Kenya: Walking in a Birdwatcher's Paradise

by Tony Maniscalco - Date: 2010-11-17 - Word Count: 533 Share This!

In Kenya, walking is highly recommended for visitors who really want to see the country close up, meet the local people, and see wildlife. This is especially true if the form of wildlife you are most interested in is birdlife. Kenya has more than 1070 species of birds, second only to the Congo on the African continent. By comparison, all of North America has about 600 species of birds. So, if bird-watching is your hobby, Kenya is a place where you are going to be able to make some great entries in your birder's book, and probably get some excellent photographs.

Perfect for Novices

You must remember before you head out into the countryside in Kenya, walking in the hot weather, especially in the lower, drier regions, can dehydrate you pretty quickly. Be sure to take along enough drinking water. You will also need a hat, and good walking shoes. For the novice bird watcher, Kenya is the perfect place to start. It doesn't matter what you have seen in books or on wildlife documentaries, nothing is as exciting as seeing your first bee-eaters in their glorious, living colour. There are at least a dozen species of them in Kenya, and on a guided walk you should be able to see at least three or four of them. And what could be more dramatic than watching a group of vultures circling in the sky as the big birds watch for their turn at a kill? As a first-timer, you will find that Kenya lets you get started in bird watching in a big way.

Advance Planning

Before you even leave home for Kenya, walking through some of the information available on-line can be very helpful to people going on a bird watching holiday there. Only a few of the species of birds, such as the Laughing Dove, the African Drongo, and the Grey-headed Sparrow, are found throughout Kenya. The rest of them can be seen only in specific locations. A species' location depends upon food supply, habitat and rainfall. If there are specific species you hope to see on your visit, it's a good idea to check the websites of such organisations as the Bird Committee at Nature Kenya in Nairobi, and the African Bird Club, a division of Bird Club International in Cambridge, UK. They can help direct you to just the right part of Kenya.

Get a Good Tour Leader

Even an experienced birder can have a difficult time identifying all of the species that can be seen in Kenya. Walking amongst so many beautiful specimens and not knowing just what you are looking at can be very frustrating. Therefore, it's a good idea to join a guided walk that is designed especially for birders. If you happen to see other forms of wildlife, so much the better. But your tour leader will be able to take you to the right locations, and also help you identify the rarest of birds. No doubt you will have no trouble identifying an ostrich, a secretary bird or a fish eagle. But you might need some help with the Go-away Bird, the Hamerkop and Fischer'sLovebird. Watch out for the Kori Bustard, which is the heaviest flying bird in the world.

Tony Maniscalco is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Ramblers Worldwide Holidays. They offer over 250 guided group walking holidays in over 65 different countries. While in Kenya walking with Ramblers Worldwide Holidays, you will see scenic locations & landscapes at the best value prices.n
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