Kenya has perhaps the richest mammal fauna on the whole continent. The extensive system of long-protected areas means that nature is both pretty much as it should be within the national parks but also well-habituated to viewers.
But what of Kenya’s rarer and more elusive mammals? Golden-rumped Giant Sengi or Giant Forest Hog, Aardvark or Maned Rat? To see such species you need to visit the right habitats and know where to look! This tour visits three contrasting areas selected to produce a fantastic range of mammals.
East of the Great Rift rise the Aberdares, a highland area that is still largely forested, and which is home to a number of rare and local mammals. Unlike the open plains of many of Kenya’s national parks the Aberdares makes the mammal watcher work much harder! But the rewards are great. We’ll have one night at the famed Ark. Here are impressive Giant Forest Hogs. Other hard-to-see species in the area include Black-fronted Duiker, Lesser Cane Rat and Ochre Bush Squirrel. Elephants provide endless entertainment and Waterbuck and beautiful Bushbuck are common. Spotted Hyenas visit the waterhole in numbers each night and you’ll likely see White-tailed Mongoose and Genets too. Brown Greater Galago and Marsh Mongoose are more rarely seen. At the nearby Aberdare Country Club we’ll look for Mountain Suni, Harvey’s Duiker and the striking Maned Rat, all to the spooky soundtrack of Southern Tree Hyraxes. Other common animals likely to be seen during the day around the park include Eastern Warthog, Striped Ground Squirrel, Grant’s Zebra, Slender Mongoose, Common Impala, Reticulated Giraffe, East African Eland and troupes of the elegant Mount Kenya Guereza.
Famous Tsavo East National Park is all about prime game-watching in a majestic Baobab-dotted savannah-scape. You need do nothing more than sit above the waterhole and watch as herds of Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Zebra, Warthog, Giraffe and Eland come in to drink. Lions, Black‑backed Jackals, Rusty-spotted Genet and Bat-eared Fox can all be seen from the lodge. We’ve every chance of seeing other cat species during our visit including Leopard, Cheetah, and the elegant ear-tufted Caracal. Other mammals we’ll see include Coke’s Hartebeest, Hippos, Gerenuk, Oryx and the beautiful Lesser Kudu. And all that’s before we start the nocturnal activities. Game drives at night in Tsavo are superbly productive. We’ll see African Civet, North African Wild Cat and plenty of Spotted Hyenas and we have seen Serval, Aardwolf and Striped Hyena on night trips here too. Taterils and Grass Rats scurry across the track. Senegal Bushbabies peer at us from Acacia foliage.
The Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, along with some relict coastal forests in Tanzania, form a biome with many unique species. The endemic Golden-rumped Giant Sengi, a curious not-so-little insectivore, buzzes back and forth across the forest tracks and we’ll see Four-toed Sengi too. Daylight will see us admiring Sykes’ Monkeys and the pretty little Zanj Sun Squirrels. Harvey’s Red Duiker are tolerably common, Ader’s is less easy to find, and any of Side-striped Jackal, Ader’s Duiker and Sokoke Dog Mongoose would be a bonus. Once darkness falls Sokoke is alive with Kenya Coast Galagos and Northern Greater Galagos. Rusty-spotted Genets will be seen regularly and we’ll see the tiny Coastal Suni. We’ll have an optional visit to the Pangayambo and Ali Baba Caves where we can see an impressive range of Bats including African Trident, Sundeval’s Roundleaf Bat and Striped Leaf-nosed Bats.
Dates and Prices
31st October - 10th November 2024 (11 days)
* doesn't apply if you're willing to share and a room-mate can be arranged
Optional Night Safaris at Tsavo (two available) are £80 per night per person and in the Arabuko Sokoke Forest (three available) are £90 per night per person.
The minimum group size is 3 and the maximum is 6.
All flights. Accommodation and all meals in Kenya. Services of your leaders. Entrance to National Parks. Please note: Drinks, tips, Kenyan Visas, any optional night drives, and items of a personal nature such as travel insurance, are not included.
After a night in the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel by Nairobi Airport we’ll head to the coast and a three night stay at the Turtle Bay Beach Resort in Watamu. This excellent resort is right by the sea, has a nice swimming pool, and most importantly is close by the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest! In Tsavo East National Park we will be staying in the Voi Safari Lodge where the panoramic views over the game-filled savannah are second to none. The rooms are of a good standard and all have views over those plains! Whilst you can sit and relax around the property and watch the goings on at the water hole below there is a covered hide right by the waterside that allows great photographic opportunities. In the Aberdares we will be stay the first night in the Ark. An extraordinary place with quite a history. The rather unappealing wooden structure of the lodge looks out over a truly wonderful waterhole and everything is designed around viewing at this waterhole. The rooms are pleasant and dining excellent. You are not allowed outside after dark. However you are at the Aberdare Country Club and we’ll spend two nights there enjoying the fine grounds, comfortable rooms and mammal-rich surroundings. All rooms on this holiday are en-suite and have air-conditioning or fans.
Very easy. Always at a relaxed pace and never more than two or three miles each day. Some night walking.
Throughout the tour we will be using safari-converted stretch 4×4 Land Cruisers and everyone is guaranteed a window seat. In Tsavo we will be in these vehicles all the time (no walking) but in both the Aberdares and in the Arabuko-Sokoke we will be on foot at times.
UK return flights are direct from London Heathrow to Nairobi. There is a single internal flight too from Nairobi to Malindi. Add-ons are available from various UK airports*. Other indirect routes from regional UK Airports* are available.
*Some routes may incur a supplement.
On the coast and at Tsavo average maximum daily temperatures are around 28°C. Nights are quite warm with temperatures staying up around 18°C – 20°C. Humidity is generally quite low. We should expect occasional thunderstorms. Much cooler in the Aberdares where night time temperatures can even reach single figures and we are more likely to encounter rain there too!
Contact us to check if there is availability for the number of places you require. Click on the ‘Book this Tour’ button on this page to be taken to the online booking form or contact us and we will send one to you which you can complete and send back to us. You will receive confirmation of your place, and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. This will contain up-to-date health information.