Kenya Safari

Kenya, the grand old dame of safari style, remains a popular safari destination for its elegant accommodation options, and for the wealth of activities that may be enjoyed here against the backdrop of glorious African landscape. An air of enduring timelessness remains with you during your Kenyan safari, and haunts you back at home, making many return here year after year. It has a unique reminiscent atmosphere of a bygone era, which makes it impossible to replicate or for other countries to compete with. There is nothing quite like a safari in Kenya. 
Kenya is at the forefront of the safari industry and still has its nose ahead in terms of game and varied accommodation options. It has long been a mecca for those wanting to see in person the Great Plains made famous by various BBC documentaries and the National Geographic channel. Kenya also offers a wider range of activities than most other African countries, from traditional game drives to helicopter safaris, golfing and deep sea fishing.

The best of Kenya's wildlife is crammed into the relatively small and very famous Masai Mara National Reserve, where the BBC's Big Cat Diary was filmed. The Masai Mara remains a thriving wildlife hotspot, although as a result of its fame there are plenty of tourists to be seen along with the wildlife.   

Why choose Kenya for your safari holiday? 

1.      The Great Migration of almost 2 million wildebeest, zebras and other animals makes it way up from the Serengeti in Tanzania into the Masai Mara in Kenya from July until November.  To witness this phenomenal  natural spectacle is an absolutely unforgettable experience of a lifetime.

2.      Kenya is a really amazing place for enjoying a wide range of safari activities because of it's hugely diverse landscapes of lakelands, valleys, desert, mountain highlands and great big rivers. Riding, boating, camel treks, flying safaris, quad biking, night drives and walking safaris are just a few adventures which can be enjoyed without crossing the borders at all. 
3.      Elephant conservation in Kenya is huge with the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust - because Kenya is at the forefront of African safari tourism, you can be certain that by choosing Kenya you are also protecting the wildlife which you are paying to see. 
4.      One feature where Kenya excels is the wonderful private homesteads and smaller game ranches scattered throughout Laikipia and the north, where clients can fish, ride, paint, relax and soak up the east African panorama.  The homestead experience is unique to Kenya.

5.      After a safari it is always important to relax and recuperate before your flight home, and Kenya is one of those fantastic East African countries which has a vast coast of white beaches and glittering waters... not to mention a bit of much needed sunshine! You do not have to endure long, uncomfortable flights as the best beaches are only a short hop away. For those of you wishing to dodge the crowds, also a short hop away is Tanzanian islands such as Zanzibar, which we also highly recommend.

The best safari lodges in Kenya

What are the best safari lodges in Kenya?   

Ol Donyo Wuas is one of our favourite lodges in Kenya, and our hands down pick from the Chyulu Hills. You can enjoy a really diverse safari experience here with amazing horse riding, walking and night drives to quench every safari thirst! 

In the famous Masai Mara sits a one of a kind camp, Rekero. Owner run, and with a feeling of absolute intimacy is the luxury of this camp, and this is only inside the walls! Outside in the bush, the guiding is phenomenal as their expertise has been gathered over many years of providing guests with amazing safaris. 

If you are interested in Kenya for its timeless and classic safari experience of a bygone era, then we would recommend Cottar's 1920's Camp. Here you will be smoozed by the elegance and romance of the lodge, and driven around in a 1920's replica car of the time - a really novel yet reminiscent touch. 

These are only a few, for other options please click here for our Kenya page for many, many more. 

Kenya safari holiday itinerary planning 

We cannot stress enough that the key to a good Kenya safari is to stay mainly off the beaten track, with just a few days in the busier peak areas such as the Maasai Mara and Amboseli. We love the quieter north of the country and it offers some top class safari destinations (Lake Turkana, the Matthews Range, Laikipia, Lewa, Samburu).  A combination of 3 of these destinations, staying 3 or so nights at each, works very well.

The Masai Mara requires particular care; the range and density of big five game here are outstanding but visitor numbers are correspondingly high – it is not unusual to see numerous vehicles crowded around a single sighting.  We know the most exclusive and private camps, where you can still get an authentic game viewing experience and where, if you’re lucky, you might end up sipping a G&T while watching the great wildebeest migration.
A Kenya safari combines very well with a beach extension, either within Kenya or further afield, including Zanzibar, Mozambique, Mauritius or the Seychelles.

Our favourite safari parks in Kenya

Hand Picked Kenya Safari Itineraries

When is the best time to take a safari in Kenya? 

As with all of East Africa, there are only two seasons – dry and rainy. The peak of dry season is from June to October and by most this is regarded as the best time, it is certainly when game is at its most prevalent and when the Great Migration of Wildebeest is pushing into the Masai Mara on their annual journey.

However, November through to March can be an amazing time too, there are some short rains so the landscapes turn from dusty brown to a beautiful green, the Laikipia area in particular flourishes at the beginning of the year. Bear in mind that travelling outside of peak season can be both cheaper and far less busy – meaning you have some of these incredible wildernesses to yourself!  

How much does a Kenya luxury safari cost?

The price of a safari lodge generally includes park fees, which go towards conservation and protection, as well as all of your safari activities – game drives, walking safaris and boating safaris to name but a few. All of these are done with skilled and knowledgable guides and it is a totally unique experience.

Lodges range from around USD $400 per person per night for a superb safari in the heart of the action, in very comfortable but fairly basic accommodation, all the way up to just shy of $2,000 for some of the incredibly opulent Mara Lodges. When looking at the trip as a whole, including the logistical costs, a week long trip combining a couple of safari areas can range anywhere from USD $3,500 all the way up to $12,000. 

Top 5 Kenya Safari Tips

It’s not all about the Mara! It’s definitely a major part of any Kenya safari, but the rest of the country has so much to offer too.
Avoid the busy game reserves and look at staying in some of the quieter conservancies. Here you can have a truly wild safari year round!
Look at combining at least a couple of areas, not only do you get a more varied experience, you can also benefit from some great ‘combo’ deals if you choose the right camps. 
Avoid the big hotels. Fine in a city but the bustle of a 60 room hotel in the middle of a National Park can ruin your wilderness experience. 
Think about bookending your safari with some time at the beach – East Africa is blessed with some spectacular coast as well as the wildlife. 

Tented camp vs lodge based Kenya safari 

As a general rule (but by no means in all cases) the tented camps are less luxurious, but you get a feeling of being very close to nature… the sound of buffalo munching, crickets whirring and hippos snorting in the night echoes through the canvas - there is nothing quite like it! The more permanent lodges definitely have their place too. The smaller, boutique lodges are just as well located and can offer luxuries that a tented camp cannot. It really is about choosing what is right for you, there is no right or wrong answer on this one. 

What type of safaris does Kenya offer?

The variation on offer in Kenya is unrivalled, it’s as simple as that. Want to game drive through the wildebeest masses of the Great Migration and watch the herds charge across the Mara River? Want to climb Mount Kenya and marvel at the wilderness below? How about game viewing from a horse in Lewa, or quad biking through the hills of Laikipia? There really is something for absolutely everyone, from younger children to veteran safari goers – Kenya is the original safari destination and has never looked back. 

Kenya Luxury Safari Vs Tanzania Luxury Safari

There is no doubt that Kenya’s friendly Southern neighbour, Tanzania, has an awful lot to offer. The Serengeti is as good as the Mara for seeing the Great Migration, the Ngorongoro Crater has to be the most spectacular safari setting in the world. Oh, and they’ll see your Mount Kenya and raise you Kilimanjaro. But, all of that said, there is something indefinable about Kenya that makes safari lovers return here year after year after year. There is an attitude here and a love of safari that you don’t find as strongly anywhere else in Africa, the passion for conservation shines through in the hundreds of projects around the country through which people have dedicated their lives to keeping Kenya the wildlife haven that it is. You only have to visit a giraffe sanctuary, an elephant orphanage or a rhino conservation project to see it for yourself. 

How to combine a Kenya safari with the beach

This is so easily done. Not only does Kenya have some wonderful Indian Ocean coastal areas of its own north fo Mombasa, it is just a stones throw from idyllic Zanzibar. Either are incredibly easy to reach! And if you don’t mind some slightly annoying logistics, then heading out to the Seychelles or Maldives is by no means out of the question. 

Kenya safari holiday further details:

Between us here in our office we have visited almost every lodge or hotel in Kenya that is worth talking about, and re-visit regularly to see what’s changed. The best way to book a Kenya safari is to get in touch and have a chat with us, or come in and see us in our offices in Putney. Email us on [email protected] or give us a call on 1866 356 4691 or the UK on 020 8704 1216.




Although we tailor-make all our trips we have reproduced a number of popular itineraries here

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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
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