+254790706450, info@bovidafricasafaris.com

Kenya Herpetology Safari

KENYA HERPETOLOGY SAFARI

Trip duration

16 days/ 15 nights

The Kenya Herpetology Safari can be combined with The Masai Mara Wildlife Safari.

 

 

The Kenya Herpetology Safari is meant to help every passionate herpetologist enjoy the vast diversity of reptiles and amphibians of Kenya, a gateway to African herpetology. The country hosts over 100 species of amphibians, 4 species of tortoises, 5 species of terrapins, 1 soft-shelled freshwater turtle species, 5 species of marine turtles, 1 species of crocodile, 140 species of snakes and 130 species of lizards. This diversity is highly attributed to the vast ecosystems available in the country.

On this Kenya Herpetology Safari, the first one of its kind, we shall explore some of these ecosystems with a team of herpetology experts who have worked in the country for decades and who understand the species of amphibians and reptiles in amazing detail. A huge species list is guaranteed, but the most exciting part is that this tour is likely to open new knowledge on the taxonomy and physiology of some of the taxa we shall encounter. This is because East African Herpetology is at its peak in this decade; with new species being discovered and described each year.

 

 

DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN KENYA – NAIROBI

Our Kenya Herpetology Safari will start in Kenya’s tourism capital, Nairobi. We shall arrive via the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, where our Tour Leader will be ready to receive us and kick start our journey. We shall then head to our hotel in Nairobi, where we shall check in.

On this day, if we have an early arrival, we may explore local attractions around Nairobi. The city has a national park at its edge, making it one of the most special conservation cities globally. Otherwise, we can relax and enjoy the nice Nairobi weather from our hotel; as we prepare for the Kenya Herpetology Safari.

Night in Nairobi.

DAY 2: NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK

This is Kenya’s oldest National Park, located just 7 kilometres from the edge of the Nairobi city centre, Kenya’s capital city. It forms the start to our very exciting Kenya Herpetology Safari, and we shall hope to pick our first species quite easily. We shall enjoy time in this habitat, composed of wetlands, dry upland forest and typical savannah grasslands.

Local rivers and dams will be sampled for aquatic species. On a few designated walking sites, we shall scan on foot.

Mammals here include African Lions, Leopards, Nile Hippos, Nile Crocodiles, Maasai Giraffes and Common Zebras.

Night in Nairobi.

DAY 3: NGONG HILLS, MAGADI ROAD AND LAKE MAGADI

Our surveys this day will start at the edge of the famous Ngong Hills, quoted in many historical stories, such as Karen Blixen’s works. We shall then head down the Rift Valley into the drier habitats of Magadi Road, with several pre-determined stops to search for local dryland species that are rather easy to find as you descend.

We shall enjoy exploring the vast Lake Magadi area, where we shall be also enjoying the lake’s hotsprings. The lake is always full of birds and we shall get to also learn about the local soda ash/ salt mines. This area is a great highlight on all our Kenya Herpetology Safaris.

Our final stop will be Olorgesailie Museum, one of the most significant prehistoric sites where lots of archaeological work has been done. We shall have a walk around the museum hoping to catch local species that inhabit this dry scrubland.

Later, we start ascending back towards the Ngong Hills. On the way, we shall stop for any new species we encounter.

Night in Nairobi.

DAY 4: LAKE NAIVASHA AND HELLS GATE NATIONAL PARK

This day will be spent enjoying the central Rift Valley area. This is a very interesting savannah habitat; and a great part of our Kenya Herpetology Safari. We shall spend time exploring the woodland area and the Lake Naivasha shores- a fresh water lake in the Great Rift Valley.

We shall scan the savannah around Hells Gate National Park and also explore the local rocky outcrops. Here we are allowed to also scan the habitat on foot and we shall enjoy the local species adequately. Local mammals include Thompson’s Gazelle, Common Eland and Maasai Giraffe.

Night in Naivasha.

DAY 5: KINANGOP GRASSLANDS, ABERDARE NATIONAL PARK – TO MT. KENYA

This is a very ideal highland zone characterized by highland grasslands, alpine moorland, bamboo forest and tropical rainforest. We start in the Kinangop Grasslands, located on a beautiful plateau. Home to some of the best Kenya’s endemics, we shall surely enjoy this area and we may encounter many highlight species on our Kenya Herpetology Safari. Local wetlands will also be sampled.

We shall then explore the highland forest and alpine moorland of the Aberdare National Park. Designated walking areas will also be visited to search for more species.

We shall then proceed to the beautiful Mt. Kenya Forest; where our Kenya Herpetology Safari continues. In the evening, we shall enjoy frogging.

Night in Mt. Kenya.

DAY 6: MT. KENYA

This day will be spent exploring in and around Mt. Kenya, the second-highest mountain in Africa. The forest hosts varied habitats, starting with typical mountain rainforest, then bamboo zone and finally alpine moorland zone. Beyond the alpine zone, there is less diversity and we may choose to spend most of the time on the lower strata. There will be more animals here including local monkeys and antelopes.

We shall enjoy walks in the forest and also scan the local grasslands, neighbouring farms and forest trails. In the evening, we shall scan local wetlands, focusing on swamps and rivers for frogging. Night walks in Mt. Kenya forest are a great part of our Kenya Herpetology Safari.

Night in Mt. Kenya.

DAY 7, 8 AND 9: SUYIAN RANCH

From here, our Kenya Herpetology Safari continues to the dry Northern Kenya; which is one of the best safari destinations in Africa. The wildlife here is special as do the pristine landscapes. We shall enjoy this area with the beautiful Suyian Ranch as our base. Suyian Ranch covers a land area of 43,495 acres; teaming with beautiful animals.

The mighty Ewaso Narok River transects this vast land and supports life for thousands of people and wildlife. Along this beautiful river, schools of Nile Hippos take rest inside the water to cool off during the day. We shall enjoy game drives and nature walks here looking for local reptiles and amphibians.

Mammals here include Savannah Elephant, Gunther’s Dikdik, Leopard, Cheetah, Jackson’s Hartebeest, Cape Buffalo, African Lion, African Wild Dog, Striped Hyena, Reticulated Giraffe, Beisa Oryx, Gerenuk and Grevy’s Zebra.

Nights at Suyian.

DAY 10: SUYIAN RANCH TO MAANZONI RANCH

We shall then cruise back to the Nairobi area and proceed South to the beautiful Maanzoni Ranch. We shall make several strategic stops on the way to tick some additional species; as we build our Kenya Herpetology Safari species list.

In the afternoon, we shall arrive in Maanzoni, a 10,000 acre ranch full of wildlife. The local mammals are mainly herbivores such as Maasai Giraffe, Common Eland and Common Zebra.

Here we shall be able to explore the habitat often referred as the “Athi-Kapiti or Athi-Kaputiei Plains”. We shall enjoy driving and walking around the local grasslands as we scan for local species.

Night at Maanzoni.

DAY 11 AND 12: KIBOKO TO NGUTUNI GAME SANCTUARY AND SAGALA RANCH

After exploring Maanzoni this morning, we shall head farther South to the Tsavo Conservation Area. We shall make a short detour around Kiboko, where a Kenyan endemic species is often easy to find- the Tsavo Dwarf Gecko.

Soon we shall arrive in the heart of the vast Tsavo Conservation Area. This is a dry countryside hosting the beautiful Somali-Maasai Biome. Tsavo forms a great location for our Kenya Herpetology Safaris.

We shall spend this time exploring the 10,000 acre Ngutuni Game Sanctuary. This is a great habitat that hosts many reptiles and amphibians. Local mammals include African Lions, Savannah Elephant and African Buffalo. We shall also explore the nearby Sagala Ranch, and the neighbouring hills.

Nights in Ngutuni or Sagala.

DAY 13, 14 AND 15: TAITA HILLS FOREST, TAITA HILLS CONSERVANCY AND LUMO CONSERVANCY

This area will definitely open a new chapter on our Kenya Herpetology Safari and we hope to tick some very special reptiles and amphibians. There are many unique and endemic species of reptiles and amphibians across the vast Taita region.

Taita Hills Forest is a remnant zone which hosts the Eastern Arc Mountains ecosystem, related to the mountains in Tanzania. This region is a big highlight on our Kenya Herpetology Safari. We hope to tick a good number of the local specialties here.

In the evenings, we shall enjoy night walks and game drives for more nocturnal species.

1 night in Wundanyi; 2 nights in LUMO or Taita Hills Conservancy.

DAY 16: TAITA TO NAIROBI

On this day, we shall drive slowly to Nairobi as we search for more species enroute. In the afternoon, we shall take an airport transfer marking the end to our lovely Kenya Herpetology Safari.

 

 

Highlight reptiles

Nile Crocodile, Pancake/Flat Tortoise, Helmeted Terrapin, Somali-Maasai Clawed Gecko, Tsavo Dwarf Gecko, Mt. Kenya Dwarf Gecko, Alpine Meadow Skink, Kilimanjaro Five-toed Skink, Kibonoto Forest Lizard, Mt. Kenya Alpine Meadow Lizard, Southern Long-tailed Sand Lizard, Speke’s Sand Lizard,

East African Highland Grass Lizard, Black-lined Plated Lizard, Yellow-throated Plated Lizard, Blue-headed Tree Agama, Elmenteita Agama, Ngong Agama, Taita Hills Blade-horned Chameleon, Mount Kenya Hornless Chameleon, Mount Kinangop Alpine Chameleon/Aberdare Mountains Dwarf Chameleon, Mount Kenya Side-striped Chameleon, Nile Monitor Lizard, Voi Wedge-snouted Worm Lizard,

Mount Kenya Worm Snake, Parker’s Worm Snake, Kenya Sand Boa, Central African Rock Python, Cape Wolf Snake, Chanler’s File Snake, Mole Snake, East African Shovel-Snout, Kenyan Striped Skaapsteker, Kenya Bark Snake, Jackson’s Centipede Eater, Eastern Small-scaled Burrowing Asp, Taita Hills Purple-glossed Snake, Smith’s Racer,

Spotted Bush/Wood Snake, Jackson’s Tree Snake, Boomslang, Green Mamba, Black Mamba, East African Garter Snake, Forest Cobra, Black-necked Spitting Cobra, Puff Adder, Rhombic Night Adder, Kenya Montane Viper, Mount Kenya Bush Viper, Kenya Horned Viper

Highlight amphibians

Kerinyaga Toad, Marbled Snout-Burrower, Bocage’s Burrowing Tree Frog, Delicate Leaf-folding Frog, Mountain Reed Frog, Silver-bladdered Reed Frog, Senegal Kassina, Peter’s Foam-nest Frog, De Witte’s River Frog, Kinangop Dainty Frog, Common Ornate Frog,

Kinangop Puddle Frog, Mahnert’s Rocket Frog, Edible Bullfrog, Cryptic Sand Frog, Taita Hills Warty Frog, Red-banded Rubber Frog, Northern Clawed Frog, Taita Hills Caecilian, Sagalla Caecilian

Habitats covered

Savannah, Wetlands, Semi-arid Scrubland, Highland Forest, Dry Upland Forest, Alpine Moorland, Montane Grasslands

Photographic opportunities

Excellent

Special moments

Mt. Kenya, the Great Rift Valley, African Big Game, Kenya’s Endemic reptiles and amphibians