HOTSPOTS BIRDING SAFARI
|Duration:||15 days, 14 nights|
|* This tour is available for any dates of your choosing provided guide services and accommodations are available.|
Our Kenya Hotspots tour features excellent birding at a variety of sites in central and western Kenya plus superb game viewing in several reserves. The itinerary is carefully designed to cover top birding sites on Mt Kenya, both sides of the Rift Valley, the arid north, and western remnant rainforest along with viewing the unique mammals of Samburu and Buffalo Springs Game Reserves. Some 500 species of birds and 25 species of mammals are likely during this tour. The best time to take this tour is during the short rains of November and the following months of December-February when most birds are in breeding plumage. May is also a good time for the tour at the end of the longer spring rainy season. Due to guide availability, it's best to book this tour at least a year in advance, especially for those wanting to travel during November. Accommodations vary from excellent in Nairobi and at Lake Nakuru to superior at Lake Naivasha, to more basic at other locales.
The tour begins with a transfer to Naro Moru on the slopes of Mt Kenya with a stop at Castle Rock to look for endemics such as Hinde's Babbler and Abbott's Starling along with hornbills and other birds. During a two-night stay at Naro Moru, birding will cover an altitudinal transect up Mt Kenya. From there the tour continues into the arid north for nearly three full days of birding and game viewing at the sister reserves of Samburu and Buffalo Springs. These reserves feature several mammals not found elsewhere such as Grevy's Zebra, Gerenuk, Beisa Oryx, and Reticulated Giraffe and is a good place to look for large predators. A variety of northern specialty birds are also present. The tour then drops down into the Rift Valley to Lake Nakuru, famed for the million flamingos usually lining the shoreline, with some birding en route up the road into the low-lying Aberdare Mountains. After morning game and birding drive at Lake Nakuru, transfer to Lake Baringo the only major freshwater lake in the Rift Valley and home to some 450 bird species. After two days birding the Lake Baringo area, the route continues west through the Kerio Valley where some western forest birds such as Ross's Turaco can be found, arriving at Kakamega Forest Reserve that afternoon. Kakamega Forest is Kenya's last remaining rainforest and is home to some 75 bird species found only in western Kenya. Two full days will be spent birding there before proceeding south toward Kisumu and Lake Victoria with stops en route near the Uganda border to pick up some open country specialties. After a morning birding the shores of Lake Victoria, the tour returns east with a stop at Molo Grassland on the western escarpment to seek out Sharpe's Longclaw and Aberdare Cisticola before continuing to Lake Naivasha for a two night stay at famed Elsamere Centre. The tour concludes with a day of birding on the Kinangop Plateau and the dry Gatamaiyu Forest on the eastern escarpment of the Rift Valley.