19 Days Turaco Birding Safari
19 Days: Sweetwaters – Samburu – Bogoria – Saiwa Swamp – Amboseli
Day 01: Nairobi
On arrival at the (J.K.I.A) Airport, you will be met and greeted by our customer service representative and transferred to the luxurious NAIROBI SAFARI CLUB Hotel where you will relax in your air-conditioned suite and ware-out the jet lag. In the afternoon an orientation tour of Nairobi city which will include visiting the ornithological section of National Museums of Kenya for a lecture. Nairobi Safari club, formerly a private club for members only is the ideal place to be. All the rooms in the hotel are suites, six of which are Presidential Suites. Here you can enjoy the clubs sauna, gym, swimming pool, various bars and other amenities. Overnight tonight will be served at NAIROBI SAFARI CLUB.
Day 02: Nairobi – Sweetwaters. After breakfast, depart to the exquisite Sweetwaters Tented Camp in the secluded heart of the Ol Pejeta Ranch and Rhino sanctuary. Built within a private ranch, the camp is a “Rhino heaven” which also supports a wide variety of birds such as Augur Buzzard, Stout Cisticola, Cape Robin Chat, Black Kite, African Harrier Hawk among other highland species. The sanctuary also support large mammals such as elephants, giraffes etc, it is only here that you can have a night game drive at extra cost. 25 of the 30 luxurious tents overlook the water hole and some are built on stilts to offer you a better view. Each luxurious tent comes with en-suite facilities, a patio (verandah) and is set under a thatch roof. A visit to the Chimpanzee sanctuary should not be missed and remember to pack your swimming gear because the camp has a swimming pool, table tennis, board games and satellite television. Lunch will be served at the Camp. Dinner and overnight tonight will be served at luxurious Sweetwaters Tented Camp (BLD).
Day 03: Sweetwaters – Samburu. After an early morning breakfast we depart for Samburu National Reserve by driving north through the high wheat fields of Timau, crossing the equator and then down into the thorny landscape of Samburu country. This area boost of unique bird species as such as Buff Crested bustard, Kori bustard, Chestnut weaver, Golden palm weaver, Golden breasted starlings, Water thicknee, among other. Also unique northern wildlife which are not found in any other part south of equator, here you will find the Grevy zebra, Beisa Oryx, Reticulated Giraffe, Somali Ostrich, the long necked gerenuk, herds of elephants and their predators abound. The life-giving Uaso Nyiro River plays a major role in the ecosystem of this region. Our new home for the next two nights will be at Sarova Shaba Lodge. It’s located high above the banks of the life-giving Uaso Nyiro River in the Shaba Game Reserve (Filming location of the Hit CBS Survivor III, series). Shaba lodge is composed of 85 luxury thatched-roof bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, all of which are facing the river. Each room is furnished with local stone and off-cut timber, a Presidential Suite with a separate bedroom, lounge, and private Jacuzzi is also available, as well as 4 junior suites. The lodge beautifully incorporates the existing natural springs as one of its special features. The 1989 movie “Born Free”, a true-life story of George and Joy Adamson was shot in the Game Reserve and some of the scenes were shot at the lodge. An open-air restaurant over looking the river, swimming pool, curio shop, bars, and it’s location at an oasis make it a perfect base from which to explore the Shaba Reserve, as well as its sister reserve – Buffalo Springs to the west. Overnight tonight will be served Sarova Shaba Lodge (BLD).
Day 04: Samburu. Spend the whole day bird watching trying to come up with a list of 400 different species found in this region. All meals & overnight at Sarova Shaba Lodge (BLD).
Day 05: Samburu – Lake Nakuru. After an early breakfast bid farewell to Shaba as we drive south through Isiolo, crossing the northernmost foothills of Mount Kenya, until we reach Nanyuki town. Heading west we make a brief stopover at Nyahururu Falls, still known to many as Thomson’s falls for its 237ft cascade. After the stopover, we drive southward to our next destination Lake Nakuru. Located in the Great Rift Valley 1750m above sea level, Lake Nakuru is known as an ornithological paradise by birdwatchers because the lake is world famous as the location of the greatest ornithological spectacle on earth, which boasts any where between one and two million lesser and greater pink flamingoes that feed on the abundant algae thriving in the lakes warm waters. It is one of the few parks that have been specifically established (Gazetted) for the protection of birds specifically flamingoes, more than 450 species of birds have been recorded here. The park has also been established for the protection of endangered species such as the rhino and is also home to Columbus monkeys, Leopards, Giraffes, and a variety of plain antelope. Lunch will be served at Lake Nakuru Lodge, which, is situated in the south ecological niche of the park. The lodge with its friendly and competent staff is an oasis of comfort that provides first class customer service and offers commanding views of lesser flamingoes dotted with the greater flamingoes. It blends in perfectly well with its natural surroundings and animals often patrol peacefully close to the lodge adding to its captivating magic. For some R&R “Rest and Relaxation”, the spacious logged and inviting Mamma Nikki’s bar, the cool upstairs Rhino Paddock Cocktail bar overlooking the Lake and the enticing blue pool can be tremendously inviting. An afternoon game drive around the lakeshore will be the main feature for the afternoon, dinner & overnight tonight will be served at Lake Nakuru Lodge (BLD).
Day 06: Lake Nakuru. After breakfast, spend the whole day bird watching and trying to come up with the total list of 450 different species found here. Dinner & overnight tonight will be at Lake Nakuru Lodge (BLD).
Day 07: Lake Nakuru – Lake Bogoria After breakfast, we proceed to the jewel of the Great Rift Valley, Lake Bogoria. Described as the “Most beautiful view in Africa” by Bishop Hannington, the lake is well known for its Hot springs and geysers, which are spread out along its southern shores. The hot sulfur water gushing out of the ground is known to have therapeutic values. These natural spas and their steam are Mother Nature’s version of a bath & sauna. After a relaxing bird walk around the lake, your lunch will be served at Lake Bogoria Hotel. Later in the after you will enjoy an extensive bird walk around the lake and the lodge environs, here we expect to find a variety of species as such as Woodland kingfisher, Northern puff back, White headed buffalo weaver, Rufous crowned roller, African golden oriole, African hoope e.t.c. Our dinner and overnight will be served at Lake Bogoria Hotel (bld).
Day 08: Lake Bogoria – Lake Baringo After breakfast we drive further north to Lake Baringo one of the leading ornithology lakes in East Africa, more than 470 bird species call this area home. We check-in at Lake Baringo Country Club a superb and compact hotel set at the shores of Lake Baringo. Our bird walk today will feature the following rare species e.g. White faced scopes owl, Bristol crowned starling, Goliath heron, Fan tailed raven etc. A relaxing boat ride on the lake will be the feature of the afternoon. Dinner and overnight tonight will be served at Lake Baringo Country Club (BLD).
Day 09: Lake Baringo – Saiwa Swamp Today our birding safari will depart Lake Baringo and drive towards Saiwa Swamp National Park in Kitale, the only exceptional Park in Kenya enjoyed exclusively on foot and birding landmark. Lunch to be served in Hotel at Kitale Town before afternoon bird walk. The birding menu for today will be Great blue turaco, Ross turaco, Ludher’s bush shrike, White capped robin chat, Grey crown crane etc. Dinner and overnight stay at a Hotel at Kitale Town (BLD).
Day 10: Saiwa Swamp – Kakamega Forest.
Depart to Kakamega Forest, covers an area of 240sq.km is a living remnant of the original equatorial rainforest, which once extended from Guinea in the west, to East and Central Africa for a fulfilling and eventful day of birdwatching in this only & unique remaining rain forest with some of very rare and spectacular bird species in the world e g Grey Parrot, Great blue and Black billed turacos, blue headed bee eaters, Turner’s eremomela, Little grey greenbul etc. if one of your ambitions is to experience the enchanting mystery of the jungle,….the melody of singing birds, the breeze whispering trees, the croaking frogs, the rasp of butterflies as they fly on by, the cheeky monkeys as they swing from branch to branch…All meals at Golf Hotel, flanked with 60 self contained standard rooms and 2 standard executive suites. Each room is tastefully furnished with beautifully designed furniture and cheerful big windows to allow maximum light and ventilation, rooms are also equipped with mosquito nets, telephone and a big balcony. For those still wishing to exercise their muscles, a quick game of golf at the Golf club next door, in addition, guests can also play squash, table tennis, pool and other indoor games. Dinner and overnight tonight will be served at Kakamega Golf Hotel (BLD).
Day 11: Kakamega Forest – Lake Victoria A morning lecture on the birds of this small forest which harbour’s over 380 different plant species, 50 of which have traditional medicinal value, some endemic animal species, 400 butterly species and 330 bird species at an altitude of between 1500-1700m followed by a walk to try and identify the available rare species of this equatorial forest. Lunch at Kakamega Golf Hotel followed by a short drive to Lake Victoria where we will do a late afternoon birding around the lake for fresh water birds species e.g. African open bill stork, Swamp flycatcher, Red chested sunbird, Hammerkop, Eastern grey plantain-eater etc. Dinner and overnight tonight will be served at Sunset Hotel.
Day 12: Kisumu – Lake Naivasha. Today after an early breakfast, our safari will be destined for Lake Naivasha, the only freshwater lake in the Rift Valley. From the top of the Rift Valley escarpment, you can see the lake sparkling under the sun thousands of feet below you. The lake is home to a large colony of hippos and it’s also a Mecca for bird watchers and researchers since over 400 different species of birds have been recorded here e.g. Long toed plover, Great white egret, Grey headed gull, Southern pochard, Red billed teal and not mention the Lilly trotter; African jacana. The lake location and wildlife makes it an ideal place for an afternoon boat ride. A visit to the liberating Crescent Island, which is completely undeveloped, wild and free, is one of the few places on earth where you can wander/walk on foot among herds of zebra, wildebeest, gazelle, giraffe and dik diks. There are no predators and no fences so it will be quite a liberating and exciting feeling to walk among the wildlife. Lunch will be served at the tranquil Lake Naivasha Country Club, which has retained its colonial architecture since it was built in 1937 as a staging post for the Imperial Airways flying water boat services from Durban to London. The lodge is built on 55 acres of lakeside green lawns shaded by mature acacias and spreading fever trees. Dinner and overnight tonight will be served at Lake Naivasha Country Club (BLD).
Day 13: Lake Naivasha – Hell’s Gate. After breakfast, a morning bird walk with the aim of viewing birds on the shores of the Lake with a few hours of relaxation before lunch. Afternoon visit to Hell’s Gate National Park, which is breeding ground for vultures in Kenya e.g. Lammergeyer vultures. Dinner & overnight tonight will be served at Lake Naivasha Country Club (BLD).
Day 14: Lake Naivasha – Masai Mara. Today our safari expedition will take us to the jewel of Kenya’s parks, the world famous Masai Mara Game (Wildlife) Reserve. This is Kenya’s number one park and is always on every bird watcher’s and wildlife tourists “Must see list”. Full of life with various types of animals and birds, Masai Mara crown’s the climax of every safari in Kenya. It’s rolling grasslands and acacia savannah have time and again been captured on film with the movie “Out Of Africa” being the most famous. Masai Mara is home to the “Big Five” (Elephant, Buffalo, Lion, Leopard and Rhino) and over 450 bird species as such as Bare faced go away bird, Hooded vulture, Egyptian vulture, Flappet lark, Red necked fowl, White necked raven etc. Apart from the big five, the Masai Mara is most famous for the spectacular annual migration of over a million wildebeest, zebra, gazelle etc from the Serengeti in northern Tanzania crossing the Mara River into Kenya in search of fresh feeding grounds, which takes place in late July or August. During this crossing, hundreds of animals are swept away by the first moving Mara River and other are killed by the ferocious African Crocodiles. This crossing gives true meaning to the phrase “Survival of the fittest”. Lunch will be served at the excellent Mara Sopa Lodge your new home for the next two nights. “Sopa” means welcome in the Masai language and true to its name, the lodge and its staff offer first class customer service and accommodations under a welcoming atmosphere. Set in the Oloolaimutia valley the lodge blends in perfectly well with its surrounding hillside landscape. The 77 rooms, 12 suites, and 1 Presidential Suite are all equipped with en-suite bathrooms, mini bars and elevated verandahs (patios) from which guests can sun bathe, relax and enjoy the view of the valley and it’s resident wildlife and birds. The lodge has direct-dial telephone services, satellite television and video services. P.S don’t forget your swimming costume for a midday or night swim under the star filled African sky After lunch and some time for relaxation, or sunbathing and going for a dive in the pool, your driver/guide will take you for an afternoon game drive in search of the shy and elusive leopard, the solitary and ill-tempered Rhino, lions, buffaloes, and many others. As the sun starts to edge its way dip into the African horizon it will be the perfect opportunity to capture the beautiful Mara landscape on film or video camera. Dinner & overnight tonight will be served at, Mara Sopa Lodge (BLD).
Day 15 & 16: Masai Mara. An early morning birding cum game drive after breakfast will be our perfect start of another unforgettable and memorable birding day in Africa. With picnic lunch en-route you spend your day in Mara Plains trying to identify and record the over 450 species record in this reserve. All meals and overnight tonight will be served at, Mara Sopa Lodge (BLD).
Day 17: Masai Mara – Amboseli. After an early morning breakfast, we proceed to Amboseli National Park via Nairobi for an early lunch at Toona Tree Restaurant, before proceeding to Amboseli beautifully situated beneath the foot of Africa’s highest mountain Mt. Kilimanjaro (5895m), the park is well renowned for its huge herds of elephants and various types of other Savannah wildlife such as Giraffes, Bushbuck’s, Kudu, Warthog’s, Zebra’s and over 425 species of birds recorded here such as White faced whilsting duck, Brown snake eagle, Yellow billed stork, Woolly necked stork, Shikra, Helmented guinea fowl, African cuckoo e.t.c. The snowcapped peak of Kilimanjaro rising above white clouds dominates every aspect of Amboseli and forms a backdrop to an impressive display of wildlife attracted to this location by swamps and springs fed by underground rivers from Kilimanjaro’s melting snow. With an airstrip at Empusel Gate, the park is also home to the Masai people, those tall, brave, and proud nomads who live in close harmony with the environment and the wildlife that surrounds them. Amboseli was the location around which such famous writers like Sir Ernest Hemingway and Robert Ruark tailored their stories of big game hunting in the wilds of Africa. Enjoy a birding game drive en-route, as we arrive in time for your dinner at the Ol-Tukai Lodge, situated deep in the heart of the world famous Amboseli National Park. The lodge is camouflaged in a forest of fever trees, yellow barked acacia trees, palms and well designed cottage style accommodations, which spread out on either side of the main lodge. Each room offers a breathtaking view of the magnificent Mt. Kilimanjaro and the surrounding wetlands. Ol-Tukai lodge blends perfectly well into the African savannah and it will bring out your natural instincts. You can go for a dive in the Acacia tree shaded swimming pool, or for those of you reading enthusiasts, you can read the day away in the well-stocked library with a relaxing view of Mt. Kilimanjaro. After your afternoon game drive you can spend some time in the open-air bar, which is open until the last guest retires, so if you’re the “night owl type” this is the perfect opportunity for you to stay up all night Overnight tonight will be served at Ol-Tukai Lodge (BLD).
Day 18: Amboseli After breakfast it will be the perfect time for photographing the humbling and magnificent Mt. Kilimanjaro the highest peak in Africa. With picnic lunch you depart your lodge for a full day birding section with our eagle eyed birding guide. Please take this opportunity to add a new specie in your birding list. Dinner and overnight tonight will be served at Ol-Tukai Lodge (BLD).
Day 19: Amboseli – Nairobi – Fly After breakfast, we drive back to Nairobi arriving in time for lunch at Pamp Grill Restaurant where you can enjoy some good Italian food. Later early in the evening, a complimentary dinner will be hosted by our company at the world famous Carnivore Restaurant considered “Africa’s greatest eating experience” (if you love barbecue it doesn’t get better than this), and home to the “Simba Saloon” one of the cities most popular night clubs. Thereafter you will be transferred to the airport in time for your International departure flight.