Friday 2 June

: Flight  to Nairobi. Evening transfer to Silver Springs Hotel

Saturday 3 June

: Via Thika and Wajee Camp to Serena Mountain Lodge

Sunday 4 June

: Travelling north to Samburu Serena Lodge

Monday 5 June

: Birding Samburu N.P.

Tuesday 6 June

: Via Meru Forest to Naro Moru River Lodge

Wednesday 7 June

: Visit Mount Kenya Met Station. Onwards drive to Nakuru N.P.

Thursday 8 June

: Birding Nakuru. Onwards drive to Baringo Lake Country Club

Friday 9 June

: Birding Baringo Cliffs and lakeshores

Saturday 10 June

: Via Kerio Valley to Saiwa Swamp N.P. Overnight Kitale Club

Sunday 11 June

: Drive to Kakamega Forest. Overnight in Rondo Retreat

Monday 12 June

: Birding Kakamega Forest

Tuesday 13 June

: Via Kisumu and Lake Victoria to Mara Serena Lodge

Wednesday 14 June

: Birding Masai Mara N.P. Overnight Mara Sopa Lodge

Thursday 15 June

: Birding Masai Mara N.P.

Friday 16 June

: Drive to Lake Naivasha Country Club

Saturday 17 June

: Boat trip Lake Naivasha and birding the lakeshores

Sunday 18 June

: Via Gatamayu Forest and Limuru Pond to Nairobi

Monday 19 June

: Airport transfer and flight home






Friday 2 June

An early rise to catch our flight from Duesseldorf to Amsterdam at 6:25 AM. Arriving in Amsterdam at 7:20 AM we had a couple of hours for breakfast and shopping before our KLM flight to Nairobi left at 10:15 AM. The 8 hour’s flight went without problems and we arrived on schedule at 7:20 PM at Nairobi airport. Going through customs and getting our visa went smoothly and quick. We collected our luggage and walked to the arrivals hall where Joseph was waiting for us holding a big sign with our name on it. After collection some shillings at an ATM we walked to the van where our driver Peter was waiting for us. The traffic in Nairobi was light and the transfer to the Silver Springs Hotel took only 20 minutes. We checked in, dropped our luggage in the room and had our first cool Tuskers in the outdoor bar next to the pool until 10:30 PM.


Day 1: Saturday 3 June

We had an outdoor breakfast at 7:00 AM having our first birds around the pool being Common Bulbul, Pied Crow, Black Kite, African Pied Wagtail and Variable Sunbird. At 8:00 AM Joseph and Peter picked us up for an hour’s drive to Thika, about 50km north-east of Nairobi. At the Thika turnoff we first took a minor road to the left of the main road leading to some ponds surrounded by open woodlands on one side and coffee plantations on the other. We birded this area for about 2 hours and had a very successful session having 34 species. Some noteworthy birds recorded included Three-banded Plover, Malachite Kingfisher, Trumpeter Hornbill, Black-crowned Tchagra, Red-faced Cisticola, Bronze Sunbird, Grosbeak Weaver, Cardinal Quelea, White-winged Widowbird, Yellow-shouldered Widowbird, Holub’s Golden-weaver and African Golden-weaver. Our best find here was a Moustached Grass-warbler sitting in a tree in the open only 10mtrs from our car. We then headed to the Blue Post Inn at Thika and Chania Falls on the opposite side of the main road, and birded the area for about 1½ hours. The activity was a bit slowing down because it was already after 11:00 AM, but nevertheless we had some good birds. Especially the wooded area where the two rivers meet was good producing amongst African Pygmy-Kingfisher, Brown-hooded Kingfisher, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, White-headed Barbet, Spot-flanked Barbet, Black-backed Puffback, Tawny-flanked Prinia and the very nice Grey-capped Warbler. After a soda in the hotel’s garden we headed on at 1:00 PM. After having our packed lunch at a curio shop along the road we headed on to Wajee Nature Camp which is the stronghold for the rare and endemic Hinde’s Babbler. On our way to Wajee we stopped for Augur Buzzard and Northern Pied-babblers sitting on the telephone wires next to the road. Unfortunately we missed the Hinde’s Babbler at Wajee, but we had some other good birds like African Wood-owl, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Southern Black-flycatcher, Cape Robin-chat, Hunter’s Cisticola and Green-headed Sunbird. When we left Wajee it was already 5:00 PM and we arrived at the Serena Mountain Lodge just before dusk. From our room we had a fantastic view on the waterhole in front of the lodge. Apart from several mammals like Waterbucks, Water Buffalo’s and Hyena’s we saw Hadada Ibis and Egyptian Goose. After dinner we checked out the floodlit waterhole again where we saw a Genet feasting on the meat that was put there by the hotel’s staff. In the distance we heard Montane Nightjar calling. Our first day ended up with a list of 91 bird species.


Day 2: Sunday 4 June

The day started at 6:30 AM with some pre-breakfast birding around the lodge. It was a beautiful cool morning with clear skies and lot’s of bird activity. Birds recorded during our walk included amongst Scaly Francolin, Red-fronted Parrot, African Green Pigeon, Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon, White-headed Sawwing, Slender-billed Greenbul, Montane Oriole, White-starred Robin, Brown-capped Weaver, Common Waxbill and Thick-billed Seedeater. Back at the lodge we scanned the area from the upper viewing deck having Marabou Stork, Black-headed heron, Plain Martin, Mountain Wagtail and Cape Wagtail. After having breakfast we packed our things and left the lodge at 10:30 AM. We birded the road down towards the main road near Nyeri making several stops en route. New birds recorded included Long-crested Eagle, Klaas’ Cuckoo, Red-chested Cuckoo, Emerald Cuckoo, Waller’s Starling, Golden-winged Sunbird and Eastern Double-collared Sunbird. Two fairly unusual sightings for this area were a Senegal Coucal and White-eared Barbet. The grasslands along the main road from Nyeri north towards Nanyuki produced several Red-collared Widowbirds, Jackson’s Widowbirds and Long-tailed Widowbirds dancing above the fields with their beautiful long tails. Along this route we also saw Great Sparrowhawk and several Cape Crows. About 30km before the town of Isiolo we had our packed lunch at a curio shop along the road. After lunch we birded the rather dry and open fields behind the shop and had Fischer’s Sparrow-lark, Northern Anteater-chat, Rattling Cisticola, Village Indigobird, Yellow-rumped Seedeater and Somali Bunting. After Isiolo the tarmac changed into a very poor and dusty unpaved track, and the remaining 60km to the entrance of Samburu N.P. took us about 2 hours. We arrived at the entrance gate at about 4:30 PM. Peter opened the pop-up roof of our van, and we started our first safari of the trip heading slowly towards our next lodge called Samburu Serena Lodge. We saw lot’s of mammals and the birding was excellent. We now realized that we were much further north with almost every bird being new for the trip. About 1½ hours of birding produced 37 bird species of which 31 were new for the trip. We had Yellow-necked Spurfowl, White-bellied Bustard, Secretary Bird, Pygmy Falcon, Lichtenstein’s and Black-faced Sandgrouse, Blue-naped Mousebird, Rosy-patched Bushshrike, Speckle-fronted Weaver and Cut-throat just to mention a few. Just before we reached the lodge we spotted a Lioness with four cubs. We arrived at the very luxurious Samburu Serena Lodge at dusk. As every evening I updated my checklist together with Joseph after dinner. Our day total was the highest of the trip with 119 species of which 76 new for the trip. Our trip total after only two days is already at 167 species.


Day 3: Monday 5 June

Today we have the whole day to explore the beautiful Samburu N.P. At 6:30 AM we left the lodge and the activity started as soon as we passed the lodge gate. The drive through the very scenic park was absolutely beautiful with the early morning sun striking low over the savannah woodlands and surrounding mountains. During the first 2 hours of the safari we saw amongst Crowned Plover, Crested Francolin, Red-crested and Black-bellied Bustard, Palm-nut Vulture, Bateleur, Tawny Eagle, African Mourning Dove, Namaque Dove, White-headed Mousebird, Fischer’s Starling, Taita Fiscal, Eastern Violet-backed Sunbird and the ever present Lilac-breasted Roller. We also had 7 different species of weavers. On our way back to the lodge we took a track through the lightly wooded area along the Uaso Ngiro River. Here we had amongst Vulturine Guineafowl, Orange-bellied Parrot, Emerald-spotted Wood-dove, Nubian Woodpecker, Northern Brownbul, White-crowned Shrike, Pygmy Batis and African Grey Flycatcher. As we approached the lodge we saw a beautiful male Martial Eagle perched in a tree right in front of us. Back at the lodge we had breakfast at 9:15 AM and relaxed for a short while at the terrace overlooking the river where an undisturbed male Elephant was eating the long grasses along the river just 5 meters in front of us. We left the lodge again at 10:30 AM and decided to explore the somewhat opener and dryer southern part of Buffalo Springs N.P. to look for Coursers and Kori Bustard. We sadly enough dipped on Coursers, but that was made up by excellent close views of a male Kori Bustard. Some other birds recorded in the area were Yellow-billed Stork, Grey Heron, Sacred Ibis and Spur-winged Plover at a waterhole, and Somali Ostrich, White-headed Vulture, Lanner Falcon, White-bellied Go-away-bird, White-browed Coucal, Pink-breasted Lark, White-browed Scrub-robin and our only Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill of the trip. We were back at the lodge at 1:30 PM, and decided to relax for a couple of hours by the pool. A noisy party of Green Woodhoopoe’s were flying from one tree to another along the river. At 4:30 PM we explored the park on the opposite side of the river. Bird activity was not as prolific as this morning but nevertheless we had some new birds for the trip like Goliath Heron, Red-necked Spurfowl, Grey-headed Kingfisher and Lesser Masked Weaver. After dinner we saw a Crocodile and a spectacular Leopard on the opposite side of the river feeding on the meat that was put there by someone of the lodge staff. Our checklist update showed 89 species for the day of which 47 new ones. Our trip list was now at 214 species. In total the Samburu area produced about 95 new birds with about 45 of them not seen anywhere else on the trip. This proves that Samburu is a must on any birding itinerary.


Day 4: Tuesday 6 June

After an early breakfast we left the lodge at 7:00 AM. While birding en route we reached the southern park gate by 9:30 AM. New birds included amongst Brown Snake-eagle, Eastern Chanting-goshawk and Northern Crombec. During the dusty drive to Isiolo we had Abyssinian Scimitar-bill being new for the trip. At the junction beyond Isiolo we took a left turn towards Meru Forest along the north-eastern slope of Mount Kenya. We arrived at Meru Forest just before noon. We made a nice walk through the forest for about 1½ hours, but the activity was fairly low at this time of the day. Some birds recorded included amongst Little Sparrowhawk, Olive Pigeon, Crowned Hornbill, White-eared Barbet, Cabanis’ Greenbul, Red-winged Starling, White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher and Brimstone Canary.  While driving back towards Nanyuki we had our packed lunch in the car. During the drive we saw a few new ones being Grey-crowned Cranes and Eastern Paradise Whydah, and we stopped for Dusky Turtle-dove sitting on a telephone pole along the road. After a stop on the Equator near Nanyuki we arrived in the Naro Moru River Lodge around 3:30 PM. We first had coffee and a nice cool Tusker on the lawn in front of the restaurant before checking out the lodge surroundings. Joseph tried to call in Narina Trogon but it did not respond. During the walk along the river we noted amongst Hartlaub’s Turaco, Jacobin Cuckoo, Mountain Greenbul, Chinspot Batis, Bronze Sunbird, Tacazze Sunbird and Golden-winged Sunbird. A good find was the rather uncommon Moustached Green-tinkerbird. In the evening we had a nice dinner together with Joseph and Peter. Our total for today ended up at 95 species with 24 new for the trip resulting in a trip list of 238 species.


Day 5: Wednesday 7 June

Apart from Violet-backed Starling and Scarlet-chested Sunbird a short pre-breakfast walk around the lodge did not produce many new stuff for the trip. We had breakfast and left the lodge at about 8:00 AM for our drive to the Mount Kenya Met Station at an altitude of 3046 meters. Again we had marvellous weather and we had superb views of Mount Kenya basking in the morning sun. After about 25km we reached the entrance gate of Mount Kenya N.P. after which the road became pretty steep and narrow at a few sections. We were lucky with the dry weather because the drive up can be very tricky during rains. During our climb up we noted amongst Jackson’s Francolin, Mountain Buzzard, Hartlaub’s Turaco and Long-crested Eagle. When we reached the Met Station we had a walk in the area for about 1½ hours, but despite the good weather the activity was low with only Abyssinian Ground-trush and Black-headed Waxbill new for the trip. Around noon we left the area and drove down back to Naro Moru for our onwards journey to Nakuru. The route through the Aberdares Mountains was very scenic. We stopped in a small village where we picked up a local guide who knew some good birding spots. Our first stop produced a Cape Eagle-owl roosting near a cliff next to some farmlands. A bit further on a small lake surrounded by steep cliffs produced amongst Hamerkop, Black-crowned Night-heron, Giant Kingfisher and Little Rock-thrush. A third stop at a pond gave us African Black Duck which we had dipped on at Naro Moru River Lodge. We headed on and had our last stop at Thompson Falls where we had several Slender-billed Starlings. It was already dark when we entered Lake Nakuru N.P. arriving at the luxurious Sarova Lion’s Hill Lodge at 7:15 PM. We had 66 species today with 16 new for the list. Our trip total now is at 254 species.


Day 6: Thursday 8 June

After a quick breakfast we left the lodge at 7:00 AM having the whole morning to explore the wonderful Lake Nakuru N.P. We first went back to the entrance because we did not receive tickets yesterday because of our late arrival. While driving through the woodlands we stopped several times for wildlife and some good birds like Emerald-spotted Wood-dove, Common Scimitar-bill, Nubian Woodpecker, Rueppel’s Glossy-starling and African Black-headed Oriole. The best bird we had here was a Rufous-necked Wryneck. Arriving at the gate Peter collected the tickets and we drove back towards the lake. The sight of 1.5 million Lesser Flamingo’s was really spectacular and unforgettable. Other birds along the lake’s shore included amongst White-winged Tern, Whiskered tern, Grey-headed Gull, African Spoonbill, Greater Flamingo, Squacco heron, Great White Pelicans, Blacksmith Plover and we also had a short glimpse of a Black Heron amongst the other Egrets and Herons. The game viewing in Nakuru was also excellent having amongst Rothschild’s Giraffe, Spotted Hyena and White Rhino. While driving towards the cliffs on the west side of the lake we noted amongst Secretary Bird, White-fronted Bee-eater, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Arrow-marked Babbler, Grey-backed Fiscal and White-bellied Tit. We then took a track up to a look-out on the cliffs (called baboon cliffs) having superb views of the entire lake beneath us. On the cliffs in front of us we had close views of a Cinnamon-breasted Bunting and a colourful Agami Lizard. Back down at the lake we met up with three Southern Ground-hornbills walking undisturbed along our van with one of them holding a snake in it’s bill. We then followed the track along the lake’s west shore heading to the north of the park having some good birds and a Spotted Hyena who was trying to catch a Flamingo. We stopped for amongst Red-chested Cuckoo, Verreaux’s Eagle-owl, Red-fronted barbet, Brown-crowned Tchagra, White-browed Robin-chat, Mocking Cliff-chat, Grey-capped Warbler and Crimson-rumped Waxbill. We drove back south to the lodge for lunch along the east shore, and left at 2:30 PM for our onwards journey to Lake Baringo. We arrived a bit late at the excellent Lake Baringo Country Club around 5:15 PM because of Peter’s slow driving. In addition it also started raining when we wanted to start our birding, so we missed the chance for our first birds along the lake. The only birds we had was at the feeding table having Brown Babbler, Spotted Morning-Thrush, White-billed Buffalo-Weaver, Golden-backed Weaver and Vitelline Masked-Weaver new for the trip. In the evening we had a nice dinner and afterwards updated our checklist. Counting the birds of today we noted that the birding at Nakuru had been exceptionally good. Our day total was at 106 birds with 40 new for the trip having a trip list now of 294 species.


Day 7: Friday 9 June

Accompanied by Joseph and a local guide we left at 6:30 AM for a walk to the famous Baringo Cliffs. While walking towards the cliffs the local guide showed us a roosting Spotted Eagle-Owl. We walked along the cliffs searching for birds for about 2 hours. We noted amongst Lanner Falcon, Common Kestrel, Pygmy Falcon, White-faced Scops-Owl, Hemprich’s Hornbill, Black-throated barbet, Red-fronted Tinkerbird, Rock Martin, Bristle-crowned Starling, Northern Grey-Tit, Little Weaver, Black-cheeked Waxbill, Purple Grenadier and the beautiful Green-winged Pytilia. Back at the tarmac road Peter was waiting for us in the van. We drove back in the direction of the lake and stopped to look for nightjars in the scrubby fields along the road. We finally found both Slender-tailed and Gabon Nightjar near a cactus fence around a house. Besides that we had Madagascar Bee-eater and White-bellied Canary new for the trip. Before heading back to the lodge we stopped for a breeding pair of the beautiful Heuglin’s Courser in a field along the road. Actually we were too late for breakfast arriving at 10:15 AM but our friendly and helpful waiter had arranged everything for us and served an excellent breakfast. Afterwards we made a short walk around the lodge until noon. Activity was dying down because of the heat but despite that we managed to see some good birds like Woodland Kingfisher, Hildebrandt’s Starling, Fan-tailed Raven, White-crowned Shrike and Beautiful Sunbird. The rest of the afternoon we relaxed a bit around the pool. At 4:00 PM we went to an area called West Bay located about 10km north of the lodge. We birded the area for about 1½ hours but the activity was very low. The only new birds were a Pale Prinia in the dry scrubs, and a Black-headed Plover near the lake. Back at the lodge we made a walk along the lake towards a campsite next to our lodge. The only new bird we found was a Gull-billed Tern. Back at the lodge we watched the opening match of the Football World Cup 2006 in Germany (Germany - Costa Rica 4:2). After a late dinner we updated our checklist while Hippo’s were grazing on the lawn in front of us. I must say that I had expected more from Baringo having 97 birds, 29 new and the trip-list now at 323 species.


Day 8: Saturday 10 June

Today we continued our journey to the western region of Kenya. After breakfast at 7:00 AM we left the Baringo Club. Near Marigat we took the turnoff towards Eldoret through the very scenic Kerio Valley. Just beyond the turnoff we saw a White Helmetshrike sitting on a bush right next to the road. As we arrived in the Kerio Valley we stopped along the road to check out the area. We had quite some good birds here with White-crested Turaco, African Black Swift, Sulphur-breasted Bushshrike and Red-faced Crombec new for the trip. Arriving in Eldoret we stopped to change money at an ATM before heading further towards Saiwa Swamp NP via Kitale. This small park is the only National Park in Kenya which can only be explored by foot. The park is one of the only places in Kenya to see the Sitatunga and the De Brazza Monkey, which we did. We walked the trails and boardwalks surrounding the swampy marsh for a couple of hours and had amongst African Marsh-Harrier, Ross’ Turaco, Senegal Coucal, Black-and-White Casqued-Hornbill, Joyful Greenbul, Luehder’s Bushshrike, Common Wattle-eye, Black-throated Wattle-eye, Snowy-Crowned Robin-Chat, Grey-winged Robin-Chat, Greater Swamp-Warbler, Chubb’s Cisticola, Black-collared Apalis, Yellow White-eye and Fan-tailed Widowbird. After visiting the watchtower overlooking the swamp we went back to the car for our drive back to Kitale. We arrived in the Kitale Club Hotel at 6:00 PM. After dinner our updated checklist showed 58 birds for the day, 21 new for the trip and the trip list now at 344 species.


Day 9: Sunday 11 June

We were picked up by Joseph and Peter at 7:30 AM for our onwards journey to Kakamega Forest. During the drive we had a few short stops looking for birds. We noted amongst Black-shouldered Kite, Brown Parrot, Eastern Grey Plantain-Eater, Angola Swallow and Black-headed Gonolek which were all new for the trip. In Kakamega town we picked up some beers in a bar which is not available in the Rondo Retreat Lodge. We arrived at the wonderfully situated lodge at around 10:30 AM. Our house called Colobus was really outstanding and comfortable with a large veranda, spacious bathroom and a beautifully black-and-white furnished room. We decided to bird the track running along the lodge for a couple of hours until lunch. Despite the late morning hours we had very good birds here including new ones like Grey-throated Barbet, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-billed Barbet, Buff-spotted Woodpecker, Stuhlmann’s Starling, Bocage’s Bushshrike, Northern Black-flycatcher, Green-throated Sunbird, Copper Sunbird and Black-billed Weaver. Back at the lodge at 1:30 PM we had an excellent lunch. In the afternoon we relaxed a bit on the veranda and in the hotel’s garden. While sitting in the garden we saw several Great Blue Turaco’s, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, African Blue-flycatcher and a female Purple-throated Cuckoo-shrike. After watching the first half of the football match Netherlands – Serbia & Montenegro (1:0) we again birded the track along the lodge through the forest but this time the activity was much lower then this morning. Nevertheless we had some good birds like Blue-spotted Wood-dove, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Tullberg’s Woodpecker, Jameson’s Wattle-eye, White-chinned Prinia, Black-crowned Waxbill and the beautiful Red-headed Bluebill.  We arrived back at the lodge around 6:15 PM, had a shower and excellent dinner in the evening. Our day total ended up with 69 birds, 26 new ones and the trip list at 370 species.


Day 10: Monday 12 June

After an early breakfast we headed to the pump-house trail (or Zimmerman’s Grid). A French film-team was shooting a documentary about Kakamega using a helicopter for filming the forest canopy. The birding in the densely vegetated forest was very poor probably because of the noise of the helicopter flying above us. Some birds noted include Yellowbill, Blue-headed Bee-eater, White-headed Woodhoopoe, Brown-eared Woodpecker, Square-tailed Drongo, White-tailed Ant-Thrush, Red-headed Malimbe and Grey-headed Negrofinch. Back at the pumphouse we had White-breasted Negrofinch and a Black-faced Rufous-warbler. Around 10:00 PM we walked back towards the lodge and birded the track along the lodge for a couple of hours. Here we had amongst Shelley’s Greenbul, Common Bristlebill, Pink-footed Puffback, Chestnut Wattle-eye, Equatorial Akalat and a Dark-backed Weaver. Back at the lodge we had lunch at 1:30 PM and relaxed a bit in the garden four a couple of hours, where I had a Southern Hyliota. As soon as we wanted to start our afternoon birding at 3:30 PM it started to rain and we had to change our plans a bit. We stayed close to the lodge by checking out the trail behind the lodge near a small stream but this was unfortunately without success. From 5:00 PM the rain stopped and we tried the track along the lodge again. The forest was pretty quite having only Ansorge’s Greenbul and African Shrike-flycatcher new for the list. Our list update showed us 62 birds, 24 trip ticks and a trip list of 394 species. Another six days to go and we are already closing in to the 400 mark, which was my goal before the trip.


Day 11: Tuesday 13 June

We left the Rondo Retreat at 7:30 AM for our onwards journey to the Masai Mara via Kisumu at Lake Victoria. We left Kakamega via the eastern exit and arrived near Kisumu at around 9:15 AM. Just before entering the city we birded a farmland on the left of the road having amongst Great Egret, African Jacana, Long-tailed Fiscal, Southern Red Bishop and Black Bishop. Arriving in town we picked up a local guide that Joseph had arranged beforehand and we birded the area along Victoria Lake called Hippo Point. We had some good birds new for the list including African Openbill, Dideric Cuckoo, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Swamp Flycatcher, Black-lored Babbler, Carruther’s Cisticola, Red-chested Sunbird, Slender-billed Weaver, Black-headed Weaver and Yellow-rumped Seedeater. The local guide tried to call in Papyrus Gonolek but unfortunately without success. Probably it was already to late in the morning. Nevertheless we left the area having some very nice birds that we did not see anywhere else on the trip. We drove out of Kisumu around 00:30 PM for a very long (five hours) and dusty drive to the Mara. While driving towards the town of Kisii we noted Abdim’s Stork flying overhead. After refuelling in Kisii the roads became really horrible with deep potholes and in some places no real road existing at all. After sharing our lunch box with some local kids we headed further on having Southern Ground-Hornbill, White-browed Scrub-robin and Purple Grenadier along the road en route. At 5:30 PM we finally neared the Mara, and the first sight over the vast plains in the late afternoon sun was really impressive. We entered the park via the Oloolo Gate in the north-western part of the reserve and while driving slowly towards the Mara Serena Lodge we used the last hour of daylight looking for wildlife and birds. We saw amongst Crowned Plover, Wattled Plover, Hartlaub’s Bustard, Martial Eagle, Greater Blue-eared Glossy-starling and Yellow Bishop. It was already dark when we arrived at the excellent Mara Serena Lodge. After a buffet diner we had a nice cool Tusker in the bar and we updated our checklist. Today’s total ended up at 82 birds, 19 new for the trip and a trip list of 413 species. My goal of 400 birds was already achieved and with 5 days remaining I considered every new bird from now as a bonus.


Day 12: Wednesday 14 June

We got up just after first light and enjoyed a beautiful sunrise over the savannah plains below us from the lodge’s bar. At 7:15 AM we left the lodge, and while watching the wildlife and birds we slowly made our way up to the Musiara swamp in the north-western corner of the reserve. During the drive to Musiara we noted amongst Temminck’s Courser, Coqui Francolin, Dark-chanting Goshawk, Fischer’s Sparrow-lark, Short-tailed Lark, Sooty Chat, Rattling Cisticola and Jackson’s Widowbird. Near the Mara River we had two Water Thick-knee. We crossed the Mara River and headed for Musiara swamp. Our main target at Musiara was Rufous-bellied Heron and within 10 minutes we saw three of them. Other birds at the swamp included Black-headed Heron, Little Bittern, Black Crake and African Quailfinch. We headed back to the river and turned back in the direction of the Serena Lodge again. Just before the lodge we took a right on a track that leads all the way to the eastern side of the reserve along the Tanzanian border. New birds recorded en route included amongst Red-necked Spurfowl, Verreaux’s Eagle, Gabar Goshawk, Grey Kestrel, Black Coucal, Giant Kingfisher and Pectoral-patch Cisticola. At the bridge crossing the Mara near the Hippo Pools we had Bare-faced Go-Away-Bird and Chinspot Batis. Arriving in the eastern part of the reserve in the late afternoon the sky turned black and we had some heavy rain for about an hour or so. After the rain stopped we found a beautiful Leopard hiding in an acacia tree. While driving to the Mara Sopa Lodge we noted amongst Shikra, Red-capped Lark, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Tawny-flanked Prinia, and our only African Grey Hornbill of the trip. We arrived at the exceptionally luxurious Mara Sopa Lodge at 6:30 PM. After checking in we had a nice shower to wash all the dust away, and had a beer in the bar. While sitting there a bush-baby (Silver Galago) came into the bar via an opening beneath the roof to collect the food that was laid there by the lodge’s staff. After dinner we updated the list having a day total of 93 birds, 18 new and a trip list of 431 species.


Day 13: Thursday 15 June

After breakfast we left the lodge at 7:00 AM to explore the eastern part of the Mara. We were aware that finding new birds was getting harder by the day as this was our third day in the Mara. Nevertheless we tried our best and besides birds we had some spectacular encounters with mammals like Cheetah’s and Lions. Another spectacular sight was a group of Vultures feasting on the remains of a juvenile zebra. There were five species of Vultures around with the enormous Lappet-faced Vulture being the most dominant. One could really hear them tearing off the flesh which indicated their enormous strength. The other Vultures around were Rueppell’s Griffon, White-backed Vulture, White-headed Vulture and the smaller Hooded Vulture. Other new birds recorded while game driving included Horus Swift, Grey Woodpecker, Rosy-throated Longclaw, Wing-snapping Cisticola and Yellow-spotted Petronia. As we drove back to the lodge around 2:00 PM we had a group of Magpie Shrikes sitting in a low bush along the track. Since it was already late we decided to skip the afternoon game drive and stay at the lodge to relax the rest of the afternoon. My only new bird was a Marico Sunbird feeding on the nectar of the flowers around the swimming pool.

Our day list ended up at 89 birds, 11 new ones and the trip list at 442 species.


Day 14: Friday 16 June

We left the lodge after breakfast at around 8:00 AM for our journey to Lake Naivasha. Again large sections of the road were horrible. The only paved roads we had was a section about 40km outside the Mara until the town of Narok, and the last section before the Nairobi/Naivasha junction. The new road from this junction to Naivasha was still under construction so we had to take the dusty and bumpy track alongside it. It is said that the new road should be open by the end of 2006. New birds recorded en route included Hildebrandt’s Francolin and Black-chested Snake-Eagle. Just before the Naivasha junction we also had another Kori Bustard. The whole journey including two short breaks from the Mara to Naivasha took us about 7 hours and we arrived in the very nice Lake Naivasha Country Club at around 3:00 PM. In the late afternoon we had a short walk to the lakeshore having Eared Grebe, Hottentot Teal and Southern Pochard new for the list. Our day total ended up at 59 birds, 9 new ones and a trip list of 451 species. In the evening we watched the football match Netherlands – Cote d’Ivoire (2:1) in the bar and had a late dinner at 8:00 PM. Wilma was not feeling well and went to bed earlier.


Day 15: Saturday 17 June

Unfortunately Wilma was still very sick and had to stay in bed today. Joseph and Peter picked me up at 8:00 AM and we drove to the Naivasha Lodge for a 2 hours boat-trip. As we walked to the landing stage we had a large group of Grey-backed Shrikes sitting together in a tree. The weather was perfect for a boat trip having sunny weather and almost no wind. The view on Crescent Island was really superb with the contrast of the lake and reeds in front and the wildlife, savannah woodlands and mountains in the back. During the boat-trip we saw amongst Lesser Black-backed Gull, Purple Heron, Little Bittern, Squacco Heron, Red-billed Duck, Ruff, Black-tailed Godwit, Black-winged Stilt and hundreds of Red-knobbed Coots and Great-white Pelicans. Back at the shore we birded the track towards the main road having African Cuckoo, Black Cuckoo and Pearl-spotted Owlet new for the list. I arrived back at the lodge around noon and relaxed a bit until 4:00 PM. We then went to the Fisherman’s Camp on the south side of the lake which was about a 20 minutes drive. We birded the camp for about 1½ hours having new birds like Fischer’s Lovebird, Hybrid Lovebird (fischer’s x yellow-collared), Lesser Swamp-warbler and Buff-bellied Warbler new for the list. We arrived back at the lodge at 6:30 PM and updated the checklist while enjoying a cool beer. The day total came at 90 with 15 new resulting in a trip list of 466 species.


Day 16: Sunday 18 June

After a relaxed breakfast we left the lodge at 8:00 AM for our journey back to Nairobi. Wilma was feeling a bit better now but she still felt weak. We took the new Naivasha to Nairobi road and after about 60km we took a turn-off towards the Kinangop grasslands, a highland plateau which is the stronghold for the endemic Sharpe’s Longclaw. We found the bird within 15 minutes and also had Capped Wheatear here. We then headed further and about 60km before Nairobi we took a side road leading to the highland forest of Gatamayu. The birding was really great here having 38 species within 2 hours and having some excellent new birds for our list like Lemon Dove, Bar-tailed Trogon, Mountain Greenbul, Grey Cuckoo-shrike, White-tailed Crested-flycatcher, Abyssinian Hill-babbler, Evergreen-forest Warbler, Uganda Wood-warbler, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Black-headed Apalis and White-browed Crombec. We arrived back at the van  around 1:00 PM and continued our way towards Nairobi. About 15km before Nairobi we stopped to check out  Limuru Pond located next to the main road. We saw several ducks and other water birds having Intermediate Egret, White-faced Whistling-Duck and White-backed Duck new for the list. We had hoped for Macoa Duck here but unfortunately we dipped on that one. Nevertheless we had some excellent birds on our last day of the trip. The whole trip I had hoped for the Bar-tailed Trogon. Seeing it on the last day at close range gave me a very satisfied feeling about the day and also about the whole trip. We arrived at the Meridian Court Hotel at around 4:30 PM and said goodbye to Peter who was not going to bring us to the airport tomorrow. The rooms in the hotel were excellent with a separate bathroom and living room with TV. While I watched the World Cup football Wilma went to bed for a few hours since she was still suffering a bit from her stomach problems. In the evening we had dinner in the hotel’s restaurant. After that I finished my checklist having 62 birds for the day with 14 new ones. Our trip list ended up at a fantastic number of 480 species.


Monday 19 June

After breakfast Joseph picked us up at 8:15 AM. The drive to the airport took about 20 minutes. We said goodbye to Joseph and thanked him for organizing a fantastic trip. Our flight left on schedule at 11:10 AM and went trouble free. In Amsterdam we had our connecting flight to Duesseldorf arriving there at 9:45 PM.


Another excellent trip has come to an end. Hopefully one time we will have the opportunity to return to Kenya doing a trip in the south-east and the coast. We will certainly ask Joseph again to organize it !!!