The “Touch the earth and spot the sky” safari is a safari for birders and nature lovers. Whether you are a professional birder or you’ve just started birdwatching. A professional guide will take you to some of the most Important Birding Areas (IBA’s) in Kenya where you’ll be able to spot some of the 1100 species found in Kenya, and depending on the season you might spot birds from your home country. Some birds are easy to spot but for other endangered and threatened species we’ll have to search for them by foot, by boat and while driving. During this safari we’ll explore the bird- and wildlife on and around the Great Rift Valley Lakes, the Savannah in the Maasai Mara as well as the Kakamega tropical rainforest.
Day 1: Early morning you will be picked up from your hotel Accommodation in Nairobi then start your safari heading to Lake Elementeita. We’ll stop on the way to at the Great Rift Valley viewpoint where you can test your binoculars and cameras. With ease you can spot Augur Buzzard, Common bulbuls, Seed eaters among many other species. Aside from birds you’ll have a view of the Great Rift Valley. On a clear day you’ll see Mt. Longonot, Mt. Margaret and Ngong Hills. Before lunchtime we’ll arrive at the Oasis Eco Camp. Around 15.00 we’ll start our first bird walk around the camp.
Day 2: We’ll wake up with the birds around 6.00 and go for bird walk around the camp and towards the shores of Lake Elementeita. During the bird walk you might spot the Red Billed Ducks, Flamingos, Pelicans , black winged stilts, African jacanas ,Grebes among other water birds. Around 9.00 we’ll head back to the camp for breakfast. After breakfast you have some time to freshen up before heading out to explore the birds of the acacia forest. In the Acacia Forest you might spot Helmet shrike, Woodpeckers, Wheatears, Purple Grenadiers just to name a few. We’ll head back to the camp for lunch after which you have some time to relax. In the afternoon we’ll go for another bird walk or you can choose a nice spot in the shade with your binoculars and watch birds from there.
Day 3: After an early after breakfast we’ll depart to Kinangop grasslands plateau for a special birdwalk to look for Sharps Longlaw which is endemic in this particular area and only found in this area. While looking for the Sharps Longclaw you might spot other birds like Aberdares cisticolar, Jacksons widowbird, black winged plover, Yellow wagtail, Northern wheatear among other interesting species. We’ll have our picnic lunch in a scenic spot and then we’ll proceed with the bird walk depending on the weather conditions.
Day 4: Today we’ll leave Lake Elementeita behind and travel to Lake Baringo. Before we leave Lake Elementeita you can still go for a bird walk around the camp. The journey will take us North driving through Nakuru town where you will have a glimpse of Lake Nakuru and if lucky you might see the pink on the lake because of Flamingoes.
We’ll have a few stops on the way depending if we spot some interesting birds in the dams that we’ll meet on the way. When driving North the weather and the landscape are changing. The birds that live here are dry land species. Baringo and its environs are known for its Somali-masai biom species. It’s estimated to be about 35 individuals. We’ll arrive at the Soi Safari Lodge for lunch. As this area can become very hot we’ll relax till the temperatures come down and around 15.00 we’ll head out for our birdwalk. You might spot Hemprichs and Jacksons Hornbills, Bristle Crowned Starlings among others.
Day 5: The day starts with an early morning bird walk on the shores of Lake Baringo. From 8.00 we’ll explore the lake by boat. From the boat you’ll be able to spot birds and you have a chance to come up close to hippos. Lake Baringo is famous for its beautiful islands and it’s believed that one of the biggest colony of about 20 Goliath Herons have nested here. From the boat you’ll be able to spot Cormorants, Ducks, more than 4 species of Kingfishers, Egrets, Weavers, Fish eagles, and many more species. Baringo is a birder’s paradise, to say the least.
Day 6: Today we’ll visit neighbouring Lake Bogoria. Lake Bogoria is famous for its hot springs and geysers and of course the birdlife in and around the lake. The lake is surrounded by escarpments and the lake is alkaline and has a depth of maximum 8.5m. Lake Bogoria has both dry land and water birds due to its unique habitat. One will be surprised to see how the entire area being so dry but around the lake is this beautiful oasis hence all these variety of species.
You might see big flocks of Flamingos as well as Pelicans, cormorants, and water bird species including plovers, stilts, and ducks . Other birds you might add to your checklist are big raptors such as Tawny Eagles and Snake Eagles. Also there are small species which include doves, warblers, flycatchers, weavers, sunbirds, whydahs, and sandgrouses .
Day 7: In the morning we’ll depart for Kerio Valley. We’ll use the most scenic route in Kenya and we’ll have a few stops to do some birding along the way and enjoy the sceneries. Cheploch Gorge will be the highlight of the day, you will along the natural gorge. The birds you are likely to spot in this habitat includes paradise flycatchers, Blue napped mouse birds among the many dryland species.
We’ll arrive at Kerio View Hotel for a late lunch after which you have some time to relax. Late afternoon we’ll go for our evening bird walk in the vicinity of the hotel.
Day 8: At 6.00 we’ll head out for an early bird walk towards the Gorge. Around 9.00 we’ll have breakfast at the hotel after which we’ll take a short drive to a nearby site for half day birding. In the afternoon we’ll have our final bird walk of the day at Torok falls.
Day 9: If you want you can still go for a final early morning bird walk before we leave for the famous Kakamega Rainforest. We’ll drive through the Home of the Champions Iten as well as through the food basket of Kenya (Eldoret) via the Home of Athletes Kabsabet. We’ll arrive for lunch at Rondo Retreat in the middle of Kakamega rainforest. On the grounds of Rondo Retreat you’ll be able to see the nest of a Crowned Eagle.
Kakamega forest is a mid-altitude tropical rainforest, the easternmost outlier of Congo basin forests. Kakamega’s avifauna is unique because of the rainforest species and most of all the endemic birds. Several species have isolated, relict populations here, including Ansorge’s greenbul, Blue headed bee- eater, Chapins Flycatcher and Turners Eramomela. We’ll go and explore the rainforest after lunch.
Day 10: Wake-up call is not necessary in Kakamega rainforest since the bird calls will wake you up as early as 5.00, After an early breakfast we’ll head out to explore the forest. We’ll return to the hotel for lunch. In the afternoon you’ll have some time to relax. Later in the afternoon we’ll go to the tower and glade for more views of the forest and birdwatching.
Birds you are likely to spot includes Ayres hawk eagle, African grass owl, Least honey guide, Toro olive greenbul. Grey chested illadopsis, Grey winged RobinYellow- bellied wattle- eye to mention a few of the many forest species.
Day 11: We’ll head at 5.00 to the cave. From here you’ll see and hear the forest waking up. To reach the caves we’ll hike up the hill, while enjoying the sunrise. In the cave you can see bats. Around 10.00 we’ll go back to the hotel for brunch. Later we’ll go and explore the other side of the rainforest (Buyangy or Udo side).
Day 12: Today we’ll have a long day of drive ahead, so we’ll depart early morning. Our destination is the famous Maasai Mara. On the way we’ll have stops to do some birding and picnic lunch. Late afternoon we’ll arrive at Ol Moran Tented Camp. Now you can relax on the verandah of your tent.
The Maasai Mara’s extensive grasslands are a stronghold for the threatened migratory Corncrake and the near- threatened restricted –range Jackson’s Widowbird. The woodlands around the reserve are probably the centre of abundance of the threatened /restricted range of Grey –Crested Helmet shrike. More than 500species other birds are known to occur in the Maasai Mara including 12species of cisticolas and about 53 birds of prey.
Day 13: Today we’ll spend the whole day in the reserve so we carry a picnic lunch. Apart from spotting birds, we’ll go and search for animals while on gamedrive. We’ll go and search for the Big 5 as we keep our eyes open for any bird that we might see. You might spot Denham’s bustard, black coucal, magpie shrike, Caspian plovers among other species in the savannah
Day 14: We’re almost coming to the end of our safari, but you can’t leave Kenya without seeing the birdlife and animals of Lake Naivasha! So early morning we’ll depart Maasai Mara for Lake Naivasha. We’ll arrive at Sopa Naivasha Lodge for lunch. After lunch we’ll explore the lake by boat. Around 18.00 we’ll return to the lodge.
The lake lies on the floor of Rift valley consisting of a shallow freshwater and it’s fringed by Acacia woodlands. The woodland around the lake provides habitat for the globally threatened Grey- crested helmet- shrike, which has been recorded here regularly .The lake supports a diverse water bird population. Depending on the water levels it can be a significant site for Red knobbed coot, African spoon bill, Little grebe, many species of ducks and Palaearctic waders also occur in numbers. The lake is also famous with the Fish eagles and the locals mimic their call which can draw them very close for nice photos.
Day 15: Wake up at your own time. You can have a final birdwalk on the lodge’s grounds. Mid-morning we’ll depart for Nairobi. On our way to Nairobi we’ll have lunch at Mlango Farm. While walking through the organic farm you might see some interesting birds. Later in the afternoon we’ll drive to Nairobi and have an early dinner at the famous Carnivore restaurant. You’ll be dropped at the airport for your flight home.