, sandy plains of Amboseli NP, for the (equally hot!) lakeside setting of Roberts Camp – a ramshackle collection of weathered thatched-roof bungalows and spacious campsites, shaded by lush foliage on the shores of Lake Baringo.

Although we bid farewell to the elephants for now, already we’ve spotted a family of local hippos yawning and bobbing about in water that reaches almost level to the porch where we eat our meals. And, as our bags were unloaded upon our arrival yesterday, and we settled into our new home, our welcoming committee was an inquisitive crocodile who warily eyed us from the shallows by the entrance to the main house.

Our enquiries of, “ummm, should we be worried?!” were met with amused chuckles from the house staff who assured us that, “they won’t bother you if you don’t bother them.” Note to self: don’t aggravate those with sharper teeth than you.

Today is safari Day 4, and our second day by the lake. We rose before the sun (let’s be honest: there really is no other acceptable out-of-bed-time on safari), and after a steaming cup of coffee and a handful of crumbly shortbread biscuits, we sleepily made our way down the road to one of the lake’s entrances on the shoreline.

After some careful repositioning of camera gear, and the help of a few steady hands, we loaded into two long, narrow motorboats and jetted out onto the water.

Lake Baringo is home to an astonishing variety of birds – an estimated 450 species – and there is no better way to spot them than from the vantage point that our boats allowed.

Sam, our guide from the local village, was a fount of bird knowledge, and had a sharp eye for spotting them as we weaved among the reeds and lily pads, sending ripples across the glassy lake. As the sun rose and resumed its position in the cloudless sky, our calls of “Look up there!” and “Wow, make sure you get a shot of that one,” could be heard echoing across the water. 

We spied a vibrant assortment of Lake Baringo’s feathered inhabitants – the African darter, cattle egret, malachite kingfisher, cinnamon-chested bee-eater, African pied wagtail, squacco heron, little egret and blue-cheeked bee-eater – before scooting across to the lake’s far side to seek out the imposing African fish eagle.

A high-pitched whistle and the toss of a fish stuffed with balsa wood is all the encouragement these blink-and-you’ll-miss-them majestic creatures need to swoop down and claim their breakfast. Although Sam joked that the eagles are spoilt and lazy (who else has a fresh fish breakfast served to them against the backdrop of a pristine lakeside setting?!), capturing clearly on camera the impressive sight of their vast wingspan, and a fish clutched tightly in their strong claws, made for a happy group of safarians. 

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.