Sabaki river mouth, Malindi
A huge estuary just north of Malindi town, where the Athi-Galana-Sabaki River (Kenya’s second-longest river) meets the sea. The Sabaki estuary consists of sandbanks, mud banks, huge sand dunes and marshes. The area is legendary amongst East African birders for rarities e.g. Pacific Golden Plover. Thousands of waders feed on the muddy sand flats at low tide whilst gulls, terns and pelicans can be found roosting on the sandbanks nearer the sea.
Wintering site for Madagascar Pratincole and Kenya’s only established wintering population of Broad-billed Sandpiper. Also White-fronted Sand plover.
Conservation Status – Despite its status as an Important Bird Area, the estuary is unprotected and heavily used and disturbed by people, in particular local fishermen. Soil erosion further up the river’s catchment is seriously increasing silt loads, but the effects of this are unknown. A research centre has been set up by Moi University on the south bank and a researcher from A Rocha Kenya is currently performing monthly bird counts.
Malindi harbour, Malindi
Internationally important for the flocks of roosting terns and gulls.
Sooty Gull, Saunder’s, Lesser and Greater Crested and Caspian Terns.
Conservation Status – unprotected and heavily used for fishing.
Gongoni and marareni, Malindi
Dry Acacia and Commiphora woodland, good for Somali-Maasai biome species, such as those found in Tsavo. Followed by a brief visit to Marareni to look for the Malindi Pipit.
Malindi Pipit, Violet-breasted Sunbird.
Conservation Status – unprotected and threatened by land clearance for farming as the population increases.
Lake Baratum, Malindi
Another freshwater lake surrounded by coastal scrub good for ducks, herons, marsh terns and migrating bee-eaters.
African Pygmy Goose, White-backed Duck, Madagascar Squacco Heron, Carmine Bee-eater.
Conservation Status – unprotected. Surrounding areas are being heavily degraded by farming and the waters are fished by local people.