Practically everything in Kenya is photogenic, and this exceptional bird photography tour has been meticulously designed with photography as its focal point. Spanning 14 days, it takes you through Kenya’s premier birding and game parks at a leisurely pace, providing ample time to capture target species. You’ll explore diverse landscapes and habitats, from soda lakes and grasslands to bushlands, savannahs, and rainforests, each boasting its unique array of bird species and other fauna and flora. Anticipate encounters with abundant big game, including numerous rare and distinctive species, enriching this immersive photography experience. Ultimately, the tour aims to foster a deep appreciation for the beauty of Kenya, offering a truly unforgettable birding photography experience.
Our tour starts by travelling north to the raggy, rugged but exceptionally beautiful Samburu National Reserve. Samburu stands renowned as one of Kenya’s premier reserves, celebrated for its impressive array of big mammals and diverse bird species, promising an unforgettable experience. In the ensuing days, we will leisurely immerse ourselves in the surroundings, taking our time to capture exceptional photographs.
Our primary focus will be on observing and capturing images of regional bird species, such as Somali Ostrich, Somali Courser, White-headed Mousebird, Hunter’s Sunbird, Shining Sunbird, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Somali Bee-eater, Stone Partridge, Red-billed Hornbill, Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill, African, Orange-bellied Parrot and Vulturine Guineafowl, among many more.
Where you will be staying: Elephant’s Bedroom Camp
After an early breakfast, we travel to the award-winning and world-recognised Ol Pejeta Conservancy. The lush rolling landscapes scatted with large herds of elephants here are such a joy to see. The birdlife is also terrific, and we will be on the lookout for species such as Red-billed and Yellow-billed Oxpeckers, Fischer’s Sparrow-Lark, Northern White-crowned Shrike, Meyer’s Parrot, and Augur Buzzard. The beautiful Long-tailed and Red-collared Widowbirds in their full breeding plumage are such a pleasure to see and we hope to capture some outstanding displays.
We intend to take our time transecting the conservancy, which will be a short but rewarding stay.
Where you will be staying: Sweetwaters Serena Camp
We will go out birding early in the morning one final time at Ol Pejeta, and then drive to the Lake Nakuru National Park. Acclaimed as the ‘Birdwatcher’s Paradise,’ this is an unparalleled birding location and a highlight of the trip. With over 300+ species found around this magnificent alkaline lake, we will take our time capturing photographs of target bird species such as White-backed Duck, Saddle-billed Stork, Marabou Stork, African Spoonbill, Great Crested Grebe, African Jacana, Black-headed Oriole, Red-chested Cuckoo, Pearl-spotted Owlet, Grey-backed Fiscal, along with numerous amounts of big game found here.
Where you will be staying: Lake Nakuru Lodge
In the morning, we will be visiting Lake Bogoria National Reserve, renowned for its breathtaking volcanic hot springs and an astonishing population of flamingos—often surpassing a million at once! A perfect opportunity to capture some great photos of this mass congregation.
After Lake Bogoria, we will travel a little further north to the exceptional Lake Baringo. Our focus will be photographing species around the captivating Lake Baringo. We will get to venture onto the lake by boat to seek out elusive species, keeping an out for African Fish Eagles while they hunt and vocalize their territorial calls. Additionally, we will be exploring the scrubland and dramatic cliffs encircling the lake, aiming to photograph raptors like the Dark Chanting-Goshawk, Spotted Eagle-Owl, African Scops Owl, Northern White-faced Scops Owl, Shikra, and Verreaux’s Eagle. Other species to look forward to are the Slender-tailed Nightjar, Heuglin’s Courser, Blue-capped Cordon-bleu, D’Arnaud’s Barbet, Black-throated Barbet, Brubru, Grey-headed Bushshrike, Jackson’s Golden-backed Weaver, Northern Masked Weaver, to name a few.
Where you will be staying: Tumbili Cliff Lodge
Kakamega Forest stands as one of the few remaining ancient rainforests in Kenya, boasting an exceptional diversity of birdlife. Formerly a part of the expansive Guineo-Congolian forest that once blanketed Central Africa, Kakamega Forest retains its magnificence, offering a glimpse into the past. Our target species for photography will be the Blue-headed Bee-eater, Great Blue Turaco, Ross’s Turaco and Turner’s Eremomela, but of course, we will be seeing many other species along the way.
Where you will be staying: Rondo Retreat
As Africa’s largest freshwater body and the world’s second-largest lake, it spans Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. Known as the Nile River’s source, this lake hosts well-sought-after bird species like the Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Canary, and Carruthers’s Cisticola, which will be our primary targets. We will also be taking a leisurely boat ride to capture the ever-present African Fish Eagles, along with dashes of colour from Malachite Kingfishers – lookout for hippos!
Where you will be staying: Acacia Premier
During our final days on the tour, you will experience a captivating wildlife spectacle at the Masai Mara. Widely acclaimed not just within Kenya but globally, this park offers an abundance of attractions. From encountering the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and buffalo) and witnessing the awe-inspiring Wildebeest Migration to the fascinating array of birdlife, it is undeniably a paradise for nature enthusiasts and nature photographers.
Expect vibrant birding activities traversing this expansive savannah with species such as Lilac-breasted Roller, Secretarybird, Kori Bustard, Southern Ground Hornbill, Martial Eagle, Tawny Eagle, Rosy- breasted Longclaw, Bare-faced Go- away-bird, Red-necked Spurfowl, being a highlight. Over the next two days, we will journey through diverse habitats within the park, including the Musiara Marsh, the Tanzania border, the reserve’s major rivers, and the scenic Oloololo Escarpment area. Each distinct habitat presents a unique opportunity to seek out different bird species across various sections of the reserve.
Where you will be staying: Basecamp Mara
Slow/medium paced with a few long drives
Easy–on-foot birding at Lake Baringo, Lake Bogoria, Kakamega Forest and Lake Victoria, but nothing too strenuous.
Price above based on a group of 6. Please get in touch if you would like us to make this a private tailor-made tour.
25% deposit needed to secure a place on this tour.
All year round, although prime birding season in Kenya falls during the short rains of November and early December. This period highlights most species in vibrant breeding plumage, featuring captivating display behaviours of whydahs, widowbirds, and bishops. Additionally, it is when numerous Palearctic migrants make their presence felt, so the count will be high. However, if you want to see the wildebeest migration at the Masai Mara, then September is highly recommended.
At Sustainable Birding, our goal is to ensure that every birding holiday we create contributes positively to bird conservation efforts and local communities. Our determination to promote sustainable travel led us to become founding members of Tourism Declares Climate Emergency. As part of this commitment, we have established the world’s pioneering carbon scoring and offsetting framework for tailor-made holidays. Feel free to request us to carbon score your individual trip!
This tour has been designed for you to explore Kenya’s top mammal and birding destinations in just over a week. You will have the opportunity to visit three of Kenya’s Great Rift Valley lakes, trek through the tropical rainforest of Kakamega Forest, discover by boat Africa’s largest lake, Lake Victoria, and culminate your journey at the iconic Masai Mara National Reserve.
The Sustainable Birding Company is a subsidiary of Far and Wild Travel, a tailor-made tour company based in Cumbria, UK. Far and Wild Travel offer sustainable, luxury, tailor-made tour itineraries throughout Africa and around the world.