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Kenya Safari And Kenya Holidays

Pioneer of the safari-and-beach package holiday, Kenya holidays are a little different from the other big game African safari destinations we sell. Some of the National Parks have taken a higher-volume, mass-market approach to tourism.  As such, some areas of  Kenya are widely regarded in the industry as suboptimal, certainly not for any lack of wildlife or culture, but simply because of the numbers of tourists, especially in peak season, making it difficult to avoid the crowds.

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The Magnificent Great Migration
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Balloon safaris over the plains

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Camel and horse riding in the Central Plateau

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Fantastic family adventures
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Blissful Indian Ocean Beaches
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Kenya Safaris:


A Kenya safari is the original adventure to Africa with a number of varied national parks and activities as well as the option to combine your Kenya safari with a beach escape. It is no surprise that the BBC have made many a documentary on the plains on the Masai Mara. The Masai Mara is one of the most popular parks and a safari here can be relatively busy with tourists but heading to the North there are a number of private conservation areas and national parks which can give you quite a different Kenya Safari.

In geographical terms, Kenya sits on the coast of East Africa adjoining the glorious Indian Ocean. To the north is Ethiopia, the west Uganda, and the south Tanzania.  Kenya is an incredibly diverse country and encompasses a variety of landscapes including savannah, lakelands, valleys, desert, forest and mountain highlands.
 
The capital, Nairobi is in south of the country and often the starting point to a Kenya Safari.  The world famous Masai Mara is South west of the capital, boardering Tazania. Travelling over the great rift valley into central Kenya you will encounter stunning lakes, lush savanah, forests and mountain ranges, including the countires highest peak, Mt Kenya. Further north the land becomes increasingly more arid and here you will find unique species of wildlife and the most extraordinary pockets of people surviving in a relativly hostle enviroment.

Kenya has had a relatively turbulent recent history,  marred by terrorist groups which are threatening most of the world. It suffers from corruption at higher levels, but on the ground for tourists, especially when on safari, it is generally a safe and predictable country.

Map of Kenya

Map of Kenya Kenya - Masai Mara Kenya - Laikipia Kenya - Lewa Downs Kenya - Meru Kenya - Samburu Kenya - Matthews Range Kenya - Chyulu Hills Kenya - Nairobi Kenya - Amboseli Kenya - Lamu Kenya - Indian Ocean Mainland

Kenya Holidays: when to visit

 
The best time to visit Kenya is during the cooler dry season from June to November, when temperatures are comfortable and the game concentrations are at their highest.
 
Around November the short rains make an appearance; although many avoid the country during this time, some accommodation rates drop and there is some excellent value for money available.
 
April and May are the wettest months with the long rains, and typically a rain shower every afternoon. Although not traditionally the best time to visit Kenya, accommodation rates are at their lowest at this point and this is a popular time for photography as the air is so clear.

December through to the end of March are also good times to visit Kenya.  The wildlife sightings are good, the rates lower and the number of tourists less, however the temperature can become increidbly hot at this time of year.
 
For those who are keen to see the Great Migration, the migrating herds usually move into the Mara around July, then stay in Kenya for around 3-4 months before moving back south to Tanzania around October/November

See below the Kenya map for more details.
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Our Favourite Kenya Parks

Our Favourite Kenya Lodges



Kenya Itineraries



Kenya Holidays: getting around

 
The main hub for travel in Kenya is the capital Nairobi.  Jomo Kenyatta International Airport just outside Nairobi is served by a number of airlines including Emirates, KLM, Kenya Airways, British Airways and Qatar Airways.
 
The parks are accessed by light aircraft from the domestic Wilson Airport, just 18 km from Jomo Kenyatta, and the schedules are intelligent and reliable.
 
Jomo Kenyatta is one of the busiest airports in Africa with connecting flights to other safari destinations in East and Southern Africa, making it easy to combine holidays to Kenya with Tanzania, Zambia or Mozambique - or even, for the beaches, the Seychelles or Mauritius.
 
It is also possible to drive around Kenya, although roads can get potholed and the driving of other road-users can be erratic. It is not uncommon for lorries to turn off their headlights at night to save buying new bulbs, so it’s advisable to stick to day-time travelling.
 

Kenya: where to stay


The best advice for getting the most out of your Kenya holiday itinerary is to stay off the beaten track and to keep time in the busiest parks to an absolute minimum.  Mombasa is the hive of package holidays, and we avoid this area completely, including Tsavo which is its nearest safari park.  Amboseli is the second busiest park after the Masai Mara; the only reason to come here would be for the iconic picture of elephants in front of Mount Kilimanjaro, and if you absolutely must get that shot then Tortilis is the only place to stay here! 
 

A Kenya Safari in the Masai Mara:


For a great safari in Kenya the Masai Mara is one of Africa’s most famous parks, and is justifiably renowned for its outstanding game.  The Masai Mara borders Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park and together the Masai Mara and the Serengeti play host to the phenomenal annual Great Migration. Some areas in the Masai Mara have sadly become something of a mass tourism destination, but at the top end of the scale it also has some very luxurious safari lodges with outstanding accommodation, guiding and service; this is where you need to plan your Kenya itinerary with the utmost care to get the best of the game without the worst of the crowds..
 
The fertile plains of the Masai Mara National Reserve, against the backdrop of the Oloololo Escarpment, offer the best wildlife viewing, with excellent concentrations of game and big five sightings almost guaranteed on a daily basis. From July to September there is also a high chance of seeing herds of wildebeest cross the Mara River during the Great Migration. As a result, the Reserve is justifiably popular, which means this area does get busy. There are a few large permanent lodges here but also a handful of very high quality tented camps tucked away, including Rekero and Naibor.
 
Just outside the National Reserve, the Conservancies in the Greater Mara offer more space, fewer vehicles and some very high quality safari camps, whilst still being part of the eco-system. This is also home to the more traditional Masai people, who nomadically live in their bomas and rear their cattle, so interesting from a cultural perspective too. The game in these areas is still very good, the only issue is that being somewhat further away from the Mara River, viewing a river crossing involves a full day out. On the plus side, these camps are not subject to the same restrictions which apply inside the Reserve, so it is possible to go on night drives and walks as well as daytime game drives. The top properties here are Serian Camp, Mara Plains and Naibosho. It can work well to combine a few nights inside the National Reserve with a few nights in the Conservancies for a bit of variety.
 

Kenya Safari, Laikipia:

One of the most beautiful areas of East Africa is the Kenyan central plateau of Laikipia, a fertile area including Mount Kenya and the Aberdare Mountain ranges, sorrounded by rich grassland savanah which has an abundance of wildlife. This area is a network of old cattle ranches which today form the Laikipia conservancies and which boast some great conservation success stories.

As this area is a little bit harder to get to there are no mass market package tours here, resulting in a very different, more exclusive and peaceful atmosphere. The concentration of game does not match that of the Masai Mara, but there are many activities available - most of the conservancies offer walking safaris, horse riding, camel trekking, fishing trips, fly camping, sleep outs under the stars and more…
 
The most popular conservancy is Lewa which boasts the largest population of Black and White Rhino in East Africa, and a handful of high end properties including Lewa House, Sirikoi, Lewa Wilderness and Lewa Safari Camp. Just next door in its own private conservancy is Borana, a classic old ranch sitting on a hill with fantastic views. This is a great place for a longer more relaxed safari stay enjoying the homely atmosphere. Sabuk and Ol Lentille also offer a similar experience but the lodge designs cater for different tastes.
 
Just to the North of Laikpia sit the Matthews Range, a stunningly dramatic area of pure Kenyan wilderness. This area is better suited to those wanting to walk and get away from it all, rather than tick off the big five.  In the Mathews Range, the Samburu tribe are virutally untouched and the cultural interactions and experiences here can be fascinating.
 
A combination of the Masai Mara and one of the Laikipia lodges works very well in order to experience game viewing, a range of activities, and some of the most beautiful scenery in Africa.
 

Beaches:


Following an adventurous safari with some barefoot beach luxury is an enduringly popular formula. Kenya’s coastline has its own beach resorts with plenty of activities available, however we usually recommend heading down the coast a little further, for a less crowded and better-value beach experience.
 
Tanzania in particular (accessible by daily flights from Nairobi to Dar es Salaam or Zanzibar) has some excellent options, from chic little boutique hideaways to full-service resorts with all the bells and whistles, on the mainland coast and also on the islands of Zanzibar, Pemba, Mafia and Fanjove. Alternatively the Quirimbas Archipelago of Northern Mozambique offers some of the finest private islands along this coast.
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