Stories from the Tracker newsletter

Day Outing – Tour of Paleontology & Archaeology Sections of NMK – Sat 15 Sept 2018

Saturday 15 September 2018

Behind the scenes visit to Paleontology & Archaeology Sections of the National Museums of Kenya

Time: 10 am – 12 pm

Paleontology Section is under the Earth Sciences department, one of the core research departments of the National Museums of Kenya. The Section is mandated to research, conserve and disseminate knowledge about Kenya’s fossil heritage. The Section holds extensive and well curated collections of fossils that include: the most complete record of human origins; a remarkable record of the distant ancestry of dinosaurs, mammals and reptiles; and a rich history of plant evolution and diversification. Kenya’s human fossil record dates back to the last 6 million years, making Kenya indisputably the oldest record holder and truly the Cradle of Mankind. We will get a rare opportunity to view original fossils of extinct carnivores, insects, elephants, hippos, short-necked giraffe and plants, among other fossils as well as replicas of over 7 human ancestral species.  It will also be an opportunity to learn some of the significant similarities and differences between chimps and humans.

Archaeology Section The archaeological collections at NMK were, obtained through professional excavation and the donations of enthusiasts since the 1920s. They consist of stone and bone artefacts, shell, pottery, faunal material as well as rock art reproductions. These collections cover all the important periods of human technological, behavioural and cultural development, from 3.3 million to 300 years ago. Collections from the Early Stone Age include the oldest artefacts in the world and reproduction of the oldest human footprints left more than 1.5 million years ago from the Turkana Basin. We will have a demonstration on how our ancestors made and used the stone tools. The researchers will share some of the major breakthroughs in Archaeology in the last 5 years; Discovery of unique fossil hand bones and of earliest site with modified faunal remains in isolation from stone tools in the Koobi Fora region; discovery of Rock Art sites from various parts of the country including Mt. Elgon area, Mbeere and Nakuru areas and discovery of archaeological in Mt. Kenya region. The collections highlight how our ancestors interacted with and adapted different to environments to emerge with the current different civilizations resent today. This finding not only make Kenya the cradle of humankind but also the cradle of innovation.

We shall visit these two departments, guided by palaeontologists and archaeologists for each section.

KMS Members – Adult Ksh 1,150, Child Ksh 550

Guests – Adult Ksh 1,350, Child Ksh 700

Payment Options; Safaricom: Mpesa paybill, Business No: 400800, Account: 6571570019

Airtel Money: 0780 755 231

RSVP: 0724 255 299,078 755 231, 2339158 or

Proceeds made will go towards development of the Earth Sciences’ various projects.

Safari: Kilimandege, Soysambu Conservancies, and Lakes Naivasha and Elementaita – 5 – 7 October 2018

Kilimandege and Soysambu Conservancies, Lakes Naivasha and Elementaita

5 – 7 October (2 nights)

This 2- night trip is to the two lakes, Soysambu conservancy and the Naivasha area. We will be staying in the 88 acre Kilimandege Sanctuary. It has plains game and hippo at night. We stay at Joan Root’s old house which is within this sanctuary and with lovely views of Lake Naivasha. It is a charming 1930’s house. The neighbouring house is equally charming and we shall be accommodated in both. All meals are taken together.

 Joan and Alan Root were famous for their nature documentaries.  It may be possible to watch a couple of them.

For a full itinerary of this safari, please contact us through: 0724 255299, 2339158 or

Safari: Ol Pejeta, Nanyuki 8-10 September 2018

Join us for a weekend getaway to Ol Pejeta from September 8-10. We’ll spend two nights at Pelican House and explore the 90,000 acre Ol Pejeta Conservancy with its diversity of wildlife species including the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa. The Conservancy contains the Sweetwater Chimp Sanctuary for orphaned, abandoned, and rescued chimps; the Morani Information Center; the rhino memorial as well as other points of interest. It is Big Five habitat that is managed by integrating cattle ranching as an ecological tool. The proceeds from Ol Pejeta fees go to community development programs.

Pelican House where we’ll stay has been refurbished as last May. The house overlooks Pelican dam and has a traditional African colonial architecture with a large living room for socializing. It is a self-catering guest house and cottage that has spectacular views of Mt. Kenya.

Cost: 15,000 Ksh for adults pps; 9,000 Ksh for children under 12 years

Included: FB, lodging. Cost excludes Transportation costs and entrance fees.

Payments: Mpesa paybill, Business No: 400800, Account: 6571570019

Bookings: 0724 255 299, 2339158 or

Deadline: Until group limit is reached or August 1 at the latest. Our deposit is due then!

Safari – Lake Turkana and the Chalbi Desert: 24 Aug – 2 Sept, 2018

Safari – Lake Turkana and the Chalbi Desert: 24 August  – 2 September

The 10 day annual KMS trip to Lake Turkana comes with a difference this year!

Itinerary  Nairobi – Isiolo _ Archer’s Post – South Horr – Loyangelani – Mt Kulal – North Horr – Chalbi Desert – Marsabit – Isiolo – Nairobi

Transport in landcruisers

Accommodation in tents. Mattresses provided. You can upgrade yourself to bandas everywhere at only 1,000sh a night if you wish.

Food excellent FB throughout, except lunch on day 10.

Cost – Ksh 134,000 pp

Included transport, accommodation, all food, 2 nights lodge in Marsabit

Not included Marsabit park entry for 2 days (residents 500sh per day), lunch on Day 10.

Deadline for registration and full payment is 10 July. Book early. Only 11 places. Attendance conditional on booking.

For bookings and more details about the trip, please contact us on: 0724 255 299 or

Kids Dudu Walk, a short film on dragonflies – Saturday 9 December 2017

Kids Dudu Walk, a short film on dragonflies and behind the scenes tour of the Entomology Department.

Saturday 9 December 2017 – Nairobi National Museum
Insects (dudus) are by far the most diverse group of animals on earth. However they are usually overlooked because they are small. Despite their size, they play a major role in our lives. The Kenya Museum Society has organized a dudu excursion at the Nairobi National Museum, led by Laban Njoroge (Bwana Dudu). This kids’ outing, best for ages 6 -12 years, aims at creating environmental awareness for children from an early age by teaching them the importance of insects and how to appreciate them and enjoy them in nature.
Take advantage of this informative kids’ activity, led by an enthusiastic expert.
For planning purposes, please register (send name/s) and pay in advance
Member child Ksh 800
Non Member child Ksh 1,000
Age: 6 years and above
Note: pack snacks and / or picnic lunch, drinking water, a notebook and a pen for your child. They should wear comfortable walking shoes.

Bookings: 0724 255 299 or
Payment Options;
Safaricom – MPESA paybill No: 400800, Account No: 6571570019
Airtel Money – 0780 755 231


The Giraffe Centre and Bomas of Kenya – Sunday, 17 December 2017

Are you looking for a way to reward your loyal staff this December holiday?
KMS has organized a day outing that will intertwine wildlife, nature and culture.

The first stop will be at The Giraffe Centre, the creation of the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (A.F.E.W), for an opportunity to come into close contact with the world’s tallest species, the giraffe.  This includes Daisy, one of 10 Rothschild giraffes under their care, which your staff can meet head to head – literally – on the raised platform.
The unique cultural experience of seeing traditional homes, artifacts and dances of various ethnic groups of Kenya at Bomas of Kenya will be the culmination of the tour.
Included / Activities

  • Transport
  • Tea / Soda
  • Entry fees to Giraffe Centre and Bomas of Kenya
  • A short talk at Giraffe Centre to learn how and why they are taking care of this endangered animal
  • Nature walk/hike in the serene trail that goes down to the snaking Gogo River, with an alternate route back to the centre that will pass by the Warthog Den.
  • Guided tour of the traditional homes at Bomas
  • Cultural dances at Bomas

Members’ staff: Adult  – Ksh 2,300     Child Ksh 1,900
Non-members’ staff: Adult Ksh 2,500     Child Ksh 2,100
Please register (send name/s of your staff) and pay in advance.
What to bring/wear;  picnic lunch, identification card, notebook, pen, extra drinking water, a hat and a warm fleece. Wear comfortable walking shoes.

Booking: 0724 255 299 or

Payment Options;
Safaricom – MPESA paybill No: 400800, Account No: 6571570019
Airtel Money – 0780 755 231

Jaza Train to Magadi Safari – December 16-17

A fun train to Magadi. This is an old-fashioned train that chugs along through beautiful scenery; the final descent to the lake is particularly breath-taking.
Magadi Soda Company owns the town. It must be the cleanest and most orderly town in Kenya. The company has an interesting history. If no one can be found to give us a talk, a synopsis of their history will be handed out. Lunch at the Magadi club and overnight at their tented camp. Though the area is stark and arid both the camp and the club have plenty of trees and lawn and the tents are air-conditioned!

Swimming- the club has a large swimming pool and a bar.
Weather- dress light and carry a swimsuit. You can also plunge into the hot springs at the lake.
Game- you will see mostly plains game. At the lake you see flamingos and other water birds.
Carry some drinking water and snacks to enjoy on the train.

Cost – 12,300 pp. sharing     Children 3-12, Ksh 9,800
Included- transport from and to the museum, train, FB at the camp.
Booking and payment by 9 December.

For more information and bookings: 0724 255 299 or
Payment Options;
Safaricom – MPESA paybill No: 400800, Account No: 6571570019
Airtel Money – 0780 755 231


Affordable Art Show

Affordable Art Poster Final 8 OctTHE AFFORDABLE ART SHOW
Everything under Ksh 100,000
25-27 Oct, 2013 Atrium behind the Louis Leakey Auditroium
of the Nairobi Musuem

Fri, 25 Oct 6:00-9:00pm – opening party
Entry fee Ksh 500 – includes 1 drink and bitings, entertainment

Sat-Sun, 26-27 Oct 10:00-4:00 – sale continues

After a 7 year hiatus, KMS is reviving what had been an annual event for the Society.
Over 125 artists will be featured.

All art will be less than Ksh 100,000; several pieces will be Ksh 10,000
Benefitting the National Museums of Kenya’s Permanent Art Collection to restore and frame select pieces

Contacts: KMS Office, 0724 255 299

Protecting a 60-year investment in world-renowned replicas

KMS funds shelving for the NMK Casting Department

By Benson Kyongo
Casting Department head

The Casting Department was established in 1963 as an answer to a pressing need at the museum. The National Museums of Kenya have the finest collection in the world of hominid fossils, along with many other examples of African flora and fauna. There is a tremendous demand from researchers around the world to study these artifacts. But original fossil skulls and bones are both too valuable and too fragile to handle frequently. So the Casting Department produces precise casts—or replicas—of these fossils that can be sent to other researchers for study.

These casts are not “counterfeits,” but precise, detailed, scientifically accepted replicas.

The Casting Department is an investment by the museum, since it generates revenues from cast sales. Clients across the globe include museums, universities, individual researchers and other related institutions.

The department also provides exhibition replicas to NMK museum galleries around Kenya. Some of our recent work is included in galleries on human  evolution and large mammals in the Nairobi Museum.

In 1967, the first two Kenyan casting trainees were recruited, Mr. Simon Kasinga and Mr. Kasilu. In 1977 they were both sent to the United States for specialized technical training. After their successful completion of this training, they became internal trainers at the department.

The department is expecting new technology donated by the Japan International Cooperation Agency to assist us in the many activities we undertake.

To produce a cast, one begins by making a mold. In casting, we have a “mother mold.” Every cast produced has a mold. These molds are important because once it is made, it will be used to reproduce subsequent casts without reusing the original specimen.

All the molds are catalogued with accession and shelf numbers for easy access. Over the years, we have built many thousands of molds, prepared for important specimens for various purposes.

One of our challenges has been the safe keeping of these important productions. Dust reduces the life of a mold. With our old wooden shelving, it was very difficult to keep out the dust. The wooden shelves were constructed in the 1960s. By 2010, the wooden shelves were tired with the burden of carrying all those molds for year. Dust and wood breakage were regular visitors to the department. We feared that this would be a continuing routine.

But then in 2010, after touring the facility, the Kenya Museum Society stepped in with a grant to provide new metal shelving, protecting the nearly 60 year of investment in molds and casts that NMK has made. I cannot forget energetic KMS Chair Pat Jentz who, apart from her very busy schedule, spent a lot of time with me in the lab, taking floor measurements, marking the areas, looking for a company to do the work and getting bids. I’m very grateful for her hard work.

The project has two phases. The first is complete, and the second is now under way.

I’d also like to thank all the KMS committee officials, members, staff and other who contributed in so many ways. We are very grateful. We also had the full support and blessing of NMK Director General Dr. Idle Farah, who took time form his busy schedule to help with fundraising. We also had great support from the Directorate Director Connie Maina. On behalf of hte casting department and NMK as a whole, we are honored. Again I say, “Thanks.”

KMS, keep the spirit.