ITINERARY AT A GLANCE
Start Nairobi / End Nairobi
This 12-Day Birding Safari combines some of the very best Birding destinations in Kenya with a few days of Big-Five game viewing in the outstanding Masai Mara National Reserve. You will make your way from Nairobi to no less than 4 of Kenya’s best Birding Hotspots which are home to over 450 species of local and migrant bird species, including several that are globally threatened. The emphasis will be on three of Kenya’s very beautiful Rift Valley Lakes that are an absolute magnet for birds, as well as some rare and endangered wildlife. The scenery is superb and there are several excursions that will also interest non-Birding partners.
Day 1: Nairobi – Lake Nakuru National Park
Your fabulous Sureway Tours Birding safari will start with pick-up from your Nairobi hotel or from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. After meeting your guide we will waste no time in setting off for Lake Nakuru National Park. Along the way we will stop at the edge of the escarpment so that you can take some photos of the incredible Rift Valley stretching out before you. We will arrive in time for lunch at your lodge and there will be some time to relax before you set off for an afternoon game drive.
Lake Nakuru is without doubt one of the most beautiful of the Rift Valley Lakes. This is an alkaline lake, whose beautiful turquoise waters are the perfect breeding ground for a particular type of algae that is loved by Flamingo, so you will have a good chance of seeing some of these majestic birds in the shallows. The lake supports several diverse habitats and over 400 bird species can be found here. Of course, the emphasis is on water birds and you will see Great White Pelican, Yellow-billed Storks and African Spoonbills, amongst others. The surrounding Lake Nakuru National Park is also home to several rare raptors such as the Pallid Harrier, Greater Spotted Eagle and the Grey-crested Helmet-Shrike, and the plaintive cry of the African Fish Eagle is often heard.
Your game drive will give you a chance to spot quite a large selection of wildlife including Hyenas, which have become adept at snatching Flamingos here. There are also Zebra, Buffalos, Giraffe, Black Rhino and Leopard – the latter are quite relaxed in this Park due to the near-absence of Lions, and are regularly spotted.
Dinner and overnight at Sarova Lion Hill GameLodge or Similar.
Day 2: Lake Nakuru National Park
Since bird watching is most rewarding early in the day we suggest you request an early wake-up call! Your lodge is perfectly positioned close to natural forests and surrounded by mature trees, with a lovely view over the lake. The immediate vicinity around the lodge attracts over 50 bird species, so you will never be far from the action. You can take advantage of both early morning and afternoon game drives in the Park, and a boat ride on the lake, and still have time for some relaxation around the pool.
Dinner and overnight at Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge or similar
Day 3: Lake Nakuru National Park – Lake Baringo
After a hearty breakfast at your lodge it is time to check out and get back on the road for our transfer to Lake Baringo. The drive through the impressive Rift Valley landscape is very beautiful and you will arrive at your lodge in time for lunch.
Island Camp Lodge is a real treat! As its name suggests, this Lodge is situated on an island right in the centre of Lake Baringo and attracts a multitude of birds. As well as several species of water birds you will be able to tick off Hornbills, Bee-eaters, Barbets and many others within the grounds of your camp. We suggest you enjoy a guided walk around the resort grounds with an experienced birding guide who can point you in the direction of the best places for good sightings.
Dinner and overnight at Island Camp Resort.
Day 4: Lake Baringo
Today you have the whole day to dedicate to your favourite hobby! The bird watching is really wonderful at Lake Baringo and some Birders have reported being able to check off more than 200 species in a few hours. The resort offers boat trips on the lake with an experienced guide, and there is even the opportunity for some water-skiing or tubing for the energetic. You may also choose to just relax around the pool admiring the beautiful view and listening out for the frequent calls of the African Fish Eagle.
Dinner and overnight at Island Camp Resort.
Day 5: Lake Baringo – Kakamega Forest National Reserve
After breakfast at the lodge you will say farewell to your hosts and enjoy a short boat trip to the mainland before setting off for our drive to Kakamega in the Lake Victoria basin.
We will stop along the way for lunch and get you to your Lodge after lunch with some free time to relax before dinner.
The Kakamega is a mid-altitude tropical rainforest, composed of mainly hardwood trees and surrounded by swamps, rivers and glades around the edges. The forest is home to 194 forest-dependent bird species, including both lowland and highland species. Many of the birds you will see here can be found nowhere else in Kenya – the stunning Great Blue Turaco is one of these gems. This forest is home to two globally threatened species, the Chaplin’s Fly-catcher and the Turner’s Eremomela, as well as 16 locally threatened species.
Dinner and overnight at Rondo Retreat
Day 6: Kakamega Forest National Reserve
Today the entire day is at your disposal for some superlative bird watching in this incredibly peaceful place. Since birding is always best early morning we suggest you set off into the forest between 6.30 and 8.30am and then again from 4.30 to 6.45pm, and spend the hottest hours of the day relaxing at the resort as you listen to the wonderful sounds of the rainforest.
Dinner and overnight at Rondo Retreat
Day 7: Kakamega Forest National Reserve – Lake Naivasha
Today you will depart after breakfast for our drive to Lake Naivasha. We will stop for lunch along the way and will arrive at Naivasha in the late afternoon, giving you a chance to relax and explore the Lodge before dinner. Perhaps you would like a refreshing swim before enjoying a sun-downer? This is also a time to meet the resident Giraffes, Monkeys and Water Buck at Sopa Lodge.
Dinner and overnight at Lake Naivasha Sopa Resort or similar
Day 8: Lake Naivasha
Today there is a lot to look forward to! We suggest an early wake-up call so that you can get to the Crescent Island Game Sanctuary well before breakfast – the best time for bird watching. Crescent Island is home to a very good selection of bird species, with the emphasis on water birds. African Fish Eagles are very much at home here and can be heard regularly and you should also see Black Crakes, Lily Trotters, Pelicans, Cormorants and many more. Your guided walk will get you up close to many land animals including Giraffe, Buffalo and Zebra, and you can watch Hippos wallowing in the shallows.
After a late breakfast back at your lodge you can go on a boat trip on the lake or just enjoy the excellent facilities at your lodge.
Dinner and overnight at Lake Naivasha Sopa Resortor similar
Day 9: Lake Naivasha – Maasai Mara National Reserve
Today we need to leave by 8.00am for our drive to the iconicMasai Mara National Reserve – we want to get you there by lunchtime so that you don’t miss a moment of precious game-viewing and birding time. You will go on your first afternoon game drive today!
Dinner and overnight at Mara Sopa Lodge or similar
Day 10 & 11: Maasai Mara National Reserve
For the next two days you will be able to go on morning and evening game drives in anticipation of some very rewarding animal and bird sightings. You will wake up to the dawn chorus each day and enjoy memorable moments around the campfire at night.
Although the birding in the Masai Mara may not be as sensational as the other Parks you have visited, the marvelous Big Five game viewing will more than compensate, and you will have a chance to enjoy some excellent raptor viewing here. Start off by trying to tick off the 50 species of Vulture and then turn your attention to the little guys – there are several species of unusual Woodpeckers and you will never be far from the inevitable Go-away bird – the Turaco. Then try and glimpse a Blue Quail, a rare intra-African migrant sometimes seen in the ‘Mara.
Dinner and overnight at Mara Sopa Lodge or similar.
Day 12: Maasai Mara National Reserve – Nairobi
Today you will bid your hosts farewell after breakfast and head back to Nairobi. Drop-off will be at your Nairobi hotel or we will transfer you to Jomo Kenyatta International airport for your flight back home.
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