Day 1: Sunday 1st December 2019 LONDON - NAIROBI
Depart London Heathrow in late afternoon flying Kenya Airways to Nairobi, arriving the following morning.
Day 2: Monday 2nd December 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 a great birding morning. This is Kenya’s oldest National Park, located just 7 kilometres from the edge of the Nairobi city centre. Indeed, this is Kenya’s capital birding location with over 500 species recorded in the Park. Some species to expect include Secretarybird, 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, Whitetailed 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 also hosts many other interesting animals, including Zebra, Cape Buffalo and Maasai Giraffe plus a wide range of antelope species.
During our rest stop in the Park we enjoy a picnic lunch as we add more birds to our list, and we visit the important ivory-burning area, where the Kenyan Government makes a strong and highly visible stance against the ivory trade. Later in the afternoon, we head to our hotel, check in and relax during the heat of the afternoon after a very busy day. Driving today 15km (30min). Overnight in Nairobi at the Eka Hotel.
Day 3: Tuesday 3rd December THIKA, OL DONYO SABUK AND MOUNT KENYA
We have an early start and head through Thika, where we make a stop for local birding, and also visit the Ol Donyo Sabuk Mountain area; targeting species such as Hinde’s Babbler, Meyer’s Parrot, African Green Pigeon, Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon, Black-and-white Mannikin, Northern Pied Babbler, African Hill Babbler, Bearded Scrub Robin, Red-capped Robin-Chat, Lead-coloured Flycatcher, Hartlaub’s Turaco, Purple-crested Turaco, Lemon Dove, Crimson-rumped Waxbill, Yellow-bellied Waxbill, Red-billed Firefinch, Grey-Olive Greenbul, and Spot-flanked Barbet. We also bird around the hotel where we take lunch.
In the afternoon we head to Mount Kenya. We bird briefly around our lodge, targeting forest and woodland species such as Mountain Buzzard, Crowned Eagle, Mountain Yellow Warbler, Golden-winged Sunbird, Olive Pigeon, Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon and Oriole Finch. We shall likely see local monkey and antelope species, among other mammals. Driving today 140 km (2.5 hrs). Overnight for two nights at Mount Kenya - Serena Lodge.
Day 4: Wednesday 4th December MOUNT KENYA - NARO MORU
From the hotel we bird the local bush and forest edge, then head up the mountain in our vehicle. We scan the forest and grasslands hoping to find species such as African Cuckoo-Hawk, Mountain Buzzard, Crowned Eagle, Alpine Swift, Purple-throated Cuckoo-Shrike, Grey Cuckoo-Shrike, Mountain Wagtail, Cape Wagtail, Slender-billed Greenbul, Mountain Yellow-Warbler, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Black-throated Apalis, Black-collared Apalis, Chestnut-throated Apalis, White-browed Crombec, Hunter’s Cisticola, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Crowned Hornbill, African Black Duck, Red-fronted Parrot, Hartlaub’s Turaco, Spectacled Weaver, Grey-headed Negrofinch, Scaly Francolin, Jackson’s Francolin, Moorland Francolin, Moorland Chat, Brown-backed Scrub-Robin, Ruppell’s Robin-Chat, Abyssinian Crimsonwing, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Hartlaub’s Turaco, Black-fronted Bushshrike, Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird, Malachite Sunbird, Golden-winged Sunbird, Eastern Double-collared Sunbird, Black-headed Waxbill, Olive Ibis, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Slender-billed Starling, Abbott’s Starling, Sharpe’s Starling, Kenrick’s Starling, Waller’s Starling, Montane White-eye, Fine-banded Woodpecker, White-headed Wood-Hoopoe, Bar-tailed Trogon, Yellow-crowned Canary, Dusky Turtle Dove, African Green Pigeon, Lemon Dove, African Olive Pigeon, and Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon. Montane mammals are likely, including monkeys, antelopes, mongooses, genets, pigs, hogs, elephants and buffalo. Driving today 50km (1hr).
Days 5 and 6: Thurs 5th & Fri 6th December BUFFALO SPRINGS AND SAMBURU
We leave early for Buffalo Springs and Samburu, spending the next two days birding this special place. As we approach Samburu, we pass dry country where we keep an eye for specialities such as Straw-tailed Whydah, Steel-blue Whydah, Chestnut-headed Sparrow-Lark, Rufous Bush Chat, Fan-tailed Raven, Bristle-crowned Starling, Fischer’s Starling, Magpie Starling, Ruppell’s Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Donaldson-Smith’s Sparrow-Weaver, Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse, White-bellied (Variable) Sunbird and Pink-breasted Lark. We enjoy a game drive the first afternoon, and the following day have both a morning and afternoon session, with a lunch break to relax.
In Samburu, we keep scouting for extra birds as we enjoy local mammals such as Leopard, Beisa Oryx, Gerenuk, Grevy’s Zebra, Cheetah, Reticulated Giraffe, Lion and Elephants. More birds will be expected here including Somali Ostrich, Somali Courser, Golden Pipit, Golden-breasted Starling, Abyssinian Scimitarbill, Rosy-patched Bushshrike, Pringle’s Puffback, Northern Puffback, Northern White-crowned Shrike, White-headed Mousebird, Hunter’s Sunbird, Black-bellied Sunbird, Shining Sunbird, Red-billed Hornbill, Eastern Yellowbilled Hornbill, Von der Decken’s Hornbill, Black-faced Sandgrouse, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Fire-fronted Bishop, Somali Bee-eater, Stone Partridge, African Orange-bellied Parrot, Yellow-vented Eremomela, Northern Crombec, Northern Grey Tit, Black-capped Social Weaver, Northern Brownbul, Buff-crested Bustard, African Bare-eyed Thrush, Somali Sparrow, Donaldson-Smith’s Nightjar, Dusky Nightjar, Vulturine Guineafowl, Rufous Chatterer, African Mourning Dove, European Turtle Dove, Egyptian Vulture, Bateleur, Martial Eagle and Tawny Eagle. Driving total 180km (3hrs) Two nights at Samburu - Sopa Lodge.
Day 7: Saturday 7th December NYAHURURU AND THOMSON’S FALLS
On our final morning we scout for some extra birds in Samburu, then head to Nyahururu, a highland area in Central Kenya, with birding on the way. We also make a quick stop for a site where Cape Eagle-Owls roost, if time allows. On arrival in Nyahururu, we spend time at the Marmanet forest edge and at Thomson’s Falls scouting for local birds such as Slender-billed Starling, White-browed Crombec, Brown Woodland Warbler, Golden-winged Sunbird, Malachite Sunbird, Tacazze Sunbird, Hartlaub’s Turaco, African Yellow White-eye, Montane White-eye, Fine-banded Woodpecker, Crowned Eagle, African Harrier Hawk, Cape Wagtail, Peregrine Falcon, Red-fronted Parrot and Crowned Hornbill. We may also scan a local swamp for highland marsh species. Driving today 230km (4hrs) Overnight in Nyahururu - Thomson’s Falls Lodge.
Days 8 and 9: Sunday 8th & Monday 9th December LAKE BARINGO
We enjoy a bird walk around the lodge before breakfast, then head for Lake Baringo, birding all the way. If time allows, we stop briefly at a roadside dam near the lake to check for waterfowl. We arrive in Baringo around midday, and take a short break to relax. In the later afternoon, we enjoy a nature walk around the area for owls and nightjars. Birds to expect here include Spotted and Greyish Eagle-Owls, Northern White-faced Scops Owl, Shikra, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Verreaux’s Eagle, Slender-tailed Nightjar, Donaldson-Smith’s Nightjar, Heuglin’s Courser, Blue-capped Cordon-bleu, D’Arnaud’s Barbet, Black-throated Barbet, Brubru, Grey-headed Bushshrike, Somali Fiscal, Three-streaked Tchagra, Spotted Thick-knee, Senegal Thick-knee, African Pygmy Kingfisher, Nubian Woodpecker, Crimson-rumped Waxbill, Little Weaver, Jackson’s Golden-backed Weaver, Northern Masked Weaver, White-billed Buffalo-Weaver, White-bellied Canary, Beautiful Sunbird, Black-headed Plover, Jackson’s Hornbill, Yellow-billed Hornbill, Hemprich’s Hornbill, Northern Red Bishop, Brown-tailed Rock Chat, Mocking Cliff-Chat, Somali Sparrow and Bristle-crowned Starling, among many others.
We start the next day with a boat ride on Lake Baringo, in search of water birds such as African Jacana, Black Crake, Goliath Heron, Little Bittern, Purple Heron and White-faced Whistling Duck. The boat ride will also help us enjoy the beauty of the lake and see the local African Fish Eagles advertising their territories as they hunt. We return to the lodge for breakfast, then scout the local scrubland and nearby cliffs seeking birds we may have missed the previous day. After lunch, we relax for some time and later take another walk seeking nightjars and owls, among other birds. Driving total 160km (3hrs). Two nights in Baringo - Tumbili Cliff Lodge.
Days 10 and 11: Tuesday 10th & Wednesday 11th December KAKAMEGA FOREST
We depart for Kakamega, arriving around midday. We scan the lodge compound to find our first birds, then take lunch before an afternoon bird walk. The following day we are birding deeper into Kakamega Forest, a remnant of the Guineo-Congolian Equatorial forest, exploring different sections. Species diversity here is plentiful and we hope for a huge addition to our list, perhaps including Yellow-shouldered (-mantled) Widowbird, Little Greenbul, Shelley’s Greenbul, Cameroon Sombre Greenbul, Kakamega Greenbul, Ansorge’s Greenbul, Toro Olive Greenbul, Great Blue Turaco, Western Banded Snake-Eagle, Crowned Eagle, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Red-headed Bluebill, Oriole Finch, Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Uganda Woodland Warbler, White-chinned Prinia, Buff-throated Apalis, Turner’s Eremomela, Green Hylia, Yellow-bellied Hyliota, Olive-Green Camaroptera, Square-tailed Drongo, Red-headed Malimbe, Black-necked Weaver, Black-billed Weaver, Vieillot’s Black Weaver, African Broadbill, Petit’s Cuckooshrike, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Snowy-headed Robin-Chat, Grey-throated Barbet, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Yellow-billed Barbet, Pink-footed Puffback, Green Sunbird, Western Olive Sunbird, Orange-tufted Sunbird, Green-throated Sunbird, Mackinnon’s Fiscal, White-spotted Flufftail, Dusky Tit, African Emerald Cuckoo, Klaas’s Cuckoo, Bocage’s Bush-Shrike, Luhder’s Bush-Shrike, Black-crowned Waxbill, White-breasted Negrofinch, Bar-tailed Trogon, Least Honeyguide, Buff-spotted Woodpecker, Brown-eared Woodpecker, Yellow-crested Woodpecker, White-headed Wood-Hoopoe, Black-and-white Casqued Hornbill, Equatorial Akalat, White-tailed Ant-Thrush, Blue-headed Bee-eater, Western Black-headed Oriole, Common Wattle-eye, Jameson’s Wattle-eye and Yellow-bellied Wattle-eye. The forest also holds unique monkey, antelope and squirrel species. Driving total 221km (4hrs). Two nights in Kakamega - Rondo Retreat Lodge.
Days 12 and 13: Thurs 12th & Friday 13th December LAKE NAKURU NATIONAL PARK
We leave Kakamega for Nakuru, arriving by midday. We enjoy a lunch break and then have an afternoon game drive. The following day will have morning and afternoon sessions for birding, with a break in between for lunch and to relax.
This park is famed as a birdwatchers’ paradise, and indeed was the first national park in Africa to be set up with an avian conservation objective. Famous for its Lesser Flamingos, other birds here include Woolly-necked Stork, Arrow-marked Babbler, Little Rock-Thrush, Mocking Cliff Chat, White-browed Robin-Chat, Reed Cormorant, Pink-backed Pelican, Pied Avocet, Kittlitz's Plover, Blacksmith Plover, Coqui Francolin, Hildebrandt's Francolin, Black Cuckoo, Levaillant’s Cuckoo, African Cuckoo, Grey-crested Helmet-shrike, Cape Teal, Brimstone Canary, Hottentot Teal, Red-billed Teal, Dusky Nightjar and Montane Nightjar. The park is also a great sanctuary for rhinos, and these may be encountered as we move around the park. Other mammals will be seen, especially herds of grazing herbivores and Rothschild’s Giraffe. Driving total 180km (3.5hrs). Two nights in Nakuru - Sopa Lodge.
Day 14: Saturday 14th December LAKE NAIVASHA
We leave early and drive straight to Naivasha. Here we sample local birding spots, including more savannah and bushland areas, and also visit the lakeshore at favourite beach points, where many shorebirds will be seen. We enjoy a boat ride here to reach more birds and enjoy the scenic beauty, then head to our lodge for lunch, followed by a bird walk in the afternoon. Expected species include Mosque Swallow, Lyne’s Cisticola, Chestnut Sparrow, Abyssinian Wheatear, Nyanza Swift, Mottled Swift, White-fronted Bee-eater, Mocking Cliff Chat, Bearded Woodpecker, Plain-backed Pipit, Giant Kingfisher, Grey-backed Fiscal, Grey-crested Helmet-Shrike, Brimstone Canary, Cape Teal, Pied Avocet, Black Heron, Goliath Heron, Lesser Flamingo, Maccoa Duck, Great White Pelican, Common Greenshank, Ruff, Green Sandpiper, Black-tailed Godwit, Hildebrandt’s Francolin, Arrow-marked Babbler, Black-lored Babbler, African Fish Eagle, Verreaux’s Eagle, Tawny Eagle, Osprey, Hybrid Lovebird, Red-throated Wryneck, Golden-breasted Bunting, Buff-bellied Warbler, Grey Crowned Crane, Black Cuckoo and Hoopoe. Driving today 70km (1.5hrs). Two nights in Naivasha at the quaint Elsamere Lodge former home of George and Joy Adamson, of 'Born Free' fame.
Day 15: Sunday 15th December KINANGOP GRASSLANDS & ABERDARE NP
We leave early for a day trip to this highland region, carrying a picnic lunch. Much of the day will be spent in Aberdare National Park. This Park runs the expanse of a majestic mountain range on the eastern edge of the Rift Valley, and has a great stretch of alpine moorland vegetation, mainly above 3000m. This great landscape has led to the park’s nickname:- “The Majestic Moorland”. There is a thick tropical forest, with deep ravines and dissecting riverine gorges. At certain areas, these rivers form majestic waterfalls, which really must be seen! Home to many regional endemics, this area promises to be rewarding in terms of birdlife. Species include Aberdare Cisticola, Mountain Yellow Warbler, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Brown Woodland Warbler, Abbott's Starling, Scarlet-tufted Sunbird, Malachite Sunbird, Moorland Chat, Black-fronted Bushshrike, Red-fronted Parrot, Yellow-crowned Canary, Yellow-bellied Waxbill, White-headed Wood-hoopoe, African Olive Pigeon, Jackson’s Francolin, Mountain Buzzard and Olive Ibis. Many other animals occupy this beautiful place and African Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Mountain Bongo, and Giant Forest Hog can be expected.
Later in the afternoon we drive through the Kinangop plateau to score some more special birds in the grasslands, and also in local wetlands for highland water birds. Birds here include Black-winged Plover, Red-throated Wryneck, Common Quail, Hunter’s Cisticola, Levaillant’s Cisticola, Wing-snapping Cisticola, Long-tailed Widowbird, Jackson’s Widowbird, Angola Swallow, Montane Nightjar, Sharpe’s Longclaw, Mountain Buzzard, Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk, Red-throated Pipit, Black-tailed Godwit, African Snipe and Lesser Jacana. Driving today 65km (1.5hrs).
Day 16: Monday 16th December LAKE NAIVASHA TO NAIROBI
Today we begin with a morning walk around our lodge, then relax and enjoy lunch before leaving for Nairobi, with birding on the way. We arrive in time to check-in and relax, then enjoy our final dinner. Driving today 115km (2hrs). We return to the comfortable Eka Hotel.
Day 17: Tuesday 17th December NAIROBI TO LONDON
We enjoy breakfast at the hotel, then make the short airport transfer for our flights home.