Kenya - The grand old dame of African safaris, Kenya has been at the forefront of the industry for decades, and with iconic reserves such as Masai Mara, Amboseli, Samburu and Tsavo, it has earned its place in safari royalty.
Kenya's wildlife is legendary, as is its hospitality, friendliness, and scenic beauty. With the Great Rift Valley running through the country, Kenya is home to some stunning landscapes, with lakes, valleys and mountains adding to the beautiful plains of the Masai Mara.
To add to the spectacular wildlife, Kenya is one of the best countries to experience the local tribes and cultures, in particular the Masai and Samburu.
Kenyan roads are notoriously bad however, so the majority of safaris we recommend are fly-in options to the various parks. The small group scheduled safaris all operate by road, so you would need to be prepared for what is called "the African massage".
The diversity of areas to visit in Kenya is astounding, with each game reserve offering something truly unique. And to top it off, the country has a splendid coastline which invites some pure relaxation after spending time in the bush.
The combination of masses of animals, diverse eco-systems, and the splendid views of Mount Kilimanjaro make Amboseli National Park high up on the must-see list of any Kenyan safari.
With desert landscapes to lush green swampland, the scenery changes entirely during game drives, with new photo opportunities presenting themselves all the time.
Amboseli is famous for its huge elephant herds, and is home to a remarkable concentration of species and birdlife, all the while being watched over by the highest peak in Africa.
Safari-ing in Africa can be pretty busy, with early mornings, thrilling activities, and a lot of ground covered. It is therefore always great to be able to chill out on a beach, under a palm tree, with a bright coloured drink before jetting off back to reality.
And the Kenyan coastline provides the perfect locations for this relaxation.
Lined with pristine white sand beaches fringing the warm, tempting waters of the Indian Ocean, Kenya's coast is inviting for any traveller, and has a fascinating and exotic history, being the setting for the passage of the Arabian Spice Trade.
Along the length of the coastline Arab and Portuguese forts, old towns and the overgrown and deserted ruins of Swahili outposts bear witness to this history, and offer travellers a truly special beach holiday.
It is always gratifying when conservation efforts truly pay off, and the Laikipia Plateau is a place of much excitement!
Originally extensive farmland, a huge effort has succeeded in reclaiming much of the land between the slopes of the Aberdares and the snowy peaks of the mighty Mount Kenya. The area now boasts the second highest concentration of wildlife in Kenya - the Masai Mara topping the list!
Divided up into private concessions, the Laikipia Plateau consists of accommodation in tented camps, as well as lavish bush homes, allowing for a wonderful personalised experience.
While famous for the millions of flamingos which lined the lake shore, it is important to note that due to current water levels and changes to the lake over the past few years that these flamingos are no longer present in Lake Nakuru National Park.
The flamingos have moved to various other lakes around the region, so if a reason for your travels is to view these birds, please contact us to discuss where to go.
Accessed via a relatively short, but scenic drive from Nairobi through the Great Rift Valley, Lake Nakuru National Park is a very popular destination, especially amongst birdlovers.
Lake Nakuru is one of the best locations in East Africa to view rhinos, and is home to both the black and white species.
Shared between the 3 countries of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, Lake Victoria is surprisingly seldom visited by tourists, despite being splendidly scenic, and historically famous. As the source of the Nile River, Lake Victoria is an important body of water, and was searched for by many explorers.
Although a common sight to visitors to Uganda, due to the location of Entebbe and Kampala, travellers to Kenya and Tanzania generally do not make the journey to the lake shore, despite its proximity to both the Masai Mara and the Serengeti. And having been lucky enough to visit a fishing village on one of the lake's islands off Tanzania, we really think it is a pity that it is so overlooked.
Admittedly, there are relatively few accommodation options available within easy access to Lake Victoria, and it does add to time and costs when including a stopover in an itinerary, but if you have any inclination in seeing this majestic expanse of water, it does provide a very special experience.
It is no surprise that the Masai Mara ranks up near the top of most famous game reserves in the world. The land of the Mara is consistently covered with herds of antelope, interspersed with prides of lions, journeys of giraffe, dazzles of zebra, and almost every other collective animal noun you can think of.
The sightings are nothing short of fantastic, and it is definitely the park to visit to tick off your "wildlife of Africa" list. The scenery of the park is similar to the open plains of the Serengeti, although the Mara is dotted with more trees, and the game viewing is equal to, or can be better than, its southerly sister.
Within the boundaries of the reserve, there are certain areas which can seem quite crowded with travellers, although there are places to escape from the crowds, and enjoy the Mara in some exclusivity. Private concessions surround the Masai Mara, allowing more private safari experiences, and additional activities.
The Masai Mara is easily accessed from Nairobi, with a number of scheduled flights operated each morning and afternoon. It can also be reached by road, but be prepared that it can be quite a bumpy 6 hour drive, with sections being particularly broken up.
One of Africa’s major cities, Nairobi is the UN’s fourth “World Centre,” East Africa’s commercial, media and NGO hub, and a significant capital in its own right, with a population of approximately 3 to 4 million.
Little more than a century old, it has real claims to Western-style sophistication and displays enormous vitality and buzz. On the surface the city accepts everyone with tolerance, and, in any downtown street, you can see a complete cross section of Kenyans, every variety of tourist, and migrants and refugees from many African countries.
If you plan to stay in Nairobi for any length of time, you’ll soon get the hang of balancing reasonable caution with a fairly relaxed attitude - thousands of visitors do it every year. If you’re only here for a few days, you’re likely to find it a stimulating city.
On the southern edge of Kenya's northern frontier region, the Uaso Nyiro River carves through the desolate lands, and provides life to the wonderful reserves of Samburu, Shaba and Buffalo Springs.
The water is vital for the survival of the many animals found in this region, as well as for the local Samburu tribes who have settled in the area.
Especially rewarding during the dry season, when the surrounding land is parched and cracked, these reserves play host to several unique species, and great numbers of predators.
Being some of the more remote tourist destinations of Kenya, there is a great sense of adventure in visiting these reserves. Heading into the north of Kenya, there is very little human habitation, and the true wilderness is evident.
One of the oldest and largest national parks in Kenya, Tsavo's enormous 22 000 square kilometres has been divided into Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks, each offering something slightly different, but equally rewarding.
The location of the park makes it easily combined with a beach holiday at Mombasa, while it also takes the park off the usual circuit of a Kenyan safari itinerary.