Kenya Loldia House

Loldia House and a “World of Birds”

That’s the African fish eagle calling. It is exactly 06:07 in the morning and I am pulling back the curtains. “Good morning Loldia” I whisper, as my eyes meet the uninterrupted views of Lake Naivasha. Mt. Longonot silhouettes in the distance.  A cool breeze blows through the property and I notice a string of intermediate egrets flying a few centimetres above the dancing water.

Bird photography Kenya safari

African fish eagle – photo credit Kevin Maimba

“Good morning sir, how was your night? Here’s your cup of kienyeji chai” says Constant, our ever-jovial waiter, as he delivers our warm beverage of choice for the early wake-up call – mixed African tea. “Mine was excellent. How was yours?” I ask as I move my camera and lens aside to create room for the tray.

Loldia House

Breakfast at Loldia – photo credit Kevin Maimba

There is a difference between birding and bird photography and at Loldia House, we experienced both. It was not just about identifying and counting birds but also the opportunity to photograph a diverse range of species in a variety of habitats.

Bird photography Kenya safari

A great cormorant – photo credit Kevin Maimba

Personal highlights were the squacco and purple herons, which had triumphantly evaded our checklists and cameras before the visit! We now know where to find them and that they share the same habitat as the African jacana on the reed-fringed side of the lake. Captain Eddy, the experienced boatman of Loldia House helped us find them. The Nubian woodpecker perched on the humongous fig tree in the garden nods in agreement.

The squacco heron is a migrant species – photo credit Kevin Maimba

Purple heron

A purple heron flies overhead – photo credit Simon Odhiambo 

Occupying the manicured gardens are the common bulbuls, a staggering variety of weaver birds, the beautiful red-cheeked cordon bleus, red-billed firefinches, purple grenadiers and red-eyed doves. There is a shy male Northern fiscal, just next to the hippo-fence; we watched him call his partner in from time to time.

Loldia House purple grenadier

Purple grenadier – photo credit Simon Odhiambo 

As we strolled towards them, we noticed a pair of hamerkops mating next to the floating water hyacinth.  The wading hadada ibis became nervous with our presence and flapped her wings, scattering five Hildebrandt’s spurfowls that were eating seeds in the garden.

Bird photography Kenya safari

A hamerkop catches a fish – photo credit Kevin Maimba

I will not forget the up-close interaction with the white-browed robin chats, who mislead us with their well-rehearsed mimicry of other birds. We fell for the master impressionists and their deceiving vocal range several times before the culprits finally revealed themselves. We were quite cautious thereafter. On our third day, the noisy red-chested cuckoos gave away the white-browed coucals who had stayed successfully hidden from us for two days.

Excitement constantly engulfed our bird photography indulgence throughout our stay at Loldia House. From the friendly yet professional staff to the warm, cosy rooms and home-cooked meals, we have made lifelong memories that we will carry with us. The views, landscapes and synchronised calls from variable, collared and bronze sunbirds coupled with busy weavers and over thirty other bird species, is what makes Loldia so special.

A village weaver – photo credit Simon Odhiambo

Views of Lake Naivasha and Mt. Longonot from Loldia House – photo credit Kevin Maimba

A grey-headed gull- photo credit Simon Odhiambo

It was an action-packed three-day visit. A meal of ‘fish and chirps’ was served by the African fish eagle, while grey-headed gulls, white-eyed slaty flycatchers, red-faced crombecs, tropical boubous and African dusky flycatchers were also ever present.

“Fish and chirps” – photo credit photo credit Kevin Maimba

Bird photography Kenya safari

A white-eyed slaty flycatchers – photo credit Kevin Maimba

As we reluctantly began our journey home, a buffalo delivered to us on its back, four red-billed and two yellow-billed oxpeckers as a final sighting.

By Simon Odhiambo and Kevin Maimba who stayed with us at Loldia House in June 2024. To see more spectacular bird imagery by Simon and Kevin, please follow them on Instagram.

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