The homeland of safari as well as the crib of mankind, Kenya is a land of great diversity as well as transparent natural splendor. Right from the Great Rift Valley to the central highlands, lakes to elephants, and mountains to white sand beaches; everything here including the ancient culture seems to pull back the visitors from the different parts of the world again and again.
Therefore, a Kenya safari is aimed to aid a visitor in navigating through the stunning panorama with the least amount of hustles. By the way, the world ‘safari’ has come from a local idiom standing for ‘journey’. While on the way, you encounter the savannahs, Masai Mara’s great wildebeest migration that is looked upon as the world’s seventh wonder in the world’s best game reserve, and the wildlife including over 1400 bird species as well as the most demanded ‘Big Five’ (buffalo, lion, leopard, elephant, and rhino). For the wildlife lovers, this African state is a true treasure as it is the home of over 50 national parks gifting thousands of acres with profusion of game. One can choose to explore all these aspects in different ways as Kenya safari can be by balloon, plane, vehicle, and even on foot. This means that you can choose your way as per the decided budget for a fascinating insight into its magnificent wildlife.
Safari venues and attractions
The most visited safari areas are the Masai Mara, Amboseli, Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivasha, and Tsavo where the indigenous African wildlife as well as the natural environment is protected from the hunters and development respectively. With the entry fee ranging from $40 to $60, the parks offer dusty tracks edged by the foliage to spot the different animals and explore the natural landscape. One of the must things to do on a Kenya safari is to spot the Big 5 that is offered by almost all the safari operators.
Besides the Big 5, you can also spot other common animals such as gazelle, giraffe, cheetah, Cape buffalo, African elephant, hare, leopard, hyaena, Kenya lion, impala mongoose, Sykes’s monkey, squirrel, giant rat, crested porcupine, zebra, waterbuck, and black rhinoceros. Among all of them, elephants are among the famous reasons to encourage people for a safari in Kenya – the home of large number of elephants. You can spot them in the Amboseli National Park that is the best destination in Kenya for these huge creatures, Mount Elgon housing underground elephants who dare to follow a narrow path at night for being into Kitum caves, and the Tsavo East National Park Lodge offering a camouflaged sight above the watering hole after a buffet lunch.
One more inspiring factor for taking a safari is the migration of half million wildebeest, antelopes, and zebra across Kenya’s Masai Mara and Tanzania’s Serengeti. To see this wonder, come between July and August as that is the time for them to wander for green pastures by crossing the puffy Mara River. The scene gets very dramatic when you see the lions preying.
If you want to do something unique during your safari, ensure that the nocturnal game viewing facility is included. For this, the best idea is to stay at the Treetops Lodges on stilts that offer the views of the salt licks as well as lighted watering holes in the Aberdare National Park where watching animals at night is a sure delight right from your room. If at all an unusual animal comes near the hole, a bell will ring to notify you about the same making your stay quite interesting. However, if you are a bit adventurous and prefer a guided night drive, then no place other than the Shimba Hills National Park proves good. This is where you will hear the eerie sounds of hyenas besides spotting the big cats like cheetahs.
Bird watching is at its best in the Lake Nakuru National Park famous for its flamingos covering the lake; Saiwa Swamp Reserve; Aberdare National Park; Amboseli National Park housing the African skimmers, palm nut vultures, and red and yellow bishops; Mount Elgon National Park with its rare red-headed parrots and Hartlaub’s turaco.
Your Kenya safari can also include a one- or several-day game drive for which the accommodation is reserved in a lodge or at a camp. Many options prevail in this regard right from do-it-yourself camping to luxurious lodges.
I would recommend going for an organized safari wherein the guides in the different directions of a park can talk amongst themselves via a radio. Now, this is beneficial during the time when any of them spots an unusual sight such as a sudden the herd of lions. If such an event occurs, all the safari vehicles will meet at one place to deal with or escape the situation.
If you do not want any animal to see on your safari, become more adventurous by choosing a silent balloon safari flying across the extensive savanna plains in the Masai Mara Game Reserve for $450 per person. Most of the time, these safaris occur at dawn as a majority of animals can be seen on the open grounds and near the lakes. And once you are down, enjoy the delicious breakfast prepared on the burner of the balloon.
Best time to come
Late June to September
July and August for the migration
October to January for bird watching
From 4 to 13 days
Experience beach with bush safari
3-day trip: $500 per person
7-day trip: 1350 per person