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Pole to Pole

Day 89: Shaba to Nairobi

Michael Palin - Pole to PoleA significant day ahead. By the time it's over we should be in the Southern Hemisphere, over halfway to our goal after three months' travelling.

Wendy thinks we should be up at 5 a.m. if we want to see the summit of Mount Kenya before the clouds form over it, but long-term fatigue wins the day over short-term shot-chasing and we gather for breakfast soon after six o'clock. Sparrows and starlings are already in attendance in the dining-room. The sparrows are familiar but the starlings here look a lot sharper than their British counterparts. They're known as superb starlings and are luridly turned out with metallic blue backs and chestnut bellies.

The Shaba Lodge has a bookshop and while we wait to leave I'm able to acquire the indispensable Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa (650 species described) and the equally illuminating Mammals of Africa.

Straightaway I'm able to identify a greenbacked heron (rare) and the more common marabou stork. Two of these are moving, with measured strut, along a sandy spit in the middle of the river. Seen from behind, with their heads down and their voluminous white wings clasped behind them they look like a couple of elderly dons debating some fine point of moral philosophy.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 89
  • Country/sea: Kenya
  • Place: Shaba
  • Book page no: 200

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