Kenya Birding Tours
We provide a range of friendly, affordable, and skillfully guided birding safaris, in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. Our birding and wildlife tours cater to all levels from beginners, to amateurs, and twitchers. Kenya Birding tours are intended not only to offer incredible bird watching but also a satisfying calming experience. On most of our Kenya birding tours, we aim to see a wide variety of bird species, while taking time to enjoy other wildlife, as well as other diversities of interest. With over 1,000 bird species recorded, several endemics, and many near endemics, birding which starts in the capital Nairobi, Kenya can truly be depicted as a haven for birders. Of the entire world’s birding tour destinations, Kenya consistently ranks as one of the most exotic and fascinating birdwatching and wildlife safari destinations.
Birdwatchers across the world are continually captivated by the sights, stories, and sounds of Kenya’s bird species along with the opportunity to photograph them in their natural habitats. Kenya offers some of the most exciting birdwatching and wildlife safaris in the world; the landscape is amazing, with abundant bird species and special wildlife. Whether you are a new or regular visitor to East Africa, an ornithologist, or a traveler with a passing interest in birds, Kenya birdwatching tours should be high on your list of priorities. Kenya Birding tours itineraries offer the benefits of small group travel including flexibility, attention to detail, lovely company, reduced prices, reduced waiting times, and more opportunities to appreciate the unexpected.
We organize different birdwatching itineraries, from one-day tours to comprehensive multi-day birding tours in Kenya and beyond in Uganda and Tanzania. For those who prefer not to join groups, or who have specific travel requirements, we are also the custom-custom-safari specialists. There is no doubt that Kenya is one of the iconic destinations when it comes to bird-watching and wildlife safaris. Kenya is a major destination in Africa for birdwatching tours bird photography trips and wildlife safaris at any given time of the year. Kenya Birding tours are fantastic all year round due to the large diversity of ecological zones and habitats.
East Africa (Kenya, Uganda Tanzania) has some of the most excellent birdwatching destinations in the world. If you have ever considered taking the birding tour of a lifetime, then choosing Kenya as your birdwatching destination might be a perfect choice. Kenya is a vast land of wonders ranging from rich cultures and jaw-dropping landscapes teeming with abundant wildlife, to historical sites and bustling towns. Kenya birding tours are considered the best in Africa. There is always plenty to see and to do for birders/birdwatchers of all kinds, from avid fans to relative beginners. Kenya currently boasts more than 1000 bird species, almost half the total number occurring in the whole of Africa. One of the reasons why birdwatching tours in Kenya are popular and productive is because of the country’s diverse habitats. Kenya is one of the most awe-inspiring travel destinations on the continent with more than 60 national parks and reserves, which are well-protected havens for some of the most unique wildlife on the planet
Kenya Birding tours in the highlands consist of two major divisions on either side of the Great Rift Valley. This area has more plentiful rainfall and cooler temperatures than elsewhere and many of the major population centers are located there. Nairobi is located on the eastern side of the Rift Valley, as is Mount Kenya. The Mau Forest, (420,000 hectares) is the largest water catchment tower in Kenya and is located in the highlands on the western side of the Rift Valley. Kenya’s highlands are especially subjected to agricultural activity and human activity that greatly threatens forests and a number of bird species.
One of the forests Mau Eburu Forest is close to Nairobi only 120 kilometers. The Mau Eburu forest area covers 8715.3 hectares (87 square kilometers) of pristine indigenous forest, clustered in the folds of a 2,820 meters high active mountain. Mau Eburu forest is a fragile minuscule fragment of biodiversity and home to 12 of the fewer than 100 surviving wild populations of critically endangered Eastern Mountain Bongo, a gorgeous and superb Antelope. There are different forest birds and huge indigenous tree species. Mau Eburu forest birding is pretty cool because it is done while walking and the gradient is perfect for any age group.
The Eastern Highlands Kenya Birding Tours
Some Kenya birdwatching destinations in the eastern highlands are Nairobi National Park( the oldest park in Kenya which is close to the capital city and the most famous hotspot for birdwatching tours in Africa). Mount Kenya Forests (Castle, Imenti &Irangi), and the Aberdares Ranges Forest, which includes the Gatamaiyu (most visited/preferred by Birders) Kinale, Kereita, and Kijabe Forests. Meru National Park, Nyambene Hills, Ngaia Forest, Kiang’ombe Forest Reserve, Mwea National Reserve, and Njukiini Forest are also very spectacular for birding
Kenya Birding tours on the western side of Kenya include the Mau/Molo Grasslands, the Mau Narok region to the south, the Kongelai Escarpment, Saiwa National Park, Cherangani Hills, Ortum Hills, and Mtelo Hills to the northwest of Kitale. The Great Rift Valley in Kenya encompasses the eastern half of the larger African Rift Valley, which runs from the Red sea across Ethiopia, through Kenya and Tanzania. Lakes in Kenya from north to south, are Lake Turkana, Lake Logipi, Lake Baringo, Lake Bogoria, Lake Solai, Lake Nakuru, Lake Elementeita, Lake Naivasha, and Lake Magadi. The Kenya Lake system is a major location on the West Asian–East African Flyway, a route followed by huge numbers of birds in their yearly migration from breeding grounds in the north to wintering places in Africa. There is a chain of lakes, some of which are alkaline and vary differently in altitude. Starting with Lake Turkana(375 meters) which is the largest desert lake in the world, Other alkaline lakes that attract huge numbers of Flamingos, and other water birds are Lake Nakuru and Lake Bogoria but also in Lakes Elementaita also spelled as Lake Elementaita or Elmenteita and Oloidien. For nearly all of the year, up to 4 million Lesser Flamingos move between the three shallow lakes. The major freshwater lakes are Lake Naivasha and Lake Baringo, which are actually slightly alkaline. These attract different aquatic birds than those found around the soda lakes. Much of the surrounding habitat is bushland and scrub, which has rich bird species too
Great Rift Valley is also where the Serengeti Plains of Tanzania is located along with its northern extension into Kenya, Maasai Mara Game Reserve. Maasai Mara dotted plains are home to vast herds of migratory Wildebeest(Gnus) Zebras, Giraffes, and many species of antelope such as the Impalas, Topis, Elands Gazelles (Thompson’s, and Grant’s). Big cats such as; Lions, Leopards, Cheetahs, and Hyenas plus other big mammals; huge herds of Buffalos and Elephants. The savanna includes grassland but also bush, open woodland, scrub, rocky hillsides, ridges, valleys, and riverine this diversity of habitats results in a great diversity of birds. For instance, over 500 bird species have been recorded within the boundaries of Maasai Mara Game Reserve alone.
Western Kenya Birding Tours
The Kenya birding tour destination comprises the region around Lake Victoria, Kakamega Forest, Busia Grasslands, Ruma National Park, and Mount Elgon National Park which lies between the eastern and western branches of the Great Rift Valley. This region is marked by numerous faults and escarpments with valleys in between. The last remaining rain forest in Kenya is located there, the Kakamega Forest which is the most visited forest in Africa by birdwatchers. Some 80 species of birds in the Kakamega Forest are found nowhere else in the country. The well-marked and kept nature trails are very productive and walking while birding is allowed in the forest. of bird species. Habitat such as Papyrus swamps and other lakeshore vegetation around Lake Victoria is home to their own set of specialty birds, while the lake itself attracts numerous aquatic species. The Busia Grassland near the northeast shore of Lake Victoria is home to several localized bird species and is fast turning into agricultural fields such as the globally threatened Blue Swallow, Shining Blue-Kingfisher, and Marsh Tchagra
Coastal Kenya Birding Tours
Coastal Kenya covers the entire eastern half of Kenya. This low-lying region is hot and humid. It’s characterized by several river floodplains and low plateaus and forests that gradually rise in elevation. The scrub and forests along the East African coast are unique, and as such a significant number of birds are only found in the narrow coastal strip where this habitat occurs. The beaches, reefs, creeks, and open ocean support another group of birds clearly found elsewhere in Kenya, and dunes, open woodland, and mangroves all add to the diversity of birds found along the Kenya Coast. During years of good rain, a rich network of seasonal freshwater pools fills up in the area, several the sizes of small lakes, These attract large numbers of waterbirds and can be particularly impressive for birding. Lake Chemchem and Lake Jilore are two of the large ones located not inland in Arabuko Sokoke Forest. They are surrounded by bushland and open woodland which also hold interesting bird species and make it a worthwhile visit. The Kenya coast is known for Afro tropical migrants such as African Pygmy Kingfisher, African Pitta, Carmine Bee-eater, White-throated Bee-eater, Red-capped Robin-Chat, Yellowbill, African Paradise Flycatcher, and Black Cuckoo Shrike. Kenya Coastal birding is, of course, the only place in Kenya to find Afro tropical migrants, Mangrove Kingfishers Forbes-Watson’s Swift and Spotted Ground Thrush. Seasonal movements of migrant birds are also quite marked by Palearctic species such as Osprey, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Eurasian Bee-eater, and Spotted Flycatcher, Rare forest birds, vast congregations of waders, gulls, and terns other specialties make the coast of Kenya an outstanding birding destination. Amboseli and Tsavo West National Parks near the border with Tanzania are found in this region. Taita Hills with its three endemic species; Taita Apalis, Taita Thrush, and Taita White Eye. North Coast Kenya birding; we have Arabuko Sokoke Forest, Mida Creek, Tana River Primate Reserve, Dakatcha Woodlands, and Sabaki River Estuary. Arabuko Sokoke Forest is the largest stretch of coastal dry forest, with a size of 420 kilometers square the ecosystem comprises three forest types; Mixed forest, Brachystegia woodland, and Cynometra bush, each containing different rare species of Birds, Mammals, Butterflies, and Plants. There are 270 bird species, 261 butterflies, 79 amphibians, 52 mammals, and 600 plant species. The Clarke’s Weaver (Kilifi Weaver) is an endemic bird that breeds in Arabuko Sokoke and Dakatcha forests, other unique and rare birds; Sokoke Scops Owl, Sokoke Pipit, East Coast Akalat, Amani Sunbird, Spotted Ground Thrush,
Three mammals are endemic species: – Ader’s Duiker, Sokoke Bush Tailed Mongoose, and Golden-rumped Elephant Shrew. Coastal birdwatching tours are best in the cool hours of early morning and in the late afternoon when the day’s heat has started to disappear. South Coast is Shimba Hills National Reserve, (the second largest forest after Arabuko Sokoke Forest) notable for Sable Antelope as well as several range-restricted bird species such as the Green-headed Oriole, Asian lesser Cuckoo, not found elsewhere in the country.
Northern Plains Kenya Birding Tours
The region is rather dry. Birdwatching destinations include; Lake Turkana, the semi-desert savanna west of Lake Turkana, the Chalbi Desert to the east, and Marsabit National Park. Samburu Game Reserve, Samburu Shaba, and Samburu Buffalo Springs Reserve, Garissa- Modegashe Road.
These reserves are home to the Samburu people and feature birds of semi-arid savanna such as; Vulturine Guineafowl, Somali Ostrich, Somali Bee-eater, Stone Partridge, Friedmann’s Lark, William’s Lark, Heuglin’s Bustard, Swainson’s Sparrow, Black-billed Woodhoope and Black-fronted Spurfowl. As well as some interesting mammals such as; Beisa Oryx, Reticulated Giraffe, Striped Hyena, and Grevy’s Zebra. Wildlife in the area depends hugely on the Ewaso Nyiro River which cuts through the three reserves It originates from the Nyandarua Ranges or the Aberdare Ranges. The river provides much-needed water and lush green vegetation, especially during the dry season. Not far from Samburu is Meru National Park which has an abundance of wildlife and prolific bird species
Our Kenya Birding tours feature:
A plus to your birding and wildlife escapade in Africa is the opportunity to learn some of the many cultures and customs found in different parts of the continent
Best time for Birding tours in Kenya
Birdwatching tours in Kenya are excellent the whole year but it is at the peak from September to April when the migratory birds from Europe and northern Africa are wintering here, At this time, many resident bird species are nesting and are in dazzling breeding plumage. For wildlife viewing, however, the dry season is better. With the relative ease of travel and access to its many national parks, reserves, and birding hotspots, accommodation facilities are excellent too. Kenya is one of the main countries in Africa for Birdwatching safaris. Kenya birding tours have a handful of endemic birds species which include; the Tana River Cisticola, Aberdares Cisticola, Hinde’s Babbler, William’s Lark, Sharpe’s Longclaw, Clarke’s Weaver (Kilifi Weaver), and Sokoke Scops Owl. The best wildlife viewing months in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda are during the dry season from late June to October. The Wildebeest migration normally reaches the Maasai Mara National Reserve in the months of July or August and stays until October when they go back to the Serengeti in Tanzania. Wildlife watching is fine all year round, but this can differ for some parks
Kenya birding tours are considered the best in Africa. There is plenty to see and to do for birders/birdwatchers of all types, from avid fans to relative beginners. Kenya is boosted by a 500 km sunny coastline, those looking for a more laid-back tour will find azure waters and white sands in the islands of Mombasa, Lamu, and Watamu where Kenya meets the Indian Ocean
Get in touch with us if you have any queries, we are always happy to chat about birds, wildlife, and travel