19 Days Kenya Bird and Wildlife Photography Safari
This Kenya Birding Photography Tour itinerary is designed to cover the Central, South to the west and a little of the drier northern part of Kenya. The well-selected spots should yield outstanding results for a keen birding group.
The mammal experience should be great with a clean African “Big Five” sweep.
Day 1: Arrival in Nairobi for 19 Day Bird and Wildlife Photography Safari – Kenya Guided Birding Tour
Depending on the arrival time, we can head to the park and find birds.
Despite being the city, Nairobi NP harbours a remarkable fauna. Nairobi National park’s habitats comprising dams, bushes, thickets, scrub, and Thorn-trees (customarily referred to as Acacia) entertained great birds that include; Brown Parisoma, Red-throated Tit and Northern Pied Babbler, which are two beautiful East African endemics. Speckled Mousebird Race Kikuyuenis, Cuckoo-Finch, African Silverbill, the black-backed form of White-headed Barbet that occur in central Kenya, Southern Black Flycatcher, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Hildebrant’s and Superb Starlings.
African Harrier-Hawk, Red-faced and Singing Cisticolas, Spotted Mourning and Abyssinian Thrushes, Athis Short-toed Lark, Variable and Bronze Sunbirds, Three-banded Plover, Common Sandpiper, Holub’s Golden Weaver, African Pied Wagtail, Shelley’s and Yellow-necked Francolins, White-belied, Stout, Zitting and Rufous-winged Cisticola, Rufus-napped Lark, Fisher’s Sparrow-Lark, Kenya Rufous and Chestnut Sparrows among others.
The mammal list should kick off in gear with White and Black Rhinocerous, the smaller Thomson’s and Grant’s Gazelles, Impala, Eland famed for being Africa’s largest Antelope, Masai Giraffe and Black-backed Jackle among others.
Day 2 Kenya Birding Photography Tour: Birding Nairobi National Park – Kenya Birding Safaris
We will cover a couple of tracks done the previous day with new ones since there is plenty of choices. We should find White-browed Sparrow Weavers, nomadic Wattled Starlings, Lesser Honeyguide, Red-backed Scrub-Robin, Cape Robin-Chat, Eastern Paradise Whydah, White-winged Widowbirds, Red-billed Quelea and the Chin-spot Batis.
Other possible birds to expect today should include; African Water Rail, Black Crake, African Spoonbill, Spur-winged, Long-toed, Blacksmith Lapwings, Lesser Swamp Warbler, Highland Rush Warbler, intermediate and Great Egrets, African Jacana and the Yellow-billed Stork, Black Cuckoo-shrike, Spectacled, Vitelline Masked Weavers.
Day 3: Birding to and Around Naivasha – Kenya Birding and Photography Tour
After breakfast, we will find the better route through Nairobi’s traffic and head to the high elevated Kinangop plateau, which is famous for Sharpe’s Longclaw. We will explore the moist grasslands up here and on the way there for Brown-backed Woodpeckers, Black-backed Puffback, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eaters, White-headed Barbet, Golden-winged Sunbird, Hunter’s Cisticola, Striped Crake, Striped Flufftail, the endemic Sharp’s Longclaw, Quailfinch, Long-tailed (Euplectes progne delamerei) and Jackson’s Widowbirds, African Citril, Yellow-crowned Canary and the Mountain Buzzard among others.
Day 4: Birding to Masai Mara
We will drive through plains and escarpment-bordered stretches as we proceed with our adventure to Masai Mara Wildlife Reserve. The short Whistling thorns stretch will tempt us to look for the Karamoja Apalis, White-bellied Canary, African Goshawk, Pale White-eye, Grey-headed Silverbill, Northern Grey-headed Sparrow, White-necked Raven, Grey Kestrel and Yellow-fronted Canary among others.
Day 5: Birding Masai Mara Plains
Our full day here will feature several tracks to the Mara River and close to the Tanzania border. We will look out for the Schalow’s Turaco, Rufous-tailed Weaver, White-tailed, Friedmann’s, Short-tailed, Singing, Foxy, Rufous-napped and Athi Short-toed Larks, Rosy-throated Longclaw, Long-tailed Cisticola, Yellow-throated Sandgrouse, Black-winged Lapwing, Mosque and Rufous-chested Swallows, Lapped-faced Vulture, African Marsh Harrier, Masai Ostrich and the Kittlitz’z Plover among others.
Day 6: Birding to Kisumu
We will look around for any unfinished business before transferring to Kisumu. Along the way, we will look for the dark-billed Usambiro Barbet, which is treated conspecific to D’Arnold’s Barbet by some authorities, Southern Grosbeak Canary, Swahili Sparrow Mountain Grey Woodpecker and Abyssinian Scimitarbill and many more.
Day 7: Bird to Kakamega Forest Reserve
We will utilise the prime times of the day to bird this very humid town. The marshes along the lake and the surroundings will feed us so well with a ray of Lake Victoria basin biome specialities, and that will be the only place we can expect them on this tour. We might have to take a boat to look for some of them if there is a need, which would be majorly for Papyrus canary and Papyrus Yellow Warbler.
We expect to find White-winged Warbler, Black-headed Gonolek, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Winding and Carruther’s Cisticolas, African Reed, Greater Swamp and Highland Rush Warbler. Eastern Plantain Eater, the Red-chested Sunbird, Slender-billed, Golden-backed, Northern Brown-throated and Black-headed Weavers.
We transfer to Kakamega; Kakamega forest is the only extension of the Congo-guinea forest biome habitat, and this is where one collects all the possible west African species that you are all short.
Day 8: Bird watching at Kakamega
We will spend two full days here to make the best out of this unique forest habitat. We will look for Grey-chested Babbler, Red-chested Owlet, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Turner’s Eremomela, Dusky-crested Flycatcher, Blue-headed Bee-eater, Joyful Greenbul, Grey-throated Barbet, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbirds, Kakamega, Eastern Mountain, Ansorge’s, Grey, Cabanis’s and Yellow-whiskered Greenbuls, Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Uganda Woodland Warbler, Chestnut, Jameson’s, Chestnut and Yellow-bellied Wattle-eye.
Equatorial Akalat, Sharpe’s Drongo, Buff-throated Apalis, Green Hylia, Olive Green Camaroptera, Orange-tufted and Olive-belied Sunbirds, Greater Honeyguide, African Crowned Eagle, Mackinnon’s Shrike, Vieillot’s Weaver, Purple-throated Cuckoo-shrike, Sunbirds like Bronze, Green-headed, Green-throated, Green, Northern Double-collared, Olive and Collared.
Others to also look out for will include White-tailed Anti-thrush, Chubb’s Cisticolas, White-browed and Snowy-crowned Robin-Chat, Great Blue and Black-billed Turaco, Balck-and-white-casqued Hornbill, Mountain Illadopsis, Black-collared Apalis, African Emerald, Red-chested and Klaas’s Cuckoos, Western Black-headed Oriole, African Green Pigeon, Tambourine Dove, White-browed Crombec, Luhder’s Bush-shrike, Stuhllman’s Starling, Black-billed, Brown-capped, Black-necked Weavers, the pale-bellied Forest Flycatcher, Red-headed Malimbe, Brown-chested Alethe, Red-tailed Bristlebill, Golden-crowned, Cardinal, Brown-eared and Buff-spotted Woodpecker.
Day 9: Birding to Lake Baringo
After an early breakfast, we transfer to Lake Baringo stopping by ponds and wheat fields in the search for Jackson’s widowbird and the Lesser moorhen. We will drive down the Keiyo escarpment looking for Boran Cisticola, White-crested Turaco, Little Rock-thrush then proceed to stop for White-billed Buffalo-weaver before arriving Tumbuli Resort. An afternoon walk inside the lodge should be great for the Black-throated Barbet, Northern Brownbul, Eastern Violet-backed Sunbird, Red-faced Prinia among others.
Day 10: Kenya Birdwatching at Lake Baringo
We do a boat ride and birding by the cliffs and the surrounding dry woods and thickets for our time in Baringo. We hope to find Brown-tailed Rock Chat, Chestnut Weavers, Acacia Tit, Northern Red-billed, African Grey and Jacksons Hornbills. White-billed Buffalo-Weaver, Shinning, Beautiful, Hunter’s, Amethyst, Eastern Violet-backed Sunbirds, Mouse-coloured Penduline Tit, Somali Tit, Pygmy Batis, Black Cuckoo-shrike, Madagascar Bee-eaters, African Swamphen, Allen’s Gallinule, Little Bittern, Crimson-rumped Waxbill, White-faced Whistling Ducks and the gigantic Goliath Heron.
Northern Masked, Golden-backed and Lesser-masked Weavers, Northern White-faced Owl, African Scops Owl, Grayish Eagle-Owl, Three-banded Courser, the beautiful Leichenstein’s Sandgrouse, Grey Wren Warbler, Mouse-coloured Penduline Tit, Red-fronted Prinia, the ghostly-voiced Grey-headed Bush-shrike, Parrot-billed Sparrow.
We should hope for exquisite looks at the brilliant Magpie Starlings, D’Anold’s Barbet, African and Grey-headed Silverbills, Brown-tailed Apalis, Red-fronted Prinia, Crimson-rumped Waxbills, Rufous Chatterers, and flocks of Bristle-crowned Starlings.
Day 11: Birding and Transfer to Nyahururu – Kenya Birding Photography Tour
Early breakfast and with luggage packed we will bird around the cliffs for species that have not been seen and we will depart to Panari Resort in Nyahururu where upon arrival we will check and have lunch before we embark on a walk-in Marmanet forest for Red-fronted Parrot, Hartlaub’s Turaco, African Hill babbler, Cinnamon Bracken warbler, Mustached Tinkerbird, Abyssinian Crimsonwing among other.
Cinnamon Bracken Warbler
Day 12: Transfer to Samburu National Park
On our way, we will take another try for the Jackson’s Widowbird in the rice fields. We should expect a late afternoon arrival at Ashnil tented camp for lunch. If we get so caught up by time, we can decide to have lunch in Nanyuki town. Later, we bird into buffalo springs for Golden Pipit, Somali Courser, Chestnut-headed Sparrow-lark, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Somali Bee-eater, Black-bellied Sunbird among others.
Day 13: Birding Buffalo Springs Reserve
Early breakfast start and whole day birding in the park for Pale Prinia, Ashy Cisticola, Pink-breasted Lark, Black-capped Social-weaver, Scissor-tailed Kite, Grey-headed Silverbill, Pygmy Batis, Yellow-vented Eremomela, Bare- eyed Thrush and the Golden Palm Weaver among others
Day 14: Birding Samburu Reserve
Early breakfast and drive round and re-enter the reserve through Archer’s post gate since the bridge was washed away. We will explore this area for Northern Grosbeak Canary, Buff-crested Bustard, Mouse-colored Penduline-tit, the elusive Stone Partridge, Straw-tailed Whydah, Steel Blue Whydah, Rosy-patched Bush-shrike, Magpie, Fischer’s and Golden-breasted starlings among others.
Day 15: Birding to Nyeri for Birding Aberdares
Day 16: Birding to Aberdare National Park – Kenya Birding Photography Tour
After an early breakfast and with a packed lunch, we check out and bird into Aberdare National Park where we do birding from the car all the way to the moorland zone for Jackson’s Francolin, Moorland Chat, Aberdare Cisticola, Brown Woodland Warbler, Tacaze sunbird among other restricted-range specialities.
We will then drive back via the Mwea Irrigation scheme for Lesser moorhen, Allen’s Gallinule, Yellow-crowned Bishop and Hinde’s Babbler before we head for the forest on the slopes of Mt Kenya.
Day 17 & 18: Birding Mount Kenya
This morning, we will bird along the road for Abbott’s and Kenrick’s Starling, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Rufous-breasted Sparrow-hawk, Ruppell’s Robin-chat, White-tailed-crested Flycatcher, Abyssinian Crimsonwing, Kand’t Waxbill and more before we come for lunch and rest. In the late afternoon, we will bird around for more birds and at dusk, we will look out for the Olive Ibis and also call out the montane nightjar before we retire to bed.
Day 19: Birding to Nairobi for Departure –
Early breakfast and bird the forest for birds that might have been missed then back for the luggage and bird to Nairobi.