Boasting the most spectacular stretch of the Great Rift Valley, mighty Mt Kenya and the stunning savannah plains of the Masai Mara, not to mention Lake Nakuru with its flock of pink flamingos and a pristine Indian Ocean coast, Kenya is a startlingly beautiful, classic African destination. See the iconic red-robed, spear-clad Masai Warriors and other fascinating tribes, enjoy world class game viewing in the Masai Mara, Amboseli, Samburu and Tsavo, witness the astounding spectacle of the annual wildebeest migration and relax on pristine sun-drenched, white sand beaches in Mombasa and Malindi.
The Masai Mara is Kenya’s premier game reserve. Located in south-western Kenya, the Masai Mara is effectively the northern continuation of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Earning its name from the Masai tribes people and the Mara River which divides it, the reserve is famous for its exceptional population of game and the annual migration of the wildebeest between August and October each year, a migration so immense to be called the Great Migration. The Masai Mara is perhaps most famous for its lions, though the other members of the ‘Big Five’ are present as well.
Lake Nakuru is a shallow soda lake, renowned for its huge concentration of flamingos and over 460 species of birds. The alkaline lake’s abundance of algae attracts the large flock of flamingos, estimated in their millions, that famously line the shore. The surface of the shallow lake is often hardly recognizable due to the continually shifting mass of pink. But flamingos are not the only birds; also present are two large fish-eating birds, pelicans and cormorants. Lake Nakuru National Park has recently been enlarged partly to provide the sanctuary for the black rhino.
Samburu National Reserve in the dry northern reaches of Kenya is rugged and remote, with a backdrop of jagged mountains, sun parched hills and arid plains. The Ewaso Ngiro River which runs through it, is home to a huge population of crocodiles and attracts plenty of wildlife to its river banks, including buffalos, reticulated giraffe and the rare Grevy’s zebra. All three big cats, lion, cheetah and leopard, can be found here and are easily spotted due to the lack of grass cover. Rhinos are no longer present in the park due to heavy poaching. Samburu is a real treat for wildlife enthusiasts and less crowded than other reserves.
Mombasa on the east coast of Kenya, has pristine white sandy beaches and the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Diani beach is the most popular, with a range of watersports and Tiwi beach south of Mombasa is an excellent option for those who prefer peace and quiet. In addition to its beautiful beaches, Mombasa offers a diverse cultural history. The city traces many of its cultural traditions to former Portuguese, Arab and British settlers – all of which have left a lasting influence on the city’s food, architecture, and people. Also amongst Kenya’s finest beaches are Malindi which has a wide range of shops and restaurants and Watuma, a quiet, low key resort which is excellent for snorkelling and diving.
Lake Naivasha is a beautiful freshwater lake, unlike many in the region, which are soda lakes. It is the highest of the Rift Valley Lakes, although reasonably shallow, with the depth varying dependent upon rainfall. The lake itself is not technically a national park, as most of the land around it is privately owned. Only 100 km from Nairobi, Lake Naivasha has become a popular recreational area for Kenyans; with a yacht club and private cruisers and fshing boats. Naivasha is a birdwatchers dream with over 450 species in the area. The water also attracts wildlife, with giraffe, colobus monkeys, hippos and buffalo most commonly spotted.
Amboseli National Park, lies at the foot of Kilimanjaro - Africa’s highest mountain, close to the Tanzania border. The snow capped peak of Kilimanjaro forms a majestic backdrop to one of Kenya’s most popular national parks, renowned for its scenic beauty and big game, most notably elephant, lion, leopard, cheetah, giraffe and buffalo. The principal attraction in Amboseli is its vast herds of elephants. Amboseli is home to the Masai community and the opportunity to meet them and learn about their ancient customs and traditions is also a big drawcard.
Majestic Mount Kenya is an extinct volcano that sits grandly astride the equator. At 5199 m high, it is Africa’s second highest mountain and conquering the two snow capped highest peaks requires considerable rock climbing skills. Nevertheless the mountains lesser peaks are wonderful for trekking if you’re fit and active. For those content with simply admiring the mountain, the cool highlands that surround its base are a perfect base for relaxation. The forests are ideal for game viewing and are home to elephant, buffalo, monkeys, antelope and giant forest hog, not to mention wonderful birdlife.
Tsavo National Park is one of the largest parks in Kenya and indeed the world. At almost 22,000 km² Tsavo’s diverse habitats, which range from forests and volcanic hills to vast open plains, savannahs, waterholes and rivers, are home to a wonderful variety of wildlife including the Big Five. Tsavo-East has spectacular scenery, including Lugards Falls on the Galana River, the Mudanda Rock and the Yatta Plateau - the world’s largest lava flow. In Tsavo-West the landscape is much greener and a particular highlight here is Mzima Springs. Tsavo’s close proximity to Mombasa makes it ideal for a safari and beach combination.