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Kenya 20-day Birding and Wildlife Safari

little-bee-eaters-binns-d64a0023-copyKenya is world-renowned as a wildlife destination par excellence with a breathtaking range of often easily approachable mammals and birds in landscapes of immense beauty. Our tour takes in two of Kenya’s finest game reserves, Samburu and the Maasai Mara, visits the alkaline and freshwater lakes of the Rift Valley and the central highlands. Everywhere pulsates with life, from the acacia-dotted savannahs of arid Samburu, arguably Kenya’s finest mammal reserve, to the endless undulating grasslands of the legendary Maasai Mara, perhaps the best place on earth to see large mammals in abundance. Our trip is timed to witness the northbound Wildebeest migration. At Nakuru National Park over a million noisy Lesser Flamingos ring the soda lake. Both these wildlife spectacles will surely be major highlights. A boat ride along the shore of Lake Baringo will take us close to African Spoonbills, Goliath Herons, Jacanas, diminutive Malachite Kingfishers and majestic Fish Eagles, common inhabitants of the lakeshore as are hippos and Nile Crocodiles. Throughout our tour we will encounter many of Africa’s colorful birds including gem-like sunbirds, beautiful bee-eaters and impossibly bright starlings. There are also a tremendous variety of raptors ranging from the tiny Pygmy Falcon, a bird no bigger than a starling, to the weird and wonderful Secretary Bird. Kakamega is Kenya's last remaining rainforest where the fauna of the Congo basin reaches its most easterly point. Specialities here include Blue-headed Bee-eater and the globally threatened Turner's Eremomola, Chapin's Flycatcher and African Grey Parrot. Weavers, bush-shrikes, robin-chats, sunbirds, malimbes, wattle-eyes and the gorgeous Red-headed Bluebill can be seen along the forest edge, and some of the forest's iconic birds, African Crowned Eagle, Black-and-white Casqued Hornbills, Ross's and Great Blue Turaco are sure to delight. This is a wonderful trip for photography. The combination of unusual scenery, beautiful and often very approachable wildlife, and rural Kenyan 'scenes' means that there is plenty to shoot on this ultimate Wildlife Safari. As with all safaris, the itinerary can be altered and customized to suit your needs and goals, whether it would be more birding or mammals or length of trip. This trip can be combined with an extension to the Kenyan Coast, or, to see the Gorillas in Rwanda or Uganda. Focus: Birds, Mammals, Photography, Reptiles, Butterflies, Scenery lion-2-males-1000x350-ab-binns-img_1238-copy
  • Tour Cost
  • Length of Tour: 20 days / 19 nights

    August 9-28, 2017

     

    Cost: 2017 - US $ tba per person from Nairobi, based upon double occupancy and a minimum of 5 participants per vehicle.

     

    Single supplement: US $ tba. Please note that if you do not request a single room, and we are unable to find you a roommate, you will be charged the single supplement.

     

    The Cost Includes: All ground transport, game drives and park entrance fees; professional driver guide; meals and accommodation; boat ride at Lake Baringo; Flying Doctors Temporary Medical Travel Insurance; mineral water on game drives.

    Note: There may be an additional surcharge should Park and or Conservation fees increase, which often happens with very little notice.

     

    Cost Excludes: 
Airfares to Kenya; Visa fees (currently $50); beverages.; any items of personal nature (laundry, telephone calls and so forth); any services not mentioned or indicated as optional; gratuities to drivers / guides / porters / waiters.

     

    Deposit $500.00, check, paypal or credit card, along with your completed Registration Form

     

    How to Book In order to hold your space, you must complete the Registration Form found on-line, and submit it to us on-line, or download a copy and mail it to us, along with a $500.00 deposit per participant.

     

    Final Payment Full payment, by check, is due 120 days prior to the departure date

  • Itinerary
  • Brief Itinerary:

    Day 1 :  Arrive in Nairobi

    Day 2 :  Mt. Kenya foothills

    Day 3, 4, 5 & 6 :  Samburu NR

    Day 7 & 8 : Naro Moru & Aberdare Mts

    Day 9 & 10 :  Lake Nakuru NP

    Day 11 & 12 : Lake Baringo

    Day 13, 14 & 15: Kakamega Forest

    Day 16: Lake Victoria

    Day 17, 18 & 19: Maasai Mara

    Day 20 :  Return to Nairobi

     

    Itinerary:

     

    Day 1 - Arrival in Nairobi
    Morning flight from Europe to Nairobi – evening arrival
    Day 2 - Mt. Kenya Forest
    Depart Nairobi for visit to the foothills of Mt. Kenya arriving at Mountain Lodge for lunch. The rest of the day will be spent birding and game watching on the lodge grounds.
    Day 3-6 - Samburu National Reserve
    Drive to Samburu/Buffalo Game Reserves during an extraordinary three full days. Predominately areas of acacia bush land, interspersed with grassland and riverine thickets, these reserves offer a magnificent collection of flora and fauna including Lion, Leopard, Grevy’s Zebra, Gerenuk, Beisa Oryx, Reticulated Giraffe and herds of Elephant. Among the 300 bird species recorded here are Golden-breasted Starling, Green Wood-hoopoe, Abyssinian Scimitarbill, Pink-breasted Lark, Vulturine Guineafowl, Lilac-breasted Roller and the largest African Eagle, Martial’s!
    Day 7 & 8 - Naro Moru & Aberdare Mts
    In the central highlands for montane species such as Hartlaub’s Turaco, Grey Apalis, White-eared Barbet, Crowned Hornbill , Montane Oriole, Montane White-eye and Tacazze Sunbird. At higher elevation in the Aberdare’s we’ll find endemic Jackson’s Francolin and Aberdare Cisticola, while in adjacent grasslands  we seek Mackinder’s Eagle Owl and the endemic Sharpe’s Longclaw
    Day 9 & 10 - Lake Nakuru National Park
    Lake Nakuru is the most famous of the Rift Valley’s soda lakes. Attractive Yellow-barked Acacias and magnificent escarpments surround the lake that holds spectacular concentrations of Lesser Flamingoes.  Among the wealth of the African mammals, we will enjoy Black and White Rhinos, Impalas, African Cape Buffalo, Silver-backed Jackals, Spotted Hyena, and if lucky, tree-climbing Lions or even a Leopard!
    Day 11 & 12 - Lake Baringo
    Lake Baringo and the spectacular Kerio Valley offer excellent birding. A boat ride on the freshwater lake will have us close to schools of Hippos and basking Crocodiles, and alongside many waterbirds including Goliath Heron, African Jacana and White-faced Whistling Ducks. An assortment of weavers patrol the reed beds, while Madagascar Bee-eaters and Malachite Kingfishers can be seen perched on the reeds. We will enjoy watching the local fishermen in their traditional ambach canoes fishing,
    as African Fish Eagles call from the tops of shoreline trees. Nearby basalt cliffs can be teeming with birds on an early morning walk through the acacia woodland with the possibility of Hemprich’s Hornbill, Bristle-crowned Starling, White-faced Scops Owl and Heuglin’s Courser.
    Day 13-15 - Kakamega Forest
    At Kakamega Forest we will be looking for some the 30-plus specialties that are localized within this remnant rainforest patch of the Congo basin. Just to mention a few, we will hope to see the Blue-headed Bee-eater, Western Black-headed Oriole, Jameson’s Wattle-eye, Turner’s Eremomela,  Grey Parrot, Great Blue Turaco, Red-headed Malimbe, Vieillot’s Black and Dark-backed Weavers among others. Greenbuls are an ID challenge, and include Cameroon Sombre, Little Grey, Ansorge’s, Shelley’s, Toro Olive, Honeyguide and Joyful Greenbuls, and Red-tailed Bristlebill. Kakamega also offers a chance to see a great variety of butterflies as well as Red-tailed Monkey and Black-and white Colobus.
    Day 16 - Lake Victoria
    We head south towards the Masai Mara via the papyrus swamps of Kisumu along Lake Victoria. Species we might encounter include Eastern Grey Plantain-eater, Red-chested Sunbird, Black-headed Gonolek, Blue-headed Coucal, Carruther’s Cisticola, Black-billed Barbet and Northern Brown-throated Weaver.
    Day 17-19 Maasai Mara National Reserve
    Three full days in the Maasai Mara to track the annual Wildebeest migration and hopeful see herds crossing the Mara River, where Nile Crocodiles lie in wait! Joining the million Wildebeest will be Zebra and Thomson Gazelle, providing an abundance of prey for predators such as Spotted Hyenas and prides of Lions, and the vultures that soaring overhead.  The Mara is one of the best places in Africa to see cats, and we will seek Cheetah, Leopard and Serval.  Along the rivers schools of Hippopotamus can be found basking in shallow pools and on river banks. Other mammals include the delightful Bat-eared Fox, Topi, Banded Mongoose and the comical Warthog.  Birdlife is abundant, with many birds of prey including Grey Kestrel, Black-chested Snake-Eagle and Bateleur. Notable species will be Kori and White-bellied Bustards, the amazing Secretary Bird, Usambiro and Spot-flanked Barbets, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Temminck’s Courser, Saddle-billed Stork and Nubian Woodpecker.

     

    Day 20 :  Transfer to Nairobi

    Depart for Nairobi with lunch boxes to allow enroute birding and as we near Nairobi, pass by the Limuru ponds for a waders and waterfowl. Evening departure from Nairobi.

     

  • Accommodations
  • All the accommodations on this tour have clean comfortable rooms with en suite showers/baths and toilets and an the whole are very good (Mara West and Serena’s), with excellent service. We will be in a tented camp at Sweetwaters and Mara West.

    Lodges and camps are based on availabilty and convenience to our wildlife locations.

  • Additional Info
  • birds-of-east-africa-book-coverRecommended Field Guide: Birds of East Africa (Princeton Field Guides, 2002) by Terry Stevenson and John Fanshawe

     

     

     

     

     

    This trip is for non-smokers only. Smoking is not permitted at any time during our safari.

     

    Trip Insurance is required for all safaris

     

    You will need to get a Visa to enter Kenya. The current cost is $50 and this can be applied for / purchased upon arrival at the airport in Nairobi, Kenya

     

    This is a safari and as such we will concentrate on all the wildlife, as one would expect, the birds and mammals giving everyone time to view, experience and photograph them.   Easy wildlife viewing from the confines of our open top safari vehicle in some outstanding parks; though we expect to see about 450 bird species we will spend considerable time with the incredible mammals that make this part of the world unique and hope to come across about 50 species including the “Big 5” – elephant, buffalo, rhino, lion and leopard.

     

    One or two hikes, though there will be little walking on this tour in the parks; midday breaks, when in the parks; a mostly pleasant and dry climate, breathtaking scenery and many excellent photographic opportunities. At Mt. Lodge, Baringo, Naro Moru and Mara West birding will be mainly on foot.

     

    We will be using the typical safari ‘combo’ vehicles such as a 4X4 Safari Mini Bus or Land Cruise. There is a pop-up roof that enables one to stand up to view and photograph wildlife. We will have a maximum of six participants per vehicle as this will guarantee everyone a window seat.

     

  • Species Lists
  • Coming in September!