Kenya - East Africa's Feathered Gems

Kenya bursts with an astounding 1,100 recorded bird species and you will be astonished by their beautiful diversity. Among this number are avian giants like the world’s largest bird, the ostrich, and one of the world’s heaviest birds of flight, the Kori Bustard. On the savannahs you will find stately Secretary Birds, groups of chattering Southern Ground Hornbill, and acacia trees adorned with the nests of Social Weavers. From the miniature Pygmy Falcon to the extremely powerful Martial Eagle, the Kenyan birds of prey will amaze any visitor. Every habitat has its own specialties – Hamerkop, wood-hoopoes, honeyguides, larks, shrikes, Old World warblers, flycatchers and thrushes … these are just a few of the wonderful natural history moments that await those destined for the incredible landscapes of Kenya.

Degree of Difficulty - Three Paws

Moderately Active. May involve some moderate hikes in forests and nature reserves, getting in and out of vehicles and rocking boats, and walking in uneven pavement in archaeological sites, in some cases in extreme weather conditions, heat, high elevation and humidity.

Weather Reports - When To Go

Kenya is located on the Equator. The temperature, therefore, does not vary too much. During our summer months (June through August) it is about 10 degrees cooler, but days will be warm and can reach 80’s and evenings can be cool and can drop to the 40’s in the higher elevations. The rainy season is in April/May (long rains) and November (short rains). However, it does not rain every day, or all day, and rainstorms are quickly followed by brilliant sunshine which makes for incredible photographic opportunities. Wildlife viewing is good year-round, however the migration of zebra and wildebeest follows the following cycle:

  • January – March – southern sector of the Serengeti in Tanzania
  • April – June – central Serengeti in Tanzania
  • July – western corridor of the Serengeti in Tanzania
  • August – October – northern Serengeti and mostly into Maasai Mara in Kenya
  • November – December – returning back to Serengeti in Tanzania and making their way to the southern sector.

Days 1/2/3 USA/NAIROBI

Board your flight to Kenya, via Addis Ababa. Upon arrival next afternoon in Nairobi, you are welcomed with a cheerful “jambo” (hello) by your Classic Escapes naturalist guide and escorted to your beautiful hotel. WINDSOR GOLF HOTEL & COUNTRY CLUB. (Meals Aloft)

Day 4 ABERDARE MOUNTAINS/TREE HOTEL/THE ARK

Drive through rich farmland to the verdant Aberdare Mountain Range. Lunch at the Aberdare Country Club and board land rovers to drive through the forest to your home for the evening – uniquely shaped to resemble an Ark, with superb vantage points for viewing the animals which visit the salt-lick and waterhole, throughout the day and night. Be on the lookout for buffalo and elephant, rhino, forest hog, bushbuck and on occasion lion and leopard. Highland birds include brilliant yellow and black Bagalfecht Weaver, Rufous Sparrow, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu as well as Kenya’s most famed birds – Hartlaub’s Turaco, Crowned Eagle and Crowned Hornbill. THE ARK. (B,L,D)

Days 5/6 SAMBURU RESERVE

Drive towards the great Kenya scrublands looking for Long-tailed Widowbird en route to Samburu. Here in this thorny, xeric landscape are species like Somali Ostrich, Kori Bustard, Crested Francolin and the very excitable Vulturine Guineafowl. Martial Eagles hunt the woodland areas and Pygmy Falcons often sit on exposed perches. As well, a broad green ribbon of trees marks the course of the Uaso Nyiro (Brown) River which provides pools for hippo and sand spits for basking Nile crocodile. A wide gallery forest of acacia, doums palms and tamarind, houses chattering monkeys and Samburu is also rich in wildlife not seen in other parts of Kenya – gerenuk, Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, and the diminutive dik dik. SAMBURU INTREPIDS CAMP. (B,L,D Daily)

Days 7/8 LAKES BOGORIA & BARINGO

Drive west to Lake Baringo, located in the Rift Valley. En route, stop at Lake Bogoria where towering cliffs, dramatic steam jets and flamingos by the thousands create an awesome spectacle. Continue to Lake Baringo where over 400 species of birds have been identified. Two major ornithological attractions are found here: Gibraltar Island, the largest nesting colony of Goliath Herons in all of East Africa; the home of Verreaux’s Eagle, the rare Bristlecrowned Starling, and Hemprich’s Hornbill. Local specialties include the Northern Red Bishop, Little Weaver, and the White-billed Buffalo Weaver. ISLAND CAMP BARINGO. (B,L,D Daily)

Days 9/10 LAKES NAKURU & NAIVASHA

Drive through the picturesque Rift Valley to Lake Nakuru, a shallow alkaline lake with voluminous flocks of both Greater and Lesser Flamingos. Lake Nakuru often turns to pink as the lake fills with flamingos, shorebirds and waterfowl. You may also see leopard resting on the branches of the yellow-barked acacias, rhino, and the Rothschild giraffe. Enjoy lunch and a game run, and resume your drive as you get set to further explore the Rift Valley lakes. Take a boat ride on Lake Naivasha to Crescent Island, a wildlife sanctuary where you can walk and view zebra, waterbuck and several species of antelope. LAKE NAIVASHA SOPA LODGE. (B,L,D Daily)

Days 11/12/13 MAASAI MARA

Drive to the Maasai Mara with endless reaches of acaciadotted grasslands studded with hazy hills. A birder’s paradise, ground dwellers like the Common Ostrich, Secretary Bird, Black-bellied Bustard and Hartlaub’s Bustard are common. The Mara is also one of the best locations in Kenya to observe vultures...from the enormous Lappet-faced and African White-backed Vultures to the Egyptian Vulture. Everything is big in the Mara Reserve, from herds of zebra and wildebeest to the many sizeable prides of lions that nap in the shade. Join in exciting optional activities such as: A balloon safari; a dawn walking safari and hippo pool breakfast. MARA SERENA SAFARI LODGE. (B,L,D Daily)

Days 14/15 MAASAI MARA/NAIROBI/USA

Experience the magic of your last game run this morning before flying back to Nairobi where you’re escorted to the airport for your flights home. (B; Meals Aloft)

OPTIONAL POST EXTENSION TO EASTERN KENYA

Extend your safari with birding in Tsavo National Park and the Mzima Springs area which bursts with an abundance of avian species including: Heuglin’s Courser, Hartlaub’s Bustard, Curly-crested Helmet Shrike and Tiny Cisticola. Continue to Shimba Hills National Reserve and look for the colorful plumage of the Fischer’s Turaco, and the red-belly of the Narina Trogon as it shyly perches in the trees. This is one of the last strongholds of the little “robin of the forest”, the East-coast Akalat and the Sokoke Scops Owl, discovered in 1966. Head towards Malindi Bay where you can find thousands of roosting terns and gulls. Visit the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, the global stronghold for the Spotted Ground Thrush and five other globally vulnerable species.

YOUR JOURNEY INCLUDES:

  • Flight between Maasai Mara and Nairobi.
  • Flight between Malindi and Nairobi on the extension.
  • Superior accommodations throughout as indicated or similar.
  • American breakfast in Nairobi; all meals while on safari.
  • All wildlife viewing by private 4x4 land cruisers, driven by a naturalist driver/guide.
  • Complimentary bottled water in vehicles and during meals.
  • Professional Birding Guide with a minimum of 10 travelers.
  • All applicable hotel and lodge taxes and gratuities for baggage handling.
  • All park entry fees.
  • Complimentary baggage tags and passport wallet.
Prices starting at $6,595. For further booking, date, and pricing info please contact info@classicescapes.

Does not include international or domestic flights. Prices are based on 10 or more travelers, and are subject to change.