Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Three Sisters Caves

The first of the three caves  

Located in Fikirini, a mere two hour walk from Shimoni village, lies the Three Sisters Caves complex. Currently acknowledged as the second largest cave system in East Africa, the Three Sisters are also a known Kaya (a sacred spiritual site). These enormous underground caverns that once served as a hiding spot during the time of the slave trade are a home to living stalactites, stalagmites, and approximately 40,000 bats. Every so often, weather-permitting, the forest team makes a day trip to Fikirini to visit this historic site.

Thousands of bats coat the walls 

The walk to the Three Sisters Caves takes you from the Shimoni coastline to a dirt road bordered by grassland, low growing shrubbery, and the occasional palm tree, offering forest volunteers an excellent opportunity for easy bird spotting. The most recent group to make the trek spent a total of two extra hours on the walk to stop and observe birdlife. White-throated bee-eaters, purple-banded sunbirds, a pair of woolly-necked storks, and a lilac-breasted roller are just a few of the highlights from this most recent walk.

Once inside the caves volunteers are treated to close encounters with the thousands of bats that roost inside. The force created by the collective movement of the bats’ wings is so strong that it feels as though there is a warm wind blowing through the caves. So numerous are the bat inhabitants that you may have to duck and dodge to avoid them as you move though the small passages that link one cave with the next. The entire experience recalls scenes of the movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom right down to the cave floor covered so thickly with insects that it appears to moving. No matter what you take away from it, a trip to the Three Sisters Caves is a truly unforgettable experience.

Trekking back home through the forest