12 Days Kenya Birding Tour: Eastern & Coastal Birding


• If you are a hardcore, twitcher or world lister and you want to maximize the number of endemics, near endemics, localized and specialties
• If you don’t mind some days waking up at 5am and leaving with your picnic breakfast and picnic lunch and sometimes arriving back at 8pm…. And you aren’t mad with picnic lunches most of these days.
• If you aren’t mad for nearly two hours of driving off the road and rough road for just two of Kenya’s endemics and you are happy waiting for 30min for a specialty LBJ to pop out of the grass or bracken.
• If 5 km to the west is a leopard and 5kms to the east is a special LBJ and your first priority is the bird………. IF SO this tour is designed for you and your like-minded friends..... and you still get to see over 50 species of mammals
• Also we will give priority to endemics, near endemics, regional endemics and specialties including localized species
• NOTE: if you have been to other East African/African countries let us know with your list to be flexible.
• If you have been to Kenya before but missed some of our endemics, localized and other specialties please send us an email with your target list and we create an itinerary based on your target......we love this

Day 1: Nairobi - Tsavo West National Park

Grasshopper Buzzard

Grasshopper Buzzard, ©chege wa kariuki

This morning you will be picked up from the aiport or your Nairobi hotel (not included) and transfer Tsavo West National Park with an en-route birding where habitat is relatively denser thicket of savanna dominated by acacia-Commiphora bush land with Baobab, grassy plains, riverine woodland. The park is also famous for the autumn bird ringing at the Ngulia Safari Lodge with thousands of European and Asian Palearctic migrants on their way south. Also a high chance of seeing a leopard.

Overnight at Ngulia Safari Lodge.

Day 2: Tsavo West National Park

Red-naped Bush-Shrike

Red-naped Bush-Shrike ©chege wa kariuki

The birds of Tsavo West National Park includes the enigmatic Friedmann’s Lark also Singing Bush Lark, Bare-eyed Thrush, Scaly, Rufous Chatterer, Black-headed Plover, Quail-Plover, Somali Courser, Black-bellied, White-bellied Bustard, African Scops Owl, Striped Kingfisher, Pringle’s Puffback, Olive-tree, Basra Reed Warbler, Violet Wood-hoopoe, Southern Black, Spot-flanked, Red & Yellow, D’Arnaud’s, Black-throated, White-headed Barbet, Greater, Scaly-throated, Lesser and Pallid Honeyguide, Yellow-billed Oxpecker, Northern White-crowned Shrike, Vulturine Guineafowl,

Scaly Chatterer

Scaly Chatterer ©chege wa kariuki

Northern Brownbul, Desert, Zitting, Ashy, Rattling, Tiny Cisticola, Purple-banded, Hunter’s Sunbird Orange-bellied Parrot, Jameson’s Firefinch, Green-winged Pytilia, Fire-fronted Bishop, Red-headed, Vitelline Masked, Lesser Masked, Black-necked Weaver.

Overnight at Ngulia Safari Lodge.

Day 3: Tsavo West National Park- Lake Jipe - Taita Hills

Taveta Golden Weaver

Taveta Golden Weaver ©chege wa kariuki

We will bird in the Ngulia area enroute to Lake Jipe in search of Taveta Golden Weaver and Hartlaub’s Bustard retiring on the Taita Hills late in the evening. This would be roughly a 120km through the park and so you may opt not to.

Overnight at Taita Hills

Day 4: Taita Hills - Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary

Taita Thrush

Taita Thrush ©chege wa kariuki

Today very early morning drive to Taita Hills Forests and spend most of the day birding up the hills. If lucky enough these hills and patched of little forest, rising abruptly to 2200m are home to 3 Kenyan endemic “The Taita Three” namely the Taita Apalis, Taita Thrush and Taita White-eye. Also to look for are Striped-cheeked Greenbul, Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler and Striped Pipit. Hopefully after locating them we will drive back making several stops for other birds.

Picnic lunch along the way


Quail-Plover ©chege wa kariuki

and late afternoon birding in Rukinga Ranch bordering Tsavo East National Park. Here we have limited walking space in search of birds unlike in the park and we will take a nocturnal birding drive. Birds may include Friedmann’s Lark in case it were still wet. Bare-eyed Thrush, Scaly & Rufous Chatterers, Black-headed Plover, Quail-Plover, Somali Courser, Hartlaub’s, & White-bellied Bustards, African Scops Owl, Striped Kingfisher, Pringle’s Puffback, Southern Black Flycather, Red-winged Lark, Spot-flanked, Red & Yellow, D’Arnaud’s, Black-throated, White-headed Barbets, Greater, Scaly-throated & Lesser Honeyguides, Northern White-crowned Shrike, Vulturine Guineafowl, Northern Brownbul, Desert, Zitting, Ashy, Rattling, Tiny Cisticola, Tsavo & Hunter’s Sunbird Orange-bellied Parrot, Jameson’s Firefinch, Green-winged Pytilia, Fire-fronted Bishop, Red-headed, Vitelline Masked, Lesser Masked, Black-necked Weaver, Blue-capped Cordon Bleu, Pangani Longclaw. 

On night game drive we may see the Dolnaldson Smith Nightjar,  Verreaux’s & Spotted Eagle-Owls, Heuglin’s Courser and very lucky a Violet-tipped Courser.

Overnight at Kivuli Camp.

Day 5: Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary - Shimba Hills National Reserve

After breakfast leave for Shimba Hills National Reserve, it’s the only site in kenya for the Green-headed Oriole and Uluguru Violet-backed Sunbird also we may see Fischer’s Turaco, Green, Brown-breasted, Black-breasted & White-eared Barbets. Lunch at the lodge and afternoon birding in the Reserve.

Small-eared Galago

Small-eared Galago ©chege wa kariuki

Overnight at Shimba Hills Lodge

Day 6: Shimba Hills National Reserve - Malindi - Lamu Island

Crested Guineafowl

Crested Guineafowl ©chege wa kariuki

Red-bellied coast squirrel

Red-bellied coast squirrel ©chege wa kariuki

After an early breakfast birding in the reserve before leaving for Watamu and later to fly Lamu Island in search of the Manda/Coastal Boubou, Mouse-coloured Sunbird, Purple-banded Sunbird etc

Overnight at Lamu Island

Day 7: lamu island -Arabuko Sokoke Forest

After an early breakfast bird on the island before flying back to Watamu.

On arrival and depending on the tide we’ll either visit Mida Creek or the forest (hopefully during the lunch time) fringed by mangrove forest, the creek has a large area that fills with the saline water during high tides. Watching and identifying wading birds here is superb, fun and hard. They may include the “the special one” Crab-Plover, Greater & Lesser Sandplovers, Black-tailed Godwit, Sanderling, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Curlew & Terek Sandpipers, Whimbrel & Eurasian Curlew, Oystercatcher, Dimorphic Egret, Yellow-billed & Wooly-necked Storks, Mangrove Kingfisher.

Overnight at Turtle Bay Beach Club

Day 8 & 9: Arabuko Sokoke Forest/Sabaki River Mouth

Sokoke Scops-Owl

Sokoke Scops-Owl ©chege wa kariuki

Early morning hours in Arabuko and later or in between squeeze some time to visit Sabaki River Estuary an area characterized by sandbanks, mudflats, mudbanks, sanddunes, fresh pools and marshes. The site is important for both intra-African and Palearctic migrants for roosting, resting and feeding ground for gulls and terns.

Sokoke Pipit

Sokoke Pipit ©chege wa kariuki

A good site for Madagascar Pratincole, African Skimmer. Also Dimorphic & Little Egrets, Great & Lesser Flamingos, Water Thick-knee, Ruddy Turnstone, Heuglin’s, Sooty and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Gull-billed, Caspian, Greater-crested, Lesser-crested & Common Terns, also the Southern Carmine Bee-eater, Ethiopian Swallow, Zanzibar Red Bishop also nearby Malindi Pipit.

Overnight at Turtle Bay Beach Club

Day 10: Malindi- Arabuko Sokoke forest - Tsavo East National Park


Bateleur, ©chege wa kariuki

Morning birding in search of the bird we may have missed in the forest and later transfer to Tsavo East National Park.  Afternoon birding en-route to our lodge arriving in the dusk.

Overnight at Ashnil Aruba Lodge

Day 11: Tsavo East National Park - Nairobi

Buff-crested Bustard

Buff-crested Bustard, ©chege wa kariuki

Early morning breakfast and birding in the park till noon before transfering to Nairobi

Overnight at Swara Acacia Lodge/or equivalent

Day 12: Nairobi National Park

Nairobi National Park birding whole day with picnic lunch. The park, only 10km off the cosmopolitan city has one of the greatest avifauna with a record of over 515 species in an area of only 117km².

Grey Crowned Crane

Grey Crowned Crane, ©chege wa kariuki

Birds in the park includes the newly-almost-described Nairobi Pipit, Common Ostrich, Great, Long-tailed Cormorant, African Darter, Great Egret, Saddle Billed Stork, Common, Madagascar Squacco, Black-headed, Grey Heron, African Spoonbill, White-faced Whistling, Knob-billed Ducks, Red-billed Teal, Secretary Bird, Black-shouldered Kite, Lappet-faced Vulture, Black-chested Snake-Eagle, Martial Eagle, Shelly’s & Yellow-necked Spurfowls, African Finfoot, Black-bellied, Hartlaub’s Bustards, Emerald Spotted Wood, Laughing Doves, Hartlaub’s Turaco, White-bellied Go-away-bird, White-browed Coucal, African Palm Swift, Blue-napped Mousebird, Little & Cinnamon-chested Bee-eaters, Lesser, Greater Honeyguides, Eastern Honeybird, Nubian Woodpecker, White-tailed, Rufous-naped Larks, Wire-tailed, Lesser-Striped Swallows, Rock Martin, Yellow-throated, Pangani, Rosy-breasted Longclaws, Pale, African Grey, Southern Black Flycatchers, Lesser Swamp Warbler, 9 species of Cistocolas, Abyssinian white-eye, Red-throated Tit, Jackson’s Widowbird, Red & Yellow-billed Oxpecker, among others.


The park has big game such as the Cape Buffalo, Burchell’s Zebra, Hippo, Masai Giraffe, Coke’s Hartebeest, Vervet and the Syke’s Monkey, both Black and White Rhino, Lion, Cheetah, Leopard, Eastern White-bearded Gnu, Black-backed Jackal, Hyena, Grant’s & Eastern Thomson’s Gazelles, Bohor Reedbuck and Southern Bushbuck, Common Warthog among others.  

Lion cub

Lion cub, ©chege wa kariuki

In the evening if time allows we visit a Nairobi restaurant for  a dinner before transfer to the Nairobi airport for your outbount flight

The Cost is Inclusive of:

  • Transport with exclusive use of the safari van as from the 1st day to departure day as per itinerary.
  • Pick up and drop off on arrival and departure at the airport.
  • Accommodation in lodges as per the itinerary with all three meals a day
  • Services of a knowledgeable bird guide
  • Boat ride at Lakes Naivasha and Baringo
  • Parks, reserve, and conservation areas entry fee
  • Emergency evacuation
  • Drinking water available from the van cool box
  • other pre-tour information

The Cost is Exclusive of:

  • Medical and travel insurance including luggage.
  • Beverages
  • Items of personal nature such as telephone, laundry, gifts among others
  • Visa, airport tax
  • Tipping of Safari driver guide, lodge porters, waiters, etc
  • Other extras such as balloon Safari, Masai Village visit

Keep In Touch

Birdwatching East Africa Ltd
Karibaribi Farm House, Mang’u Rd
P.O. Box 7968-01000, Thika, KENYA
Whatsapp +254 722 329 570.