Gatamaiyu Forest Birding Safari Destination in Kenya : Gatamaiyu Forest lies North of Nairobi-Naivasha, this is about an hour’s drive from Nairobi city. Gatamaiyu Forest is a remnant tract of the forest included within the Kikuyu Escarpment Forest that covers an area of 37,620 hectares (376.2 square kilometers) other forest blocks that form Kikuyu Escarpment Forest includes the Kereita, Kinale, Kamae, Kieni, Raggia, Kijabe then Uplands.
The Gatamaiyu Forest covers an area of 4,720 hectares (47.2 square kilometers), it is known as the forest safari that is 75% indigenous forest, 8% is exotic forest and the rest is the scrublands, bamboo and also the herbaceous croplands. Much of the forest was logged in the 1950’s and 1960’s but it has recovered well since then, then the trees in the forest are quite tall, and most of the bird species are high in the canopy, birding around the camp site is very good as the many forest edge species can be seen closer to the ground there, Kenya Safari.
Gatamaiyu Forest Birding.
Gatamaiyu Forest is one of the Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA) in Kenya, with about 138 species of birds in and around the forest, of which 31 are forest specialists and 20 are considered rare, at least 39 of the Kenya’s Afro tropical highlands biome species occur in the Gatamaiyu forest.
Birding safari in the Gatamaiyu forest starts immediately as you exit the highway, as the bird lover will be able to spot the African Stonechat, perching in the bushed next to the road, Augur Buzzard soaring high up in the clear blue sky, and feisty duets of Hunter’s Cisticola on the tea plantations along the newly tarmacked road to the forest. The Golden-winged sunbird may be seen on Lion’s flower, Black sawing/Roughwing flying low catching insect and White-eye Slaty Flycatcher perching on the fencing poles.
The eleven species of sunbirds may be seen in the Gatamaiyu Forest such as the Tacazza, Malachite, Eastern and Northern Double-collared, Variable, Olive, Golden-winged, Bronze, Scarlet-chested, Green-headed sunbirds. Gatamaiyu Forest Birding Safari offers amazing bird watching inside forest is done on foot along the nature trail by the bird lovers that makes the Gatamaiyu forest a prime birding safari destination in Kenya. As well Gatamaiyu forest is a home to the globally threatened Abbott’s Starling, the smallest of the starlings with a shrinking home in a few evergreen forests in Kenya and Tanzania.
Gatamaiyu forest restricted-range bird species includes the Jackson Francolin, Hunter’s Cisticola, as a significant number of the regionally-threatened bird species like the African Green Ibis, Ayres’s Hawk-Eagle, Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk, African Crowned Eagle, Red-chested Owlet.
Other bird species that can be spotted in the Gatamaiyu forest includes White Stork, Abdim’s Stork, Augur Buzzard, Long-crested Eagle, Tambourine Dove, Olive pigeon, Bar-tailed Trogon, Black kite, African Harrier-Hawk, Little Sparrowhawk, Eurasian Bee-eater, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Lemon Dove, Red-eyed Dove, Red-fronted Parrot, Hartlaub’s Turaco, Africa Emerald Cuckoo, Scarce Swift, Speckled Mousebird, Crowned Hornbill, Silvery-cheecked Hornbill, Moustached Green Tinkerbird, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Fine-banded Woodpecker, Cardinal Woodpecker, Bearded Woodpecker, Red-rumped Swallow, Mountain Greenbul, Cabanis’ Greenbul, Common Bulbul, Black-fronted Bush-Shrike, Black Saw-wing, Yellow-whiskered Greenbul, Slender-billed Greenbul, tropical Boubou, Black-backed Puffback, White-starred Robin, Ruppell’s Robin-Chat, Brown-chested Alethe, Olive Thrush, African Hill Babbler, Grey Wagtail, Black Cuckoo-shrike, Grey Cuckoo-shrike, Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla, African Paradise flycatcher, White-bellied Tit, Collared sun bird, Brown Woodland Warbler, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Grey Apalis, Black-throated Apalis, Willow warbler, Chin-spot Batis, White-browed Crombec, Pied Crow, Montane Oriole, Eurasian Golden, Yellow-bellied Waxbill, Grey-headed Negrofinch, Abyssinian Crimson-wing, Amethyst sunbird, Thick-billed Seedeater, Streaky Seedeater, Yellow-crowned Canary, Montane White-eye, Brown-capped Weaver, Olive sunbird, Northern Double-collared sunbird and many others.
Not only that the birding safari is the one and only activity that takes place in the Gatamaiyu Forest, the forest also is a safari destination with a variety of the animal species that includes the African elephants that are occasionally encountered at the Gatamaiyu forest where they normally come for the mineral salt lick, wandering from the main Aberdares National Park, the animal species that can be viewed on the safari to the Gatamaiyu includes the Sykes’s Monkeys, Giant forest Hogs, Black and White Colobus Monkey, Common Duikers, Mount Kenya Kolb’s Monkey, Bush-babies, Porcupines, Mongoose, Civets, Bush ochre Squirrel and many others.
The Gatamaiyu forest also encourages the fishing safari, that is the nature trails in the forest are well maintained and suitable for the walking to any age group, the forest offers amazing location for the fishing enthusiasts or the fly fishers, as the Gatamaiyu River is well established with a fine-looking rainbow trout fish, a popular game for the fly fishers, the river has good pools, rapid, fantastic waterfalls that provide a tranquil to fish in peace and quiet. There are 8 kilometers stretch of the river well stocked with the rainbow trout, enough for everyone to make a catch, the rainbow trout love an unperturbed atmosphere.
Gatamaiyu forest plays an important role as a catchment area for the many rivers and springs, and the most of the rivers and streams like the Gatamaiyu, Bathi, Kiruiru, Nyanduma start from the forests, typically flowing south-easterly before joining up to form part of the Athi River.