Birding in the Dida Galgalla (or Galgalu) Desert of northern Kenya; June 1978.

This is the main road running northwards from Mt Marsabit in northern Kenya to Ethiopia.  It carries on up through this arid wilderness to the town of Moyale, which is on the border with Ethiopia.

The whole area in this photo is volcanic, and on either side of the road can be seen the large, dark lava boulders that were bulldozed out of the way when the road was made.  Flat, dark lava flows can just be seen on the horizon.

Despite the heat and aridity of this area, faint tinges of green are visible off to the left.  This photo was taken in June, not long after the “long” rains (which are often not long at all), and this area was in the process of rapidly returning to its mixture of brown and maroon surfaces.


I was much younger and more irresponsible in 1978 – well I suppose we all were! – and I thought this area tremendously exciting.  But it was dangerous and often lawless even then, with periods when all traffic had to be marshalled into convoys with military escort.

Oh, and that’s Bill, a birding friend from long ago >>> wow! we saw a lot of birds in those far off days!

Click onto each image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide film rated at 64 ISO.


About Adrian Lewis
Photographer - using mono, colour and combinations of the two - many types of subject, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous, trying new ideas, working in multiple genres. And I've a weakness for Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.


  1. Mariamawit T. Hagos says:

    Amazing article


  2. krikitarts says:

    It looks as if you’d have needed some serious binoculars in this bleak landscape to find the birds you’d hoped to spot. What were your main hopes?


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      They were mostly small, drab, desert species – larks and pipits for example – but in the main restricted to these remote northern arid landscapes and thus of great interest. I found a love of such desolate landscapes while working in Oman, and being back into them in Kenya was wonderful. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • krikitarts says:

        I can appreciate your passion for these wide open spaces. I spent the better part of a year in the Flint Hills of Kansas and remember so well getting mentally and emotionally (and delightfully) lost in the vastness.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Meanderer says:

    You young fellows; honestly! 😀 😀


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