From July to October, every year,
there are two spectacular migrations across Kenya.
The famous one is the journey of the
wildebeests as they move from Serengeti to the Mara.
The lesser known migration is that of
the Humpback Whales as they make their 4,000km journey from the
cold waters of Antarctica to the East African coastline
extending from Somalia to South Africa.
The warm tropical waters and
protection offered by the inner reefs provide the perfect
The Humpbacks are majestic mammals.
A fully grown adult can span 18 feet
and weigh 40 tonnes.
The best place to watch these mammals
is Watamu where they can be viewed in their natural habitat from
They swim close to the shoreline.
Their acrobatic antics as they leap
out of water are a fascinating spectacle.
A more adventurous viewing is by boat
with local fisherman who will tell you about local folklore.
For the fishermen whale watching tours
are an additional source of income and an incentive to protect
Watamu Marine Association has research
programmes in place to document behaviour and collect data.
More than 10 species of dolphins and
whales have been spotted in Watamu.
WMA work closely with the local
community in collecting data.
Jane Spilsbury of WMA says there is a
significant decline in the humpbacked population over the past
The nature and habits of these ocean
giants are yet to be understood fully.
The revamping the ‘East African
Campaign Exhibition’, at Sarova Taita Hills Lodge is taking
Curated by James Wilson of ‘Guerrillas
of Tsavo’ the exhibition honours the thousands of Africans who
died in the war.
FFJ were one of the first to send a
donation and we are pleased to see it has been put to very good
The picture, from Eileen Wilson shows
one of the first newly designed panels sponsored by FFJ. The
tentative dates for the opening are 22-24 November.
More details to follow.
The Commonwealth War Graves
Commission’s team of experts involved in the restoration of the
Askari Monument in Mwembe Tayari are scheduled to return to
Mombasa to carry out the site work this month.
In order to share its conservation
expertise with the local stakeholders and NMK’s conservation
staff CWGC has organised a one day conference in Mombasa on
The conference covers the historical
background to the World Wars, the design and construction of
memorials and technical aspects of current conservation works.
In addition to CWGC staff the other
speakers are James Wilson who will talk on the East Africa
Campaign and there will be a presentation by FFJ chairman on
‘Conservation – a Mombasa perspective’.
This initiative is very welcome and of
great benefit to all those involved in conservation of heritage.
(Taibali Hamzali, Chairman)
Saturday, 19th May - Bird Walk at Forest Trail
On this gloomy afternoon we followed
the “Leisure Walk” Trail up to the Great Lake, had a look at a
very active Village Weaver colony at the TUI pond and by the
time we wound up our walk, the list of birds contained 18
awesome species !
The lovely Black-throated Wattle-eye
and the Bearded Scrub Robin only allowed us to get a
glimpse of them before retreating into the undergrowth !
Some species could only be identified
by their calls, i.e. Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird,
Black-backed Puffback, Tambourine Dove, Grey-backed
Camaroptera and the African Fish Eagle.
However two Brown-hooded Kingfishers,
not recorded before at the Forest Trails by me, perched
nicely at the Great Lake and gave us plenty of time to
observe and take a photo as well !
We added a Palm-nut Vulture on wings,
a lone Egyptian Goose, Striated Heron and one tiny male
Red-billed Firefinch, which was foraging on the ground
in the distance !
We had to approach it carefully to be
sure of its identity!!
PHOTO: DORIS SCHAULE
See you on the 3rd Saturday
of August, when we again dedicate the afternoon to Kenya’s
amazing birdlife!! (Doris Schaule)
Saturday, 14th July - Heritage Visit: Schools for
Our larger than usual group of 42
comprising students, patrons and teachers from four schools from
Gede, namely Canon Mwer, Jimba Gede, Francis Bob Tuva and
M’baraka Chembe Secondary got delayed en-route due to heavy
Fortified with Essa Khediwallas lovely
breakfast we proceeded with the Old Town walk traversing
Mbarak Hinawy and Ndiaa Kuu Roads while trying to dodge
the omnipresent, noisy tuk –tuks.
Unfortunately, we could not get inside
Leven House to show them the well renovated interior.
The Level Steps too were out of bounds as the access
stairs were recently washed away by storm water from the
The Butterfly House was of special
interest to the students as many were unaware that the
pupae and butterflies originate from Aroboko- Sokoke
forest which is close to their homes in Gede.
After a delicious lunch by our ever
reliable caterers Queens Cafeteria, Hassan Mohammed
talked about Mombasa’s history when it was under
Portuguese rule and followed up with a tour of the Fort.
Thank you to members for their
donations in cash and kind and the council members for
the hard work that goes in arranging the visits.
At Ndiaa Kuu. The road is as old as Fort Jesus.
PHOTO: DORIS SCHAULE
Saturday, 18th August - Bird Walk at Msumarini,
This month’s walk is at a new and
promising site near the Msumarini School.
For ease of directions meeting point
is at Elite Bar, Mtwapa at 2.15pm.
Doris will lead the convoy for the 20
minute drive to Msumarini.
For more information see our Facebook
page or contact Doris Schaule Tel: 0722 277752. Email:
Saturday, 8th September - Tree planting at FB
Tuva Secondary School, Gedi and Watamu Marine Watch
The tree planting planned for 7th
July at Gede Secondary School could not go ahead as the school
informed us, rather late in the day that they were committed
with other activities.
Our planting will now take place at
another school nearby, FB Tuva Secondary which participated in
the last heritage visit.
After the tree planting we will go to
Watamu to see the recycling centre – it has developed more since
we last visited.
The recycling centre is very
successful and has won many international accolades.
Meeting point is at turn off to Gedi
from the main Mombasa Malindi Road at 10.00am.
You can park at the petrol station at
the junction. . You may carry your own picnic lunch or dine at
one of the many eating places in Watamu.
We will arrange for shared transport
if there are enough members.
If interested please confirm with
Kalim Hassanali, Email:
firstname.lastname@example.org or by SMS 0735 209 814.