INCREDIBLE BIRD WATCHING SITES – FOR A DAY BIRDING TRIP AROUND NAIROBI
Incredible Bird Watching Sites : Nairobi the capital city of Kenya is not only city but a Kenya safari destination with many spots to visit during your business trip, business meeting, international conference and safari. For birders, Nairobi a great city to visit with many options to visit for an incredible day birding trip.
- Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park is a one of a kind protected area “the only national park in the world situated within a capital city”, situated with the perimeters of Nairobi City the capital city of Kenya and lies only 7 kilometers from the city center.
Nairobi national park is an excellent destination for bird watching most especially for birders based or staying in Nairobi, the park covers an area of 117 square kilometers hosting a wide variety of habitats which attract a huge population of birds. These habitats are divided into natural and man-made that are dams, open grassland plains, bush country and rock gorges, riverine woodland and highland forest.
While on a Kenya birding safari in Nairobi national park accompanied by a good resident ornithologist (birder guide) and with a proper birding strategy at hand, you will be able to spot over 520 species of birds. Some of these birds include globally threatened Corncrake, Madagascar Pond-Heron, Lesser Kestrel, Corncrake, Jackson’s Widowbird, Red-throated Tit and the near threatened Shoebill Stork, and Basra Reed Warbler has both been spotted. Regionally threatened species include Struthio camelus, Hieraaetus ayresii, Stephanoaetus coronatus, Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis, Polemaetus bellicosus, Anhinga rufa, Casmerodius albus, Podica senegalensis, and Buphagus africanus among others.
You will also be able to get incredible sights of the Africa big game and wildlife such as Zebras, Elands, Impalas, Heartbeest Lions, Buffalos, Giraffes, Rhinos, Leopards and cheetahs if you are lucky.
- MAGADI ROAD, OLORGESAILIE PREHISTORIC SITE AND LAKE MAGADI
Magadi Road is one of the most outstanding routes within a day’s drive of Nairobi, the 115 kilometers to Lake Magadi is in good tarmac conditions throughout. After leaving the Nairobi uplands the road crosses at the end of the Ngong Hills before dropping down the side of the Rift Valley, the upland grassland habitat of the Ngong Hills transcends into the semi-arid bush country below. During the drive on this route, frequent stops will offer you sights of excellent selection of birds particularly at the seasonal waterholes attracting large numbers of weavers, whydahs and finches.
Olorgesailie Archaeological site is situated to the left 65 kilometers from Nairobi city shortly after Oltepesi, apart from the archaeological interest the site is a birder’s haven hosting a good population of birds such as large flocks of weavers and finches that are attracted to a water bath set next to the rest area and trail around the perimeter. The Olorgesailie Archaeological site is a good site for spotting coursers, larks and Ashy Cisticola.
Lake Magadi is a classic birding site and a Rift Valley soda lake situated in the Rift Valley Escapement and close to Nairobi City, a proportion of Lake Magadi is worked by the Magadi Soda Company but the most part of the lake is totally undisturbed. Lake Magadi hosts a large number of water birds that congregate around the southern edges of the Lake, the pink flamingoes are the most common birds you will spot on the shores of Lake Magadi, other birds include Common Rock Thrush, Northern Wheatear, Vitelline Masked Weaver, Black-necked Weaver, Red-throated Tit, Wailing Cisticola, African Bare-eyed Thrush, Pringle’s Puffback, Zanzibar Greenbul, Ashy Cisticola, Mouse-coloured Penduline Tit, Buff-crested Bustard, Somali Bunting, Tiny Cisticola, Red-fronted Warbler, Swahili Sparrow, White-throated Bee-eater, Magadi Plover, Dimorphic Egret, Gull-billed Tern, Two-banded Courser, Three-banded Courser among others
Lake Magadi is one of the best sites in Kenya to see the Tiny Chestnut – banded plover in Kenya
- GATAMAIYU FOREST,MANGUO POND,LIMURU AND KINANGOP GRASSLAND.
The Gatamaiyu Forest is a part of the larger Kereita Gorest sitting at an altitude of 2200 meters and lieing 55 kilometers north of Nairobi city just beyond Gatamaiyu Village, the forest provides a typical montane habitat and it can be cold and rainy sometimes, Incredible Bird Watching Sites. As a traveler a rain jacket and warm cloths are a must. As a birder, birds to expect in Gatamaiyu Forest include White-headed Wood Hoopoe,Abott Starling,Ayre’s Hawk Eagle,Bar-tailed Trogon, African Black Duck,Hartlaub’s Turaco Chestnut-throated Apalis and Cinnamon Chested Bee-eater among others.
Manguo Swamp (Limuru Pond) is a fairly extensive wetland of water thickly lined with reed along one side, the swamp host large numbers of ducks congregating between October and February. Many birds in the swamp are migrant species such as Pintail, Garganey and Shoveler, Maccoa Duck are breeders along with Red-billed and Hottentot Teal.
The reeds of the swamp hold a good population of herons, crakes and warblers, the boggy margins attracts migrant wanders such as snipe and Green Sandpiper. Large number of swallows which regularly feed over the pond and these include Banded Sand and Plain Martin, Mosque and Grey-rumped Swallows. Other animals which are seen around the pond include sunbirds, Cisticolas and Finches.
Kinangop grassland – lie on the Kinangop Plateau at around 2300 meters above the sea level, at the grassland it can e incredibly windy and cold sometimes of the year. Kinangop grassland is a wide stretch of land bounded by the forests of the Aberdare Mountains and the Kikuyu Escarpment to the south and East. The plains are dominated by the original tussock grasses and swamps, however these have reduced by extensive farming being carried out in the area. Kinangop grassland supports a huge a population of birds that are not easily seen elsewhere, these birds include the most-sought after Long-tailed and Jackson’s widow birds and the endemic Sharpe’s Longclaw.
- Lake Naivasha and Hell’s Gate National Park.
Lake Naivasha is a large freshwater Rift Valley Lake situated about 80 kilometers from north-west of Nairobi City, the lake comprises of floating masses of papyrus which are continually changing the appearance of the lake and also do the fluctuations in the water level. The high water level leads to loss of much of the interesting lakeside vegetation, in turn it produces temporary muddy margins which can be excellent for wading birds.
Lake Naivasha is also invaded by the water hyacinth Eichhornia crassopes Coypu and Louisiana Red Crayfish. Despite the changes Lake Naivasha is still one of the most exciting bird-watching spots in Kenya and near Nairobi, the lake supports a huge population of birds throughout the year more especially during the winter months when good number of palaeactic ducks, waders and terns are present. Other bird species include Goliath Heron, Jacana, Great White Egret, White Fronted Bee-eater and the Saddle- billed Stork among others.
Hell’s Gate National Park is a scenic national park and the only park in Kenya where walking and cycling is permitted, the park’s habitat consist of a number of sheer columnar basaltic cliffers overlooking open grassland and thick bush. Birds in Hell’s gate national park include African Kestrel, Arrow-marked babbler, chinspot, Egyptian vulture, golden-winged sunbird, beareded vulture, verreaux’s eagle, Nyanza Swift, Jackson’s widowbird among others.