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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Kenya: Birding in Africa's Top Safari Destination (1 Viewer)

I did a month long study abroad course as an undergrad on the Masai Mara Game Reserve, unfortunately BEFORE I ever became a birder. Still smarts this day to think of all the birds I didn't notice or wasn't able to ID.

Definitely hoping to revisit Kenya, but Kenya isn't a cheap destination, at least compared to places like Ecuador or Panama.
I did a month long study abroad course as an undergrad on the Masai Mara Game Reserve, unfortunately BEFORE I ever became a birder. Still smarts this day to think of all the birds I didn't notice or wasn't able to ID.

Definitely hoping to revisit Kenya, but Kenya isn't a cheap destination, at least compared to places like Ecuador or Panama.
Definitely not the cheapest destination in Africa, but I'd say it's worth every penny. Most of the birding was easy, amazing mammals (obviously) and wildlife that was so used to people that more than once we thought that some birds would land on our hands if we stretched them out in the game drives, and this was all without any sort of feeding stations like in the Neotropics.
Photos of May 17 & 18
  • Von der Decken's Hornbill
  • Vulturine Guineafowl
  • Golden-breasted Starling
  • Reticulated Giraffe
  • Red-and-yellow Barbet
  • Cut-throat
  • Rock Monitor
  • Kirk's Dik-dik
  • African Bush Elephant
  • Gerenuk


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Kenya trip reports are so exhausting to read as the birds just keep coming and coming and coming!

Sounds like you had a terrific trip Luis. I look forward to the rest of it.

Kenya trip reports are so exhausting to read as the birds just keep coming and coming and coming!

Sounds like you had a terrific trip Luis. I look forward to the rest of it.

And the only time the birds "slowed down" the mammals took over and made sure you never had a moment to rest!
  • May 21 (Lake Baringo)
This morning was our full day in Baringo and it began by searching the last of the night birds we would see on this trip, the birds in question were Slender-tailed Nightjar, Northern White-faced Owl and Grayish Eagle-Owl. Adding to that a pair of Three-banded Courser and and a pair Senegal Thick-knee later in the day and you quickly learn that the local guides in Baringo know the appeal of these nocturnal species and before greeting us each morning, they locate where the birds might be roosting for an easy and time-saving experience.​
After locating the roosting birds, we moved on to the mixed flocks and these provided a couple of species seen in Samburu, but just as many new species for the trip; these included Mouse-colored Penduline-Tit, Northern Crombec, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Red-backed Scrub-Robin and Little Weaver. Once the heat began catching up to us, we moved to a rocky outcrop in hopes of finding the aforementioned Grayish Eagle-Owl, plus the sought-after Hemprich's Hornbill. The former was easy if you were willing to go down a small ravine, but the hornbill would not cooperate, once back on top of the outcrop, Willie began flipping rocks which gave us views of some interesting arachnids and soon we connected with Somali Tit. Driving by a flowering bush gave us the challenge of finding a Shining Sunbird among the larger and more aggressive Beautiful Sunbird; very similar to their convergent equivalent in the Neotropics (hummingbirds), the sunbirds take care of their preferred flower patch and will actively attack anything that gets close to their flowers. Eventually we got fleeting glimpses of the Shining Sunbird before moving back to the hotel but since birds come first, a pair of Dark Chanting-Goshawk in the power poles and a Pygmy Falcon on the wires took our attention for a couple of minutes each.​
Due to the dry, hot climate, we had an extended lunch and nap break, but by 3, those in the group with energy to spare were ready for the afternoon drive that first took us to the waterfront, in this area we found the typical water birds of the region such as Black Crake, Three-banded Plover and Striated Heron, the highlights however came in the form of a Gabar Goshawk foraging to feed its young and a very cooperative male Purple Grenadier (which is probably one of the most underappreciated waxbill species for reasons I can't understand). From there we moved to the cliffs that make parts of the unique landscape around Baringo in search of some amazing targets. Sadly Verreaux's Eagle and Lanner Falcon are no-shows outside of the nesting season, but Mocking Cliff-Chat and Brown-tailed Chat are nice consolation prizes. Other birds of note in the area included Red-headed Weaver and Red-winged Starling.​
The final stop of the day was mostly made in a failed attempt to locate Hemprich's Hornbill, a species that's at the southern limit of their range in Baringo and sadly seems to be on its way out of the area. Willie normally knows where to find a pair or two of this species, but since they are in full breeding mode, taking care of their chicks takes priority over entertaining the visiting mzungus. The area wasn't devoid of bird activity though, as Buff-bellied Warbler gave us the runaround before posing for photos as did an African Black-headed Oriole, and a trio of Cuckoos: Pied, Red-chested and Great Spotted Cuckoo. Soon we were back at the hotel for the checklist and dinner, as well as preparing for a boat ride and a long drive tomorrow.​
  • May 22 (Lake Baringo and transfer to Kakamega Forest)
An early morning boat ride is a must to enjoy all of the potential bird life around Lake Baringo, and this trip did no disappoint. The group was split between two boats and soon we were going around the lakeshore in search of a weaver colony. On the way to the colony we noticed a pair of Bristle-crowed Starling making a nest on top of the AC of one of the hotel's room, the first of many Madagascar Bee-eater for the morning and a Purple Heron, which was personal milestone species as 1,500 in my life list. Once in the colony, we began looking at how different species made their nest and how the structures changed based on the species, there were 5 different species represented here, but the clear highlights were Northern Masked-Weaver and Golden-backed Weaver, two species only readily seen in Kenya in Lake Baringo. From the weavers, we moved to the water birds, Black Crake, Long-tailed and Great (White-breasted) Cormorant and African Darter all gave a show but the clear spotlight needs to be given to a Hamerkop that decided to join a fisherman on his small boat in hopes of scraps.​

Willie bought some fish from the fisherman and soon took us to a small island in the middle of the lake for one last attempt at the hornbill, along the way, we encountered a flock of Northern Red Bishop, plus a nice selection of kingfishers with Woodland, Malachite and Giant Kingfisher all being present, but by far the most numerous was Pied Kingfisher, which were moving around in groups and probably the only time any of us had seen a kingfisher flock! Once around the island we were unable to connect with the hornbill, but seeing a sunbathing Nile Monitor along with good views of Red-fronted Barbet was a nice reward. However, the best part of the show was yet to come as the local guides have trained the eagles of the lake to come in for fish, so once the recently bought fish were thrown into the water and a notification whistle was given, almost as if on cue, an adult African Fish-Eagle came between our boats and picked up the fish before going back to its preferred snag.​
From there we moved to a new part of the lake, this area was sadly reclaimed land due to flooding and while the birds and Nile Crocodiles enjoyed it, it was a bit disheartening seeing so many homes underwater. Around this area, the bird activity was very varied, with Spur-winged Goose, African Swamphen, Little Egret, Squacco and Goliath Heron all making good use of the shallows to forage for food. Once back on land, we said goodbye to Willie, thanked the boatmen and had a quick breakfast before hitting the road.​
Our destination was the Rondo Retreat Centre within Kakamega Forest, this is probably the best available lodging within the area and it has a couple of really sought after species within the lodge grounds that made it a must stop for the trip. On the drive there, we made a stop at a river crossing near Patkawanin in hopes to connect with White-crested Turaco. The bird was very responsive, but not exactly cooperative, in true turaco fashion, it would call just before flying out of the tree it was perched on and once it landed in the new tree, it became a squirrel by climbing from branch to branch until reaching the top and flying out again. Eventually everyone had good view of this beautiful bird and we were on our way, with the other species of note in the area being our only Mariqua Sunbird of the trip.​
On the way to the Centre, we were informed that alcohol could not be sold as it is a Christian retreat, but if you bring your own, the hotel staff will keep it for you, needless to say, a stop was made along the way on a supermarket, as some of the participants were not keen to spend three nights without a little bit of wine. Eventually we arrived to the forest and almost as if to remind us that this is a rainforest, the rain kept us company the whole drive in. Due to the long day and rainy weather, most of the group decided to just unpack prior to dinner, but the hardy birders that stayed outside were greeted with the first views of Kakamega's specialties, these included Mackinnon's Shrike, African Blue Flycatcher and the gigantic Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill. During dinner we were greeted by the hospitality of the region, that's a lot bolder than in the rest of Kenya and for a bunch of American birders, it felt much closer to home! After the checklist we turned in for the night and were told to be up before sunrise to be in the forest when first light it the trees.​
  • May 23 (Kakamega Forest)
At 7, we arrived at the entrance of the Ikuywa River trail with Winston, our local guide for Kakamega, this is an old trail that leads to a small village and throughout our time in the area we were reminded that the communities around here expect the women to be the ones to maintain the home, even if it means going to the forest to collect firewood that was sometimes bigger than them! On the bird front, activity started fast and many species were only seen as flashes of color crossing the road like African Pygmy Kingfisher and Red-headed Bluebill. High up in the canopy we encountered most of the species on the roadside, beginning with easier species like Joyful Greenbul, Sharpe's Drongo, Gray-headed Nigrita and Purple-throated Cuckooshrike. After going down the trail, we were eventually greeted by an understory species in the form of Brown-chested Alethe, this soon turned into a favorite as it was out in the open and we didn't have to risk "warbler neck" for it; other understory species included Black-faced Rufous-Warbler and Black-billed Weaver (seen only by 2 birders). Eventually, we connected with a calling African Emerald Cuckoo, the bird remained on an open snag for everyone to see, but the activity in the trees around it was the big catch as a mixed flock brought in many species we hoping to connect with. Some of the birds seen in this flock included Turner's Eremomela, White-chinned and Banded Prinia, Gray-green Bushshrike, Southern Hyliota, Pink-footed Puffback, Buff-throated Apalis and White-breasted Nigrita. Further down the trail we encountered another flock, this one being mostly represented by weavers and sunbirds, with Forest and Black-necked Weaver feeding alongside Green, Green-headed, Green-throated and Olive-bellied Sunbird. On the mammal front, Red-legged Sun Squirrel, Mantled (Mau Forest) Guereza (Eastern black-and-white Colobus) and Stuhlmann's (Blue) Monkey were the only sightings.​
Back in the van, we drove down to the Pumphouse Trail in hopes to find a few more species for the morning, in a small clearing we had Least Honeyguide, Brown-eared Woodpecker and Petit's Cuckooshrike. As we walk through the trails, we are greeted by White-headed and Black Sawwing overhead, and given a crash course in African forest birding by the spike of greenbul variety, Slender-billed, Joyful, Ansorge's, Yellow-whiskered and Little Greenbul all make an appearance. Alex said you can tell the quality of a forest by how many species of greenbuls you encounter within an hour, if the number is 5 or higher, you are in good forest habitat, and thankfully that seemed to be the case, even in the midday heat. However, we soon were told that we weren't just doing a generic walk to pick up any species like in the river trail, instead we were targeting a member of one of the most sought-after bird groups in Kakamega, the Yellow-bellied Wattle-eye. Kakamega Forest is home to 4 species of Wattle-eye, small colorful passerines found only in the forests of Africa, we had seen Brown-throated Wattle-eye on the walk, but Yellow-bellied is trickier as it is usually found when they set up a new territory and for that, Winston's expertise was greatly appreciated as a lot of bushwhacking was needed before we reached the area where the bird called. Eventually, everyone got good views of it and some even managed to get some record shots, but to call these birds hyperactive would be an understatement and a foreboding challenge for what we had tomorrow. On the walk back to the truck we encountered our last oriole for the trip, Western Black-headed Oriole, and it signaled a great ending for the morning birding.​
After lunch and a nap, only half of the group had the will to do afternoon birding around the lodge due to the rain, but the rewards for those that toughed it out were amazing, with a clear highlight being close-up views of Great Blue Turaco, these ended up being the most common birds we would encounter this afternoon. While waiting out the rain, we scoped out Stuhlmann's Starling and Yellow-spotted Barbet in the canopy, but when the rains eventually gave us a chance and walking through the Centre trails we connected with Gray-winged Robin-Chat, Black Cuckoo and a territorial pair of Yellow-billed Barbet. As light was becoming a desired necessity, we left the trail and went out to the main road, not much was seen except some flyover African Green Pigeon and a pair of Yellow-fronted Canary.​
When doing the checklist that night, I realized that I accidentally saw and photographed an uncommon mammal of Kakamega, the Forest Giant Squirrel, needless to say, I felt bad for not pointing it out at the time, but didn't want to risk flushing the bird we were targeting. The last new mammal of the day however, came in courtesy of some spotlighting around the lodge grounds after dark. We found a confusing mammal that left everyone wondering what it could be due to bad lighting conditions and odd angle/behavior of the animal. The options ranged from a species of Greater Galago to a Potto; but the final verdict was that the mammal in question was likely a Two-spotted Palm Civet, a small feliform usually found in the trees around the Centre but didn't stop us from hoping for a rarer mammal!​
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  • May 24 (Kakamega Forest)​
First stop of the morning involved roadside birding to target Black-billed Turaco, eventually two pairs cooperated, other species in the area included a calling Delegorgue's Pigeon, a trio of Golden-crowned Woodpecker and a cooperative Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill in the canopy and at the lower levels of the forest, we found Mountain Illadopsis, Red-tailed Bristlebill, White-tailed Ant-Thrush and Equatorial Akalat. Things seemed to be going fine for us to move to the next spot until we heard a series of “teew” notes from deep in the trail, there was only one candidate for this call and since we had dipped on it in Mt. Kenya, this was our last chance to connect with it. From there began a game of back-and-forth until we located the bird within the forest, but soon after, it kept moving towards the main road and perched out in the open where we first heard it. At that point the crimson belly, blueish throat and yellow bill were in clear view and everyone cheered for we had just seen an adult male Bar-tailed Trogon!​
Once in the van, we moved to a trail that was pretty muddy courtesy of the cattle being moved through the area but Winston had luck with all of the wattle-eye species here in the past, so into the mud we went. Unfortunately the wattle-eyes were no shows and all we had got from the short but muddy walk was a heard-only Lühder's Bushshrike (normally one of the easiest birds in Kakamega but we would not see it during our stay) and a family unit of White-headed Woodhoopoe that were extremely raucous and territorial.​
We moved to the Forest Station trail and here, the birds seemed to want to make up to us for the last stop, as within 2 minutes into the trail we encountered a pair of Chestnut Wattle-eye, and soon after a trio drab, skulky species decided to pose for photo ops, the birds in question were Brown Illadopsis, Toro Olive-Greenbul and Green Hylia. Other wildlife decided to distract us as we found and keenly observed a Montane Side-striped Chameleon as it climbed through my arm before stopping at my fingers for photos. Eventually, we returned to the birds, and we were rewarded with probably the best views we can ever hope of a male Red-headed Malimbe, easily the most gorgeous weaver in the trip, and it was soon followed by a pair of the equally beautiful Blue-headed Bee-eater. After getting our fill of these birds, we moved to an area that seemed good for Jameson's Wattle-eye, the last one we were missing and probably the number one target for any birder visiting Kakamega Forest. A couple of tries were and finally we got a response, in the end, the bird seemed to have fun mocking us as it showed up just barely above eye level, gave a quick call and then flew to the next spot. This frustrating experience continued and it ended with only some of us getting good views at this beautiful and sought-after specialty, after 40 minutes of trying, the group got tired of a bird teasing us and we began the walk back to the truck. Along the way we heard two more Jameson's Wattle-eye much to chagrin of everyone that didn't get good views, but a skulky Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat was a nice consolation prize before going to lunch.​
With clear skies that could turn into rain at any minute, only half of the group was willing to do the afternoon walk, but this turned was a case that quality was the highest priority as we didn't 20 species in the two hours we hiked, but when you get great views of Vieillot's Black Weaver, Snowy-crowned Robin-Chat, Ross's Turaco and White-spotted Flufftail, you are not really allowed to complain. A pair of photogenic Red-tailed Monkey and some loud Great Blue Turaco provided a nice distraction at times. As the weather was turning, we tried to bird a different trail of the Forest Station, but this soon turned into a fool's errand as the gusts of wind made us worry that a branch could fall on us at any moment. While waiting for Alex to bring the truck, one of us did manage to see a Chubb's Cisticola but the wind prevented the bird from coming out for the rest; similar to the bushshrike, this is normally a gimme bird in Kakamega, but it seems like elsewhere in the trip, we were meant to have good views of the rarities and no chances with the commoner species. We said goodbye to Winston and as soon as we arrived back at the Centre, the skies opened and they did not let up through the night, needless to say, we were all happy with the day we had and arriving safely to the lodging without the worries of wet camera equipment.​
Photos of May 19 & 20
  • Yellow Bishop
  • Golden-winged Sunbird
  • Klaas's Cuckoo
  • African Fish Eagle (Juvenile)
  • White Rhinoceros
  • Eurasian (African) Hoopoe
  • Lesser Flamingo
  • Blue-billed Teal
  • Fischer's x Yellow-collared Lovebird (hybrid)
  • Long-crested Eagle


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Photos of May 21 & 22
  • Verreaux's Eagle-Owl
  • Northern White-faced Owl
  • Three-banded Courser
  • Purple Grenadier
  • Rock Hyrax
  • Golden-backed Weaver
  • Madagascar Bee-eater
  • Hamerkop
  • Goliath Heron
  • White-crested Turaco


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  • May 25 (Lake Victoria and transfer to Maasai Mara)​
Early morning departure from the Centre, has us head southwest to the Kisumu waterfront in Lake Victoria for a boat ride that should give us a number of species we've yet to see for the trip. Traffic sadly doesn't cooperate due to it being a school day and having to drive through big urban areas, but along the way we add some species to the trip, including Northern Black-Flycatcher and Eastern Plantain-eater. Once we arrive in the Kisumu area, we get on the boat and slow but steady ride through the lake allows us to connect with a few water birds we've yet to see like Little Bittern, Water Thick-knee and African Openbill.

The habitat overall feels very degraded at times and outside of Nairobi, Kisumu was probably the most urbanized area we visited in Kenya. Add to that a problem with invasive fish and illegal fishing, and it seems like the outside of the birds, almost every native species within the lake has been misplaced, much to the dismay of the locals as the papyrus floating islands were choking the shoreline without the presence of the hippos to eat them. These papyrus islands however, were the home of some of our main targets and eventually we were able to connect with Swamp Flycatcher, Carruthers's Cisticola, Red-chested Sunbird, Slender-billed Weaver and Black-headed Gonolek. Sadly, due to the rising temperatures, the White-winged Swamp Warbler and Papyrus Gonolek remained solely as heard only for the boat ride; but we were able to connect with our one sighting/flock of Red-billed Quelea for the whole trip! Normally considered a locust with feathers, we were confused as to how it was possible to miss such an abundant bird in the trip so far, but at least we can say we didn't leave Africa without seeing them.

Once on the mainland we spotted a pair of Fischer's Lovebird, which have a dubious origin in Kenya as the only truly wild species are found in Northern Tanzania and elsewhere they are simply considered escapees of the pet trade. The drive from there took us through rice fields, eventually these turned into cattle fields and as we began climbing the Rift Valley, the fields turned into tea plantations. After a quick lunch break, we continued southeast adding Black Goshawk flying over and eventually reached the road to Narok. At this point we were in the last stretch of the drive and almost as if to say you're reaching the Mara, the wildlife began to change, Plains Zebras and Impala were seen on the sides of the road in the conservancy areas, Brown Snake-Eagle decorated the acacia tops while Crowned Lapwing were seen in every roadside puddle; the biggest surprise however was seeing a Kori Bustard fly in front of our truck and we had to hit the breaks fast to avoid collision!​

At the entrance of the Mara we were actually given the hardest challenge as we had to wait inside of the car as Alex did the payment with the windows up to avoid accidentally damaging one of the knick-knacks the Maasai ladies were trying to sell and having to pay for it. Eventually they gave up and went for another vehicle that had the windows rolled down, but the biggest scare of the trip actually came from Alex's cruel joke that we had to drive back to Nairobi as we were denied entry to the Mara due to how late it was! Needless to say we all had a laugh of relief when we realized he was joking and drove to our lodge for the night, Sarova Mara Game Camp, for some rest in the place that the group voted as the nicest stay of the trip. Almost as if to be reminded we are in the Mara, the short drive in had us be greeted by Bare-faced Go-away-bird and Topi, two species that can only be found in Kenya within the Maasai Mara and nowhere else. Lots of rest was needed, because tomorrow we would begin the last leg of our trip in one of the most iconic national reserves in the world!​
  • May 26 (Maasai Mara)​
Departure from the lodge was a bit later than usual, but thankfully this didn't impede animal activity as the windy morning forced most of the birds to hunker down until the winds relaxed. Soon after leaving the lodge, we encountered a small flock of Violet-backed Starling, but the attention soon turned to the seemingly savanna of the Maasai Mara and how many ungulates we were seeing, mixed herds contained Thompson's and Grant's Gazelle, the ever present Impala and the new default herbivore, Topi. While driving through the roads of the Southern section, we were pleasantly surprised by cooperative pairs of Gray-crowned Crane and a flock of over 30 Black-winged Lapwing; other new birds in the area included Wattled Lapwing, White-tailed and Lakatoo Lark. However, you can't be in Mara and not see big cats, and soon enough we found a pair of Cheetah that were popular as they were previously part of a brotherhood that once had five individuals and were able to take down large antelope in their coordinated hunts, sadly these days only these two remain; the other cat seen was a lazy pair of bachelor African Lion that you probably couldn't tell much difference between them and the dirt from how relaxing they with only their backs and belly in full view.​
Once we decided to let sleeping lions lie, I noticed a pair of chunky birds landing nearby, and sure enough, these would turn out to be our only Yellow-throated Sandgrouse for the trip! From there, we decided to go to a nearby airstrip for a needed bathroom break, but on the way there, a stop by a river crossing provided us with views of Fan-tailed and Yellow-mantled Widowbird, the last two widowbirds we needed for the trip, alongside Mosque and Angola Swallow. Once done with the bathroom break, we decided to search for Yellow-billed Oxpecker among the Cape Buffalo herds and soon enough we had 3 individuals giving their best on one of the buffalos and a pair of Red-necked Spurfowl also gave an appearance in the same road we had a Quailfinch foraging without any concern for us.​
As it approached midday, we arrived are the Mara River crossing, one of the most filmed locations in all of Africa courtesy of the wildebeest migration, but also the entry gate to the Mara Triangle, a more pristine and well-preserved region of the Maasai Mara that's been left as close to its natural state as humanly possible in order to see how most East Africa truly was just a few hundred years ago. In crossing itself, we added a new bird in the form of Gray-capped Social-Weaver, but it was the amazingly colorful Mwanza flat-headed Rock Agama the one that stole the show with it's amazing colors. Once on the other side of the gate, we soon located a second pair of Cheetah and a new mammal in the form of a family troupe of Banded Mongoose. However, it was seeing a number of vehicles just waiting in a spot that gave us the hint that something interesting was there and after nearly 20 minutes trying to reach the location, the surprise waiting for us can only be described as amazing. A fully grown male African Leopard was slowly striding towards us, it was the only moment in the trip that I felt like I missed a shot due to being captivated by an animal. The feline was moving at a calm yet swaggering pace, he knew that he was in control of his domain and one view into his eyes was all it took for us to freeze for a couple of seconds before he disappeared into a bush for a nap.​
After that unforgettable encountered that singlehandedly nominated the Leopard as the mammal of the trip, we went to the Kenya/Tanzania border for lunch. We did the whole tourist experience of taking pictures and moving between both countries; but soon we began to move to our lodging for the night as one of our members was feeling a bit under the weather. Unfortunately the birds did not seem to get the memo, as we got some of the best views possible for some species like Black-bellied Bustard and Coqui Francolin, and the most surprising rarity in the form of Abdim's Stork. This African migrant that normally winters in Kenya, but at this time of year it's expected to be further north along the countries that border the Sahara desert, unfortunately the bird was flushed by a fast moving safari truck, following close to the image of a safari, that it's not a big mammal, they stop for nothing.​
Once unpacked in the lodge, the few that had the interest to go back out were soon back in the vehicle and drove back the same road to find the ponds we left behind earlier. On the drive there, the sharp-eyed naturalist in our group spotted a Gray Kestrel in the fork of an acacia and the obligatory stop for a posing Lilac-breasted Roller was made. The ponds themselves didn't provide much in terms of new activity, but a semi-hidden Rufous-bellied Heron was a good sighting. From there we drove over the rolling hills while avoiding the herds of Cape Buffalo, the largest herd numbered over 100 individuals and in their back there was a flock of over 200 Wattled Starling. Bird activity was slow, so our focus quickly shifted to a wandering Spotted Hyena and our first Black-backed Jackal of the trip. The jackal unfortunately was not very cooperative, so we moved closer to where we saw it move and once there, we were greeted with a picturesque image of the African savanna in the golden hour. Open grasslands dotted with acacias and a woodland near the river; mixed herds of different antelopes that were joined by Common Warthog, Plains Zebra and Common Ostrich. A pair of Senegal Lapwing foraged near a family heard of African Bush Elephant and in the wooded area we could see a herd Masai Giraffe foraging as a Flappet Lark did it's mating display over our heads. If this was not the quintessential African savanna, what was?​
Feeling good with the afternoon drive, we drove back to the lodge, only to stop for a pair of Temminck's Courser that were doing their odd running behavior. The sun set just as we drove into the lodge, and after a noisy checklist and dinner, courtesy of the many other guests in the lodge, we went to sleep for the night and hoped that tomorrow was as memorable as today.​
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Photos of May 23 & 24
  • Great Blue Turaco
  • Yellow-billed Barbet
  • Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill
  • Bar-tailed Trogon
  • Red-headed Malimbe
  • Jameson's Wattle-eye
  • African Blue Flycatcher
  • Ross's Turaco
  • Vieillot's Black Weaver
  • Red-tailed Monkey


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Nice trip! I am planning a family trip to Kenya next year, but I am still thinking about hiring a local guide for the whole trip or just contact local people to some selected places. May I ask you, which is the daily cost of local guide like the one you mentioned? Do they also put the car and driver?
Nice trip! I am planning a family trip to Kenya next year, but I am still thinking about hiring a local guide for the whole trip or just contact local people to some selected places. May I ask you, which is the daily cost of local guide like the one you mentioned? Do they also put the car and driver?
The company we used covered everything on the ground for us, this included driver, car, housing, food, water and local guides in the more niche locations.

I can DM you their contact information and if your family isn't composed of birders, then you can ask them to put together a bird and safari trip to the more safari centric areas so your family is never bored.
sorry if you mentioned this but it was unclear to me from the posts. Were you acting as the American guide for this group or were you there as a client?

It’s really whetted my appetite for going to Africa. Hopefully next year.
sorry if you mentioned this but it was unclear to me from the posts. Were you acting as the American guide for this group or were you there as a client?

It’s really whetted my appetite for going to Africa. Hopefully next year.
I acted as the American guide/coordinator for the trip. This trip was done via my local Audubon chapter and they like having one of their own leaders put everything together to ensure the participants know the one who put the whole thing together.
I acted as the American guide/coordinator for the trip. This trip was done via my local Audubon chapter and they like having one of their own leaders put everything together to ensure the participants know the one who put the whole thing together.

Thats cool. It seems like an amazing experience. I’m hopefully doing Uganda next year but I’m already looking at the gazelles and thinking about Kenya

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