Why Visit Kenya?
The most revered of Africa’s safari destinations, Kenya is located in East Africa and boasts the Masai Mara National Park, renowned for its abundant wildlife and annual Great Migration.
It is a country brimming with romance, thrill and adventure – nothing says “classic safari” quite like a Kenyan safari. A Kenyan safari not only boasts spectacular natural beauty in one of the most unspoiled places on earth, but it also brings you up close and personal with Africa’s most sought-after wildlife. &Beyond ensures that you experience a luxury Kenyan Safari & Tour like no other – no matter what your preference, be it a family-friendly holiday, romantic honeymoon or photographic safari that draws you to the African continent.
The best time to visit Kenya is during the Dry season from late June to October (these are the best wildlife viewing months). The wildebeest migration usually reaches the Masai Mara in August and remains until October when they move back to the Serengeti in Tanzania. Wildlife viewing is good year-round, but this can differ for some parks.
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What to See in Kenya
Masai Mara National Park
The Masai Mara National Reserve is undoubtedly Kenya’s most notable and revered reserve. Its sheer size extends to and eventually joins Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park and the stringent anti-poaching systems have made it famous for its thriving lion, cheetah, and leopard populations.
Every year from July to October, the Great Migration sees thousands of zebra, wildebeest, and gazelle leave clouds of dust in their wake as they stampede toward (literally) greener pastures in the Serengeti. When on the move, their pace is frantic and panicky as they try to avoid being singled out by a watchful pride of lion or unsuspectingly clamber too close to a crocodile lying in wait near the riverbanks.
There are 15 wildlife Conservancies bordering the Masai Mara National Park. These areas are as rich in wildlife as the main reserve however activities such as night drives and game walks are allowed.
Amboseli National Park
After the Maasai Mara National Park, Amboseli National Park is the second most-frequented in Kenya. Arid earth extends as far as the eye can see and vibrant oases of swamps teeming with life form the 40,000ha Amboseli National Park. In the distance, Mount Kilimanjaro’s expansive base culminates in its snow-covered peaks seen rising from the earth across the border.
Guests can stay in any of the luxury lodges in Amboseli while they explore the tracks that stretch out across the plains of the park. While an array of large game and a list of over 300 bird species populate the park, getting close to herds of free-ranging elephants is Amboseli’s claim to fame. These gentle giants share the land with the semi-nomadic Maasai people, the custodians of the land who are always willing to share their customs with guests on village visits.
Centrally located, the Laikipia Plateau stretches from Mount Kenya to the rim of the Great Rift Valley. The region is home to almost half of the country’s rhino population, which are protected in various private conservancies. Large numbers of elephants can be seen in this area as they use Laikipia as a pathway between Mount Kenya and Samburu. The region is often included on a wider Kenyan itinerary as many of the conservancies are rich with wildlife and many have the Big 5. It is also used as a base to explore the north and great lakes of Kenya. Access is mainly through light aircraft flights, although it’s a 5-hour bumpy road from Nairobi For those seeking a more cost efficient option.
The Great Rift Valley
The Great Rift Valley that runs through Eastern Africa spans from Ethiopia in the north to Malawi in the south. Some of the world’s oldest, largest and deepest lakes can be found here and Kenya has eight of them. The main lakes in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley include Lake Mgadi, Lake Victoria, Lake Nakuru and Lake Naivasha. The latter lakes are both within National Parks which means they are home to a variety of wildlife – Lake Nakuru being home to a large population of endangered black rhinos. You will also find huge flocks of flamingos due to the alkalinity of the water. Lake Victoria is the largest in Africa with a surface area of just under 70,000 km² however, only 6% of it is found in Kenya.
Samburu National Park
The Samburu National Reserve is less well-known than other parks but offers a unique ecosystem with an area that is much drier than southern regions with animals that are more able to cope with a desert lifestyle. Famous for the Samburu Special Five (Grevy’s zebra, Somali ostrich, reticulated giraffe, gerenuk and the beisa oryx) the area is also home to over 450 bird species and 75 mammal species including elephants and cheetahs. This is also where the Samburu tribes live. Other activities include walking safaris, day and night game drives, camel rides and quad biking.
The Kenyan capital is, well worth exploring in its own right. The continent’s largest and second-largest mountains, Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya, are visible from the city on a clear day. Just west of the city, Karen Blixen’s legendary Ngong Hills rest against the landscape. Her home in Nairobi has since been turned into the Karen Blixen Museum. A visit to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, situated within the park, is a must. Visitors can observe orphaned elephants and rhinos being led by their carers for a daily mud bath.
Lamu has a history as a popular coastal add-on for visitors to Kenya. Located within the Lamu Archipelago just south of the equator, the island of Lamu is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is Kenya’s oldest living settlement. Located 340km northeast of Mombasa, it is primarily Islamic and has a rich heritage?. Activities include visiting the Lamu Museum and Fort, and sunset cruises on a traditional dhow. Unfortunately, not everyone considers Lamu safe following two significant terrorist attacks in 2011 and 2014 Since then, Lamu and the neighbouring Manda Island have both been declared safe. Given these attacks, the island is relatively quiet as a tourist destination which makes it more attractive to visit for some.
Meru National Park
Kenya’s rainy season sees the African skies release a torrent of life-giving showers across the land. From these showers tall grassland and murky swamps emerge and provide a veritable playground for an abundance of wildlife in the Meru National Park. This sanctuary was once the home and is now the final resting place of Elsa the lioness whose life inspired Joy Adamson’s novel, Born Free. Elsa, orphaned as a cub, was raised by the Adamson’s and later successfully released back into the wild.
Unhindered by crowds of tourists, game-viewing in the Meru National Park is an authentic and unique affair. The Big 5 can be found roaming its savannahs and lush woodlands, although the elusive leopard and lively cheetah prefer to remain hidden if they can. The steeply inclining gradient and peak of Mount Kenya can be seen from the park, providing a perfect backdrop to game drives, bush walks, cruises along the Tana River and stopovers at Adamson’s Falls.
Spanning 87,000ha, the park is only 1 hour from Meru and 5 hours from Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. Visitors can also access the park via its airstrips which host light aircraft.
Tsavo National Park
The expansive Tsavo National Park is divided into east and west by a railway. Both ‘mini-parks’ offer abundant opportunities and different vantage points from which to observe the African landscape. Rock-climbing is hugely popular in the Tsavo thanks to Mudanda Rock in the east, and the sharp cliffs of Kitchwa Tembo in the west. Resting climbers will find themselves eye-to-eye with soaring birds of prey, and on a clear day, you’ll be treated to magnificent views of the snow-capped Kilimanjaro. The clear waters of Mzima Springs attract crowds of hippos, crocodiles, and vervet monkeys, while the park at large is teeming with all manner of wildlife—including the illustrious Big 5.
Both parks cover an impressive 4% of Kenya, making it one of the world’s largest.
Watumu & Malindi
Watamu and Malindi are located halfway between Mombasa and Lamu. These two spots are often included in bush and beach itineraries as the area has beautiful coral reefs, white sands and fantastic marine life. There are various accommodation options, many of which are boutique in nature. Activities here are diverse and are mainly water-based. The Watamu Marine National Park is a key highlight, with coral gardens just 300 metres from the shore and roughly 600 species of fish. The Malindi Marine National Park is also a popular attraction for water lovers and the region in general is rich in history and local culture. Other activities include dhow trips and canoeing, as well as wind and kite surfing.
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