Lizzy

Top 8 Birdwatching Sites In Kenya – Part 2!

A premier birdwatching destination in East Africa are the birdwatching sites in Kenya, and they will not only meet your expectations but exceed them.

Located along the equator, the country has a conducive climate all year long, coupled with two rainy seasons, giving both resident and migratory birds enough to feed and conducive habitats to live and raise chicks.

There are other famous birding sites in Kenya, that most will have heard about, but here I will list some of the not-so-famous sites, but that are equally as important (there are 8 more).

A note is that climate change is wreaking havoc on the country with prolonged periods of drought, leading to water shortage and drying up of habitats.

Other than climate change, many birds such as raptors are suffering a decline due to habitat loss, and a reduction in their food source.

Even if you plan to go bird watching in Kenya, any help to the local conservation sites will go a long way in ensuring that these beautiful birds recover and stay for future generations.

1. Meru National Park


The park sits along the equator, covers an area of 870 km2, has 14 rivers crisscrossing through it, and is located on the Easterly side of Mount Kenya in the Tana River basin.

As you head South towards River Tana the park gets progressively drier, and due to the many rivers in the park, much of it feels like a collection of long islands in between rivers.

These rivers though have lush riverine forests along their upper reaches and open swamp and marsh areas that provide homes for many species of wetland and river birds and birdwatching sites.

Some of the key bird species at Meru National Park include:

  • Black Bellied Sunbird,
  • Green-Capped Eremomela,
  • Buff Bellied Warbler,
  • Madagascar Bee Eater,
  • African Orange Bellied Parrot,
  • Palm Nut Vulture,
  • Saddle Billed Stork,
  • Cheeked Bee Eater,
  • and Eurasian Roller.
palmnut-vulture
Palm nut vulture

The nearest town to the park is Meru town which is 225km from Nairobi city.

From Meru town, take the D484, and 4km before Maua town turn left at the Meru National Park sign.

The park can be quite challenging during the wet season for 2wd vehicles, and also beware of tsetse flies.

2. Saiwa Swamp National Park


Saiwa National Park is the smallest National Park in Kenya with an area of just 3km2.

With more than 370 species of birds, this park has a lot of diversity in a very small area.

Gazetted in 1974, Saiwa National Park was formed as a protected area for the endangered Sitatunga antelope, but it also offers a myriad of habitats from swamps to forests that offer a home for the birds.

Some of the key bird species include:

  • the Red-Headed Bluebill,
  • Grey Winged Robin,
  • Splendid Starling,
  • Mountain Illadopsis,
  • Double Toothed Barbet,
  • Eastern Grey Plantain Eater,
  • Ross’s Turaco,
  • and Buff Spotted Flufftail.
Ross’s Turaco


This green oasis is located in the Northwestern part of Kenya, and to get there, you have to get to Kitale town, the nearest major town to the park.

Take the A1 road from Kitale town to Kapenguria for 18km, turn right at the Kapsaina junction, and go on for about 4.5km on a murram road, then take a left at the sign and go for 500m to the park gate.

The Swamp borders the Sinyerere river and is approximately 6km long, and 600m in the widest section.

The park has a lot of trails crisscrossing it, and vehicles aren’t allowed within.

3. Lake Bogoria


One of the most spectacular lakes on the Great Rift Valley, lake Bogoria, is one of the most alkaline lakes with the Siracho escarpment rising on its East, and hot springs and geysers spread around the flatter Western shores.

With more than 480 species of birds, the lake Bogoria basin provides conducive habitat for the survival of these birds.

The lake is fed mainly by hot springs, the Waseges River, and seasonal rivers Mugun and Emos, and it has no outlet.

The lake is also full of the blue-green algae spirulina which gives it its greenish color.

Some of the key species to be found around the lake include:

  • Greater flamingo,
  • lesser flamingo,
  • Silverbird,
  • pallid Harrier,
  • Lesser Kestrel,
  • Cape Teal,
  • and the Black Necked Grebe.
Pallid Harrier

To get to lake Bogoria, take the B4 road ( Nakuru-Sigor road), and 3.5km before getting into Marigat town, turn right at the signpost for about 19km to get to the Loboi gate, the main gate into the Lake Bogoria National Reserve.

4. Hells Gate National Park


One of the marvels of the rift Valley, Hells Gate National Park was opened way back in 1884 by explorers Thomson and Fischers.

The park is one of the most visited in Kenya and has been the inspiration behind some of the most popular movies such as tomb raider and the lion king.

And a paradise for birdwatching sites!


It was an important breeding ground for the Endangered bearded vulture, and still attracts other vultures like Rüppell’s and Egyptian vultures.

Some of the key species include:

  • the Northern White Shrike,
  • White Crested Turaco,
  • Mottled Swift,
  • Common Buzzard,
  • European Bee Eater,
  • and Siberian Stonechat.

The park is located 100km (62mi) North West of the capital Nairobi and 18km (11mi) West of the nearest major town which is Naivasha.

There are no formal accommodations within the camp other than campsites.

Due to the absence of major predators such as leopards and lions, it is one of the only parks in Kenya where mountain biking is allowed.

5. Gatamaiyu Forest


A part of the larger Kikuyu Escarpment forest, Gatamaiyu forest covers 4,720 hectares of land of which three-quarters is indigenous forest, 8% exotic forest and the rest is scrubland, bamboo, and croplands.

The forest is a Key Biodiversity Area in Kenya, with 39 of the 67 afro tropical highland bird species and the best birdwatching sites occurring here.

The forest is home to some key bird species such as:

  • the Abbott’s Sterling (only found in a few evergreen forests in Tanzania and Kenya),
  • Abyssinian Chrimsonwing,
  • Brown Chested Alethe,
  • Evergreen Forest Warbler,
  • White-Tailed Crested Flycatcher,
  • Black Fronted Bush-Shrike,
  • Fine Banded Woodpecker,
  • and the Mountain Buzzard.


To get to the forest take the A104 from Nairobi, and one kilometer before the town of Kimende, turn left and through the underpass, and take a right at the junction.

Then at the Catholic church take a left and go straight following the electric fence of the forest, cross the Gatamaiyu river and at the top of the next hill take a left and proceed for about 1km to the Gatamaiyu Fishing station.

The forest is surrounded by intensive farming and extensive tea plantations, also beware of elephants within the forest and stinging nettles along the paths and trails.

6. Lake Magadi


Lake Magadi is found at the lowest point of the Rift Valley and is well known for the mining of the mineral Soda Ash.

Lake Magadi is also close to Lake Natron which is an important breeding ground for the lesser flamingo, also due to its highly alkaline nature, the lake is home to the highly specialized and vulnerable lake Magadi Tilapia, and algae.

Some of the species of birds you’ll find around the lake include:

  • Von der Decken’s Hornbill,
  • Taita Fiscal,
  • Grey Wren Warbler,
  • Crimsoned Rumped Waxbill,
  • White Bellied Canary,
  • Banded Parisoma,
  • Northern Crombec,
  • Chestnut Banded Plover,
  • Straw Tailed Whydah,
  • Red Fronted Tinkerbird,
  • Grey Capped Social Weaver,
  • and Grey-Headed Silverbill.


Von der Decken’s Hornbill

To get to lake Magadi, take the Langata Road and then branch off at the Bomas of Kenya Intersection towards the town of Ongata Rongai then Kiserian before branching off into the Ngong Hills.

Then ascend to Corner Baridi before descending all the way to lake Magadi.

The lake and its environs are managed by the Tata Chemicals Magadi company and in case you would like to visit the hot springs pay an entry fee at the Magadi Sports Club reception area.

7. Manguo Pond


Located just along the A104 and just over 1km wide and half as wide and surrounded by human activity, Manguo pond is a seasonal and shallow wetland area.

The pond is divided into three parts, a dry floodplain in the North often used for recreational activities such as football matches, bulrush and marshy areas to the South, and open water to the east.

The pond may on occasion dry out completely, particularly when the rains fail and are full during wet seasons.

Some of the bird species you’ll find include:

  • the Green Sandpiper,
  • Common Morhen,
  • Blacksmith Lapwing,
  • Great Egret,
  • Black-Headed Heron,
  • Common Waxbill,
  • Augur Buzzard,
  • Maccoa Duck,
  • and White-Backed Duck.


To get to Manguo Pond, take the A104, for about 35km from Nairobi town and just after the Limuru overpass you’ll find the pond on your right. The best to visit is during the rainy seasons from April to May and also from October to April when the Palearctic migratory birds are visiting.

8. Kinangop Plateau


Kinangop Plateau and grasslands are at an elevation of about 2400m rising abruptly from the floor of the Rift Valley, with the plateau extending East towards the Southern Aberdares for several kilometers.

The plateau has been farmed extensively and the original swamps and tussock grass have been greatly reduced.

There are remnant forest patches along its Western slopes and the landscape still supports a variety of bird species not easily seen elsewhere.

Some of the key bird species to be found at Kinangop Plateau include:

  • Sharpe’s longclaw,
  • Golden-Winged Sunbird,
  • Jackson’s Widowbird,
  • Long-Tailed Widow Bird,
  • Stout Cisticola,
  • Levaillant’s Cisticola,
  • Nyanza Swift,
  • Black Winged Plover,
  • Augur Buzzard
  • and Grey Crowned Crane.


To get to Kinangop Plateau, take the A104 from Nairobi to Naivasha and at the exit to Naivasha turn right instead, onto the road for North Kinangop and Aberdare National Park.

Most of the land is privately owned, but there are several reserves purchased by a local group Nature Reserve and which offer spectacular birding spots at a small fee.


My Final Conclusion.

I hope that you enjoyed this blog post on 8 less-known birdwatching sites of Kenya!

If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask them below in the comment section or join me on my social media pages or Facebook group for more pictures of African animals or my travels to Africa!

I wish you happy travels!

Kind regards,

Lizzy

4 thoughts on “Top 8 Birdwatching Sites In Kenya – Part 2!”

  1. It good to know that it is so much fun to go bird watching, it may seem board or boring but I believe as you get out into nature and connect with the great outdoors you can watch different birds in their natural habitat as you take into full view their varies shapes, sizes and colors.

    Reply
  2. This is so awesome!

    MY wife and I are looking forward to visiting Kenya next year!

    Thank you for sharing the 8 less-known birdwatching sites of Kenya!

    It’s wonderful to know that bird watching is a lot of fun.

    It could seem dull or uninteresting at first, but I think that as you get outside and interact with nature, you can see various birds in their natural habitat as you fully appreciate them.

    Reply
    • Hi Lorenz!

      I’m so happy for you both that you will visit Kenya next year and I hope that you will have fun watching all of the terrific wildlife of Kenya, including the birds!

      I wish you happy travels!

      Kind regards,

      Lizzy

      Reply

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