EXtreme 23 Day Kenya Birding Tour

IMPORTANT/READ FIRST
• 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 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.

Shelley's Francolin

Shelley’s Francolin ©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.

African Mustached Warbler

African Mustached Warbler @chege wa kariuki

 Overnight at a Thika Hotel

Day 2: Thika - Mt Kenya Forest

Hinde's Pied Babbler

A Kenyan endemic Hinde’s Pied Babbler @chege wa kariuki

After an early morning breakfast and search for Hinde’s Pied Babbler, Grey-Olive Greenbul, Brown-tailed Scrub Robin, Black-throated Wattle-eye and if lucky enough the African Finfoot. We later leave for highland birding destination on the southern slopes of Mount Kenya, looking at many highland forest species such as Africa’s most powerful eagle the African Crowned, Hartlaub’s Turaco, Mosque Swallow, Black Sawwing, Sharpe’s Starling, Purple-throated Cuckooshrike, Kikuyu White-eye, Eastern & Northern Double-collared Sunbird. Rameron Pigeon, Red-fronted Parrot, White-headed Woodhoopoe, African Emerald Cuckoo, Grey Cuckoo shrike, Waller’s Starling among other highland birds. also It boast many montane species including the Chestnut-throated, Grey, Black-collared, Black-throated Apalis, Montane Oriole, Bar-tailed Trogons, Black-fronted Bush-shrike, Yellow-rumped & Mustached Green Tinkerbirds, Scarce Swift, White-browed Crombec. Also the Mountain, Cabanis’s, Yellow-whiskered and Slender-billed Greenbuls, African Hill Babbler, White Starred Robin, African Dusky Flycatcher, Cinnamon Bracken & Brown Woodland Warblers, Hunter’s Cisticola, Black-backed Puffback, Grey Cuckoo-Shrike, Northern Double Collared Sunbird, Spectacled, Brown-capped Weaver, Grey-headed Negrofinch, Yellow-bellied Waxbill among others.

Overnight at Castle Lodge

Day 3: Mt Kenya Forest -Samburu National Reserve

Leopard

Leopard ©chege wa kariuki

Birding at the lodge and picking up some missing species before leaving for Samburu National Reserve, a very different habitat of arid country hence very different arrays of birds such as Bateleur, Palm-nut Vulture, African Hawk-eagle, Pygmy Falcon, Martial Eagle. A very comical looking bird is Vulturine Guineafowl, Buff-crested and White-bellied Bustards, Black-faced, Chestnut-bellied & Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouses, Rosy-patched Bushshrike,African Orange-bellied Parrot, African Scops-owl, Pearl-spotted Owlet, Von der Decken’s Hornbill, Red-and-yellow Barbet, Bearded Woodpecker, Somali Bee-eater, Rufous-crowned Roller, Pink-breasted Lark, African Bare-eyed Thrush, Hunter’s & Black-bellied Sunbirds, Golden-breasted, Hilderbrant’s & Fischer’s Starlings, Donaldson-Smith’s Sparrow-weaver, Cut-throat & Somali Bunting also a special trip to one corner of the reserve in search of another Kenyan Endemic the William’s Lark.

Vulturine Guineafowl

Vulturine Guineafowl @chege wa kariuki

A wide set of mammals thrive in the 3 reserves including Reticulated Giraffe, endangered Gravy’s Zebra, Dwarf Mongoose, Kirk’s & Gunther’s Dikdik, Common Waterbuck, Gerenuk and the war-like horned Beisa Oryx, African Elephant, Lion, Leopard & Cheetah. We’ll spend some time trying to spot and if lucky a Naked Mole Rat throwing soil from his tunnel.

Overnight at Ashnil Tented Camp

Day 4: Samburu/Bufallo Springs National Reserve

Donaldson-Smith's Sparrow-Weaver

Donaldson-Smith’s Sparrow-Weaver ©chege wa kariuki

Very early morning cup of tea or coffee and a snack and leaving the camp before the sunrise with picnic breakfast for morning game drive. Somali Ostrich, Lappet-faced Vulture, Rüppell’s Griffon, Eastern Chanting-goshawk, Pygmy Falcon, Somali Courser, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, White-headed Mousebird, Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill, Fischer’s and Chestnut-headed Sparrow-larks, Yellow-vented Eremomela, Spotted Morning-thrush, Mariqua Sunbird, Taita Fiscal, Golden Palm Weaver, Black-capped Social-weaver and African Silverbill

Overnight at Samburu Ashnil Tented Camp

Day 5: Samburu National Reserve - Marsabit

Lioness

Lioness @chege wa kariuki

Early morning game and bird frive through the park before transferring to Marsabit birding enroute in search of Somali Crombec, Northern Grosbeak Canary, Somali Crow.

Overnight a Marsabit Hotel

Day 6: Marsabit - North- Marsabit

Today we will drive farther north for specialties such as Heuglin’s Bustard and Masked Lark, Somali Sparrow, Chestnut-headed Sparrow-Larks, Somali Fiscals, Thekla and Short-tailed Lark & Crested Larks, Somali Coursers, African Scissor-tailed Kite, Shining Sunbird, Greater Kestrels

Masked Lark

Masked Lark @chege wa kariuki

Overnight at a Marsabit Hotel

Day 7: Marsabit - Naro Moru

Somali Crow

Somali Crow @chege wa kariuki

After an early breakfast transfer to Naro Moru birding enroute. Late lunch and in the late afternoon visit the vast & pristine montane forests and alpine habitats of Mount Kenya National Park

 in search of Alpine Chat, Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Jackson’s Francolin all seen above 3000m. 

Abyssinian Ground Thrush

Abyssinian Ground Thrush @chege wa kariuki

Other birds includes the Tacazze Sunbird, Black-headed Waxbill, Abyssinian Crimsonwing and Dusky Turtle Dove among others.

Drive to Naro Moru.

Jackson's Francolin

Jackson’s Francolin ©chege wa kariuki

Overnight at Naro Moru River Lodge

Day 8: Naro Moru -Lake Nakuru National Park

After an early morning, breakfast and a short bird walk on the lodge compound. This may as well be a morning with sunbirds, which may include Collared, Northern Double-collared, Variable, Bronze, Tacazze, Green-headed, Amerthyst & Scarlet-chested. Other birds around the area may include Narina Trogon, Sulphur-breasted Bushshrike, Chinspot Batis, African Black-headed Oriole and Black-crowned Tchagra. In the evening, we might be lucky to locate the African Wood Owl and Montane Nightjar.

African Black Duck

African Black Duck @chege wa kariuki

Later transfer to Lake Nakuru National Park stopping at a large cliff wall that is a roosting spot for the highly-sought-after Mackinder’s Eagle-Owl. Also possible are Little Rock Thrush, Red-winged Starling, Pale Flycatcher and Long-billed Pipit.

Overnight at Lake Nakuru Lodge

Day 9: Lake Nakuru National Park - Lake Baringo

Birding in Lake Nakuru National Park is regarded as the “the greatest ornithological spectacle in the world” with both Lesser and Greater Flamingoes sometimes exceeding 100s of thousands of individuals, however in the recent years you hardly see many thousands individual birds but still it’s a place far worth the birding experience. The alkaline habitat, acacia woodland, grassland, rivers and inlets with marshes holds residents as well as migratory species.

Lesser Flamingo

Lesser Flamingo @chege wa kariuki

Birds may include Little Grebe, Great White Pelican, Black-winged Stilt, Gull-billed, Whiskered Tern, Grey-headed Gull, Cape, Red-billed Teal, Three-banded Plover, Little Stint, Long-crested, Tawny Eagle, Black-shouldered Kite, Augur Buzzard, White-fronted Bee-eater, Lilac-breasted Roller, Rock Martin, Arrow-Marked Babbler, Little Rock Thrush, Wailing, Rattling Cisticola, Rüppell’s Long-tailed Starling, Rüppell’s Robin Chat, White-shouldered Cliff Chat, African Grey Flycatcher, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Common, Grey-backed Fiscal, Tropical Boubou, Black Cuckoo-shrike, Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu among many others.

In addition, the park is rich in big games that includes the Rothschild Giraffe, Cape Buffalo, waterbuck, Common Eland, hippo, both Black and White Rhino, Lion, leopard, Spotted Hyena

Later transfer to Lake Baringo enroute in search of 2 Kenyan endemics Aberdare Cisticola and Sharpe’s Longclaw, also Wing-snapping, Leviallant’s Cisticola, Maccoa Ducks, Lesser Jacana, Great Crested Grebe, Yellow-crowned Canary, Malachite & Golden-winged Sunbirds

Overnight at Soi Safari Lodge

Day 10: Lake Baringo

Birding around the lakes many habitats including the cliffs and the shores. If lucky with the help of the local guides we hope to see some the specialties such as the Northern White-faced & African Scops Owls, Greyish Eagle-owl, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Three-banded (Heuglin’s) Courser, Slender-tailed Nightjar.

Heuglin's Courser

Heuglin’s Courser, @chege wa kariuki

Some good chunk of our time will be spent also at the campground that is rich in birds. Other birds may include: Bristle-crowned Starling, Brown-tailed Rock Chat, Hemprich’s, Jackson’s Hornbills, Green-winged Pytilia, Red & Yellow Barbet, African Pigmy Kingfisher, Black-headed Plover, Black-throated Barbet, Somali Tit, Little, Golden-backed, Northern Masked, Lesser Masked & Black-headed Weavers, Northern Red Bishop, Red-fronted Warbler, Lanner Falcon, Verreaux’s Eagle, Blue-naped Mousebird, Red-fronted Barbet, Pygmy Batis, Northern Crombec and Cardinal Quelea among many other species.

Overnight at Soi Safari Lodge

Day 11: Lake Baringo- Kitale

Grayish Eagle-Owl

Grayish Eagle-Owl @chege wa kariuki

Take a boat ride and explore the lake for water birds such as Long-tailed Cormorant, Common Squacco, Green-backed, Purple, Goliath Heron, Yellow-billed Stork, African Darter, Knob-billed Duck and later after breakfast go birdwatching along the cliffs for more species as we head for Kitale. Picnic lunch

We spend the late afternoon in the smallest national park in Kenya, 2km² in size we’ll walk around birding through the well-structured boardwalks above the swampy marshes with reeds and other wetland vegetation. Birds include the African Paradise Flycatcher, Black-throated Wattle-eye, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Double-toothed Barbet, Fine-banded Woodpecker, Angolan Swallow, Grey Apalis, Northern Puffback, Black-billed, Brown-capped Weaver, Black-crowned Waxbill, Black & White Mannikin.

Overnight at Barnley’s House.

Day 12: Kongelai Escarpment

We drive down the Kongelai Escarpment where we expect local specialties such as the Yellow-billed Shrike, Lesser Blue-eared Starling, White-crested Turaco, Chestnut-crowned sparrow-weaver, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Golden-breasted Bunting, Double-toothed Barbet, Northern Brownbul, Brown Snake, Martial Eagle, Eastern Grey Plantain-Eater, Brown Parrot, Black-winged Red Bishop, Stripe-breasted Seedeater, and White-crested Helmet-shrike. Also the Hartlaub’s Marsh Widowbird among many other interesting species.

Overnight at Barnley’s House.

Day 13: Kitale - Mt Elgon National Park

Early morning or picnic breakfast  and depending on what we missed we give a trial once more before leaving for Mt Elgon National Park. characterized by gigantic Juniper trees, Podocarpus and Mt Elgon Olive.

Late afternoon birding in the forest. Some of the birds that we may encounter would Ayre’s Hawk-Eagle, African Crowned Eagle, Mountain Buzzard, Great, Little & Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawks, Scaly Francolin, Hartlaub’s & Ross’ Turacos, African Wood Owl, Abyssinian Nightjar, Mottled, African & Scarce Swift, Narina & Bar-tailed Trogon, White-headed Wood-Hoopoe, Moustached Green Tinkerbird, Double-toothed & Yellow-billed Barbets, Fine-banded and Grey Woodpecker, Doherty’s Bush-shrike, Equitorial Akalat, White-starred Robin, Oriole Finch among others.

Overnight at KWS Cottages (very simple).

Day 14: Mt Elgon National Park - Kakamega Forest

Elgon Francolin

Elgon Francolin, ©chege wa kariuki

After an early morning breakfast drive to the moorland in search the majestic Elgon Francolin among other birds we see on the way up and later transfer to Kakamega Forest

Overnight Rondo Retreat Centre

Day 15 & 16: Kakamega Forest

Great Blue Turaco

Great Blue Turaco @chege wa kariuki

White-spotted Flufftail

White-spotted Flufftail, ©chege wa kariuki

This is the only true rain forest remaining in Kenya and was once a continuation of the Guinea-Congolian rainforest, rich in species nowhere else to be seen in Kenya. Spending a few days here we hope to see a good number of these forest species that could include the Blue-headed Bee-eater, Grey-winged Robin, Yellow Spotted, Yellow-billed Barbet, Shelly’s, Joyful, Toro olive, Cabanis’ Greenbul, African Blue Flycatcher, African Shrike-Flycatcher, Snowy-headed Robin-Chat, Common, Jameson’s, Chestnut Wattle-eye, Olive Green Camaroptera, Green, Cooper Sunbird, Mackinnon Shrike, Luhder’s Bush-Shrike, Bocage’s Bush-shrike, Petit’s Cuckoo-shrike, Black-necked, Dark-backed, Vieillot’s Weaver, Red-headed Malimbe, Red-headed Bluebill.

Overnight at Rondo Retreat Centre.

Day 17: Kakamega Forest -Busia

Blue-headed Bee-Eater

Blue-headed Bee-Eater, @chege wa kariuki

 Birding In the forest in search of more rainforest birds. Leave in the afternoon for Busia making a few stops for localized Rock Pratincole along the river. Before arriving in to the hotel we will search for early calling Swamp Nightjar. We hope to find a few more localized birds such as the Bar-breasted Firefinch, Yellow-throated Leaflove, Senegal Coucal, White-crested Turaco, Copper’s Sunbird.

Overnight at Busia’s Blue York Hotel

Day 18: Busia - kisumu

Brown Twinspot

Brown Twinspot, ©chege wa kariuki

Birding from Busia area for more birds that we may have missed en route to Kisumu.

Overnight at Milimani Beach Resort

Day 19: kisumu - masai mara national reserve

A morning birding on the shores of the second largest fresh-water lake in the world. Along the Papyrus vegetation at the Dunga Beach (an old fishing village/jet) with expectation to see some of the specialties like the Papyrus Gonolek, Swamp Flycatcher, Greater Swamp Warbler, White-winged Warbler, other birds includes Hamerkop, Little Egret, Yellow-billed Stork, Pied Kingfisher, White-winged, Whiskered Terns, African Skimmer, Red-chested, Copper Sunbirds, Shikra, African Thrush, Black-headed Gonolek, Slender-billed, Northern Brown-throated, Yellow-backed, Jackson’s Golden-backed Weavers, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Southern Red Bishop, Black-billed Barbet.

Northern Brown-throated Weaver

Northern Brown-throated Weaver ©chege wa kariuki

After this we leave for the world famous Masai Mara National Reserve arriving late in the afternoon. A stop or two may produce Yellow-bellied Hyliota and Green-capped Eremomela. 

Overnight at Mara West Tented Camp

Day 20: Masai Mara National Reserve

After an early morning breakfast drive birding along the Olololoo Escarpments for Long-tailed, Trilling & Rock Cisticolas, Pale Wren Warbler, Red-tailed Rock Chat and may be a Red-throated Wryneck.

Red-winged Francolin ©chege wa kariuki

Masai Mara National Reserve is a plain of rolling grassland dotted with a mixture of acacia trees and blended by the famous Mara River, swampy, grassy and forested habitats. Specialties among other common birds include Rosy-breasted Longclaw, Ashy Flycatcher, Mosque, Red-chested & Red-rumped Swallows, African White-backed, Lappet-faced, White-headed & Hooded Vultures, White-naped Raven, Ross Turaco, Black-backed Puffback, Croaking, Stout, Pectoral-patched, Rattling and Black-backed Cisticolas, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Hildebrandt’s Starling, Yellow-billed Oxpecker, Black & White Casqued Hornbill, Lilac-breasted Roller, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Plain and Long-billed Pipit,

Rufous-bellied Heron

Rufous-bellied Heron, ©chege wa kariuki

Saddle-billed, Woolly-necked Stork, Yellow-fronted Canary among many others.

Overnight at Matira Camp

Day 21: Masai Mara national Reserve

Cheetah

Cheetah, ©chege wa kariuki

After an early morning breakfast transfer to Nairobi en route game drive in Masai Mara National Reserve on our way to Naivasha while searching for more bird species especially the Magpie Shrike, Karamoja Apalis, Swahili Sparrow, Capped Wheatear, Two-banded Courser, Athi Short-toed Lark, Silverbill, Southern Grosbeak Canary, Gabon and Dusky Nightjars and others on the eastern part of the reserve. Picnic lunch along the way.

Overnight at Siana Springs Tented Camp

Day 22: Masai Mara national Reserve-Lake Naivasha

After an early morning breakfast en route game drive in Masai Mara National Reserve on our way Siana Springs while searching for more bird species especially the Magpie Shrike, Karamoja Apalis, Swahili Sparrow and others on the eastern part of the reserve. Picnic lunch along the way.

 

At Lake Naivasha we will look for Grey-crested Helmet-Shrike, Hilderbrant’s Francolin, Spotted Eagle-Owl, Schalow’s Wheatear, White-fronted Bee-eater, Lyne’s Cisiticola among waterbirds during a boat ride.

Overnight at Elsamere Centre

Day 23: Lake Naivasha - Nairobi

Early morning breakfast then drive up the highlands for the Alpine Chat, Abyssinian Ground Thrush and the Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird.

Later transfer to Nairobi for dinner and finally be dropped at the airport on time for your international outbound flight

The Cost is Inclusive of:

  • Transport with exclusive use of the safari van.
  • Pick up and drop off on arrival and departure at the airport.
  • Accommodation in lodges as per the itinerary & all meals
  • -Services of an English speaking safari guide.
  • 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.

  • Other extras such as balloon Safari, Masai Village visit

  • Tipping of Safari driver guide roughly between $8-10 a day

  • Visa, airport tax

  • Balloon safaris

  • Beverages

  • Items of personal nature such as telephone, laundry, gifts among others

11 Day kenya eastern & coastal birding safari

we also offer 11 days coastal extension which makes it the 35 Day Kenya Mega Birding Safari

 

Keep In Touch

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