I've really enjoyed watching BBC2's new series on elephant expert Saba Douglas Hamilton's safari camp in Kenya - especially after noticing in last week's episode that the warriors were wearing the Christmas presents I sent them.
I have led two wildlife tours to stay at Elephant Watch Camp, the remote Kenyan eco-lodge featured in the series, and after the last trip I sent the warriors a gift of pheasant feathers for their headdresses. Apparently pheasant feathers are all the rage amongst fashionable Samburu. I was particularly impressed by the tribesmen who help Saba Douglas-Hamilton to run the lodge during my stay. They feature in the series helping her to look after her young children and running wildlife tours for guests. They really were as helpful and knowledgeable as they appear in the documentary and so after my first trip there I wanted to say thank you.
So at my next visit I took along a print of a painting I had done of an elephant to present to them as a thank you gift. But whilst they accepted this gracefully, they also confessed that if I was going to be returning from England again what they would really like was pheasant feathers.
So the following year I took along a dozen pheasant feathers. I was surprised at how delighted they were with my gift and noticed that I hadn’t quite brought enough to go round.
So last year I began collecting feathers earlier. I picked up 50 in total and sent them in the post in time for Christmas. According to Saba Douglas-Hamilton, pheasant plumage is all the rage in Samburu and the warriors were delighted with my gift.
If you haven't seen the series it's not too late to catch up. This Wild Life is on BBC2 on Mondays and Tuesdays at 7pm. Below is some of the wildlife that I saw when I went there.