Why go to Kenya
Kenya is one Africa’s finest gems, showcasing a massive array of diverse wildlife.
Much of Kenya falls within the Great Rift Valley, but this is only one of its many attractions. This country has many world famous national parks (most boasting the Big 5), fertile highlands, scorching deserts, mountains, pristine beaches and marine parks too. It also boasts a variety of ethnic groups of which the Masai with their intricate beadwork and striking red robes are probably the most well known. The great migration is probably the most graphic example of Kenya’s fame. Annually literally hundreds of thousands of Wildebeest, Zebra and other plains game migrate across the great savannah’s of the Serengeti and cross into the Mara in a seemingly never ending stream of wildlife. This exceptional natural phenomenon is world renowned and the sight is absolutely awe-inspiring.
Where to Go in Kenya
Located in Southern Kenya, in the Great Rift Valley. The Mara offers wildlife in such variety and abundance that it is difficult to believe: over 450 species of animals have been recorded here. You will easily see lions, rhinos, hippos, crocodiles, giraffe, wildebeests, zebras, buffalo, warthogs, hyenas, jackals, wild dogs, buffalo, leopard, many kinds of antelopes and elephant. It is in the Mara that perhaps the most spectacular event of the natural world takes place. This is the annual migration of millions of wildebeest and zebra from the Serengeti (Tanzania) in search of water and pasture. Following on their heels are the predators of the savanna- lion, cheetah, wild dog, jackal, hyena and vultures.
Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National park is one of the most popular wildlife sanctuaries in Kenya. It is situated close to Kenya. It is situated close to Kenya- Tanzania border, The Park lies at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa (5,896m) whose snow-capped summit presents a splendid view on clear days. Amboseli National Park is often referred to as “The home of Elephants’ some of the largest Elephant herds are found here.
Tsavo National Park
Made famous by the man eating lions of Tsavo, now home to numerous prides and an abundance of animals. Close to the coast which is perfect for those that would like both a beach and a bush holiday. Kenyas largest park, divided into two, Tsavo East and Tsavo West. Tsavo West: This park was famed for its large herds of elephant covered in red dust and fine scenery. We visit the scenic Lugards Falls, Mudanda Rocks (attracts elephants in the drier season) and Aruba Dam. Tsavo East: The landscape is flatter and drier, despite having one of Kenya’s largest rivers flowing through the middle. Much of the wildlife is concentrated on the Galana River, which has plentiful crocs and hippos. Likewise, Kudus, waterbucks and dik-diks are common along the river banks
Samburu National Park
Has more game per square kilometer than any other park. The light and vast openness creates a lonesome panoramic beauty and the permanent water supply acts like a lure for the abundant species found here. The region is home to the uncommon Grevy’s zebra with huge fury ears, gerenuk antelope standing on hind legs to feed, Somali ostriches with distinct blue legs and the shy Oryx. Elephant and crocodile are guaranteed sightings, excellent bird watching with numerous varieties of weaverbirds and the martial eagle. Leopard sighting is also a special feature here.
Lake Nakuru National Park
Lake Nakuru’s claim to fame is anchored on its flamingo’s and the over 400 species of birds found here. The lake itself is a soda lake on the floor of the rift valley. The sight of the at times millions of flamingos is quite spectacular. From a distance the lake appears ringed in pink. The Lake has also earned a reputation as an important haven for endangered species- particularly the Rothschild Giraffe and the black and white rhino. Lions, waterbuck, buffalo and baboons are all residents here.
Also known as the Jade Lake because of its green colour. Home to huge pods of hippo and home to close on 20 000 Nile Crocodile. The greatest concentration of crocs anywhere in the world.
Africa’s greatest freshwater lake. The lake is so huge that it has its own weather system. Fleets of white sailed dhows fish for the Nile perch, which can reach the size of a fully grown shark. Lake Victoria is a lake of the largest: The most enormous tropical lake in the world and the greatest fresh water lake in the whole of Africa; one of the continents biggest lakes Lake Victoria is equal to the size of Ireland. Fortunate to have such magnificent liquid beauty, Entebbe’s Lake Victoria is home to an abundance of animals that love to frolic on the shore.
Mount Kenya is Africa’s second highest mountain at 5,199m and the highest of all Kenya Mountains. Mount Kenya is roughly circular, about 60km across at the 200mm contour, where the steep font hills rise out of the gentler slopes of the centered highlands. After the cultivated farmlands on the lower slopes of Mt Kenya, the trails pass through the rain forest, rich in trees of many species but noticeably camphors, then onto a bamboo zone growing to heights of more than 12m or more up through open moor land before reaching the moonscape of higher slopes. The forests on Mount Kenya are rich in wildlife including elephant, buffalo and monkeys with even the moor lands offering a long list of mammals including the rock hyrax, the nearest living relative of the elephant. Mt. Kenya is an ancient volcanic mountain much older than Mt. Kilimanjaro. Hiking Mount Kenya is believed to have once reached well above 600m. What is left today is volcanic plug which erosion has fashioned into the complex jagged outline of the central peaks.
In the northern range of Kenya’s coast, is a group of tranquil islands where life is appreciated at its own relaxed rhythm. The islands’ major town of Lamu enjoys the status of a world heritage site for its unique arrangement of coral stone houses, narrow winding streets and a largely intact Swahili culture
When to go to Kenya
Kenya has an extremely temperate climate despite its close proximity to the equator. It generally has daytime temperatures of about 20 – 25 degrees Celsius (68 – 77 degrees Fahrenheit), but the mountainous regions can be a lot cooler, while the coastal areas quite humid.
There are two rainy seasons in Kenya, the long rains of March and April and the short rains of October through to December. During both rainy seasons, the park roads can become fairly impassable and of course the mosquitoes will be out in full force. For game viewing the dry season is the best as this forces the animals to congregate at waterholes, which ensures that sightings during certain times of the day will be guaranteed. From June to October the annual wildebeest migration takes place , with thousands of animals streaming into the Masai Mara National Reserve from the Serengeti in July and October . During the long rains from March – end of May , the low season things are much quieter and you can get some good deals , this is also true during the short rains from October to December. For updated weather forecasts across Africa, please visit www.africanweather.net
Kenya National Parks
Masai Mara National Reserve:
The Masai Mara Reserve is in southwest Kenya about 280 km west of Nairobi and is named after the traditional inhabitants of the area, the Masai. It borders the Serengeti to the south. The terrain is primarily open savannah grassland that is in places broken up by rocky outcrops, small valleys and clumps of acacia trees and some forest around the rivers. There are 3 main rivers, Sand River (seasonal), the Talek and the Mara. The Talek and the Mara meet in the centre of the park and
continue as the Mara River. It is famous for its cats and of course for the annual migration. Also great for birding, larger animals and plains game.
Mara Naboisho Conservancy is located in Narok South district within the Great Rift Valley and borders the world famous Maasai Mara National Reserve. Naboisho, which in Maasai means “coming together”, is a community driven initiative to create a wildlife conservation and tourism area that supports the livelihoods of the landowners and surrounding communities. The core conservation area for the conservancy comprises of over 200 km2, which is dedicated to wildlife conservation. The highest population of giraffe is found in Naboisho.
The core objectives and benefits of the conservancy are to support the biodiversity conservation and the socio cultural heritage of the region while generating income and jobs for the community using tourism as the economic driver.
Amboseli National Park:
Amboseli is a place of stark contrast. Meaning a “place of water” in Maasai, Amboseli despite its sometimes dry and dusty appearance, has an endless water supply filtered through thousands of feet of volcanic rock from Kilimanjaro’s snow melt. These underground streams converge into two clear water springs in the heart of the park. The endemic dust is volcanic ash which spewed from Kilimanjaro millennia ago. During the dry seasons, a curious feature is the shimmering dry lake bed where false mirages of populated horizons, punctuated by real herds of zebras and wildebeests hover in front of visitors. The principal attraction in Amboseli is its vast herds of elephants within the park. The bull elephants here have some of the largest tusks in Kenya. Plentiful game includes: zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, impala and leopard. Caracal and serval cat can be seen. Birdwatchers can see pelicans, bee-eaters, kingfishers, African fish eagles, martial eagles and pygmy falcons. Amboseli is an important rangeland in Maasai culture. The ranch areas outside the park offer a wealth of game viewing and walking safaris. The Kenya Wildlife Community Service works closely with the local elders to develop eco-tourism attractions which benefit the endogenous communities and protect this fragile eco-system. One of the most popular parks in Kenya, Amboseli offers a wide range of accommodation within and
just outside the park.
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy:
Situated in northern Kenya, Lewa started as a cattle ranch for the Craig/Douglas family in 1924. In 1983 David and Delia Craig gave 5,000 acres of their ranch over to become the Ngare Sergoi Rhino Sanctuary in a partnership with Anna Merz. The programme was so successful that in 1995 the Craig family gave their entire ranch over to conservation and formed the non-profit Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. Situated in the foothills of Mount Kenya, Lewa is today a 62,000 acre private reserve with terrain consisting of forest, savannah grasslands, swamps and semi-desert. The perimeter is almost entirely fenced, for security, but gaps are left in the fences to allow for the movement of the animals. Thanks to the conservation efforts, Lewa is home to the highest concentration of rhino in East Africa. Lewa also protects the endangered Grey’s zebra and the rare Sitatunga (swamp dwelling antelope). Other wildlife include lion, leopard, elephant, cheetahs and over 440 species of birds. The range of activities on Lewa is vast with everything from game walks, day and night drives, bush picnics, horseback riding, camel treks and flights in a biplane on offer.
Laikipia Game Sanctuary:
The Laikipia region is located to the north-west of Mount Kenya, in the Rift Valley province and has been formed from the conglomeration of private and communal landowners. It is in the central highlands and has wide range of landscapes from open grasslands dotted with kopjes, to basalt hills and dense cedar forests. Due to conservation efforts by the local landowners, the area has become a sanctuary for game and is home to come of Kenya’s most endangered animals such as Black Rhino, Grevy’s zebra and reticulated giraffe. On the whole the game here is very plentiful and probably second only to the Mara in terms of density. The lodges in this area are mostly at the higher end and make the most of not being restricted by National Park rules to offer a wide variety of activities, such as camel safaris, horse riding and mountain biking.
Meru National Park:
Meru is located in central Kenya, 320 km north-east of Nairobi and is one of the lesser visited parks in Kenya. Terrain is riverine forest, savannahs with long grass and lush swamps. The wildlife is present but due to a high rainfall vegetation is dense, so it’s harder to spot than in other parks/reserves. The park has diverse eco-systems, the western half gets the majority of the rainfall, but the eastern half is generally dry and can be extremely hot. This is a specialist park for those that want to taste real Africa and are willing to get that from the stunning scenery and feel rather than on animals or culture alone.
Samburu National Reserve:
The three reserves Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba all share a life blood with is the Ewaso Nyiro River. This great water course runs through this desert landscape bringing some stunning views and great concentration of animals around it. The animals include some rare species and all the cats that you can see in the better known parks such as the Mara. Samburu is also home to the Samburu people who provide a glamorous backdrop to an already beautiful area. The huge wide open spaces mean that the human element can be a problem and so there has been a recent move to shift high end lodges out of the park to the fringe regions.