Trip Report: Kenya: The Coolest Trip in Africa (Nov 2019) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Charley Hesse. This was a set-departure tour.

Kenya offers a wide variety of landscapes and habitats with a corresponding long list of bird and mammal species. We started this tour in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, and the Nairobi National Park where we saw dancing Grey Crowned Cranes and an amazing 9 species of cisticola in a day, with the bizarre backdrop of the city’s skyline. We dipped down the Magadi road into very dry scrub with a totally different set of species like Fischer’s Sparrow-Larks & Cut-throats. From Nairobi we drove to the foothills of Mt Kenya and in the lush montane forest saw the huge Crowned Eagle and verdant Hartlaub’s Turaco. Next, we visited the Aberdares NP and explored the alpine moorland where we saw the huge Jackson’s Francolin and endemic Aberdare Cisticola. At the bizarre Ark Lodge, we saw Giant Forest Hog, plus genets and galago at night. We dropped down from the highlands into the great rift valley and explored Lake Nakuru and Lake Naivasha with their myriad of water birds. The boat ride at Lake Naivasha was particularly good for photography. On to Lake Baringo with its amazing local guides who have many great birds staked out including owls, nightjars and coursers. Another boat ride produced White-backed Night-Heron and Northern Carmine Bee-eater. At Kakamega we explored the lush forest and found specialties like turacos, robin-chats, batises and the African Broadbill. At Lake Victoria we had a third boat ride on the way to Maasai Mara where we finished the tour in style with amazing Leopard, Lion and Cheetah sightings. The natural wonders of this country shown to us by our wonderful local driver/guides produced a truly memorable trip.

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