Day 1: Sun 29th November 2020 LONDON - NAIROBI
Depart London Heathrow in late afternoon flying Kenya Airways to Nairobi, arriving the following morning.
Day 2: Mon 30th November NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK
The tour begins in Nairobi where we will be received by our local guides, and enjoy a packed breakfast to set us up for a wonderful day! We head directly to Nairobi National Park for a great birding morning in Kenya’s oldest National Park, just 7 km from the edge of the Nairobi city centre. Indeed this is Kenya’s capital birding location, with over 500 species recorded. Species 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 and possibly Lion and Black Rhino.
During our rest stop in the Park we enjoy a picnic lunch as we add more birds to our list, and 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 15km (30min). Overnight in Nairobi at the Eka Hotel.
Day 3: Tues 1st December MOUNT KENYA NATIONAL PARK
Leaving from Nairobi, we have an early start and head to Mt. Kenya arriving before lunch. We bird around the lodge and forest trails, targeting forest and woodland 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, Brown-backed Scrub-Robin, Rueppell’s Robin-Chat, Abyssinian Crimsonwing, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Black-fronted Bushshrike, 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, Kikuyu 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 160 km (3 hrs). Overnight at Serena Mountain Lodge, Mount Kenya.
Days 4 and 5: Wed 2nd and Thurs 3rd December
BUFFALO SPRINGS AND SAMBURU
We leave early for Buffalo Springs and Samburu (180 km, 3 hrs), 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 Elephant. Birds expected here include 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 6: Fri 4th December NARO MORU
On this day, we begin with some more birding in Samburu, before heading to Naro Moru (140 km, 2.5 hrs), at the foothills of Mt. Kenya. Here we enjoy birding around our lodge and the neighbouring area for species such as Brown-backed Scrub Robin, Red-fronted Tinkerbird, Brown Parisoma, African Paradise Flycatcher, Hartlaub’s Turaco, Grey-headed Bush-shrike, Red-fronted Parrot, Northern Double-collared Sunbird and Little Rock Thrush. One night at Naro Moru River Lodge.
Days 7 and 8: Sat 5th and Sun 6th December LAKE BARINGO
We leave early morning for Lake Baringo. Today is a long transfer of 255 km (5 hrs), though birding will be active along the way, and we have several stops scheduled to check for some special birds such as endemic Hinde's Babbler and exciting Mackinder's Eagle-Owl. If time allows, we stop briefly at a roadside dam near the lake, to check for waterfowl. We arrive in Baringo in the afternoon, and will spend some time walking around the scrubland for owls, nightjars and other specialities of this area. 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 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. Two nights in Baringo, at Soi Lodge.
Days 9 and 10: Mon 7th and Tues 8th December KAKAMEGA FOREST
We depart for Kakamega, a journey of around 220 km, which will take around 4 hrs, 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 at Rondo Retreat Lodge.
Day 11: Wed 9th December LAKE NAKURU NATIONAL PARK
We leave Kakamega for Nakuru, arriving by midday (180km 3.5hrs). We enjoy a lunch break and then have an afternoon game drive. The following day will see 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 White and possibly Black Rhino 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). One night in at Nakuru Sopa Lodge.
Day 12: Thurs 10th December LAKE NAKURU TO LAKE NAIVASHA
We start the day with more birding in Nakuru. Later, we leave the park and drive to Naivasha (70km, 1.5hrs). 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. 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. We have lunch at the famous conservation centre of Elsamere, former home of Peter and Joy Adamson, and now an enchanting country home containing fascinating exhibits. There is good birding in the grounds, plus Black and White Colobus Monkey and sometimes Giraffe and Hippo. Overnight at Naivasha Sopa Lodge for two nights, where we share the parklands with Giraffes, Zebra and perhaps even more new birds!
Day 13: Fri 11th December KINANGOP GRASSLANDS & ABERDARE NP
We leave early for a day trip to this highland region, carrying a picnic lunch. Part 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). Later, we return to Naivasha for our second night at Sopa Lodge.
Day 14: Sat 12th December LAKE NAIVASHA TO NAIROBI
Today we begin with a morning walk around our lodge, then head for the lakeshore where waterbirds abound. We enjoy a boat ride here to reach more birds and enjoy the lake’s beauty, before enjoying a final lunch at Sopa and 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 15: Sun 13th December NAIROBI TO LONDON
We enjoy breakfast at the hotel, then make the short airport transfer for our flights home.