Mount Kenya’s man-made paradise
SEE ALSO :Con group returns to Central KenyaWajee is perched on top of a hill with clear views of Mount Kenya to the north and Aberdares to the west. It is the brainchild of one Jagi Gakunju who is perhaps one of the most adventurous corporate honchos in Kenya who has had several brushes with African wildlife. The 20-acre park stands on his ancestral home where global ornithologists (people who study all things birds) flock to inspect its avian wonders. After some light breakfast that included sweet potatoes (these are always on the breakfast menu here) I set out with Robert for the famed walk in the park. The adventure starts at the old farm house constructed in 1941 and now partly serves as a museum for the family history that spans more than a century. Nearby are some self-contained cottages. They may not resemble the high end affairs we mentioned on the outset but they do have the basics: a comfortable bed, hot water and good views. Those who love the outdoors can camp in the expansive grounds next to the cottages. I was told of how a diplomat in Nairobi would regularly drive to Wajee Nature Park for a weekend and not even the property managers would have a clue as to who he was as he pitched his camp in the compound. The rare bird From the camping grounds, the path meanders down a steep slope with moss-covered stones that act as a one long stairway to the valley floor. The depression is aptly named Hinde’s Babbler Valley after an endangered bird that is found here only. We were fortunate enough to see a fleeting glimpse of the rare bird. Few visitors, Robert told us, ever get to see the bird. The valley had more than Hinde’s Babbler. Variable sunbirds darted from flower to flower, collecting nectar while enjoying the late morning sun. Singing cisticolas darted along the route while wagtails showed off their ever-riveting backside. In all, more than 120 bird species have been recorded here, earning Wajee the rare distinction of being one of the Important Bird Areas in the region. The thick undergrowth at Wajee acts as a perfect hideout for some small animals including the slender moongose, the common duiker, genet cat and the rare side-striped jackal.
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