Best Places for Bird Watching In Kenya
Kenya is one of the best places for bird watching. Why? This magical country is home to exotic and endangered species. This, coupled with the native species that grace the Kenyan air, makes it the prime go-to destination to see these flying and flightless creatures. In 24 hours, you could potentially see 342 species, if not more. Additionally, timing your trip right means interacting with migrant species.
Each part of the country presents an opportunity for bird watching. However, touring the whole country might not be on your bucket list. Luckily, Kenyan parks and conservancies offer the perfect opportunities to interact and photograph unique bird species. Thus, if you are a bit of a ‘bird brain’ looking for an immersive experience with birds, you should plan a trip to Kenya. Just be sure to hit up the following places.
- Arabuko Sokoke National Park. The Arabuko Sokoke National Park is one of the most popular bird-watching places in the country. First of all, you will get a one-of-a-kind experience that combines a birding safari with the natural allure of the coast. Fly down to Malindi, and after checking in, you can head out to the park. It is home to several endemic birds, including The Clarke’s Weaver and the Sokoke Scops Owl. There are over 270 species within the park so bring your good binoculars.
- Lake Baringo. The semi-arid environment known as Lake Baringo is deservingly nicknamed ‘birdwatcher’s paradise. The mixture of cliffs, woodlands, and grasslands creates a charming atmosphere that attracts multiple species to the territory. The bustling sounds of life are signs of Fan-tailed Raven, Brown-tailed Rock Chat, and Mocking Cliff Chats, commonly found in the cliffs. The Spotting Heuglin’s Courser, Jackson’s Hornbill, Spotted Thicknee, and Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse resides in the grassland while the Northern White-faced and African Scops Owls hide in the woodland and scrub areas.
- Lake Nakuru National Park. A trip to bird watch cannot end without passing by the Lake Nakuru National Pak. Why? Because this place is home to 500 species of birds. The lake once attracted significant flamingo populations, but they have moved to other areas within the Rift Valley. However, you can still see some of these majestic pink birds. Additionally, expect to see the Great White Pelican, the Greater Blue-Eared Starling, and the Hottentot Teal.
- Nairobi National Park. For an experience, you will not find anywhere else, be sure to visit the Nairobi National Park. It is the only park within a capital city, and it hosts over 500 species of birds. The park is divided into different habitats promising 200 bird species per day. Keep your eyes peeled for the Grey Herons, African Darters, and Marabou Storks in the seasonal wetlands. The savannah grasslands are home to the Orange-breasted Waxbills and Jackson’s Widowbird. Additionally, the montane forest has the Eurasian Bee-eaters, Blackcaps, and Common Nightingale.
- Masai Mara National Reserve. The Masai Mara National Reserve needs no introduction. It is a vibrant and exciting place with adventure on every corner. It is the most visited reserve in the country and a great place to explore bird species. Over 550 bird species reside here. The shrub and bushy parts of the reserve have the Magpie Shrike, Karamoja Apalis, and Rufous-tailed Weavers. Similarly, the riverine forests host the Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Green-backed, and Golden-tailed Woodpeckers. Finally, hit up the reserve’s grasslands to see the Red-necked Spurfowl, Black-bellied Bustards, and the Crowned and African Wattled Lapwings.
- Lake Naivasha.A visit to one of the most beautiful freshwater lakes will introduce you to more bird species. The area has 400 bird species making it a popular place for birding safaris. Palearctic ducks are familiar visitors thanks to the abundance of food sources. Likewise, the African Fish Eagles depend on the fish population of the lake for survival. You will also spot flamingoes and Basra Reed Warblers. Stay awhile to enjoy a boating trip in the sunset while these unique species fly overhead, filling the air with musical calls.
- Mida Creek. This is one of the lesser-known places in Kenya with fantastic scenery and a chance to interact with bird species. Standing as the hidden gem of Watamu, Mida Creek is home to migrants’ seabirds. It is a locally protected site that invites waders and seabirds to the beach when the tide goes out. The best time to visit would be between September and April to catch the Grey Plovers, Eurasian Curlews, Common Greenshanks, Terek, Marsh, Whimbrel, and Common Sandpipers. These and more species come in good numbers, and you have the chance to photograph them up close as they feed.
Bird watching calls for silence and good equipment. Therefore, when you plan your trip, be sure to pack your good binoculars and bring bird call tools for a fun experience. Also, be patient as birds are gentle creatures that may spook easily. Overall, it is a rewarding experience that gives you a fresh perspective of the world.