When most people think of an African safari, Kenya is exactly what they have in mind. Vast dry plains covered in thousands of wildebeest; lions relaxing in the sun; giraffes feeding in the shade of an acacia tree – Kenya has it all
Highlights of Kenya
However, there is much more to Kenya than traditional safaris. There are landscapes with mountains and rainforests, beaches and coral reefs to explore, and intriguing tribal cultures to encounter.
The people of Kenya provide a fascinating picture of modern Africa, with a combination of traditional tribes and urban families interacting daily. The distinctive image of Maasai herdsmen dressed in bright red is something to behold, as they mingle amongst the animals to lead their cattle to a dusty waterhole.
Kenya might be one of the more mainstream tourist destinations in Africa, but with our local knowledge it is still possible to escape the crowds and experience some of the world’s most amazing wildlife encounters in unspoilt peace and tranquillity
One of the best places in the world to see lions, leopards and cheetah in their natural habitat. The Masai Mara National Reserve covers an area of 1,800 square kilometres and is Africa’s most famous wildlife area. The fertile grasslands, dominated by russet oat grass, are rich feeding grounds and each year millions of wildebeest and thousands of zebra, Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelle, eland and impala swarm into the area. Elephant stroll across the savannah, trunks curling to sniff the wind. Vast prides of lion stalk grazing herds, and hyena lurk behind them hoping to snatch a tasty morsel. Male topi stand sentry on termite mounds, keeping a watchful eye for predators, and pods of hippo grunt and snort in the rivers. By night, leopard stalk the silvery plains and the shrieks of startled baboons echo through the camps
One of the most biologically diverse forests in Africa, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is home to Uganda’s largest population of mountain gorilla and is understandably a highlight of any trip to the country. Dense rainforest mixed with bamboo and nettles covers the steep ridges of the hills and valleys in this national park which forms the eastern edge of the Albertine Rift Valley. The trek to reach the gorillas is challenging and can take as long as five hours. However, your first glimpse of a gorilla is unforgettable and easily ranks as one of the world’s greatest wildlife experiences. Whilst here, keep your eyes peeled for black and white colobus monkeys whose fluffy tails stand out against the dark green canopy
Part of Uganda’s charm is that it still less developed than many mainstream tourist destinations. This means things may not always run smoothly, but if you are happy to relax and enjoy the ever-changing scenery, you are sure to have an amazing adventure.
One of the few places in the world to see wild chimpanzees. Kibale Forest National Park has dense and diverse vegetation which provides food and sanctuary for 13 species of primate. It is an excellent park for exploration on foot as paths lead deep into the forest. It is one of the best places in Africa to search for chimpanzees in their natural habitat, as well as blue monkey, L’Hoest’s monkey and grey-cheeked mangabey. Nearby, the Bigodi wetlands are a birder’s paradise, boasting a colourful array of marsh-dwelling birds and clouds of butterflies. Kibale is also surrounded by dozens of pretty crater lakes, which offer superb walking opportunities for the more active traveller, as well as tea plantations which blanket the countryside in verdant greens.
The spot to witness the great migration, as thousands of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle face the treacherous crossing.
These beautiful exotic islands are the perfect spot to explore the small Swahili town, watch the dhows sail or just relax on the sandy beaches.
A chance to see some of Africa’s rarest species, like Grevy’s zebra, Beisa oryx, reticulated giraffe and gerenuk.
A peaceful location in the Rift Valley to see abundant birdlife, hippos, giraffes and zebra.
A beautiful lake often covered in a cloud of pink flamingos, as well as a large population of both white and black rhinos. One of the three permanent lakes in the Rift Valley, Lake Naivasha’s shores are surrounded by flower farms, old colonial properties and small villages of clay and thatch houses.
The birdlife is beautiful and includes fish eagles, ospreys, lily- trotters and black crakes. With a number of animals grazing by the shores, it is an ideal place to relax for a few days. A few miles further north (and within easy reach for a day trip from Naivasha) is Lake Nakuru.
The first thing you will see when approaching the lake is a roseate cloud along the shoreline.
As you draw near, the pink mass turns and forms the shape of millions of flamingos. This is one of the iconic sights of East Africa and a spectacle of immense beauty. A game reserve has been created around the lake where black rhino are protected and can be seen along with many antelope, giraffe, lion and hyena.
Lake Victoria is the second largest body of freshwater in the world. Although only a tiny percentage of the lake is located in Kenya, there are a number of islands scattered throughout the waters. Easily accessible from the Mara, it is also a wonderful place to relax before or after a safari. Other activities include trips to local villages and nearby islands and excellent bird-watching.
African wilderness that is home to several Samburu villagers who live amongst the elephant and other game. Stretching over a vast area from the foothills of Mount Kenya to the shores of Lake Baringo, the Laikipia Plateau is one of Kenya’s lesser-known wildlife areas, yet it harbours more endangered species than anywhere else in East Africa.
This is the place to see Grevy’s zebra, sitatunga, Jackson’s hartebeest and wild dog. Many northern species are found, including reticulated giraffe, Somali ostrich, Beisa oryx and gerenuk. There are large elephant populations, thriving lion, leopard and cheetah and numerous impala and gazelle.
The land on the plateau is divided into huge ranches, most of which are devoted to wildlife conservation. The large conservancies of Lewa, Ol Pejeta and Lekurruki have all been instrumental in research and education on this vital subject, and as a guest you can learn about the ongoing projects.
Far from the beaten track, they are also ideal for those looking to relax in total wilderness. You might track elephant on foot, ride a camel across rugged plains or watch the sunset from the top of a kopje. The game is wild and unfettered and the earth is brick-red, stretching as far as the eye can see.