Kenya: the Coolest Trip in Africa (Jul-Aug 2013) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Scott Watson.

This custom tour, which basically ran the same as our set departure, was the single most productive tour for birds and mammals I have ever guided! With a bird list of 692 species combined with a mammal list of 66, you would be hard pressed to top this anywhere else in the world in 3 weeks, while still getting a full nights sleep, mid-day time off, and a daily taste of Tusker. Kenya truly is a country of variety. From high elevation moorland, lush savannah, desert thorny scrub, coastal mangroves, and everything in between, it is no wonder we often yield a high species list. I often recommend that if you were to take only one trip to Africa, it should be Kenya. This tour was not timed to get a huge species list, since the European migrants were not present yet, but instead timed to get the most out of the Wildebeest migration in the Masai Mara Reserve. Highlights were plentiful for this tour, and it is hard to peg down and one highlight. Big cats are always a favourite, and they put on a show for sure. Seeing a family of Cheetah feeding on a Thomson’s Gazelle, and then finding Serval and a pride of Lions 20 minutes later was cause for a morning celebration. Then watching a Leopard at a “feeder” in the east was simply too easy. Watching thousands of wildebeest cross the Mara River guarded by 20 foot Nile Crocodiles puts the reality of the food chain in your face. Then, being in the middle of the commotion while the huge African Crowned-Eagle attacked a troop of Blue Monkeys in Kakamega Forest, and finding the rare Sokoke Scops-Owl and weird Golden-rumped Elelphant-Shrew in the coastal Sokoke forest. These are just a few of many great memories.

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