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Fischer's Turaco

Inspiring Kenya bird watching safari 13 days Nairobi to coast

From Nairobi National Park to the Indian Ocean. From savannah to coastal and mangrove forests. From majestic raptors to small sunbirds. On this Kenya birding safari tour you will meet birds wide spread in Africa but a good number endemic to East Africa and the coastal forests of Kenya and Northeastern Tansania. You will come across subspecies only found in the region.

 

This Inspiring Kenya bird watching safari 13 days Nairobi to coast will reveal an amazing number of bird species and is best between September and March. This is the time migrants from the North and intra-African will be present and add to the numbers of species.

 

The Great Kenya birding safari 13 days Nairobi to coast starts in Nairobi National Park. An area often underestimated and still new species are found by keen birders. Nairobi National Park is the only park in the world bordering a capital city. Due to its habitat variety over 500 bird species were recorded.

 

Nairobi National Park is mainly grass savanna with small acacia forests. Acacia trees are loved by insectivorous birds like the Red-throated Tit (Parus fringillinus), which only has a small distribution area in Kenya and Northern Tanzania, Long-tailed Fiscal (endemic to Kenya, Somalia and Northeastern Tanzania), Northern Fiscal  (Lanius h. humeralis), various Cisticola species and a good number of migrants enrich the avifauna.

 

Water dams are home to Fish Eagle, Darter, egrets, herons, Three-banded Plover, Open-billed Stork, ducks, geese and warblers. There is always action at these dams and you might find the often overlooked Quail-Finch  (Ortygospiza fuscocrissa). Shelly’s Francolin can sometimes even be met on the road. For a couple of years a Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga) is spending the Northern winter here.

 

Amboseli National Park, your next destination, has become home to Greater and Lesser Flamingos. A lake has grown and stayed for the last couple of years. Here you can find Red-billed Ducks, Yellow-billed Ducks, Hottentot Teals, White-faced Whistling Ducks, Fulvous Whistling Ducks, Spur-winged Geese, Egyptian Geese, African Jacanas and with luck a Lesser Jacana.

On open grass areas often Grey Crowned Cranes congregate and dance – beautiful to watch!

 

Martial Eagles have their territory near the large Umbrella Thorn Acacias and near the airstrip you can find Greater Kestrels. Open areas are often visited by Kory Bustards while on salt plains Double-banded Courser are running around.

In the large compound of Sentrim Amboseli Lodge I have found during my visits: Spotted Eagle-Owl, Pearl-spotted owlet, Gabar Goshawk, Northern Red-billed Hornbill, von der Deckens Hornbill, Hildebrandt’s Starling, Black-necked Weaver and many more. Often you can also see Kilimanjaro from the garden or the platform.

 

Severin Safari Lodge in Tsavo West National Park is surrounded by Acacia trees and water holes. From the terrace you can not only see to Kilimanjaro but also watch birds coming to the bird bath – Red-bellied Parrot, Red-billed Buffalo-Weaver, Grey-headed Bush-Shrike, Africa Silverbill, Pearl-spotted Owlet, Rufous-crowned Roller, Eastern violet-backed Sunbird and others.

 

At the Mzima Springs in Tsavo West National Park you have the chance to find 4 different species of Kingfishers: Malachite Kingfisher (Ispidina picta picta),Grey-headed Kingfisher (Halcyon l. leucocephala), Pygmy Kingfisher (Corythornis cristata galerita) and Giant Kingfisher (Megaceryle m. maxima). Additionally Darters and Striated Herons are often present.

 

Sagala Lodge and the nearby Ngutuni Sanctuary are full of interesting and not often found species. Gambaga Flycatcher has its main distribution area in the Sahel zone and Heuglin’s Courser are 2 of them. The Sombre Greenbul (Andropadus importunus) is more a coastal bird but found locally inland. The Pygmy Batis (Dryoscopus pringlii) is endemic to Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania in thorn-bush savannah. Three-banded Tchagras (Tchagra jamesi) are endemic to the Horn of Africa and as well a typical thorn-bush savannah inhabitant.

 

In Tsavo East National Park as well as in Ngutuni conservancy you can meet some raptors like Martial Eagle, Grasshopper Buzzard, African Hawk-Eagle, Brown Snake-Eagle, Tawny Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Lanner Falcon a.o. Look out for Giant Eagle Owls and small Pearl-spotted Owlets as well as Crimson-winged waxbills, Northern Brownbul and Tsavo Sunbird (Cinnyris tsavoensis).

 

While driving through Tsavo East National Park be on the lookout for Northern Carmine Bee-eaters and as well Amur Falcons. But you might also see Fisher’s Sparrow-lark, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear and other migratory and resident bird species.

 

Arabuko Sokoke Forest is a birding paradise for endangered species. Sokoke Scops-owl, East coast Akalat (Sheppardia gunningi sokokensis), Sokoke Pipit (Anthus sokokensis), Spotted Ground-thrush (Geokichla guttata fischeri), Amani Sunbird (Hedydipna pallidigaster), Böhm’s Spinetail (Neafrapus boehmi sheppardi) – some of them are also found in North Eastern Tanzania.

Malindi Pipit, Mombasa Woodpecker, Scaly Chatterer, Little yellow Flycatcher, Black-bellied Starling, Chestnut-fronted Helmet-shrike, Retz’s Helmet-shrike, Olive Sunbird, Green Barbet, Fischer’s Turaco, Red-tailed Rufous Thrush (Ant-thrush) (Neocossyphus rufus rufus), Fish Eagle, Wahlberg’s Eagle, Lizard Buzzard, European Honey Buzzard are some of the raptors you might find.

Mida Creek is a very special biotope with its mangrove forests and extreme low and high tide. It is protected by a local project and supported by NABU. Some special species to look for: East coast Boubou (Lanarius sublacteus), Coastal Cisticola (Cisticola haematocephala), Purple-banded Sunbird.

While drifting with the canoe you observe many birds sitting on bushes or on sand banks. The moment low tide frees sand from water they all fly there in flocks – an amazing sighting and a very special experience during your Kenya birding safari!

Grey Plover, Sanderling, Lesser or Mongolian Sandplover, Caspian Plover, Greater Sandplover, Curlew Sandpiper, Terek Sandpiper, Eurasian Curlew, Whimbrel just to name some.

Photos by Lorenzo Barelli and Elvira Wolfer

Itinerary Inspiring Kenya bird watching safari 13 days Nairobi to coast:

Day 1 – Arrival in Nairobi
At Jomo Kenyatta international Airport you will be awaited and taken to the hotel about 30 minutes drive away.

Hotel Rudi, breakfast

Day 2 – Nairobi National Park
Beside over 500 bird species you might meet with white rhinos, black rhinos, lions, cheetahs and Serval cats.

Early morning your driver/guide will pick you at the hotel and your first day of Kenya birding safari can begin. It is a short drive to the entrance of Nairobi National Park. Searching for birds and stopping for which ever animal you would like to photograph. It is scenic to see Maasai Giraffes with the skyscrapers of Nairobi City in the background.

At the river you will have your picnic lunch and go for a walk with a ranger. It is quite a good birding spot for Pied Kingfisher, Malachite Kingfisher, White-backed Vultures, Von der Deckens Hornbill, Tawny-flanked Prinia and many more.

Thereafter you proceed with your drive in search of birds. In the evening you return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

Hotel Rudi, full board

Day 3 – Nairobi Amboseli National Park
A short drive on the bybass to Mombasa Highway and at Emali you branch to your right and follow a good tarmac road to the village Kinama. A bit more than 20 km on a rough road and you will reach the lodge for lunch.

Spare some time to walk around in the compound. I found Gabar Goshawk, Spotted Eagle-Owl, Grey-wren Warbler, Banded Parisoma, Green-winged Pytilia and many more.

Later in the afternoon you proceed to the park entrance and start searching for birds. Taita Fiscal, Pangani Langclaw and the impressive Martial Eagles which have their territory near the large Umbrella thorn Acacias. You will see birds are everywhere.

Sentrim Amboseli Lodge, full board

Day 4 – Amboseli National Park
Morning and afternoon game / drive, lunch and heat rest in the lodge. In the morning you will spend time at the lake – you will see it is exciting with so many different species. In the afternoon explore the area considered as the most promissing for other species.

Sentrim Amboseli Lodge, full board

Day 5 – Amboseli – Tsavo West National Park
Driving on a rough road you are passing crop fields and the volcanic Chyulu Hills. You will stop at Shetani Lavaflow and hopefully you will be lucky and spot a Martial Eagle or even a Verreaux’s Eagle.

Inside the park you continue to Severin Safari Camp for lunch on the terrace with view to Kilimanjaro which might be clearest early morning.

Between lunch and afternoon game drive you have time to walk around in the compound. You can spot Grey-headed Bush-Shrikes, Red-bellied Parrots, Blue-naped Mousebirds and many more.

In the afternoon you drive to the Kitanda Bandas. A place where you can get out of the car and search for the often many species being around. Kenya birding safari is driving and walking so you have a lot of 

Severin Safari Camp, full board

Day 6 – Tsavo West – Sagala Lodge
After an early breakfast you drive to the Mzima Springs. At this time it is still cool and quiet. It is an area where you can find raptors like Bateleur, Eastern Chanting Goshawk, Brown Snake Eagle a.o.

 

Thereafter you are heading north to the Mombasa Highway and drive to Sagala Lodge 15 km after Voi. Enjoy your lunch before you start a walk in the lodge compound which is home to a good number of bird species.


Sagala Lodge, full board

Day 7 Sagala Lodge – Ngutuni Conservancy
Ngutuni Conservancy is nearby and you drive by car. If elephants are not present you can walk at some places. Your Kenya birding guide will point out the special species to you.

 

For lunch you return to the lodge and in the afternoon you either visit Ngutuni Conservancy again or walk in the lodge compound – wherever it seems more promising.

 

Sagala Lodge, full board

Day 8 – Sagala Lodge – Tsavo East National Park
A short drive on Mombasa Highway to Voi and there you check in to Tsavo East National Park. You are now heading to Mudanda Rock, a 2 km long ancient granite rock. On your way there you can find African Hawk-Eagle, Tawny Eagle, Martial Eagle and some migrants. It is also an area where African Wild Dogs have been sighted.

 

Lunch will be at Sentrim Tsavo East. Look around in the lodge compound and who is coming to the water hole in front of the lodge.

 

The afternoon game drive takes you to dams and swamps nearby. Often they are very busy with bird life!


Sentrim Tsavo East, full board

Day 9 – Tsavo East – Watamu
You will carry picnic lunch so you can still enjoy the day in the park. It is a distance to the gate and then about 2.5 hours mainly on tarmac roads passing village and Arabuko Sokoke Forest to Watamu.

 

You might be lucky and Northern Carmine Bee-eaters and Amur Falcons.


Ocean Sports Hotel, luxury sea view rooms, half board

 

Days 10 + 11 – Arabuko Sokoke Forest
At 5 a.m. you will find coffee and sandwiches so you can manage to be at the gate to Arabuko Sokoke Forest by 6 a.m. Most likely your Kenya birding guide for the unique forest will be David Ngala. He is the most experienced and knows the whereabouts of the birds like no other.

 

You drive and walk where it is interesting on your Kenya birding safari.

 

It is not easy to spot and even more difficult to photograph birds in the forest. Many are constantly on the move or high up in the trees. This is one of the reasons why you visit this amazing forest twice. Also a second visit might reveal other species. The forest is also a paradise for butterfly lovers!

 

Lunch will be at Ocean Sports at your own cost or a restaurant of your choice.

 

One of the afternoons is spent at Gede Ruins. The history is very fascinating and you have chances to find Green Barbets and Verreaux’s Eagle-Owls.

 

The other afternoon you can spend at the beach. Look at the sea creatures in the puddles during low tide and maybe there is a Dimorphic Egret on the rock. Or you can visit one of the best snake parks – Bio-Ken. They are doing a lot of work to help local people when bitten and also teach about the many species we have in Kenya.

 

Ocean Sports Hotel, luxury sea view rooms, half board

Day 12 – Mida Creek

Again it is breakfast at 5 a.m. so you will reach Mida Creek after 20 minutes drive and watch the sun rise.

 

Your local guide will be most likely Juma Badi who knows the birds very well and will point out the not easy to differentiate waders. If you will start with the canoe or by foot will depend on the timing of the low tide. The most spectacular moment is when flocks of various bird species will fly to the sandy places set free of water to feed. This spectacle during your Kenya birding safari will stick to your memory.

 

Lunch will be at the small restaurant here at Mida Creek. Fresh fish and coconut rice – it is so tasty! (included in the price).

 

If you like you can take an other walk on land and search for semi endemic species like Coastal Cisticola, East Coast Boubou, Purple-banded Sunbird and many more.

 

It is advisable to wear plastic shoes since you wade a bit through water and there are sharp objects hard to see. You can hire at the office at Mida Creek.

 

You will decide when you like to return to Ocean Sports Hotel.

 

Ocean Sports Hotel, full board

Day 13 – Sabaki River delta – Malindi – Nairobi – departure
as usual the early wake up and breakfast. You drive North of Malindi to the place where River Sabaki flows into the Indian Ocean.

 

The area is inhabited by water and bush loving birds – Eurasian Oystercatcher, Mangrove Kingfisher, Collared Pratincole, Sooty Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Lesser Crested Tern, Greater Crested Tern, Saunder’s Tern, Roseate Tern, Malindi Pipit, Eastern Black-headed Batis and many more.

 

You will carry packed lunch to be time independent and spend as much time as possible watching birds. You will reach the airport in Malindi on time for the flight to Nairobi to catch your departure flight.

 

We hope you enjoyed your Kenya birding safari and found a lot of bird species you were keen to see.

You have the choice on this Inspiring Kenya bird watching safari 13 days Nairobi to coast:

 

– To be driven in a Landcruiser or a cheaper minibus

 

– A professional local ornithological guide will accompany the whole Kenya birding safari tour additionally to the driver/guide and the local specialized guides at Arabuko Sokoke Forest and Mida Creek. This is the perfect combination to see the highest number of birds.

 

– An experienced driver/guide with good birding knowledge as well as the local guides at Sagala Lodge, Arabuko Sokoke Wald and Mida Creek

 

– An experienced driver/guide with some birding knowledge as well as the local guides at Sagala Lodge, Arabuko Sokoke Wald and Mida Creek. You will do some identification yourself or later via e-mail

 

– Lorenzo Barelli as ornithological and photo technical tour leader with an experienced driver/guide and the local guides at Sagala Lodge, Arabuko Sokoke Wald and Mida Creek. Lorenzo has photographed 725 bird species in Kenya and you can see some of his picture above as well as on our bird pages.

 

We will provide a bird list specifically for your Great Kenya birding safari 13 days Nairobi to coastand also assist after the tour with identification. Just send us the photo via e-mail we gladly assist.

 

Those who would like to extend some more days can spend….


1 night in a basic lodge at Lake Jipe. The 2 hour boat ride will be the next morning. You will reach for lunch after departing from Severin Safari Lodge and spend the afternoon in the lodge compound and along the lake by car.
You can find Black Heron, Little Bittern, Madagascar Bee-eater, Zanzibar Bishop, Straw-tailed Whydah, Palm-nut vulture and many more.

 

Salt Lick Lodge is unique; built on pillars and a large water hole in front. The sanctuary near the Taita Hills is a good place to find Common Kestrel, Lesser Kestrel, European Roller, Isabelline Chat, Isabelline Shrike (Lanius phoenicuroides) and many more. It is up to you if you like 1 or 2 nights in this interesting landscape with a lot of bird species.

It is also possible to undertake an excursion to Taita Hills to search for the Taita endemic bird species – Taita Thrush, Taita White-eye, Taita Apalis.

Since we are very flexible with our tours also the Great Kenya birding safari can be adjusted to your interest. Do you have a favourite bird species? let us know and we will arrange that you visit the place where you can find it

Salt Lick Lodge