6 Days Birding tour will cover some of Kenya’s magnificent birding hotspots, Nairobi National Park, Manguo Swamp, Gatamaiyu Forest, Lake Elementeita and Lake Baringo
Nairobi National Park is the oldest park in Kenya. It is over 60 years old and only 10km from the Capital City, With a size of 117kmsq, 1500 to 1700 meters above sea level. More than 500 Bird species have been recorded in the park. Nairobi National Park has many different habitats, Each containing different species of Birds.
The said habitats are as follows;
Nairobi National Park has four of the Big Five, namely;
The four of the Big Five may be seen in a normal game drive. Herbivores have their own migration to plains adjacent to the Park. In wet season animals move out of the park to take advantage of seasonally lush pastures on the plains to the south and east of the park.
Bird species in Nairobi National Park
Manguo Swamp is on the Nairobi-Naivasha Road, only 40 minutes from Nairobi’s CBD. Manguo is a local lingo that translates into a 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 tranquility and the beauty of an array of birds. Manguo swamp is home to freshwater bird and a localized duck, Maccoa duck. The beautiful chestnut-coloured males and the duller grey female keep to their edge of the swamp. Maccoa ducks have in recent times been listed as ‘near threatened’ on the IUCN 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 migrants ducks such as Gadwall and Ferruginous have been also recorded in Manguo. Gatamaiyu Forest is part of the larger Kereita, its an extension of southern-most end indigenous forest of the Aberdares ranges. It is made up of ridges and valleys at an average altitude of about 1800m above sea level. Gatamaiyu Forest is a well-preserved beauty and close proximity to Nairobi Which makes it a true paradise an ideal destination for urban birding and day hike as well. Gatamaiyu is excellent for many Afro-tropical highland species.
Birds species often encountered in Gatamaiyu Forest:
It is classified as vulnerable due to the loss of its habitat. Additionally, you are likely to get glances of colonies of Colobus and Sykes’s Monkeys as they teasingly sway from branch to branch soaring up the trees.
Lake Elementeita (also spelled Lake Elementaita/ Lake Elmenteita) is a small (18sq km) soda lake, 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.
It is globally recognized as an Important Bird Area Both Greater and Lesser Flamingo varieties are attracted to Lake Elementeita by the insect larvae, crustaceans, and blue-green algae. Over 4 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 (Tarchonanthus camphoratus)where it may be resident. It also sustains 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. In addition, the lake supports one of the major breeding colonies of the Great White Pelicans in the world. Birdlife here is prolific; over 400 bird species have been recorded. Birding here is pretty easy because it is done while walking as opposed to many areas where it is done while driving vehicles. On a good day, you can record up 200 bird species.
Lake Baringo is world-renowned for its birdlife, with more than 470 rare bird species, Lake Baringo has become known globally as the birdwatchers’ paradise. Covering about 130 square kilometres. 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 the 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.
Looking for the area specialties, the special owls, rare courser, 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
If time allows on a way back we end the 6 days birding tour by visiting a local primary school, to plant some indigenous trees and encourage the pupils to conserve the environment
6 days 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, early start needed
What to Carry for the 6 days birding
Cost for 6 days birding
2 pax $ 1565 per person sharing
Recommended Guides Books for the 6 Days Birding
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