OUT&ABOUT: The towering birds of Maasai Ostrich Farm

Wednesday October 4 2017

Maasai Ostrich farm is a great place where

Maasai Ostrich farm is a great place where families and lovers are seen, ostrich riding, feeding and leisurely walks. PHOTO| TOM MWIRARIA 

By TOM MWIRARIA
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A Maasai man and his herd are heading home from the fields, the animal smell enriches the air along the dust road.

It’s a rough road but graced by the wind, we sway through the rolling acacia and grassland.

The transition from a bustling city after and eventful week to wandering through acacia and grass is a splendid liberation. One throws themselves into the embrace of open air.

The one hour road trip from Nairobi to Kitengela culminates at the Kitengela Ostrich farm in the outskirts of Kitengela. The farm borders the Kitengela Game Conservation a protected area populated with black rhino buffalo, giraffe, eland, Maasai giraffe, black rhino, impala, Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelles, common and defassa waterbucks, warthog, olive baboons, monkeys and preying carnivores - lion, spotted hyenas, jackals, cheetahs, bat-eared foxes as well as other smaller carnivores.

The diversity of animal species is decreasing in the Kitengela area adjacent to the Nairobi National Park because of the increase in private land development.

Maasai Ostrich Resort entrance. PHOTO| TOM

Maasai Ostrich Resort entrance. PHOTO| TOM MWIRARIA

After paying an entry Fee of Sh300, the guide took me for a tour on the farm that sits on 200 acres of land, a home to the fastest two-legged creature on earth. The farm is a popular tourist destination where jockeys train for ostrich racing at the Ngong Racecourse.

Ostritch shelters on  the farm. PHOTO| TOM

Ostritch shelters on the farm. PHOTO| TOM MWIRARIA

It is a great place where families and lovers are seen, ostrich riding, feeding, leisurely walks and stopping to marvel at the mating birds.

There are two variety of ostriches found in the farm: the Somali Ostrich, black-blue in colour and which you can ride on and the Maasai Ostrich, red-ruby in colour. They all have a small funny head, two set of huge black eyes that take most of the head, towering at the apex of a snaking neck.



Elderly Maasai Ostritch. PHOTO| TOM MWIRARIA

Elderly Maasai Ostritch. PHOTO| TOM MWIRARIA

Before they could trust my intentions, the herd would disperse in a cacophony of squawks but in time a rapport was established and I fed them from my hands. It was such a frisson of excitement just being up close the tallest bird the world has ever seen. The guide had assured me that they won’t peck the pupil of my eyes unless I'm ‘cursed’.



Ostrich chicks. PHOTO| TOM MWIRARIA

Ostrich chicks. PHOTO| TOM MWIRARIA

The farm maintains a safe and healthy space for the Ostriches. A notice at the gate instructs the visitor to disinfectant shoe soles before proceeding with the tour. Cars, bicycles and pets are not allowed into the ostrich ‘paradise’.



Ostrich eggs. PHOTO| TOM MWIRARIA

Ostrich eggs. PHOTO| TOM MWIRARIA

The tour around the farm takes around one hour but it can take more depending on how inquisitive and baffled you are.

It took me three hours. A beautiful highlight of the visit was an awe-inspiring spectacle of a dancing Ostrich.

Finally what’s Kitengela Ostrich farm without a selfie with Ostriches? I had one too many toothy smiles. If you are in Nairobi and wanderlust is your portion, Maasai Ostrich farm is a must see.



Ostrich couple. PHOTO| TOM MWIRARIA

Ostrich couple. PHOTO| TOM MWIRARIA

If you need further encouragement, there is Ostrich meat to savour thought at the time of my visit the resort was not operational.