Our final full day started with an early breakfast before heading out to do another sought after hike. This time we were going to hike to the top of Vuria, the highest mountain of Taita hills. At 2 228 meters above sea level Vuria offers exceptional hiking possibilities and beautiful nature to enjoy on the way.
The hike started at an elevation of 1600 meters and we could already feel the heat soaring to high 20s. Luckily for us we escaped the scorching Sun as we quickly entered a beautiful and prehistoric looking fern tree forest. These fern trees are indigenous to the Taita hills area, although not endemic. Along the beautiful trail through the forest that looked like straight out of Jurassic park we also managed to get a glimpse of a breeding pair of Taita apalis. This apalis species is a bird endemic to Taita hills. With a total population of under 300 individuals they are classified as critically endangered and we were really excited to see them! Another endemic bird species we were able to see was the Taita white eye.
After a lunch at the top of Vuria we headed back down to experience a fascinating mythological sight, the Skull cave. This place holds a special place in the folklore and believes of local Taita people. It was a great experience to visit this sacred place and learn about local traditional culture.
After another long but rewarding day out in the nature we headed back to the station to prepare for the final night’s party. Jonathan, the excellent chef of the station, turned out to be also an amazing DJ! The night was spent in a great company filled with laughter, friendship and local music. What a fantastic way to end our field course!