NEW! Kenya and Tanzania

Wonderful East African birding and wildlife

Dates
  • 07 Jun - 19 Jun 2020
Guides
Max Group Size12
Duration13 Days
Prices
£5995 pp, £495 single supplement.
Deposit £1000

This brand new tour features outstanding birdlife and big game, taking you through two African countries, and visiting iconic world-famous locations. Starting at the world-famous Nairobi National Park we head across Kenya, exploring Tsavo National Park, one of the world's biodiversity strongholds, notable for the vast amounts of wildlife it supports. Highlights might include the famous ‘Red Elephants’ and Leopard, and other big game here include Lion, Cheetah, Cape Buffalo, Maasai Giraffe, Blue Wildebeest, Nile Hippo, Lesser Kudu and many more. 

Next we visit Amboseli National Park, famous for being the best place in the world to get close to free-ranging elephants. The park has views of the iconic peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world.

Roughly halfway through our trip we cross into northern Tanzania, where wonderful wildlife destinations await. Here we visit Lake Manyara, a pristine soda lake in the Rift Valley where a range of wetland species may be encountered. We will also go to Tarangire National Park, a superb, largely unexplored location. The majestic Ngorongoro Crater, one of the wonders of Africa, is a 'must visit' location, and as we descend to the crater floor we encounter unique scenery while enjoying excellent birding and plentiful herds of wild animals. You can look forward to a sizeable bird-list and many memorable wildlife encounters on this memorable holiday.

Day 1: Sunday 7 June - London - Nairobi
After relaxing in our complimentary VIP airport lounge, we depart London Heathrow on a late afternoon flight with Kenya Airways to Nairobi, arriving the following morning.

Day 2: Monday 8 June - Nairobi National Park 
The tour begins in Nairobi, where we will be received by our local guides and head directly to Nairobi National Park for great birding straight away. This is Kenya’s oldest National Park and is located just 7 kilometres from the edge of the city centre, indeed, this is Kenya’s capital birding location with over 500 species recorded. Among those we could see on our very first morning are Ostrich, Secretary Bird, African Water Rail, Spotted Thick-knee, Black-winged Plover, African Finfoot, Pangani Longclaw, Jackson’s Widowbird, Kori Bustard, Hartlaub’s Bustard, Saddle-billed Stork, African Yellow White-eye, Common Nightingale, Ruppell’s Robin-chat, Northern Pied Babbler, White-tailed Lark, Rufous-naped Lark, Somali Short-toed Lark, Red-throated Tit, Speke’s Weaver, Yellow-throated Sandgrouse, Martial Eagle, African Crowned Eagle, Wahlberg’s Eagle, African Quail-finch, Zebra Waxbill, Harlequin Quail, Lappet-faced Vulture, Violet Wood-hoopoe, Nairobi Pipit, Grassland Pipit, Siffling Cisticola, Croaking Cisticola and Desert Cisticola. The park hosts several mammal species too, including Zebra, Cape Buffalo, Maasai Giraffe and a wide range of antelope species. A brilliant start to our holiday!

During our rest stop in the Park we enjoy a picnic lunch adding more birds to our list. We visit the important ivory-burning area, where the Kenyan Government makes a strong and highly visible stance against the ivory trade. Later, we head to our hotel, check in and relax during the heat of the afternoon after a very busy day.  Driving today is 15km (30min) and we overnight in Nairobi at the Eka Hotel.
 

Days 3 and 4: Tuesday 9 and Wednesday 10 June - Tsavo National Park
Tsavo National Park in Central Kenya is home to a superb array of wildlife, and for the next few days we will enjoy great birding and game based from Ngulia Lodge. Driving 270km (5 hrs) we will see lots of great wildlife on the way to Tsavo. Potential species in the National Park include Harlequin Quail, Two-banded Courser, Scaly Chatterer, Friedman’s Lark, Red-winged Lark, Three-streaked Tchagra, Black-headed Plover, Spotted Thick-knee, Golden-breasted Starling, Shelley’s Starling, Magpie Starling, Jameson’s Firefinch, Mouse-coloured Penduline Tit, Acacia Tit, Pygmy Batis, Black-headed Batis, Tsavo Sunbird, Blue-capped Cordon-Bleu, Somali Bunting, Tiny Cisticola, Pale Prinia and Eastern Paradise Whydah. Raptors in the area include Tawny, Martial and Lesser Spotted Eagle plus many more, and we may see Donaldson-Smith’s and Sombre Nightjar roosting by day or on the wing after dark.

A planned visit to the Mzima Springs, a superb wetland habitat, will give us the chance to do some birding on foot. Depending on the weather, we may also choose to visit the Lake Jipe area, where we scan the wetland and adjacent grassland for more localised species. There will also be mammals including Lion, Lesser Kudu, Leopard and the “Red Elephants” of Tsavo.

Days 5 and 6: Thursday 11 and Friday 12 June - Amboseli National Park
From Tsavo, we head west 125km (3.5hrs) to Amboseli, located on the Tanzanian border in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. This scenic park is graced by mighty Savannah Elephants and is home to the longest and most famous elephant research program in the World. The mammals here are as good as anywhere in Kenya with Lion, Cheetah, Common Zebra, Blue Wildebeest, Maasai Giraffe and Nile Hippo all possible and we shall take our time to enjoy them on drives in the National Park.

Local birds should include Saddle-billed Stork, African Fish Eagle, White-backed Vulture, Eastern Chanting Goshawk, Greater Kestrel, Fischer’s Sparrow-Lark, Cardinal Quelea, White-bellied Canary, Red-headed Weaver, Taveta Golden Weaver, Speckle-fronted Weaver, White-bellied Go-away-bird, African Jacana, Kittlitz’s Plover, Red-billed Teal, Lesser Flamingo and Greater Flamingo, Lilac-breasted Roller, Ashy Cisticola, Desert Cisticola, Winding Cisticola and Taita Fiscal. Our base for two nights will be the Sentrim Lodge.

Day 7: Saturday 13 June - Amboseli to Arusha
Crossing into Tanzania, we head towards Arusha driving 210km (4.5hrs). Mount Kilimanjaro will be behind us, and as we travel a new peak emerges ahead, Mount Meru, a dormant volcano rising to just under 15000 ft. Enjoying great birding on the way, this journey can produce many new species including White-headed Mousebird, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse and Foxy Lark. Rare Gerenuk antelope may also be seen feeding along the road, sometimes alongside local Kirk’s Dik-dik. Overnight in Arusha at Planet Lodge

Day 8: Sunday 14 June - Lake Manyara
After breakfast we drive 120km (2.5hrs) to Lake Manyara, a pristine soda lake in the Rift Valley. Local Baobab trees illuminate the journey, and we may make a stop by the roadside to take photos and try the magical “Baobab tree hug”. At Lake Manyara, Greater and Lesser Flamingos are plentiful, feeding in the soda waters. Other birds include Yellow-billed Stork, Goliath Heron, Great White Pelican, Grey Kestrel, Martial Eagle, Crowned Eagle, Purple-crested Turaco, Crested Guineafowl, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Abyssinian Scimitarbill, Grey-olive Greenbul, Slate-coloured Boubou and Hildebrandt’s Starling. Local game of interest includes the famous “tree-climbing Lions” of the area. We stay for two nights at Tloma Lodge in Karatu

Day 9: Monday 15 June - Ngorongoro Highlands and Crater
Today we visit the magical region of Ngorongoro, just 20km (30 mins) from our Lodge. Here we will visit the large and scenic crater, located about 2000m above sea level, falling to a depth of 600m. A truly unique location, the crater is nestled in a pristine natural forest, full of beautiful indigenous trees, and boasts incredible views. We begin birdwatching in the high forest around it's rim, where expected species include Hunter’s Cisticola, Golden-winged Sunbird, Eastern Double-collared Sunbird, Black-fronted Bush-Shrike, Bar-throated Apalis, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Brown Woodland Warbler, Southern Citril, Thick-billed Seedeater, Brown Parisoma, African Olive Pigeon, Brown-backed Woodpecker, Waller’s Starling, White-naped Raven, White-headed Barbet and Schalow’s Turaco.

Descending inside the majestic Ngorongoro Crater, rightly labelled as one of the wonders of Africa, we will encounter new wildlife. Herds of wild animals may be present, and we look out for the local African Lion, Cheetah, Savannah Elephant, Black Rhino, African Golden Wolf, Nile Hippo, Wildebeest and various Gazelles. Special birds include Hildebrandt’s Francolin, Grey Crowned Crane, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Pectoral-patch Cisticola, Lyne’s Cisticola, Pied Avocet, Yellow-throated Sandgrouse, Black-bellied Bustard, Kori Bustard, Secretary Bird, Rosy-breasted Longclaw, Flappet Lark, both Lesser and Greater Flamingo, Chestnut-banded Plover and Rufous-tailed Weaver.

Day 10: Tuesday 16 June - Tarangire National Park
We visit a lesser explored gem today, the fantastic Tarangire National Park, where we can look forward to Acacia woodlands full of birds. Birding highlights in this quiet area could include Yellow-collared Lovebird, Woodland Kingfisher, Double-banded Courser, White-headed Buffalo-Weaver, Coqui Francolin, Pygmy Falcon, Brown Snake Eagle, Black Cuckoo, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Great Painted Snipe, Mottled Spinetail, Southern Ground Hornbill, Meyer’s Parrot, Bearded Woodpecker, Southern Red Bishop, Knob-billed Duck, Banded Parisoma, Miombo Wren-warbler, Green Woodhoopoe, Brubru, Magpie Shrike, Red and Yellow Barbet, Rufous-tailed Weaver and Ashy Starling. Big game should be encountered too, with African Elephant, Banded Mongoose, Cape Buffalo and Cheetah among the many possibilities. We stay at the excellent Tarangire Safari Lodge for one night.

Day 11: Wednesday 17 June - Tarangire to Arusha
We have the entire morning to look for unseen species in the amazing Tarangire ecosystem before exiting the National Park and returning to Arusha. A more relaxing day, but still with great birding en route with some dedicated roadside stops which can produce good birds. Overnight in Arusha at Planet Lodge. 

Day 12: Thursday 18 June - Nairobi Plains
Leaving Arusha via nearby drylands, we spend the morning searching for the rare Beesley’s Lark. Species occurring in this same area include Abyssinian Wheatear, Banded Parisoma, Tiny Cisticola, Eastern Chanting Goshawk, Red-throated Tit, Short-tailed Lark, Foxy Lark, Athi Short-toed Lark and White-headed Mousebird. Continuing to Nairobi, we shall return to Eka Hotel with time to reflect on the great moments of our tour. 

DAY 13: Friday 19 June - Departure
After breakfast, we transfer to the airport for our return flight to the UK.

Please note: all itineraries are given as a guide only. Actual holiday content may vary according to the judgement of your guide, and elements beyond our control (eg weather).

What's included in your holiday price:

  • Return scheduled flight from London – Nairobi, airport taxes, baggage up to 20kg, hand luggage to 5kg, in-flight meal, airport transfers.
  • Ground transportation, accommodation and meals including breakfast and lunch, evening meal and water during the day.
  • Services of your Heatherlea leader and professional local guide,
  • Park entrance and walk fees.
  • Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge. Read more.

FIELD GUIDE - The Birds of East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi

by Terry Stevenson and John Fanshawe is included in your holiday price. One copy per room booked.

What's not included in your holiday price:

  • Travel to and from the airport before and after the holiday, baggage above 20kg, incidental tips, drinks with meals, expenses of a personal nature and personal insurance.

More Information

Accommodation is in excellent and friendy hotels and lodges, often located in areas with expansive views. Rooms are comfortable, clean and attractive with en-suite bathrooms. The hotel in Nairobi has been selected for its easy access to both the Airport and Nairobi National Park, other hotels have been chosen for their location, accommodation and food, which are universally very good, and often exceptional.

Food is usually plentiful. Breakfasts offer a good choice, with tea, coffee, juice, fruits, pancakes, eggs of your choice and other things depending on location. Lunches are taken at hotels or somewhere in the bush depending on the day’s plan. Evening meals are at the accommodation with a full dinner. Vegetarian and other diets are always available.

Walking is easy throughout, but restricted in the national parks and game reserves.  This is no hindrance, as we will be safe and able to get up very close to many animals and birds. It is also important for safety reasons to stay close to if not inside the vehicle – remember we are not top of the food chain here!

Travel is by comfortable Landcruiser-type vehicles, with open-top roofs. These are the best vehicles for this environment, smaller minivans are no more than adequate, and though you will see many of these, the larger vehicles are much better in our opinion. All clients have a window seat, max six clients per nine-seater vehicle. Tarmac roads make travelling much easier these days, though there are some 'marram' roads, which are both rough and dusty. Sometimes the wildlife we want to see is at the end of a dusty road! Roads around National Parks are likewise unmade, though we travel slowly here to maximise our chances of birding and game.

Weather will be warm to hot most days although it can sometimes be cool, especially at altitude and in the early mornings. You will probably experience 'dry heat', though rain is certainly possible. Most sites selected for this holiday are close to water and so should hold plenty of wildlife at the time of year we are visiting.

Insects There can be biting insects at this time of year, so precautions are advised. Before travelling consult your doctor about suitable anti-malarial medication, and on arrival take adequate precautions against mosquito bites although you may not encounter mosquitos.

Clothing We recommend a mixture of light and warm clothing as temperatures will vary from place to place. Gloves and hat are advised especially when at altitude. Please bring waterproof clothing, it hopefully won't be needed but rain is possible at any time, even in the dry season.

Your Leaders

Pete Cosgrove - A highly experienced leader and very well-travelled overseas birder, with an interest in Africa and Kenya in particular. Of all our local guides, he is the one most noted for finding rarities and spreading the news!  

Washington Wachira - Washington has a taste for everything in nature, from the small to the big and everything in between. He is an experienced Safari Guide and was awarded the African Sustainable Tourism Fellowship Award in 2016. Washington is a member of the Kakamega Rainforest Tour Guides Association, and has led many birding trips and expeditions across the whole of East Africa. He is a passionate author, and has taken part in many bird related research and conservation projects.  He is also an experienced nature photographer and his photos have been featured in many international books and magazines.

Wilson Tiren - Born in Kenya, Wilson is one of the leading authorities on bird identification and distribution in the Baringo region. Wilson enjoys birding just as he enjoys leading birding tours, and brings vast experience in bird spotting and identification. He has taken part in expeditions to many other parts of Kenya, and his interests span to other aspects of flora and fauna. Wilson is a passionate nature photographer and his passion and jovial mood in the field has made him a clients’ favourite.

Either Washington or Wilson will be our local Guide.

       

Washington and Wilson

Other birding and wildlife holidays in Kenya

Why choose Heatherlea for your African wildlife holiday?

Our overseas holidays are planned with care to offer great birding and wildlife, led by capable Leaders who really look after you. Every holiday is run the 'Heatherlea Way', and we hope our Overseas Adventures remind you of the quality and care so many of you enjoy in Scotland. That means rewarding and exciting days in the field, and good quality accommodation and meals, with a real flavour of the country we are visiting. Heatherlea always seek to include the personal touches that make all the difference.

Heatherlea holidays are not ‘dawn to dusk’ expeditions. Our less-intensive approach is ideal for those who want to relax whilst experiencing the best wildlife watching, and wherever possible we organise early or late activity on an optional basis. We also take sensible breaks when in very hot places and regular comfort breaks on every holiday whenever possible. All itineraries are planned carefully around the best wildlife opportunities, and you won’t miss out on memorable wildlife, whilst enjoying relaxed, informal days that are great fun.

The really important part of any wildlife holiday is the experience for you, our valued customer. Heatherlea invest in many things to offer you the best possible service;

  • We have been organising birding and wildlife holidays for over 30 seasons, and have a highly experienced and capable office team. We also offer a telephone and email service outside normal office hours.
  • Heatherlea overseas holidays have a maximum of 12 clients per trip, putting the emphasis on personal service, and helping you get the best possible experience.
  • Our holidays often include things which others might invite you to pay yourself, for instance Departure Taxes and tips to hotels.
  • All elements of our holidays are sold under our own licence, ATOL 6113. Under ‘Flight-Plus’ legislation it is a legal requirement of any tour operator to hold an ATOL licence for the supply of any overseas holiday where a flight is involved, if that holiday includes either overseas accommodation and/or car hire. It can be a criminal offence for an operator to book flights as part of a package without an ATOL licence. Heatherlea also hold full Tour Operator Insurance for your added protection.
  • Heatherlea is your complete wildlife holiday provider. Our ‘Back Office’ team can organise all your pre-flight and other travel needs. Our specialists will help you book the right services, at the best price. Book holiday extensions through us, and your ATOL protection is extended further. We don’t charge extra for this service.
  • Heatherlea is a limited company, registered in Scotland, and registered to pay VAT (applies to all holidays within the European Union).

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About Heatherlea Holidays

Contact Information

The Mountview Hotel, Nethybridge,
PH25 3EB Scotland

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