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Mau Eburu Forest Birding

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Mau Eburu forest the is the easternmost conservatory of the 22 gazetted forest blocks that form the vast 420,000 hectares Mau Forest Complex, within Kenya’s Rift Valley, the largest indigenous montane forest in the whole of East Africa, Mau Forest is one of Kenya’s water tower, which has some of the highest rainfall rates and the largest drainage basin in Kenya.

Mau Eburu is located among the folds of Mount Ol Donyo Eburu, meaning a mountain of steam, assigned by the Maasai people some 300 years ago, Mau Eburu is a geologically active volcanic massif rising 2,855m above sea level, that is, some 900m above adjacent areas on the Rift Valley.

Mau Eburu forest area covers 21,536 acres (87km2) of pristine indigenous forest and forms part of the Rift Valley conservation and ecology ecosystem stretching from Lake Nakuru National Park, Lake Elementeita, Soysambu Conservancy, Lake Naivasha, to Longonot and Hells Gate National Parks.

Mau Eburu forest overlooks Lake Naivasha to the South East, Lake Elementaita to the North and Lake Nakuru to the North West. The Mau Eburu forest covers some extraordinarily rugged terrain, rich in dramatic spectacle. Staggeringly deep valleys, cut by mountain streams that fall over sheer rock cliffs into narrow gorges adorned with ferns.

No less spectacular are the forest’s magnificent stands of the tall- growing conifers, pencil cedar and podo interspersed, higher up, with thickets of African mountain Bamboo and Giant Heather

A wide belt of closed-canopy broadleaf forest, almost pristine in places covers the tumbling upper slopes of Eburu, many of the plants, wildlife, and birds marooned in the forest have western affinities. Mau Eburu forest forms part of the catchments for Lakes Naivasha and Elementaita, with several ground springs, and is the source of Ndabibi River and other small streams.

Mammals in Mau Eburu

More than 60 species of mammals are known to occur in Mau Eburu Forest. It is a delicate miniature island of biodiversity and home to 12 of the fewer than 100 surviving wild populations of critically endangered Eastern Mountain Bongo-Mau Eburu flagship. A gorgeous and grandiose Antelope which is doing quite well, young ones have been recorded by the cameras installed to track their movements.

The Bongo is listed as critically endangered, their total number estimated to be fewer than 120, are restricted to few upland forests, in Aberdares Ranges, Mount Kenya, and Mau Escarpment. The forest is home to 10 percent of the global wild population of the critically endangered Mountain Bongo

Other Mammals in Mau Eburu Forest;

  • Buffalo
  • Guereza Black and White Colobus Monkey,
  • Sykes’s Monkey
  • Leopard
  • Bushbuck
  • Duiker
  • Bushbaby
  • Tree Hyrax
  • Yellow-backed Duiker
  • Giant Forest Hog- a forest dependant
  • Blue Duiker
  • Black Fronted Duiker

There are no accommodation facilities inside the forest, but there are camping sites. But it has the advantage of being so close to Lake Naivasha where choices of different comfy accommodation are available

Birding in Mau Eburu forest

Mau Eburu forest is home to a rich variety of upland forest bird species, more than 250 different birds have been recorded. Birding is pretty easy because the gradient is gentle any age bracket can manage. Often skulking in bushy thickets at the forest’s edge, is Doherty’s Bushshrike one of Africa’s most startling birds. Some of the forest’s birds are birds with a western or predominantly western, distribution in Kenya examples includes: Blue-spotted Wood-Dove, Yellow-billed Barbet and the Black-billed Weaver

Black and white Casqued Hornbill has been seen occasionally. Other upland forest birds, White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Mountain Yellow Warbler, African Hill Babbler, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Brown-chested Alethe, and Abyssinian Crimsonwing. Walking is allowed with an armed ranger from Kenya forest service or the community scouts (From Eburu’s Ogiek community who still trades honey, herbal medicine and other items they collect from the forest) they have really helped in monitoring the Eastern Mountain Bongos.

Mau Eburu forest provides refuge and breeding ground for the Crowned Eagle- the most thickset and powerful of all African birds of prey, often seen and heard displaying high above the Treetops

Getting in Mau Eburu

Mau Eburu forest has the advantage of being readily accessible and near the capital city Nairobi, its one and half hour drive. To get to Mau Eburu forest, use the Nairobi -Nakuru highway past Delamere Farm drive around 5 kilometers look for a junction with a signboard on your left for Great Rift Valley Lodge join the Moi north lake road which is newly tarmacked

After about 10km, turn right once you see a sign for the KenGen Eburu Geothermal Power Station. It is an uphill climb and the road deteriorates considerably from here, drive for 12km through the settlement of Eburu towards the main gate