Are you looking to go on a budget birdwatching tour in Kenya? Do you prefer a private birding tour or already have a target species in mind? Do you enjoy taking your time or need to get that bird photo? Well, we take time to listen to you, and take time to understand how you want your birding tour to be.
The 6 Days Kenya budget birding package is designed for budget-minded birders who wish to see and record a good number of Kenyan birds without breaking their bank accounts. The budget birding safari will cover some of Kenya’s awe-inspiring birdwatching destinations, which include; Nairobi National Park, Manguo Swamp, Gatamaiyu Forest, Lake Elementeita, and Lake Baringo. The 6 Days Kenya Budget birdwatching tour will explore some of the Great Rift Valley lakes. The area is home to 13 globally threatened bird species and some of the highest bird diversities in the world. For most of the year, up to 4 million Lesser Flamingos move between the shallow lakes in an outstanding wildlife marvel, this incredible natural diversity makes Kenya a haven for major birding safaris.
The six-day Kenya budget birding trip can be extended to cover the Western Kenya Circuit in places such as Mount Elgon, Saiwa National Park, Kongelai Escarpment, Kakamega Forest, Busia Grasslands, and Lake Victoria. While you might want to stuff in as many species as possible on your birdwatching trip, many of our budget birding itineraries allow you to pick and pick out your destinations, making a birdwatching holiday to Kenya completely bespoke to you and your needs. Our budget Kenya birding tours are optimally beneficial and enjoyable to you whether you are a ‘twitcher’ or a leisure birder.
We start the budget birding trip early morning by visiting the iconic Nairobi National Park to scope out some of the best birding trails. Nairobi National Park is a birdwatching jewel and one of the best and most visited national parks for day birdwatching tours in East Africa. This small jewel in the capital city of Kenya is so rich in wildlife, with a mouth-watering range of birds. Nowhere else do you get this abundance of birds, mammals, and other wonderful arrays of nature in such a tiny area adjacent to a big city that is growing exponentially. Nairobi National Park Birding tour can get you close-up and personal with the breath-taking African Crowned Eagle, Kori Bustard, Bateleur, Secretary Bird, Martial Eagle, African Fish Eagle, Black Rhinos, Lions, Leopards, and Cheetahs hunting and different species of butterflies and other interesting insects
Bird species in Nairobi National Park: Masaai Ostrich, Helmeted Guineafowl, Coqui Francolin, Harlequin Quail, White-faced Whistling Duck, Spur-winged Goose, Pygmy Falcon, Lanner Falcon, White-backed Vulture, Ruppell’s Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Lappet-faced Vulture, Bateleur, Tawny Eagle, Martial Eagle, Long-crested Eagle, Crowned Eagle, Kori Bustard, White-bellied Bustard, Black-bellied bustard, Hartlaub’s Bustard, African Finfoot, Great Painted Snipe, Yellow-throated Sandgrouse, Namaqua Dove, African Green Pigeon, Hartlaub’s Turaco, Jacobin Cuckoo, Levaillant’s Cuckoo, Spotted Eagle Owl,
This morning the budget birding tour starts with an early birding session around the Manguo swamp before continuing our adventure to the Gatamaiyu Forest.
Manguo Swamp is a wetland on the Nairobi-Naivasha Road, only 40 minutes from Nairobi’s Central Business District. Manguo is a local lingo that translates into hippopotamus; However, the hippos must have fled some decades ago as the surroundings become more urban. It’s an amazing swamp, a wetland that is seasonal and instrumental in regulating water thus controlling flooding around the area, water flows through the ground to refill the ground. Manguo Swamp is freshwater that is a magnet for birds and other creatures that would not survive in saltwater. While it offers a laid-back morning enjoying the tranquility and the beauty of an array of birds. Manguo swamp is home to freshwater birds and a localized duck, Maccoa Duck. The beautiful chestnut-colored males and the duller grey females keep to their edge of the swamp. Maccoa ducks have in recent times been listed as ‘near threatened’ on the I.U.C.N red list. These are the only African stiff-tail ducks. They rarely leave the water because their legs are set far back making waddling on land uncomfortable. Rare Palearctic migrant ducks such as Gadwall and Ferruginous have been also recorded in Manguo. Gatamaiyu Forest is part of the larger Kikuyu Escarpment Forest, it’s an extension of the easternmost end indigenous forest of the Aberdare ranges. The forest is made up of ridges and valleys at an average altitude of about 1800 meters above sea level. Gatamaiyu Forest is a well-preserved beauty and close proximity to Nairobi which makes it a true paradise and an ideal destination for urban birding and day hikes as well. Gatamaiyu forest is excellent for many Afro-tropical highland species, the beauty of the Kenya budget birding walking will be in almost all the areas visited
Birds species often encountered in Gatamaiyu Forest: Hunter’s Cisticola, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Silvery cheeked Hornbill, Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk, Fine-banded Woodpecker, White-bellied Tit, Tambourine Dove, Hartlaub’s Turaco, Abbott’s Starling which is endemic to Kenya and Tanzania and occurs in selected montane forest. Abbott’s Starling is classified as vulnerable due to the loss of its habitat. Additionally, you are likely to get glances of colonies of Mount Kenya Guereza and Kolb’s Monkeys as they teasingly sway from branch to branch soaring high up the trees. Birdwatching in Gatamaiyu forest is usually done on foot, this provides excellent opportunities to get a closer view of the birds, and gaze at the stunning trees, flowers, and insects, being a forest we mostly rely on the bird’s calls which may be deep inside the thick understory, a little patience usually pays off. Birds in the Gatamaiyu forest normally tend to feed in flocks, making it easier to see and record multiple species once. Our accommodation for the night is on the shores of Lake Elementeita
Today we rise before the sun to go for a bird walk along the lake shore targeting both water birds and terrestrial species. Our budget birding here will be pretty easy because it shall be conducted on foot as opposed to many areas where it is done while driving vehicles. We expect to see more than a hundred bird species. Birdlife here is prolific with over 400 bird species recorded. Lake Elementeita (also spelled Lake Elementaita/ Lake Elmenteita) is a small (18 square kilometers) soda lake, on the floor of the Great Rift Valley. The word Elementeita is derived from the Maasai word muteita, meaning “dust place”, A reference to the dryness and dustiness’ of the area, especially between January and March. Lake Elementeita contains trona, a non-marine evaporite mineral that can be mined as sodium carbonate. Lake Elementeita which is alkaline is close to Lake Nakuru National Park, part of it is within Soysambu Conservancy. Lake Elementeita is globally recognized as an Important Bird Area, both Greater and Lesser Flamingo species are attracted to the lake by the insect larvae, crustaceans, and blue-green algae. Over four million Lesser Flamingos travel between the three lakes (Lakes Elementeita, Nakuru, and Bogoria). Due to the assemblage of various birds of conservation concern, such as the threatened, range-restricted Grey-crested Helmet-shrike (Near Threatened) which occurs in the surrounding Leleshwa woodland where it may be resident. Lake Elementeita also supports significant populations of over 100 species of Palearctic migratory birds by offering a vital wintering ground for them. Making this one of the greatest ornithological spectacles on earth. Additionally, the lake accommodates one of the major breeding colonies of the Great White Pelicans in the world, other known places in Africa where the pelicans breed include; Lake Shala in Ethiopia, and Lake Rukwa in Tanzania
We shall continue with the Kenya budget birding to Lake Baringo which is world-renowned for its birdlife, with more than 470 bird species, Lake Baringo has become known globally as the birdwatchers’ paradise. Covering about 130 square kilometers. A Goliath heronry is located on a rocky islet in the lake known as Gibraltar. Lake Baringo has 7 islands, namely Lokoros, Rongena, Lengai, Samatian, Olkokwa, Parmolos, and Devil’s Island. The largest of them is called Olkokwe. In the Ilchamus language, Olkokwe means a meeting place. Word has it that the abundance of fish has supported the crocodile population in such a way that the reptiles have shown no interest in humans and other mammals. Lake Baringo has roughly 480 bird species on its list, which makes it one of the preferred birding destinations in Kenya
Early morning rise and do a walk around the cliffs to search for the area specialties, the special owls, rare Three-banded Courser, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-Weaver, and uncommon Somali Fiscal. Birding will be done early morning and late afternoon due to the hot temperature which normally starts around eleven in the morning.
Birds in Lake Baringo; Great Spotted Cuckoo, Goliath Heron, White-backed Night-Heron, Dwarf Bittern, Little Bittern, Abdim’s Stork, Heuglin’s Courser, Senegal Thick-knee, Allen’s Gallinule, Slender-tailed Nightjar, Pennant-winged Nightjar, Star-spotted Nightjar, Osprey, Pearl-spotted Owlet, African Scops Owl, Northern White-faced (Scops) Owl, Greyish Eagle Owl, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Blue-naped Mousebird, Greater Honeyguide, Red–and–Yellow Barbet, Madagascar Bee-eater, Northern Carmine Bee-eater, Abyssinian Roller, African Pygmy Kingfisher, Pygmy Batis, White Helmetshrike, Somali Fiscal, White-necked Raven, Pygmy Sunbird, Shining Sunbird, White-billed Buffalo Weaver, Northern Red Bishop, Northern Masked Weaver, Somali Sparrow, Somali Tit, Pale Prinia, White-crested Turaco, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-Weaver,
Early morning we shall have a boat safari in the lake and thereafter drive back to Nairobi, Birds expected on the ride include; Goliath Heron, White-backed Night Heron, Pygmy Goose, African Crake, Allen’s Gallinule, Lesser Moorhen, Little Bittern, Dwarf Bittern, Madagascar Pond Heron, Western Reef Egret, African Darter, Senegal Thick-knee, Lesser Jacana, Black-tailed Godwit, African Skimmer, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Black Tern, African Marsh Harrier, Northern Carmine Bee-eater, Giant Kingfisher, Northern Red Bishop, and Grey-rumped Swallow.
If time allows on a way back we end the 6 days budget birding tour by visiting a local primary school, to plant some indigenous trees and encourage the pupils to conserve the environment
The 6 days Kenya budget birding tour will be done while walking except at Nairobi National park (there are designated areas where walking is allowed). Last day drive from Baringo to Nairobi- 4 hours
Cool to hot, with rain likely in some areas, an early start needed
What to Carry for the 6 days Kenya budget birding tour; Binoculars, Camera, Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Hat/Cap, Insect repellents, Flashlights, Sturdy shoes,
Cost includes Food, Drinking water, Accommodation, Transport, Park fees, Services of a professional bird guide, Community fees, a Boat ride in Lake Baringo, and The latest edition of the birds of Kenya checklist.
Recommended Guides Books for the 6 Days Kenya Budget Birdwatching Tour
A Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi.
Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania
The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals
A Field Guide to the Reptiles of East Africa
Field Guide to the Common Trees and Shrubs of East Africa