Kenya Avian Discovery Trail 17 Days
Kenya is one of the world’s most superb birding destinations and a must-visit for amateur and professional birders as the seamless overlapping habitats provide many bird species within short distances. Our bird watching safari itineraries are best suited for birders seeking a slow but detailed tour that gives the very best of the Kenyan bird life in a very relaxed atmosphere. We have carefully selected the IBAs (Important Biodiversity Areas) and with a minimum of 2 to 3 night stays in every location, you will have quality time devoted to birding instead of spending long hours on long road transfers – and this is what makes our birding tours different. Sometimes the trip length does not matter – any safari will provide an excellent species count for the ardent bird watcher.
Day 1: Arrival Nairobi – Excursion
Arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in the morning. Transfer to a city hotel. A morning to relax and wear off jet lag but not without an introduction of the Kenyan birds. A walk in the garden of our hotel will give our first count of African birds: Northern Pied Babbler, Holub’s Golden Weaver, Speckled Mousebird, Dusky Turtle Doves and numerous Sunbirds. After lunch we visit the Nairobi National Park, which despite being only a few kilometers from the city, is a home to big game. In its open grasslands scattered with acacia trees we will see the first game like Gazelles, Zebras, Giraffes and maybe some of the Cats. We also see Ostrich, Secretary Bird, Crowned Crane, Vulture, Cattle Egret, Great Egret, Tawny Eagle and a herd of Buffaloes should provide Red-billed Oxpecker perched on their backs. Black Kite, Marabou Stork, Pied Crow and African Palm Swift are also available in the park. Overnight at the city hotel in Nairobi.
Day 2 : Tsavo West National Park
Depart from Nairobi and drive southeast with a short stop over at Hunters Lodge to view the bustling colony of African Golden Weavers and have a chance to look for the Resident Giant Kingfishers before proceeding to Saltlick Safari Lodge, famous for the large number of elephants that visit its floodlit waterhole each night to arrive for late lunch. Afternoon spend birdwatching in a remnant patch of forest at the top of the Taita Hills. Dinner and over night at Salt Lick Lodge.
Day 3: Tsavo East National Park
Early morning bird watching at Taita Hills. Return to the Lodge for breakfast and there after we depart and drive to the bird-rich Lake Jipe, where we’ll search for waterbirds. After a picnic lunch on the lakeshore we’ll drive to Voyager Ziwani Tented Camp where we will arrive late afternoon. By the way in some dry scrub close to Ziwani Camp we’ll look for White-headed Mousebird, Scaly Chatterer and White-throated Robin. Dinner and overnight at Voyager Ziwani Tented Camp.
Day 4: Tsavo West National Park
An early breakfast at Voyager Ziwani Camp, then drive to Kitovu Forest close to the border with Tanzania for bird viewing then return to Voyager Ziwani Camp for lunch lunch. Then drive through Tsavo West National Park to Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge arriving late afternoon. After check in do a late afternoon game drive with a visit Mzima Springs. Dinner and overnight at Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge.
Day 5: Amboseli National Park
Early morning game around Chaimu Crater and Roaring Rocks to view falcons, eagles and buzzards whirling over the plains. Breakfast then depart thereafter and drive to Amboseli National Park arriving in time for Lunch at Ol Tukai Lodge. Afternoon spend looking for species typical of this area especially on the marshlands. Dinner and overnight at Ol Tukai Lodge / Amboseli Serena Lodge.
Day 6: Amboseli National Park
Full Day in Amboseli with game drives at 0630 hrs and 1600 hrs. Amboseli National Park, at the foot of Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro, is one of Kenya’s most popular national parks. It lies 150 miles south-east of Nairobi, very close to the Tanzania border. The snow-capped peak of Mount Kilimanjaro rising above the clouds dominates every aspect of Amboseli. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and overnight at the Ol Tukai Lodge / Amboseli Serena.
Day 7: Mount Kenya Central Highlands
Depart after an early breakfast, we’ll drive north toward Mt. Kenya stopping en route at the Blue Posts Hotel where we’ll look for Brown-hooded Kingfisher and Trumpeter Hornbill in the well-wooded gardens. We’ll continue to Mountain Lodge arriving in time for a late lunch. Birdwatching from the open roof is excellent as the forest presses in on three sides and we’ll see many species. The waterhole in front of the lodge attracts a variety of mammals. Afternoon spend around the lodge bird watching Dinner and overnight at Serena Mountain Lodge.
Day 8: Mount Kenya Central Highlands
After breakfast we’ll leave the lodge, driving slowly down through a forest rich in birds. We’ll arrive at Naro Moru River Lodge in time for lunch. Afternoon we’ll walk a shaded riverside trail in search of Black Duck, Crowned Hornbill, Mountain Wagtail and up to eight species of sunbirds including the stunning Tacazze. Dinner and overnight at Naro Moru River Lodge.
Day 9: Rift Valley – Lake Nakuru National Park
After a early breakfast we’ll drive north to the spectacular Thomson’s Falls, taking a short walk to look for Slender-billed Starling, then we’ll climb high into the mountains where flowering roadside Leonotis bushes attract brilliant Golden-winged and the occasional Malachite Sunbirds. We’ll drop down through the eastern Escarpment of The Great Rift Valley to Lake Nakuru. We may arrive in time for lunch at Lionhill Lodge. Afternoon game and bird viewing at Lake Nakuru national Park. We will be looking to see millions of greater and lesser flamingoes and other bird species such as Narina Trogon. Red-throated Wryneck, Greater and scaly throated Honey guides, Arrow Marked Babbler and African Fire finch. Dinner and overnight at Luxurious Flamingo Hill Camp.
Day 10: Rift Valley – Lake Bogoria Basin
After breakfast birding around the lake. About 0930 drive to Lake Bogoria National Reserve. Lunch at Lake Bogoria Hotel. Afternoon game and bird viewing. Also visit the Hot Springs. Afterwards drive north to Lake Baringo Country Club. We’ll spend time in the garden and along the lakeshore. Dinner and overnight at Lake Baringo Country Club.
Day 11: Rift Valley – Lake Baringo Basin
We’ll visit the nearby cliffs at sunrise scanning for Fan-tailed Raven, Hemprich’s Hornbill, Cliff Chat, Brown-tailed Rock-Chat and Bristle-crowned Starling. After breakfast we’ll venture out into the nearby scrub. Lunch, Dinner and overnight at Lake Baringo Country Club.
Day 12: Western Kenya – Kakamega Forest
After breakfast we’ll travel up the west side of the Rift to Kabarnet and descend into the spectacular Kerio valley. On rocky hillsides amongst large scattered trees we’ll search for Green-backed Eremomela and Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-Weaver, before stopping for picnic in the wooded valley bottom where Brown Parrot, White-crested Turaco, Pearl-spotted Owlet and Black-headed Gonolek may well liven up our picnic. At a spectacular viewpoint halfway up the western escarpment of the valley may offer as well the very local Boran Cisticola. Afternoon we’ll reach Kakamega Forest. Birding around Rondo Retreat Center. Dinner and overnight at the Rondo Retreat Center.
Day 13: Western Kenya – Kakamega Forest
Full day spend viewing birds at this once extensive woodland forest. Kakamega forest is a world famous equatorial rainforest known for its diversity of bird and insect life and its uniqueness makes conservation its top priority. It is located in Shinyalu Division of Kakamega District. A visit to the forest will give you a feel of what the Amazon looks like. It is filled with massive trees and thick wet undergrowth which is also a habitat of a world of diverse wildlife. The forest is a natural wonder that has a large variety of indigenous trees as well as species of different animals and bird life. This rainforest (the only one in Kenya ) covers 240 square kilometre and has more than 380 different types of plants and is home to 400 species of butterflies, many of which can only be found here. The indigenous Mysopsis Eminee, locally known as Mama Mutere has a multitude of Medicinal qualities which are believed to help cure ailments such as prostrate cancer and stomach aches. This timber is very valuable and consequently, this tree has become an endangered species over the years.
The forest has a primate reserve where you will get a chance to spot different species of monkeys. Families of blue and Columbus monkeys can be seen leaping through the canopies, or descending to forage on the forest floor. You will certainly spot the rare red tailed monkeys a diminutive monkey with a bright red tail. The massive fig trees in the forest provide the monkeys with both food and reserves of rainwater in the deep wells among their roots and trunks. At night the forest is a different world, filled with bats and ringing with the sounds of frogs, night birds and the booming call of the giant forest squirrel. The reserve is a quite haven for nature lovers, the perfect place to relax for a few days. Dinner and overnight at Rondo Retreat Center.
Day 14: Western Kenya – Kakamega Forest
Morning we’ll drive west toward the Ugandan border. Just after dawn we’ll reach a major river where a pair of delightful Rock Pratincoles normally reside on some isolated boulders A nearby area of streamside bushes and cultivated fields which holds a number of western species birds with small or localized Kenyan populations . Dinner and overnight at Rondo Retreat Center.
Day 15: Rift Valley – Lake Naivasha Basin
Early morning birding at the grounds of your hotel then depart after breakfast and After breakfast, drive South East through the Western Escarpment of The Great Rift Valley and down on its floor viewing the beautiful landscape to arrive to Lake Naivasha arriving in time for LUNCH at Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge or Lake Naivasha Simba Lodge. Afternoon free to do bird viewing on the grounds of the hotel. Dinner and overnight at Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge or Lake Naivasha Simba Lodge.
Day 16: Rift Valley – Hell’s Gate National Park
Morning spend birding at the grounds of your hotel and surrounding areas then take a boat ride to the Lake looking for Goliath Heron and Giant Kingfisher among the masses of other water birds. After lunch drive to Hells Gate National Park well known for its colonies of Rupell’s Vultures and hordes of Mottled and Nyanza Swifts and Lanners hunting the swifts along the cliffs. With Luck we may see the Spooted Eagle Owl. Dinner and overnight Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge or Lake Naivasha Simba Lodge.
Day 17: Back to Nairobi – Departure
Morning spend birding at the grounds of lodge. Breakfast and drive back to Nairobi arriving in good time for lunch, Later drop off at the Airport for onward outbound flight.
The above cost includes :
- Transport with exclusive use of the equipped safari vehicle.
- Pick up and drop off on arrival and departure.
- Accommodation as per the itinerary with all the meals except for dinner in Nairobi
- Experienced Birder / Bird Guide equiped with binoculars, telescope and sound recording gear.
- Parks, reserve and conservation areas entry fee
- Evacuation insurance
- Drinking water available from van’s cool box
- Checklist of the birds of Kenya and other pre tour information
The above cost excludes :
- Medical and travel insurance
- Any extra meals
- Beverages both soft and hard drinks
- Boat ride.
- Items of personal nature such as telephone, laundry, gift among others
- Visa, Airport Tax