As you might expect, wildlife safaris are the lifeblood of Kenyan tourism, and the infrastructure for travellers is impressive. Jeeps, buses and light aircraft fan out every day across the country to safari lodges and tented camps, some simple and rustic, others lavish and opulent. Refreshingly, you can enjoy close encounters with nature even on a budget, with walking safaris run by tribal guides and economic tented camps that scrimp on creature comforts, but not on creatures.
Lions and leopards are part of the landscape in Kenya, East Africa’s favourite safari location. Over 40 national parks and nature reserves are scattered between Lake Victoria and the India Ocean, covering every imaginable landscape and featuring every animal in Africa: from aardvarks to zebras.
Kenya is and a great place for cultural encounters, with over 40 different tribal groups, each following its own distinctive lifestyle. The semi-nomadic Maasai, with their rainbow-coloured, bead-covered adornments, are perhaps the most obvious group, but visiting any tribal village is a fascinating experience.
Most people start the journey in Nairobi, but few linger when there’s more beautiful cities strung out along the sun-kissed Kenyan coast and dotted around the Great Rift Valley. Whether you pick the inside or the coast, with its beach resorts and Islamic ruins, you can be positive to discover a national park or reserve close at hand – Nairobi even has a national park within the city limits, with zebras and giraffes a stone’s throw from the suburbs.
On appearances, Kenya would appear like the ideal holiday location, but tourism has had its ups and downs in recent years, with political upheaval in the coursework of elections and a string of high-profile militant assaults in Nairobi and along the coast.
These set-backs have made a noticeable dent in Kenya’s tourist industry, yet travellers still flock to the teeming plains of the Maasai Mara and trek the slopes of Mount Kenya, and the largest decision for most is not whether to go to Kenya, but in lieu, which wild animal to search for first.
Safaris & Wildlife – Kenya has 54 National Parks and reserves, covering thousands of square km of area and boasting an abundance of game. From semi-arid desert to alkaline and fresh-water lakes, this diversity of habitat ensures a wide range of flora and fauna, including the so called “Big 5”- Lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo.
With a huge range of lodges and camps to choose from, as well as safari by plane, balloon, foot and vehicle, there is something to suit everybody.
Walking & Trekking – The most famous destination for a trekking adventure is Mt. Kenya, reaching 5,199 meters in height and covered in snow for part of the year. Set in the middle of its own National Park, much of the mountain can be climbed by any reasonably fit walker. Only the last twenty meters or so involves actual climbing. It is also possible to organise guided (and guarded) walks around the National Parks.
When to Go
The best months to enjoy a Kenya getaway are from January to March and late June through September.
The long rainy season lasts from April to June. During these months it can be so wet that roads may be treacherous, or even closed, as the muddy surface becomes impassable. It is also difficult to see animals on safari in the rain. The shorter rainy season, which has less rainfall, is from October through December.
– Always carry water with you and freeze the bottle overnight for a refreshing drink as it melts in the daytime heat.
– Always wear a sunhat and sunscreen. The sun is at its most intense at the equator.
– Carry a Spotter’s Guide to identify the many animals and birds you will see.
– Never hike, climb or trek by yourself. There are countless dangers and you may need help.
– If you are climbing, take time to acclimatize to avoid unnecessary altitude sickness.
– Wear loose cotton clothing, and cover your arms and legs to avoid insect bites if you are hiking.
– Masai Mara safari.
– Best of Kenya Safari: Masai Mara, Nakuru, Naivasha, Mount Kenya, Samburu.
– Amboseli and Tsavo safari & Beach holiday.
– Climb Mt. Kenya.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
There are 6 World Heritage Sites in Kenya;
– Lake Turkana National Parks
– Mount Kenya National Park/Natural Forest
– Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley
– Lamu Old Town
– Sacred Mijikenda Kaya Forests
– Fort Jesus, Mombasa