Kenya has over 1,100 species of birds making it the 11th most biodiverse avifaunal country in the world and the second in Africa to the Democratic Republic of Congo. This makes Kenya a biodiversity hot spot for birds and major destination for birders the world over. Kenya has at least 11 endemic species (birds found nowhere else in the world).
Birds are highly important to the environment, playing an integral part in the food chain and also seed dispersal and plant pollination.
21 Days/20 Nights ‘Birders Paradise’
Welcome to Kenya. You will be met by Soin Africa Safaris Expert Bird Guide on arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International airport and transferred to Eka Hotel for overnight on (Bed & Breakfast)
This morning we depart Nairobi for Tsavo West National Park, which is a vast savanna stretching as far South to the Tanzania border. The boundary adjoins Tsavo East National Park. Tsavo West has a more varied topography and a more diverse array of habitats than its neighbor does. The permanent Tsavo River runs through the northern part of the Park.
At Mzima Springs in the north of the Park, water that has been filtered underground from Chyulu hills gushes into a series of clear pools.
Tsavo West houses one of Africa’s premier bird ringing stations at NguliaLodge, which is located on the edge of dramatic Ngulia escarpment.
Tsavo west form part of a corridor of natural habitat in Eastern Kenya, through which vast numbers of Palearctic birds migrate, especially in Nov/ Dec. This includes the threatened Corncrake and the near threatened Basra Reed Warbler.
Over 220,000 individuals have been ringed at Ngulia since 1969. The lights attract thousands of migrating birds.
Check in for lunch at Ngulia Lodge on (Full Board)
Afternoon game drive has been planned to drive up to Mzima Springs, looking for Red-Footed Falcon, Amur Falcon, Eurasian and Plain Nightjar, Violet Woodhoope, Africanfinfoot and Blue Quail.
We set out for a full day with picnic lunch to Lake Jipe. This very attractive lake is fed by the run off from Mt. Kilimanjaro. It is situated in the far southwestern corner on the Kenyan –Tanzanian border. The lake supports an important Heronry, where African Darter nests among other species. We are also likely to see, other species like near threatened Friedman’s Lark, Somali Bee-eater, Pale Prinias, very restricted Taveta Golden Weaver, Zanzibar Red Bishop, Two Banded Coursers and Water Thicknees. Jameson’s Fire finch, Red Winged Starlings, Red-Napped Bush Shrike and PringledPuffback.
Tsavo West has rich avifauna, including 55 of Kenya’s92 Somali-Masai biome species.
Dinner and overnight at Ngulia Lodge on (Full Board)
Today we head to Amboseli National Park with part of the park covering a Pleistocene lake basin, now dry. It has a temporary lake, which only appears, after the rains. Amboseli area is in the rain shadow of Mt. Kilimanjaro and receives only 300mm of rain per year on average. However, water flowing underground from the mountain creates swamps and marshes.
Check in for lunch at Kibo Safari Camp. In the afternoon, we go on a game drive along the marshes looking for Herons. Egrets, Plovers, Lapwings, Jacanas Prancticoles, Little Crake, Kingfishers Ibises.
Dinner and overnight at Kibo Safari Camp on (Full Board).
We have another day to explore Amboseli National Park and look for vulnerable Lesser Kestrel on passage, non-breeding Madagascar Squacco heron and Lesser Flamingos. The near threatened Shoebill has been recorded here. White Bucked Duck, White Headed Vulture and Martial Eagle.
The Park has a rich Bird fauna, with 42 of the 92 Somali-Masai biome species that occur in Kenya. Over 400 bird species have been recorded.
The pachyderms of Amboseli are the longest studied Elephants in the wild since early 1971. The Elephants number around 1000.
Dinner and overnight at Kibo Safari Camp on (Full Board).
This morning we depart for Mt. Kenya region. The highest mountain in Kenya and an important catchment area supplying water to Tana and Uaso N’giro systems. The Mountain is an extinct Volcano and its sprawling slopes are clocked in forest bamboo, shrub and moorland, giving way on the high central peaks to rock, ice and snow.
Before we get to Mountain Lodge our final destination, we have arranged to visit Wajee, a small Private Park to look for the Hinde’s Babbler, a threatened Kenya endemic with a very restricted range.
Check-in for lunch atMountain Tree Lodge
After a little rest, in the afternoon your Soin Safaris Professional Birding Guide will meet you in the upper deck of the lodge. He will give you a briefing and tips on how to spot, identify and record your sightings. Each day, you will be discussing your objectives and achievements at each location.
A walk in the forest has been planned this afternoon. You will encounter Montane bird species, Waller’s, Kenrick’s and Abbot’s Starling. Mountain Buzzards, Scarce and Alpine Swifts and Mountain and Yellow Warbler. Jackson’s Francolin, Hill’s Chat’s and Scarlet Tufted Malachite Sunbirds. In the marshy forest glades, you might be lucky to see the African Green Ibis and the rare and little known Long Eared Owl.
This area has rich montane bird fauna, with 53 out of Kenya’s 67 African Highlands Biome species.
At the watering hole in the lodge, Elephants, Rhinos, Waterbucks, Bushbuck Giant Forest Hogs, and the rare Black-fronted Duiker come, drink, and lick the natural salt. Leopards are seen occasionally.
Dinner and overnight at Mountain Tree Lodge on (Full Board).
After breakfast, we drive to Samburu region of Northern Kenya, which has three adjoining Savanna National Reserves, Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba. Our destination today is Shaba Reserve, which contains contrasting habitats, rocky cliffs, pool swamps and riverine sand dunes. It is low-lying semi-arid plain on the Northern bank of EwasoN’giro River.
Lunch and check inat Sarova Shaba Lodge.
This afternoon, we will go on a game drive in the Shaba National Reserve looking for Magpie Starling, Brown-Tailed Rock Chats, and Friedman’s Larks. We will also explore the lava plains for the endemic William’s Lark, also found here are Chestnut-Backed Sparrow Lark, Black Capped Social Weavers, Shinning Sunbird, and Black Cheeked Waxbill and in the late evenings look out for Spotted Night Jar.
Dinner and overnight at Sarova Shaba Lodge on (Full Board).
We have a full day with picnic lunch to visit Buffalo Springs National Reserve for Somali Ostriches, Fire- Fronted Bishop and Ethiopian Swallows, Black and White Storks, Somali Bee Eaters Somali Long Billed Crombecs, Yellow Vented Eremomelas, Golden Breasted, Bristle Crowned, Fishers and Superb Starlings. Donaldson-Smith Sparrow Weaver. At Dusk Slender Tailed Night Jars might show up. Small numbers of the globally threatened Lesser Kestrel pass through Shaba National Reserve on migration each year from the Palearctic.
The Northern Frontier National Reserves hold unique species of mammals, Reticulated Giraffe, Gerenuk, Beisa Oryx and Grevy’s Zebra.
Dinner and overnight at Sarova Shaba Lodge on (Full Board).
After breakfast, we depart to Lake Baringo and its Islands. Laikipia Escarpment borders its catchment to the east and Tugen hills in the west. The area around the western shore is mainly acacia woodland, with small covered bush, hilltops, gorges and cliffs. It is in this escarpment where we start our tour looking for (Northern) White Faced Scops Owl, Greyish Eagle Owls (recently split from Spotted), Hemphrich’s Hornbills and Heuglin’s Courser.
Then we visit the southern part, which is bush land interspersed with dry riverbeds and swampy wetland with Typha reeds. Here we are likely to find Weavers along the lakeshore, Northern Masked, Jackson and Golden Backed. A colony of up to 20 Goliath Herons has nested in one of the highlands. The Black Heron is also found here. Over 500 species of birds have been recorded in Lake Baringo.
The Lake supports large populations of Nile crocodiles and Hippos.
After an eventful morning, we proceed to Soi Safari Camp for lunch and check-in at Lake Bogoria Hotel.
Lake Bogoria is a shallow, alkaline lake on the floor of the Rift Valley. To the east, the Siracho escarpment rises abruptly from the lakeshore.
After a little rest, we will visit the western shore and admire a series of spectacular series of hot springs and geysers. They produce steam rich in Sulphur compounds, believed to be medicinal.
The lake is a key feeding ground of near threatened Lesser Flamingo. Spectacular congregation (estimated 2 million birds) occurs at times. Black Necked Grebe and Cape Teal are usually present in good numbers, not forgetting Pallid Harrier and Lesser Kestrel on passage.
There is a chance of seeing the rare Greater Kudu.
Dinner and overnight at Soi Safari Camp on (Full Board).
We have a long drive to Lake Naivasha, making a few stops on the way to admire the Great Rift Valley. Our destination is Lake Naivasha, which lies on the floor of the Rift Valley. This is a shallow fresh water lake, of recent geological origin ringed by Mt. OlKaria and Eburu. Lake Naivasha is the second site listed by Kenya as Wetland of International importance under Ramsar Convention.
After checking in and settling, this afternoon a boat ride has been planned to the Crescent Island. Here we get very close to diverse Water bird community, Red Knobbed Coot, African Spoonbill, and Little Grebe. Many species of ducks, Maccoa, White Backed Ducks, African Skimmer, Baillon’s Crake and many species of Palearctic Warders. The Park is also known for its high density of African Fish Eagles. Over 400 species of birds have been recorded here.
On your boat trip, you will encounter a sizeable population of Hippos and on occasion, you find the Kenya Horned Viper endemic to central Rift Valley.
Dinner and overnight at Lake Naivasha Country Club on (Full Board).
This morning we depart for Lake Nakuru National Park. It is a scenic drive over the Great Rift Valley. We marvel at the picturesque volcanic Mountains of Longonot and Suswa.
Lake Nakuru is a very shallow strongly alkaline lake with surrounding woodland and grassland. The park was first gazzeted as a bird sanctuary in1960. It is internationally famous for its population of Lesser Flamingoes, but the numbers have dwindled significantly in the recent past due to increase in the water level in the lake.
We will check in for lunch at Flamingo Hill Top Camp.
After lunch, we will do a game drive, explore the lakeshore, and see thousands of White Pelicans since this is their feeding ground. The water birds have significantly increased in numbers and diversity since the introduction of Fish in1961.
We will also explore the grassland and woodland for Grey Crested Helmet Shrike, large numbers of Palearctic Warders winter here and use the site. It is one of the flyway in Eastern Rift Valley. Over 450 species of birds have been recorded.
You can also see Rhinos, Rothschild’s Giraffe, Bohor Reedbuck, Waterbuck and the rare Large Eared -Leaf Noosed Bat.
Dinner and overnight at Flamingo Hill Tented Camp on (Full Board)
This morning we depart for Kakamega forest. This is a unique mid-altitude forest
with affinities to West Africa and the easternmost outlier of Congo Basin Forest.
Kakamega Avifauna is unique not only nationally, but continentally as well. At least 16 bird species occur in Kakamega and nowhere else in Kenya.
We arrive in time for lunch and check in at Rondo Retreat.
After lunch will explore the surrounding area for garden species, Bronze Tailed Starling, Grey Parrots, Stuhlmann’s Starling and both Snowy-Crowned and Grey Winged Robin Chat. Near the fishponds, we can find the White Spotted Flufftail.
Dinner and overnight at Rondo Retreat on (Full Board)
We have a full day to explore the forest looking for its specialties, the Great Blue Turaco, Blue Headed Beeaters, African Broadbill, Hairy Breasted Barbet, Brown Eared Wood Pecker, Toro Olive Greenbull, Grey Chested Illadopsis, Southern Hyliota, Yellow Billed Wattle Eye and Chapin’s Flycatcher. More searches inside the forest should reveal the shy Blue Headed Coucal, Broad Tailed (Fan Tailed) Warbler and Marsh Tshagra
Kakamega forest has over 400 species of Butterflies, over 300 species of Trees and 27 species of Snakes. Not forgetting the Primates, Blue and De-Brazza Monkeys.
It has also impressive waterfalls.
Overnight and dinner at Rondo Retreat on (Full Board)
This morning we depart for Kisumu City. We will make a brief stop at Mumias town, the only place in Kenya to find Rock Pranticoles and at Busia grassland to look for Red –Headed Lovebirds, Bar-Crested Firefinch, common in Lantana shrubs.
Check-in and lunch at Impala Acacia Premier.
This afternoon we will explore this one square kilometer of Wildlife Sanctuary looking for Carruther’sCisticola, Black Billed Barbet, Lesser Moorhen and Little Bittern. Red and Southern Bishop and African Marsh Harrier. Later we will take a boat ride and visit Dunga Island. This site is reliable to see the scarce and threatened Papyrus Yellow Warbler. Other papyrus endemics are Papyrus Canary, Papyrus Gonolek, and White Winged Warbler. Lots of, Egrets, Hammerkop, Kingfishers, Ducks, Sandpipers and Terns.
Within the wildlife sanctuary, we have Rhinos, Hippos, Antelopes (Impalas) Monitor lizards and Pythons.
Dinner and overnight at Acacia Premier on (Full board).
This morning after breakfast we depart to Masai Mara, Kenya’s mostly visited Reserve, world famous for its high density of Herbivores, Predators and the annual Wildebeest migration.
The Mara extensive grassland is a stronghold for the threatened migratory Corncrake and near threatened, range restricted Jackson’s Widowbird.
Check in and lunch at Mara Leisure Lodge.
In the afternoon, we will scout the escarpment and look out for special residents, the Ovampo Sparrow hawks, Red Tailed Chat, Green Capped Eromomela, Pale Wren Warbler and Rock Loving and Trilling Cisticola.
Dinner and overnight at Mara Leisure Lodge on (Full Board)
We have a full day to explore the swamps and the rocky areas for Rufous Bellied Heron, Saddle Billed Stork, Shoebill, Rock and TaboraCisticola, Yellow Bellied Hyliota, Black Coucal and Denham’s Bustard, African Blue Flycatcher, Double Toothed Barbet, Ross’s Turaco, Black and White Casqued Hornbill, African Moustached Warbler, Martial Eagle and Grey Throated Barbet just to name a few.
Masai Mara has more than 500 species of birds recorded, including 12 species of Cisticolas and 53 birds of prey. Large numbers of Palearctic migrants winter in the area, including Caspian Plovers and White Storks.
Dinner and overnight at Mara Leisure Camp on (Full Board).
This morning, we wrap-up and head to Nairobi after breakfast. Do not put away your binoculars or note books yet! We have a last stop to make before the city. At Manguo Swamp and the nearby Sewage Lagoon to look for Maccoa Ducks, Malachite and Grey Headed Kingfishers. Plenty of Leonitis Flowers around, more likely to find beautiful Sunbirds with long tails, Malachite and Golden Winged.
Lunch is on your own today to sample different restaurants in Nairobi, before transferring to your international flight.