Bikes & Birds at Brackenhurst


Brackenhurst Birdwatching

Around ten years ago, Brackenhurst began an intensive indigenous forest restoration project. As such, the bird list around the grounds has jumped from about 30 resident species to well over 140.  Possible species on your walk around Brackenhurst include 12 different sunbird species including the sought after Golden-winged Sunbird, as well as the near endemic Hunter’s Cisticola, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill and many more.

Brackenhurst, in conjunction with African Birding Safaris, is now offering guided bird walks around the extensive Brackenhurst grounds, the surrounding forests and short excursions to the wetlands around Limuru (Manguo swamp etc.).  Our guides have years of guiding experience and are passionate about birds.

Some other highlights include:

-        Cape Wagtail

-        Tacazze Sunbird

-        African Green Pigeon

-        Blue Headed Coucal

-        Yellow-Bellied Waxbill

-        Melanistic Augur Buzzard

-        Chestnut-Throated Apali

-        Speke’s Weaver

-        Red Faced Cisticola

You can expect to see between 40 – 50 species on a good morning walk.

Brackenhurst Bicycle Tours

Explore the beautiful landscapes around Brackenhurst Conference Centre on one of our fantastic Giant Talon 29er mountain bikes. Brackenhurst and the surrounding tea fields and forests host a number of international and local mountain bike races throughout the year – a testament to the standard of the cycling trails in the area. We offer idyllic riding for everyone, from complete beginners to advanced cyclists, with everything from a leisurely pedal to high adrenaline technical trails! You may choose to set out on a self-guided tour or enlist one of our trained guides, who can offer expertise on the nature and history of the area — as well as show you some of their favorite trails.  We offer a scheduled weekly guided ride, guided rides on-demand and individual bike rentals (per hour).

Tea Farm Bicycle Tour & Lunch

Enjoy a scenic bicycle ride to Kiambethu Tea Farm. Learn the history and importance of tea to Kenyan culture whilst being guided through one of the most beautiful and historic tea plantations in Kenya. Enjoy a four course lunch with drinks out in the countryside before returning to Brackenhurst.

Brackenhurst Botanic Garden

An organisation called Plants For Life International is working to restore forest in the Brackenhurst valley and hilltop that was previously planted with exotic plantation species. Since November  2000, 4 acres of cypress & pine and 27 acres of eucalyptus & wattle have been felled and replanted with native plant species. In order to restore native forest, we have planted a wide range of forest species: pioneer tree, bryophytes (including tree ferns), orchids, Ensete (forest monocots up to 7 m high), herbs, scramblers, climbers, lianas and under-storey grass. Plants For Life has planted about 80 000 plants since 2001. Seed comes from trees, and shrubs are collected from degraded forests or forest reserves all over East Africa, but mainly in Kenya above 1500m. We try to replant at about 4-5 acres a year but plant more if funding suffices.

By 2030, Plants for Life aims to have 20 hectares of mature, planted indigenous forest on the Brackenhurst property that is protected from deforestation and that will serve as a model  for a reforestation and ecological restoration project. In addition our vision is to have created the largest and most important botanic garden and arboretum in East Africa comprising rare and threatened indigenous trees from upland Kenya. Brackenhurst Botanic Garden is a registered botanic garden with Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) and a founding member of the Ecological Restoration Alliance (KEW Gardens, UK)


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