Kenya Bird Watching Safari

SVABW 008: 13 Nights/ 14 Days Kenya Bird Watching Safari: Amboseli Tsavo Malindi

This Kenya safari or Kenya bird watching safari combines bird watching and a Malindi holiday. The safari takes you to Amboseli, Tsavo, Shimba Hills, Watamu Marine Park, Arabuko-Sokoke Forest and Mida Creek Reserve with accommodation at the Turtle Bay Beach Club.

Day 1: Nairobi – Amboseli

Our driver/guide will receive you at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Safari briefing and then depart for Amboseli National Park. Lunch at Amboseli Sopa Lodge. Afterwards, depart for game drives and bird watching in the park. With over 400 recorded species of birds, Amboseli is an ideal destination for birding. Waterbirds such as geese, pelicans and storks are particularly abundant as are herons, egrets, stilts, kingfishers, waders, geese and storks. You will look for birds in the swamps and seasonal Amboseli, Ol Tukai and Kioko lakes.

The most rewarding time to see birds is during the rainy seasons. These occur between March to May and October to December. During these wet seasons, the wetland birds such as Herons, attracted by the flooding swamps and lakes migrate in. And, from October to December, the local birds are joined by species from the Northern hemisphere, which migrate south in order to escape the harsh European winter
Meals: Lunch and Dinner
Accommodation: Amboseli Sopa Lodge

Day 2: Amboseli

Full day in Amboseli with morning and afternoon game drives in search of herds of elephants, giraffes, lions, and a variety of other animals and birds. You'll have an option to visit Maasai villages to learn their culture and dance. The Masai dancers charge a fee and you'll pay this directly if you opt to go there. Visit Masai Village in the evening to learn their culture and dance (at a cost of USD30 per person per visit and you'll pay this directly to the Masai Village).
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Accommodation: Amboseli Sopa Lodge

Day 3: Amboseli – Tsavo West

After breakfast, drive to Tsavo West National Park with game drive en route to arrive at Kilanguni Serena Safari Lodge in time for lunch. Afternoon game drives and in search of birds.

The bird life is as varied as the landscape, from the conspicuous flocks of Golden-breasted Starlings around most of the park to the dull, skulking Evergreen Forest Warbler in the Chyulu hills. Tsavo is home to both species of Kenyan Ostrich with the Common Ostrich present in Tsavo West and the Somali Ostrich in Tsavo East. Hartlaub's Bustard is found in both parts of the NP.
Tsavo lies on one of the main migration routes for northern hemisphere birds. Each year from September to November the Ngulia region becomes the base for a large-scale netting and ringing exercise. This provides important information on the migratory routes and the habits of many common northern species. This position on the migration route makes Tsavo a good place to spot some of the rarer migrant falcons, with Eleonora's Falcon and the Sooty Falcon both being on the bird list for the region (they're most commonly seen in October and November although they may also be seen from March to May).
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Accommodation: Kilanguni Serena Safari Lodge

Day 4: Tsavo West

After breakfast, set off for full day game drives in search for birds you missed the previous day. Tour the southern part of the park, which is close to the Taita Hills. The Taitas are home to the Taita Thrush, an endangered species endemic to Kenya, and the Taita White-eye both of which are found only in that part of Kenya. Right down in the South-West corner of Tsavo on the border with Tanzania is Lake Jipe where some of Kenya's less common water birds, such as the African Water Rail, Purple Swamphen and Lesser Jacana can be seen here.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Accommodation: Kilanguni Serena Safari Lodge

Day 5: Tsavo West – Taita Hills

Today will be spent further exploring the vast Tsavo West National Park en route to the Taita Salt Lick Lodge for a one-night stay. Woolly-necked Stork, Vulturine Guineafowl, Wahlberg's Eagle, African Hawk-eagle, Gabar Goshawk, Southern Ground-hornbill, African Grey Hornbill, Greater Honeyguide, Rufous-crowned Roller, Red-winged Lark, Desert Cisticola, Red-fronted Warbler, Pale Prinia, African Paradise-flycatcher, Sulphur-breasted Bush-shrike, Purple Grenadier, Cinnamon-breasted Bunting and the extremely local Pringle's Puffback are all species we may be able to add during the course of the day. During the evening hours several different mammal species can be seen coming in and drinking at the water hole behind the lodge. In the past these have included African Civet Cat and Striped Hyena amongst others.

Overnight at Sarova Salt Lick Game Lodge. All rooms overlook a waterhole and are linked by suspended walkways. At night, the waterhole is floodlit ensuring that guests enjoy an uninterrupted view of the daily procession of thirsty wildlife that comes to water at the waterhole.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Accommodation: Sarova Salt Lick Game Lodge

Day 6: Taita Hills -Tsavo East

In the morning we will explore two small forest patches in the Taita Hills. The Taita Hills are home to several endemics and these will be the targets of our visit. African Crowned Eagle, Hartlaub's Turaco, African Emerald Cuckoo, Striped Pipit (rare), Stripe-faced and Placid Greenbuls, Orange Ground-thrush (uncommon at best), Taita Thrush (a rare endemic), Black-backed Puffback, Taita Apalis (an uncommon endemic), Yellow-throated Woodland-warbler, African Stonechat, African Dusky Flycatcher, White-starred Robin, Red-winged Starling, Taita White-eye (endemic), Eastern Double-collared Sunbird, Brown-backed Mannikin and the tiny Yellow-bellied Waxbill are just some of the many highland forest species we hope to find in this unique area. In the late afternoon we will transfer to the nearby Tsavo East National Park for a one-night stay at Voi Safari Lodge.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Accommodation: Voi Safari Lodge

Day 7: Tsavo East – Shimba Hills

The morning will be spent birding in Tsavo East National Park, followed by an afternoon transfer to Shimba Hills Lodge on the southern coast for a two-night stay. Somali Ostrich, African Openbill, Harlequin Quail (seasonal), Black-chested and Brown Snake-eagles, African Harrier-hawk,  Striped Kingfisher, Diederik Cuckoo, Banded Martin, Golden Pipit, Chestnut-backed Sparrowlark (seasonal), Fork-tailed Drongo, Wattled Starling, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Chestnut Weaver, Red-billed Quelea, African Silverbill and the elegant Eastern Paradise-whydah are some of the birds we may see.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Accommodation: Shimba Hills Lodge

Day 8: Shimba Hills

All day will be spent in the Shimba Hills National Reserve. This reserve is mostly thick coastal forest, which is broken up in areas by forest glades. Birds that can be located within this lush habitat include Ayres's Hawk-eagle, Black Goshawk (Great Sparrowhawk), African Cuckoo-hawk, Palm-nut Vulture, Crested Guineafowl, Red-necked Francolin, Tambourine Dove, Fischer's Turaco, Yellowbill, Mosque Swallow, Mottled and Bat-like (Bohm's) Spinetails, Brown-hooded Kingfisher, White-throated Bee-eater (seasonal), Trumpeter and Silvery-cheeked Hornbills, Brown-breasted, White-eared and Green Barbets, Eastern Green Tinkerbird, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Flappet Lark, Black Cuckoo-shrike, Tiny and Sombre Greenbuls, Terrestrial Brownbul, Siffling and Croaking Cisticolas, Black-headed Apalis, Green-backed Camaroptera, Forest Batis, Black-bellied Starling, Eastern Olive Sunbird, Green-headed Oriole and the lovely Dark-backed (Forest) Weaver. Mammals that can be seen in the picturesque Shimba Hills are Western Black-and-white Colobus (local), Lesser Galago or Bushbaby (sometimes on top of the dinner table), Red-bellied Coast Squirrel, Common Genet, the majestic Sable Antelope, Red Duiker and the shy Suni. Occasionally an African Civet Cat or even a family party of Bush Pigs will visit the swamp behind the Lodge at night.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Accommodation: Shimba Hills Lodge

Day 9: Shimba Hills – Malindi/Watamu

After breakfast, depart for Malindi (carrying packed lunch) arriving at Turtle Bay Beach Club in Watamu late afternoon.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Accommodation: Turtle Bay Beach Club

Day 10: Watamu

After breakfast, breakfast go for full day game drives in the Watamu National Marine Park, the has developed an international reputation for its white-sand, reef-protected beaches. Established in 1968 as Kenya's first Marine Park, Watamu has developed into one of the world's best snorkeling and dive spots. The Marine Park boasts over 600 species of fish in just 10 square km, although the reserve area itself spreads out over more than 32 square km in total.

It is virtually impossible to snorkel in Watamu without seeing at least a few dozen species inside the main reef; divers outside the fringe reef stand an excellent chance of viewing the magnificent whale shark and Manta rays that are seasonal visitors. If underwater exploring is not your style, not to worry! From windsurfing to dolphin watching boat trips, gentle walks to explore the rock pools or simply lying on the beach, the Watamu beach offers something for everyone.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Accommodation: Turtle Bay Beach Club

Day 11-12: Arabuko Sokoke Forest

After breakfast, depart for Arabuko-Sokoke Forest (carrying packed lunch) and in the company of well-trained and knowledgeable local guides to guide you the forest. The Arabuko-Sokoke Forest is East Africa's largest remaining area (420 square km) of indigenous coastal forest.

Considered the second most important African forest for its bird conservation value, over 260 species of bird have been recorded in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest. A global stronghold for one Globally Endangered species, the spotted ground thrush, and five Globally Threatened species of birds, the Sokoke Scops owl, Sokoke pipit, east coast akalat, Amani sunbird, and the Clarke's weaver, are all endemic to the area. The Forest is also home to a large number of bird species restricted to the coastal area, such as the green barbet, Fisher's turaco and southern banded snake eagle. A small population of elephant, buffalo and six species of small antelope, including the globally endangered Ader's Duiker, can be found in the Forest. Mongoose, bush babies and genet cat can sometimes be seen at night, while the caracal and the endangered golden-rumped elephant shrew are often visible during the day. Baboons and Sykes monkeys are often spotted.

Drive back to your hotel late afternoon for overnight.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Accommodation: Turtle Bay Beach Club

Day 13: Mida Creek Reserve

Today you spend on the water, in Mida Creek. The Mida Creek Reserve is formed of extensive mangrove forests, warm shallow waters and large areas of mud flats at low tide. The Mida Creek Reserve is home to widespread mangrove forests in swamp-like, shallow, warm low tides. Here a variety birds settle such as greater flamingo, yellow-billed stork, great white egret and malachite kingfisher. It is also the winter home of numerous migrants such as the crab plover, curlew sandpiper, whimbrel and sanderling. You'll have the chance to walk on the mud flats as well as take a boat ride to meander up the mangrove creeks searching for those little flashes of colour that indicate something interesting.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Accommodation: Turtle Bay Beach Club

Day 14: Malindi – Nairobi – Depart Home

A representative of Turtle Bay Beach Club will transfer you to Malindi Airstrip to catch your flight to Moi International Airport, Mombasa, to connect with your international flight home