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Kenya - the birthplace of the modern safari.
Very diverse in terms of landscapes, climate and culture.
Maasai Mara and the Great Migration
Some beautiful off the beaten track wilderness areas.
Big tuskers and some wonderful elephant viewing.
Beach and Island destinations
On the forefront of some difficult conservation issues and initiatives
Kenya is the birthplace of the modern safari. The word Safari, in fact, is a Swahili word for journey and one that we have adopted to describe any number of paths we choose to walk in life, both physically or spiritually.
Kenya remains an icon in this regard and it is hugely diverse.
Culturally there is a myriad of different tribes and languages to discover, each colourful and interesting in their own way. The landscapes and habitats are equally diverse and breathtakingly beautiful, shaped to a large extent by the Great Rifts that cut through it, giving rise to huge mountains and volcanoes as well as a chain of beautiful lakes.
The south is typified by its rich open grass plains and riverine forests with the shores of Lake Victoria in the west. The north and east are more arid regions and a rich green coastal strip gives way to the Indian Ocean in the east.
Its fame for safari tours and its conservation standing has been enhanced in the past by movies such as Born Free and Out of Africa. More recently the wonderful success of the documentary series Big Cat Diaries. It is, therefore, no surprise that the wildlife in Kenya is prolific and the Maasai Mara the jewel in its crown, but there are numerous other reserves and conservation areas that can be equally rewarding such as Amboseli NP and Chyulu Hills, Tsavo East NP and Tsavo West NP, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Ol Pajeta and the Laikipia area, Samburu and Meru National park.
For all these reasons, Kenya has become an extremely popular tourist destination and has become known for big hotels, minibus safaris, heavy congestion in some safari areas and a package holiday type of feel that goes against everything that is an authentic safari experience. But this is not a reason to stay away and definitely need not be the case, with careful planning. Arranging through expert safari specialists like On Safari-in we can ensure that your Kenyan safari is full of picture-perfect wild areas with plenty of wildlife, without the crowds of people and staying in intimate and stunning lodges.
The starting point of the vast majority of safari in Kenya will start in Nairobi and the hub of Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta international airport. An overnight stop in Nairobi may be necessary and there are plenty of good quality colonial-style guest houses, but the most famous is the fabulous Giraffe Manor where the resident giraffes famously poke their heads into the dining room window at breakfast time.
The Maasai Mara remains Kenya's star attraction and the great Wildebeest migration, over 1.5 million animals, mostly Wildebeest followed by Zebra, travel in vast herds and are generally in Kenya's Maasai Mara from August through October. This is a truly amazing spectacle and the subject of many big documentaries. But out with the time of the migration, the Masaai Mara plays host to fantastic amounts of resident game and can provide a very rewarding safari experience all year round. The Mara area, however, really is the place to make sure you are booking the right lodges, in the right areas to avoid the great crowds of tourists, especially during the time the migration is there.
Most tours of Kenya simply visit the Masaai Mara and maybe the coast. But these neglect some very special wilderness areas in the south-east of the country and its centre.
In the South East lie the National parks of Amboseli, Tsavo East and Tsavo West, as well as the lovely Chyulu Hills, the area is known for its big tuskers (huge bull elephants with large tusks) and to see these magnificent animals with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background is a special experience there are some great quality lodges to be found here, some with some more unusual activities on offer like horseback safari and is a very different landscape from the Maasai Mara. You generally have to work a little harder for predator sightings in this area but seeing these areas would usually be combined with the Maasai Mara, which offers lots of big cat opportunities these can provide a very complimentary stop of an itinerary.
Wilderness areas in central Kenya are hugely interesting with some very valuable and accessible conservation projects adding to the experience. Ol Pajeta in the Laikipia area is delightful, with the opportunity to visit the Last 3 Northern White Rhinos in the world. Samburu is famous as the home to the Save the Elephants organisation and is host to some rare, fascinating and endangered species such as Grevy's Zebra, Somali Ostrich, Vulturine guinea fowl and gerenuk antelope as well as the opportunity to try to track the elusive black Rhino. Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is another conservation project well worth a visit with reliable game sightings and an unusually wide range of activities like horse and camelback safaris cultural experiences and scenic flights and also home to some rare species.
Meru National Park is an off the beaten track destination and not your classic big five safari destination, known as the area where Elsa the lion (of Born Free fame was released) provides some great walking safari and excellent high quality lodging.
Kenya really does have so much to offer and despite its often exaggerated bad press can be done in style and we would be delighted to help put together your perfect Kenyan safari.
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