Why visit 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. Kenya is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, it’s diverse landscapes, incredible animals and friendly people make it a truly special place. Kenya is the land of the Masai Mara and of wildebeest and zebras migrating in their millions with the great predators of Africa following in their wake. Come eye-to-eye with an elephant in Amboseli; or marvel at Lake Nakuru, flecked with thousands of flamingos. In these sun-soaked lands, ancient tribes, such as the Maasai, Kikuyu, and Samburu, retain their traditional customs, living in relative harmony with the natural world. Kenya has more than 1,000 recorded bird species, including flamboyant crowds of pink flamingos whose massing makes for surreal photographs.
Where to Go in Kenya
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
Palm groves and riverine forests create the magnificent landscape of the Samburu National Reserve. The wildlife is plentiful here for the same reason – dozens of species of plains grazers and browsers gathering in the thick acacia and doum palm forest along the river banks to drink and seek shade. On the large mammal front, Samburu is the key area for seeing all of Kenya’s northern varieties of plains game – the strikingly large, ‘pin-striped’ Grevy’s zebra, stretch-necked gerenuk antelope (often seen on its hind legs, browsing out of the reach of its short-necked relatives) the smartly fawn-coloured Beisa oryx and the seemingly designer-coated reticulated giraffe. As well as the distinctive, blue-skinned Somali ostrich, which you’ll see stepping out across the plains, the Samburu ecosystem’s oasis of vegetation in this arid region supports a very wide range of smaller birds, and birdwatchers can expect to see several dozen species on the average game drive.
Lake Nakuru National Park
Flanked by rocky escarpments, pockets of acacia forest and at least one waterfall, the park is gorgeous year-round – Lake Nakuru is among Kenya’s finest national parks. Home to both black and white rhinos, lions, leopards, hippos and endangered Rothschild’s giraffes. Lake Nakuru National Park is renowned as a bird sanctuary with over 400 bird species, including huge flocks of flamingoes and many other water birds.
Also known as the Jade Lake because of its green colour. Turkana is the most saline of all the freshwater Rift Valley Lakes. The lake sustains 60 species of fish which are much sought-after by anglers, including tiger, cat and puffer fish, tilapia and Nile perch. Also numerous in the lake are Nile crocodiles, which have numbers in their thousands. The fossil site at Koobi Fora has unearthed a fossl of a crocodile that was estimated to be 13.5 m in length.
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.
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.
The Lamu Archipelago is a group of islands located just off the North-Eastern coast of Kenya in the Indian Ocean. Lamu is Kenya’s oldest living town and has been classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site to protect its historical value.
When to visit 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:
Masai Mara is situated in south-west Kenya and is one of Africa’s Greatest Wildlife Reserves. The reserve is in the Great Rift Valley and 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. The Masai Mara is regarded as the jewel of Kenya’s wildlife viewing areas. The annual wildebeest’s migration alone involves over 1.5 million animals arriving in July and departing in November. The animals are at liberty to move outside the park into huge areas known as ‘dispersal areas’. There can be as much wildlife roaming outside the park as inside. Many Maasai villages are in the ‘dispersal areas’ and they have, over centuries, developed a synergetic relationship with the wildlife. 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.
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 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:
Crowned by Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, the Amboseli National Parks is one of Kenya’s most popular parks. The name “Amboseli” comes from a Maasai word meaning “salty dust”, and it is one of the best places in Africa to view large herds of elephants up close. Amboseli offers some of the best opportunities to see African animals because its vegetation is sparse due to the long dry months. Amboseli National Park is home to wild animals, which include the African elephant, buffalo, impala, lion, cheetah, hyena, giraffes, zebra, wildebeest among other African animals.
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:
Situated alongside the Ewaso Nyiro River, there is plenty to attract wildlife from the surrounding savannah plains. 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.