+254 735 204 519 info@conquestadventures.co.ke
+254 735 204 519 info@conquestadventures.co.ke

15 Days Kenya Coastal Birding Tour

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Kenya has the second-highest bird checklist for any other country in Africa, Kenya has over 1000 bird species, and on this 15 days Coastal Kenya birdwatching safari, we expect close to  500 bird species, including many of the much sought-after Kenyan and regional endemics, as we explore many of Kenya’s top birdwatching destinations. The 15 days  Kenya Coastal birdwatching tour is specifically designed for an ardent enthusiast; this birding trip is an exceptional Kenyan birding safari

Birds Checklist for the 15 Days Kenya Coastal Birding Tour
  • Somali golden –breasted Bunting
  • Eastern Paradise Flycatcher
  • Red-throated Twinspot
  • Zanzibar Red Bishop
  • Black-necked Weaver
  • Golden-breasted Starling
  • Green-headed Oriole
  • Retz’s Helmet- Shrike
  • Sulfur breasted Bush-shrike
  • Taita Fiscal
  • Amani Sunbird
  • Taita white Eye
  • Scaly Babbler
  • Little yellow Flycatcher
  • Pale Batis
  • Lead-colored Flycatcher
  • Coastal Cisticola
  • Whimbrel
  • Namaqua Dove,
  • Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse
  • Brown Noddy
  • Lesser Crested Tern
  • Scaly Chatterer
  • Collared Palm-Thrush
  • Red-tailed ant-Thrush
  • Taita Thrush
  • East Coast Akalat
  • Eastern Nicator
  • Malindi Pipit
  • Golden Pipit
  • Chestnut-headed Sparrow-Lark
  • Red-winged Lark
  • Eastern yellow-billed Hornbill
  • Broad-billed Roller
  • Somali Bee-eater,
  • Friedmann’s Lark
  • Quail Plover
  • Jameson’s Firefinch
  • Tsavo Sunbird
  • Heuglin’s Bustard
  • Mangrove Kingfisher
  • Narina Trogon
  • Blue-naped Mousebird
  • Bohm’s Spinetail
  • Fiery-necked Nightjar
  • Sokoke Scops- Owl
  • Green Malkoha
  • Thick-billed Cuckoo,
  • Fischer’s Turaco
  • African Orange-bellied Parrot
  • Madagascar Pratincole
  • Two-banded Courser
  • Crab Plover
  • Kori Bustard
  • Grey Crowned Crane
  • Coqui Francolin
  • Crested Guinea Fowl
  • Martial Eagle
  • Bateleur
  • Tawny Eagle
  • Southern banded Snake-eagle,
  • Lappet-faced Vulture
  • Secretary Bird
  • African Pygmy-goose
  • Saddle-billed Stork
  • Goliath Heron
  • Somali Ostrich
  • Black-headed Lapwing,
  • White-fronted Plover
  • Greater Sandplover
  • Grey Plover
  • Sanderling
  • Curlew Sandpiper
  • Ruddy Turnstone
  • Heuglin’s Courser
  • Bronze-winged Courser
15 Days Kenya Coastal Birding Itinerary

The 15 Days Kenya Coastal birding tour will explore some of the best birdwatching destinations in Kenya Amboseli National Park, Taita Hills, Tsavo East National Park, Arabuko Sokoke Forest, Mida Creek, Tana River Primate Reserve, and Shimba Hills National Reserve. Kenya’s attraction as a birding destination par excellence has to be one of the world`s best-kept secrets. The 15 days Kenya birding safari will cover a diverse range of habitats that supports a great diversity of bird species – and makes the birdwatching safari in Kenya to be rewarding! The range of environments makes for a hugely diverse bird population. The best two weeks of birdwatching you may ever have in Kenya, a huge variety of birds in an astounding variety of habitats. Every few kilometers the habitat changes which makes it a superb birding tour.

Tour Concerns for 15 days Kenya Coastal Birding Tour

  • Best time to visit: January- March, and June – December

Mammal Viewing

Mammal viewing for the 15 Days Kenya Coastal Birding tour will be excellent in Amboseli National Park, Tsavo East National Park, and Shimba Hills Reserve. In Amboseli National Park, there are clear stunning views of Mount Kilimanjaro ( Africa’s tallest and the World’s tallest free-standing mountain at 5,895 meters 19,341 feet)

Accommodation

For the 15 Days Kenya Coastal trip, we will be based in good to excellent lodges throughout, all having private, en-suite bathrooms, and full-time hot water. In most places, electricity is available 24 hours a day. Several lodges have generators, and solar power and they will switch it off for part of the night, but alternate light sources are provided. The specific lodges/camps/hotels we use will be dependent on the availability at the time of booking, the months of June, July, and August are always busy due to the high tourist arrivals owing  to the famous Wildebeest migration  between Maasai Mara Game Reserve  and Serengeti National Park

Food

Food is commonly aplenty on the 15 days of Kenya’s coastal birding tour. Breakfasts offer a good choice, with tea, coffee, juice, fruits, pancakes, the egg of your choice, and other things depending on location. Lunches are taken at hotels or somewhere in the bush depending on the day’s plan. Evening meals are at the accommodation with a full dinner. Vegetarian and other diets are always available

Weather

The birding destinations will be warm to hot most days although it can sometimes be cool, especially at altitude and in the early mornings. You will probably experience ‘dry heat’, though rain is certainly possible. Most birdwatching hotspots selected for this 15 Days Kenya coastal birding tour are close to the water and so should hold a plethora of wildlife at the time of year we are visiting.  The climate is intermediate between the humid coastal biome and semi-arid hinterland

Birdwatching

Most areas in the 15 Days Kenya Coastal birdwatching tour will be done while walking apart from Amboseli and Tsavo East National parks though there are several designated areas where walking is permitted. Coast weather is always hot and humid; birding is productive early in the morning and late afternoon

Bird Photography

If you are a  photographer, you will love this trip! Nowhere in Africa are birds more cooperative, and nowhere are mammals so easier to see than in Kenya. We are visiting many birding hotspots where birds are common and approachable, so there are ample opportunities for the casual photographer to lose oneself in and relish photographing birds, mammals, and other subjects of nature. Moderately early starts are required, and in some areas, long drives will be encountered

Insects

There are very few biting insects in some areas, but general precautions are advised. Before traveling consult your doctor about suitable anti-malarial medication, and on arrival take adequate precautions against mosquito bites although you may not encounter mosquitos

Travel

Travel in the 15 Days Kenya Coastal birding safari is by a comfortable minibus or 4×4 Land cruiser Jeep, and all clients have a window seat. Most of the roads will be tarmacked making traveling much easier, though there are some ‘murram’ roads, which are both rough and dusty.  Roads around National Parks are as well gravel, though we drive slowly here to maximize our chances of birding and game viewing

Clothing

Recommended clothing for the 15 Days Kenya Coastal birding adventure in the field is light-weight; neutral-colored clothing that can be easily rinsed out and quickly dries. Long-sleeved shirts and long pants will help protect you from insects, thorny plants, and sunburn. Shorts may be appropriate for some occasions; long pants that convert into shorts by unzipping the legs are generally very useful and popular. A sweater or fleece jacket is useful for cooler nights and early mornings. You may consider bringing rain gear, including a small umbrella. Strong-soled shoes or hiking boots are essential, as we will spend a good amount of time on our feet. The dress is casual throughout. Laundry service will be available regularly during the tour (cost not included), which should help you in deciding what to pack. Making use of laundry service means you will not need to bring many items of clothing.

Tipping: Gratuities (guides, hotel staff, and restaurants) are not included in the quote. If therefore, you feel that they have given you excellent service, it is entirely appropriate to tip them

Recommended Books for 15 Days  Kenya Coastal Birding Tour

Birds

  • A Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi. Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania

Mammals

  • The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals

Reptiles

  • A Field Guide to the Reptiles of East Africa

Trees

  • Field Guide to the Common Trees and Shrubs of East Africa

Day 1Nairobi – Amboseli National Park

The 15 days Kenya Coastal birding tour will start early from Nairobi, heading to Amboseli National Park. If time allows we shall have a  stopover along the way, the first one at Lukenya hills, some 30km from Nairobi, interesting Bird species, and also some sightings of Mammals that migrate from Nairobi National Park. We shall have multiple birding stop-overs along the birdy road to Amboseli National Park, to look for White-headed Mousebirds, Pygmy Batis, White-tailed Lark, Somali Short-toed Lark, Short-tailed Lark, Three-banded Courser, Pale-chanting Goshawk, Golden Pipit. Arrive at our lodge for lunch and later in the afternoon drive to the park for an evening birding session. Amboseli National Park supports a rich number of birds and is one of the best birding hotspots in Kenya, the park has also a good number of mammals, including huge herds of Savanna Elephants feeding in the many swamps that dot Amboseli 

 

Day 2Amboseli National Park

Birding full day in  Amboseli National Park which is crowned by Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak and the highest free-standing mountain in the world Kilimanjaro has three volcanic cones, Mawenzi, Shira, and Kibo. Mawenzi and Shira are extinct but Kibo, the highest peak, is dormant and could explode again. The most recent activity was about 200 years ago; the last major eruption was 360,000 years ago. It measures up to 40 kilometers across. The base has an area of about 388,500 hectares. The best views of Mount Kilimanjaro are encountered in Amboseli National Park, early morning before the summit is covered by clouds. Amboseli National Park is one of Kenya’s most popular parks. The name “Amboseli” comes from a Maasai word meaning “salty dust”, and it is one of the best places in Africa to view large herds of elephants up close. Nature lovers can explore five different habitats here ranging from the dried-up bed of Lake Amboseli, wetlands with springs, the savannah, and woodlands. Amboseli National Park is a top birding destination in Kenya, birds species are abundant. Amboseli National Park also hosts a huge number of Elephant herds, with a population of more than 1500 individuals, birdwatching in Amboseli will be confined in the safari vehicle, but there is an observation point inside the park, where alighting from the car is permitted and birds are always plentiful.

Day 3Amboseli – Taita Hills (Long Drive)

After breakfast leave for Taita Hills (Ngangao Forest). The Taita Hills form a green island in the dry bush of southern Kenya. The hills are relatively isolated and therefore a very interesting area for birding. The birdlife is a mix of three distinct zones: the central highlands, the coastal forests, and the northern Tanzanian mountains. The Taita Hills cover an area of 1000 kilometer square and they form the northernmost part of the Eastern Arc- a term used to describe the forest-capped ancient crystalline mountains of eastern Tanzania and south-east Kenya, which are under the influence of the Indian Ocean climatic pattern and thus encompass anticipated local climates. The mountains are acclaimed in Africa for high concentrations of endemic species of animals and plants.

Day 4Taita Hills (Ngangao Forest)

The Taita hill forests form a green island in the dry bush of southern Kenya. This small rocky outcrop hosts a trove of unique biodiversity, due to several million years of stable, wet climate and complete ecological isolation. Several plants, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, and three species of birds are endemic to the Taita Hills namely; Taita Thrush, Taita Apalis, Taita White Eye

Other Taita forest birds;

Lemon Dove, Stripe-cheeked Greenbul, Taita Falcon, Hartlaub’s Turaco, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Orange Ground Thrush, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Evergreen Forest Warbler, Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler, Placid Greenbul, Moustached- Green Tinkerbird. Later in the afternoon drive to Tsavo East National Park.

Day 5Tsavo East National Park

 

We shall have a full day to tour the boundless Tsavo East, National Park. The whole day birding tour will be filled up of both bird and mammal highlights as we search for Egyptian, Hooded, White-headed, White-backed, Rüppell’s and Lappet-faced Vultures,  Kori, Buff-crested and White-bellied Bustards, Black-faced and Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Somali Courser, the brilliant Golden Pipit, Somali Ostrich, Black-headed Lapwing, Olive and Somali Bee-eaters, Lilac-breasted, Purple and European Rollers, Abyssinian Scimitarbill, Northern Red-billed, and Von der Decken’s Hornbills, Nubian, Bearded and Cardinal Woodpeckers, Greater and Lesser Honeyguides, D’Arnaud’s and Red and-yellow Barbets, Eastern Olivaceous and Barred Warblers, Pink-breasted, Red-winged, Foxy, and Flappet Larks, Chestnut-headed and Chestnut-backed Sparrow-Larks, Rosy-patched Bushshrike, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, Yellow-necked Spurfowl, Blue-naped Mousebird, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Slate-colored Boubou, Red-tailed Shrike, Red-fronted and Pale Prinia, Grey Wren-Warbler, Pied Wheatear, wandering family groups of Vulturine Guinea fowl and the impressive Eastern Violet-backed Sunbird among many other incredible dry-country birds. Mammal highlights in the vast Tsavo East National Park may include the maneless Lion, Cheetah, Common Zebra, the odd-looking Gerenuk, Grant’s Gazelle, tiny Kirk’s Dik Dik, and African Cape Buffalo, the specialized Lesser Kudu, massive East African Eland, Waterbuck, Impala, Warthog, and Giraffe. The Tsavo East complex is home to the largest population of African  Red elephants in Kenya and a population of the critically endangered Hirola.

 

Day 6Tsavo East National Park- Arabuko Sokoke Forest

Morning breakfast drive to Arabuko Sokoke Forest via Sala Gate, The road has some interesting bird species too, so we will do birding slowly before checking out of the park at around midday. Bird species notable in Tsavo East include; the Red-winged Lark, Friedmann’s Lark (if it’s wet enough) Vulturine Guineafowl, Red-naped Bushshrike, Golden Pipit, Somali Bee-eater, Somali Courser, Heuglin’s Courser, Quail Plover, Somali Ostrich, Ashy Cisticola, Shelly’s Starling, Golden-breasted Starling, Tsavo Sunbird, Scaly Chatterer, Bare-eyed Thrush, Bronze-winged Courser, Gambaga Flycatcher

Day 7:Arabuko Sokoke Forest

On this day will have an early breakfast and drive to the forest for a morning birding session.

Arabuko Sokoke Reserve covers 420 square kilometers of coastal forest consisting of Brachystegia woodland, dense Cynometra forest, and Afzelia lowland forest that offers some of the finest birding in East Africa. Birding in the forest can be difficult and patience is required to find the shyer forest dwellers. Species of birds to keep an eye for may include Green Malkoha, Thick-billed Cuckoo, Mombasa Woodpecker, Scaly-throated and Pallid Honeyguides, Fischer’s and Lowland Tiny Greenbuls, the captivating Little Yellow Flycatcher, Black-headed Apalis, Eastern Nicator, Bearded Scrub Robin, Red-tailed Rufous Thrush, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Pale and Forest Batis, Retz’s and Chestnut-fronted Helmetshrikes, and the gorgeous  Four-colored Bushshrike. Dry trees are preferred perches of many bird species and definitely worth checking for Green Tinkerbird, White-eared and Green Barbet, and raptors including Southern Banded Snake Eagle. Flocks of Bohm’s Spinetail and Ethiopian Swallow may be seen soaring overhead while the scarce Forbe’s-Watson’s Swift is another species to watch out for. Along the forest edge, we may find the Fischer’s Turaco, Mangrove Kingfisher, the dazzling Red-throated Twinspot, and the elusive and skulking Scaly Babblers always in small groups, which feed by hopping across the ground.

Day 8:Arabuko Sokoke Forest

 

Spend the morning hours in the forest looking for rare birds such as the near-endemic Sokoke Pipit which creep across the forest floor and are hard to see amongst the leaf litter. The elegant East Coast Akalat is a shy undergrowth lurcher and other bird species include the endemic and little-known Kilifi Weaver, fully restricted to the East Coast of Kenya Forest, and the extremely localized Amani Sunbird. In the afternoon with the help of the local guide drive to Cynometra forest and the thickets to search for the tiny Sokoke Scops Owl in their roosting trees. On our way back in the evening, we may see the African Wood Owl feeding on the road, Mammals we hope to see in Arabuko Sokoke forest  include Blue Monkey, the tiny Blue Duiker, and the Golden-rumped Elephant-Shrew,Caracal and African Civet

Day 9Mida Creek/Arabuko Swamp

Mida Creek has wide, healthy beds of seagrass and coral, home to many species of fish and feeding sea turtles, while in the mangroves smaller streams and inlets provide a refuge for crabs and birdlife. Mida Creek is a must-go if you are doing the Kenya Coastal Birding tour due to the huge assemblance of waders. Mida is a stopover point for many migratory birds and an essential protected area for their survival. This makes it one of the most important and beautiful natural attractions on the Kenyan coast. Counts of over 6,000 waders have been made on Mida Creek including seven species that are regionally threatened. The mangroves around the edge of the creek are also important roosting places. The populations of Greater and Lesser Sandplover and Crab-plovers at Mida Creek are internationally important. The creek is a significant feeding area for Dimorphic Egrets, Lesser Crested, and Roseate Terns. Common migrant shorebirds here include Sanderling, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Whimbrel, Grey Plover, and Greater and Lesser Sandplover.

In the afternoon drive to the swamp to search for Malindi Pipit, Golden Pipit, Hooded Vulture, and Northern Carmine Bee-eater

Day 10Sabaki Estuary River Mouth/ Lake Jilore

This morning will visit the Sabaki Estuary River Mouth, an excellent birding site where we will be looking for Sooty, Lesser Black-backed and Grey-headed Gulls, Greater Crested, Lesser Crested, Sandwich, Roseate and Saunders’s Terns, Eurasian Curlew, Whimbrel, Terek Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone and a variety of other waders. In the surrounding reedbeds, Golden Palm Weaver, Zanzibar Red, and very occasionally Fire-fronted Bishops may stand out like blossoms while the nearby grazed grasslands support the range-restricted Malindi Pipit. Other species that occasionally turn up in the surrounding Sabaki woodlands and scrub include the little-known Violet-breasted Sunbird, Eastern Black-headed Batis, and Scaly Babbler.

In the afternoon drive to Lake Jilore North of Arabuko Sokoke Forest, Lake Jilore is a seasonal freshwater pool that attracts large numbers of waterbirds an impressive area for birding. It is surrounded by bushland and open woodland which also hold interesting species. Birdwatching will be done while walking

Day 11Arabuko Sokoke- Tana River Primate Research

Morning drive to Tana River Primate Research, birdwatching will be enjoyed along the route

Tana River Primate Reserve comprises the lowland evergreen forests of Wenje, Kipende, and Kimbu. The forest patches along the lower Tana River are remnants of a vast tropical forest which extended from the East Coast of Africa

Day 12Tana River Primate Research

The Tana Forest is similar to the Kakamega forest in Kenya as both are rich in biodiversity, and have a high level of endemism making the area an important conservation site for endemic and unique species that occur here. Lower Tana forest and the Tana delta provide a unique ecosystem that is the Northern limit of the Eastern Arc Mountains and Coastal Forests biodiversity hotspot.

Tana Forests hosts at least two globally threatened bird species, along with at least two and possibly three of the species in the East African Coastal Forests Endemic Bird Area, and at least 19 of the 30 Kenyan species in the East African Coast biome. Primates likely to see, Tana River Red Colobus (specialized feeders, their stomachs can only digest leaves) and the Tana River Crested Mangabey (ground feeders) are endemic to the patches of forest along the floodplain of the lower Tana River.

Day 13Tana – Shimba Hills

Early morning departure heading to  Shimba Hills Reserve if time allows we shall have some stop-overs along the way Tana Forests are riparian forests along the meandering course of the lower Tana River, some 350 kilometers east of Nairobi and 240 kilometers north of Mombasa. Tana River Primate had a unique weather pattern, a perfect combination that brings in over 200 bird species

 

 

Day 14Shimba Hills

Spend the whole day in the park birding, walking is allowed in Shimba Hills Reserve but not far from the vehicle

Shimba Hills National Reserve is a favorite birding destination among bird watchers on Kenya’s coast. Bird species in Shimba Hills include several coastal endemics, restricted to the area, such as the Green-headed Oriole, Afrotropical migrants such as the  African Pitta, Mangrove Kingfisher, the rare Forbes-Watson’s Swift, and the Spotted Ground Thrush. The grasslands hold localized bird species such as Red-necked Spurfowl, Croaking Cisticola, and Zanzibar Red Bishop. Other bird species of concern include Southern Banded Snake Eagle, Fishers Turaco, Sokoke Pipit, East-coast Akalat, and Plain-backed Sunbird. From the months of October to April, the migratory birds arrive and add to the already interesting collection of species. Regarding the weather, be aware that November and April are peak months for rainfall

Day 15Shimba Hills- Mombasa

On this day, we shall drive slowly through the reserve, searching for the missed species as we head to the Mombasa International  Airport for your flight back home

More Info for 15 Days Kenya Birding

If you are traveling with ConQuest Adventures on the 15 Days birding in Kenya we shall provide you with a bespoke checklist that cross-references the field guide.  But if you want to arrange well in advance, you may want a current checklist for the birds found in your destination country.  Avibase and eBird offer up-to-date checklists that you can download and print. As you prepare for the 15 Days Birding tour in a new destination in Kenya, you might want to learn vocalizations for some of your target species.  An excellent site that could provide you with the audio you need is xeno-canto:

http://xeno-canto.org/locations.php