12 Day Snake Safari With Kenya Snake Safaris
Below is a write up from guests who recently experienced a 12 day snake safari. They were a great couple and we all had a really good time together. Thanks to Leslie Polizoti and Craig Ransom for the following review:
'My boyfriend and I just returned from a 12-day “snake” safari with Kenya Snake Safaris run by Royjan and Clare Taylor. Although we are both keenly interested in snakes, we also wanted to see other Kenyan wildlife, including birds, as well. Royjan and Clare planned the perfect trip for us, which took us from Nairobi National Park to the Naibosho Conservancy (a private, unfenced conservancy adjacent to the famous Maasai Mara game reserve) to Lake Elementeita (in the Rift Valley) to the coast of Kenya, including Tsavo East and the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest. We saw everything we hoped we might see, and much more.
Royjan is a silver-level professional guide, and is knowledgeable about all animals—including birds and, of course, especially snakes. This was our fifth trip to Africa in as many years, and we have had more than 10 guides over the course of our trips—and Royjan is one of the best. He has been catching snakes since he was a kid, and has taken over the Bio-Ken Snake Farm in Watamu, on the scenic Kenyan coast. He is an expert in catching snakes, dealing with snakebites, educating people about snakes, and even doing scientific work to help describe new snake species (like Ashe’s cobra, also known as the Large Brown Spitting Cobra).
Roy’s enthusiasm is infectious. He immediately puts you at ease, and has a great sense of humor. During various parts of our trip, we traveled with Roy and his assistant, Ferry; and sometimes with Roy, Clare, Ferry, and two other assistants, Charlie and Guyo. We learned a ton from all of them. Incredibly, we found all of the three spitting cobra species that were in the areas we visited—the black spitter, Ashe’s large brown spitter, and the red spitter. The guys found multiple puff adders, as well as a rock python and several non-venomous snakes. Especially interesting was that we were able to go with Royjan on some “house calls”—part of Bio-Ken’s Saving Snakes program, where Bio-Ken folks travel to people’s homes to remove snakes. The first “house call” resulted in Royjan and Ferry catching a huge 14-foot rock python; the second produced a beautiful, the-80s-are-back electric green mamba.
Friends have asked, did we feel safe with the venomous snakes? Absolutely. Royjan always made sure we were at a safe distance during the snake captures. We were allowed to hold the snakes that were captured—and we held all of them, even the venomous ones—Royjan or one of his team would be holding the snake’s head with an expert’s firm, controlling grip. We did not for a moment feel vulnerable. We were also reassured by the fact that Royjan and Clare have significant experience in making sure that the right medical treatment is available even in the case of a venomous snake bite.
Royjan and Clare also arranged for a specialized birding guide, Jonathan Baya (http://tracktours.weebly.com/jonathan.html), to take us through the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest and through Mida Creek. Jonathan is one of those kind, gentle souls—the type of person that you feel fortunate to know. He has great eyes and ears, even finding the endemic Sokoke Scops Owl at dusk.
In short, our snake safari was fantastic; Royjan, Clare and the gang took excellent care of us; and we saw so many different animals and had so many interesting experiences that it’s only a matter of time before we’ll be back to Kenya for another snake safari with them.'
Review by: Leslie Polizoti and Craig Ransom
Snake Safari dates: January 2013