Reasons to Visit
If you are looking for superb game viewing, Kenya is a serious contender. You are likely to see leopard, lion and cheetah in the Masai Mara, home of BBC’s Big Cat Diaries, in addition to fantastic and varied game viewing both here and in Kenya’s other parks and reserves.
In the Great Migration two million ungulates including wildebeest, zebra and antelope species, undertake a journey of roughly 1,600 kilometres. The herds reach the Masai Mara in July and remain there until October when, following the rain, they start the slow march southwards back to the Serengeti Plains.
If you want to enjoy the game reserves to yourself and don't mind the odd rain shower, June it is an excellent time to visit Kenya. During this time the animals take advantage of the abundant food and give birth to their young. They can be a little harder to spot because of the increased vegetation but you should not have to wait too long before seeing something new and you should still see all the animals that you would during the dryer months. It is also worth mentioning that travel at this time can be less expensive than travel later in the year.
Dawn over the Mara from a hot air balloon is a very special sight. You float up high, guided along the course of the Mara river by the prevailing winds, above delicate networks of animal tracks across the landscape. Champagne breakfast in the bush awaits you on landing.
Kenya is home to the iconic Masai and Samburu. For centuries they have lived a traditional semi-nomadic lifestyle herding their cattle to areas of water and grazing. A stay at a community lodge means you can support local people, help preserve wilderness areas and enjoy a great safari.
The Masai Mara is one of the most famous reserves in Africa. Home to the extraordinary Great Migration, which sees hundreds of thousands of wildebeest and zebra cross the Mara River each year, it has always been a favourite location for countless wildlife documentaries.
Meru achieved world recognition with Joy Adamson's 'Born Free' and the story of Elsa the lioness. Meru is well of the beaten safari trail and is located to the North East of Nairobi. On clear mornings you can see the snowy peaks of Mount Kenya to the southeast, and when the sun is directly behind, the Nyambeni Mountain range the backdrop is amazing! The game here was depleted in the 1940s as it was a popular area with hunters. However, animal life is now plentiful as the land has been protected sine 1959. The variegation is mainly Bushland so binoculars and a keen eye will be essential to find the game.
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Africa and The Indian Ocean
Our country specialists have travelled the length and breadth of Kenya - here are a few of their favourite things to do
Kenya is the country of wildlife documentaries and the home of the safari. It is everything you imagine Africa to be, with vast plains covered in thousands of wildebeest and gazelle, cheetah sitting on termite mounds, lions flat on their backs in the sun and giraffe in the shade of acacias.
Over recent years Kenya has gained a reputation for being a mass market destination, but although there are busy areas they are few and easily circumvented. In fact, its accessibility combined with its huge areas of wilderness where you will not see another soul, has made this the country of 'Out of Africa', 'Born Free' and 'Big Cat Diaries'.
Kenya has huge tracts of wilderness where the game is wild and unfettered, vehicles few and safaris are on foot or even by camel. In the north, Samburu warriors herd cattle across desolate plains and the huge reserves of Laikipia protect a number of endangered species. You can walk in the Greater Mara Conservation Area with only a Maasai guide or stay in a tiny lodge perched on the rocks in the far away Chyulu Hills.
Finally, the islands of Lamu and Funzi are a delight. With dhows sailing across the water, donkeys pulling old wooden carts and the beaches quiet save for the waves, it’s the ideal place to end a safari.
Lamu archipelago consists of two islands: Lamu and Manda. Sprinkled about these in the turquoise sea are tiny coral atolls and white sand banks.
The Matthews Mountain Range is located in Kenya's Northern Frontier and is one of the wildest areas in the country. The place is home to numerous types of wildlife as well as the famous Samburu people.
Lake Naivasha is home to an array of birdlife which includes fish eagles, ospreys and lily-trotters, as well as larger grazers such as zebra, impala, giraffe and hippos. The lake is ideally situated for some relaxation at the start or end of your holiday.
The waters of Lake Nakuru are most famous for its millions of pink flamingos. Together with these, it is possible to see up to 400 species of birds, as well as big game like rhino and lion.
The Masai Mara covers an area of 1,800 square kilometres and is probably one of the most famous reserves in Africa. The most famous act played out anually is the Great Migration, which sees up to two million wildebeest undertake a journey of roughly 1,600 kilometres.
The Meru National Park covers an area of 1,813 square kilometres to the north east of Kenya. Meru is not a reserve to come and tick off the big five, but rather it's a wilderness experience. It is perhaps best known for Elsa the lioness, who was released here and made famous by Joy Adamson's books.
The Samburu Reserve stretches stark and rugged towards the Chalbi desert. A place of baked brown earth and parched vegetation, it is a place where you can experience the empty and wild side of Kenya. Nevertheless, there is still plenty of good game viewing to be had.
Amboseli covers an area of 3,810 square kilometres in southern Kenya and is dominated by the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro. It is justly famous for its big game - elephant, lion and cheetah are the main attractions - and for its great scenic beauty.
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. It's far from the beaten track and the place to relax in total wilderness.
The Il Ngwesi Group Ranch is north of Mount Kenya and covers an area of 16,500 hectares. The ranch is not a ranch in the traditional sense but is rather a huge tract of land owned by many Maasai villages. Il Ngwesi is home to a wide range of big and small game.
8 1/4 hours (Nairobi)
British Airways & Kenyan Airways
The best time to travel.
A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of.
Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year.
Travel is not recommended.
Snow or ski season.
Read first-hand tips and advice from our travel specialists.
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Further reading:Tours in KenyaWhen to GoItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationAbout KenyaCountry Guides
Other countries in Africa:BotswanaMadagascarMalawiMauritiusMozambiqueNamibiaRwandaSouth AfricaTanzaniaThe SeychellesUgandaZambiaZanzibar ArchipelagoZimbabwe
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