Kenya is arguably the original safari destination but without doubt an incredibly diverse country both in terms of its wildlife and birdlife and different habitats and cultures. A fabulous destination for both first time safari goers and safari enthusiasts, Kenya offers the chance to enjoy a safari and be at the coast enjoying the beautiful beaches of Kenya in just a couple of hours.
With so many national parks and reserves - many off the beaten track still very quiet and uncrowded - Kenya really does offer something for everyone and is one of our favourite safari destinations!
We have listed some of Kenya's most popular safari areas - all can be combined using either a road safari or a flying safari depending on your budget and time available.
Located in East Africa with the Indian Ocean to the east, Uganda to the west, Somalia and Ethiopia to the north and Tanzania to the south, Kenya’s main economies are agriculture and tourism and produces excellent coffee and tea.
Along the coastal areas are beautiful palm fringed beaches which offer the opportunity to relax before or after your safari, and diving is superb at Malindi, Watamu and to the south of Mombasa. Lamu Archipelago offers deserted beaches for pure relaxation.
Kenya's climate varies from tropical along the coast to temperate inland to arid in the north and northeast parts of the country. Kenya's long rains occur from March to the end of May and short rains during October/November.
The country boasts snow-capped mountains, wonderful views of Mount Kilimanjaro, the volcanic area of the Rift Valley, a string of lakes and massive wilderness areas which are filled with spectacular wildlife all year round.
Kenya has an amazing diversity of National Parks and Reserves, some of the most popular include:
AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK
Amboseli National Park is located in Loitoktok District, Rift Valley Province of Kenya. The ecosystem is mainly savannah grassland spread across the Kenya-Tanzania border.
The park is famous for being the best place in Africa to get close to free-ranging elephants among other wildlife species. Other attractions of the park include opportunities to meet the Maasai and spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Wildlife includes: leopard, cheetah, wild dogs, buffalo, rhino, elephant, spotted hyena, jackals, warthogs, olive baboons, vervet monkey, giraffe, plains zebras, Grant's and Thomson's gazelles, gerenuk, wildebeest, hippo, lion, crocodile,mongoose, hyrax, dik- dik, lesser kudu, and nocturnal porcupine.
Birds include the African jacana, grey, goliath and black headed herons, great white egrets, glossy ibis, Egyptian geese, blacksmith and spur winged plovers, saddle billed stork, flamingo, common reshanks, purple swanhens and Eurasian thick-knees.
LAKE NAKURU NATIONAL PARK
Lake Nakuru National Park was created in 1961 around Lake Nakuru, near Nakuru Town. It is best known for its thousands, sometimes millions of flamingos nesting along the shores.
The surface of the shallow lake is often hardly recognizable due to the continually shifting mass of pink. The number of flamingoes on the lake varies with water and food conditions and the best vantage point is from Baboon Cliff.
Also of interest is an area of 188 km around the lake fenced off as a sanctuary to protect Rothschild giraffes, black and white rhinos.
Other wildlife includes waterbuck, lion, cheetah, leopard and pythons. As well as flamingos, there are many other bird species that inhabit the lake and the area surrounding it, such as the African Fish Easgle, goliath heron, hamerkop, pied kingfisher and the verreaux eagle.
Birdlife on the alkalkine Nake Nakuru includes flamingos, pelicans, cormorants, and over 400 species of birds can be found on the lake and in the surrounding areas, including grebes, white winged black terms, stilts, avocets, ducks, and migrant waders.
TSAVO EAST NATIONAL PARK
Opened in 1948, Tsavo East National Park is one of the oldest and largest parks in kenya at 11,747 sq kms. It is one of the world's largest game reserves, providing undeveloped wilderness homes to vast numbers of animals.
Mammals include the aardwold, yellow baboon, cape buffalo, bushbaby, bushbuck, caracal, African wildcate, cheetah, African civiet, dik-dik, wild dog blue, red and bush duiker, elend, elephant, bat eared fox, gazelle, large and small spotted genet, gerenuk, giraffe, african hare, hartebeest, spotted and striped hyena.
Rock hyrax, impala,black backed and side stripped jackal, klipspringer, lesser kudu, leapard, lion, banded, dwarf, marsh,slender mongoose, black faced vervet monkey, stykes monkey, fringe eared oryx, black rhino, serval, warthog, waterbuck and zebra.
Over 500 bird species have been recorded in the area, including ostriches, kestrels, buzzards, starlings, weaver birds, kingfishers, hornbills, secretary birds and herons.
TSAVO WEST NATIONAL PARK
Tsavo West National Park is located in the coastal province of Kenya and covers an area of 9,065 square kilometres.
Tsavo West National Park has a variety of wildlife, such as the black rhino, cape buffalo, elephant, leopard,masai lion bushbaby, hipp, hartebeast, lesser kudu and the masai giraffe.
MASAI MARA NATIONAL RESERVE
The Masai Mara is a large game reserve in south-western Kenya, which is effectively the northern continuation of the Serengeti National Park game reserve in Tanzania.
The Masai Mara is well known for its large populations of lion, game and the annual migration of zebra, wildebeest and Thomson's gazelle.
Other wildlife includes lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, black rhino, hippo, nile crocodile, hyena, cheetah, jackal, bat eared fox, Grant's gazelle, impala, eland, duiker, hartebeest, zebra, giraffe, roan antelope and the bat eared fox.
More than 470 species of birds have been identified in the park, many of which are migrants, with almost 60 species being raptors.
The conservancies outside the Mara Reserve were created to benefit local communtities and preserve wildlife in the areas. By visiting camps in one of the conservancies you will not only be benefiting the local people but you will also experience wonderful wildlife away from the crowds and be able to enjoy night drives and walking safaris.
Wallking safaris in the Conservancies allow you to enjoy a closer encounter with Africa and see lots of the little things you often miss on a 4 x 4 safari. Led by expereinced and professional guides walking will add a new dimension to your safari, along with night drives to view nocturnal creatures.
ABERDARE NATIONAL PARK
The park is located about 100 km north from Nairobi and stretches over a wide variety of terrains because it covers altitudes from about 7,000 feet 14,000 feet above sea level.
Established in May 1950, the Aberdare National Park covers an area of 766 square kilometers and forms part of the Aberdare Mountain Range. Animals easily observed include the lion, elephant, leopard, wild dog, giant forest hog, and side-striped jackal.
Mountain reedbuck, bushbuck, waterbuck, eland, suni, buffalo, duikers, olive baboon, black and white Colobus monkey. More elusive are the bongo and the golden cat. The Aberdare National Park also contains a large population of black rhino.
The bird viewing is rewarding, with over 250 species of birds in the park, including the endangered Aberdare Cisticola, Jackson's Francolin, sparry hawk, goshawks, eagles, sunbirds and plovers.
North of the Abadares and set on a wide plateau stretching from Mt Kenya in the SE to the edge of the Great Rift Valley in the west, Laikipia is made up of vast community owned ranches private farms and wildlife conservancies. Laikipia supports the second highest density of wildlife in Kenya and is the only place n Africa where wildlife and habitat mumbers are on the increase.
Laikipia is vast wilderness area with spectacular scenery and an abundance of wildlife including the Big 5 plus many endangered species such as Grevy's Zebra and the Striped Hyena and is one of the best places in Kenya to view the endangered Wild Dog.
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is part of the Laikipia ecosystem supporting over 440 bird species and more than 70 different mammals. Its Rhino population has grown steadily with reintroduction of Black Rhinos - holding over 10% of Kenya's Black and 15% of Kenya's White Rhinos.
SAMBURU NATIONAL RESERVE
The Samburu National Reserve is located on the banks of the Ewaso Ng'iro river in Kenya. It is 165 sq kms in size and 350 kms from Nairobi.
The Samburu National Reserve was one of the two areas in which conservationalists George and Joy Adamson raised Elsa the lioness made famous in the best selling book and award winning movie Born Free.
There is a wide variety of animal and bird life seen at Samburu National Reserve including lion, cheetah and leopard, elephant, buffalo, hippo, gerenuk, Grant's gazelle, Kirk's dik dik, impala, waterbuck, zebra, oryx and reticulated giraffe.
There are over 350 species of birds including the Somali ostrich, grey headed kingfisher, sunbirds, bee-eaters, marabou stork, tawny eagle, bateleur, vulturine guineafowl, lilac breased roller, palm nut vulture, red billed hornbill, secretary bird, Verreaux's eagle, superb starling, yellow billed hornbill and vultures. The Uaso Nyiro river contains large numbers of Nile crocodile.
Kenya is exceptionally culturally diverse with over 42 different ethnic groups ranging from Massai and Samburu pastoralists to the Swahili living along the coast. With its turbulent history, cultural diversity, varied natural habitats, fantastic beaches and some of the best wildlife viewing in the world, Kenya is an exceptional safari destination.
We have recently travelled the length and breadth of Kenya visiting properties in most of the National Parks and coast and would be delighted to design your perfect safari. We offer a wide range of walking safaris, lodge safaris,luxury mobile camping safaris and small group safaris.
Combine your safari with time at the beach on the Kenyan Coast, Zanzibar or Mafia Island!