Great historical figures such as Theodore Roosevelt and Ernest Hemingway immortalized this country. Out of Africa and other films have romanticized and perpetuated the safari mystique.
Among the top safari countries, Kenya has abundant wildlife and one of the most diversely majestic landscapes on the continent. Lodge safaris are generally less expensive here than in Tanzania. Flying, mobile tented, walking and horseback safaris also are available. Many of the private reserves cater to a maximum of 12-24 guests in luxury accommodations and offer activities not allowed within the parks, such as open vehicles, night game drives and escorted walks.
In the national parks you may view game in vehicles with roof hatches or poptops. Booking a safari with a private vehicle and guide is a great way to maximize the quality of your game-viewing experience. Other activities include hot air ballooning, mountaineering, scuba diving, freshwater and deep sea fishing, and relaxing at beach resorts.
Masai Mara National Reserve The finest reserve in Kenya is host to most all of the big game. It is one of the best parks in Africa to see lion, leopard and cheetah, as well as elephant, buffalo and giraffe. Between August and October (approximately) a good portion of the Great Serengeti Migration of more than 1,000,000 wildebeest and 400,000 zebra migrates into this region.
The spectacular backdrop of Mt. Kilimanjaro is one of the real attractions here. This may be the best park in Kenya to see elephant. Nearby are Ol Donyo Waus and Campi Ya Kanzi, private game reserves set in the foothills of the Chyulu Range. On a clear day you may see Mt. Kilimanjaro from the lodges.
Samburu National Reserve This relatively small (40 sq. mi.) northern reserve has a number of wildlife species not usually found in the southern game parks, including Beisa oryx, reticulated giraffe and Somali ostrich.
LAIKIPIA Located north of the Aberdares and northwest of Mt. Kenya, this is a wild and sparsely populated region, considered to be the gateway to Kenya’s Northern frontier. Much of Laikipia is covered by private and community owned ranches. The community ranches are great places to learn about traditional cultures. A visit to one of the private ranches is highly recommended as a way to get off the beaten path.
Lewa Downs A 40,000-acre private reserve that is home to a diverse array of wildlife and some of Kenya’s most spectacular scenery. Camel safaris are offered in the area.
Aberdare National Park In this luxuriant forest, guests of two of the famous tree hotels (Treetops and The Ark) view wildlife that congregates around the floodlit water holes.
Tsavo National Park One of the largest parks in Africa, Tsavo is split into two sectors of East and West covering a total area of over 8,000 square miles. The Eastern part is desert bush and scrub, broken up by scraggly hills. The Taita Rukinga Wildlife Conservancy offers opportunities for volunteer research work.
The Kenya Coast The Old Harbor of Mombasa is a haven for dhows carrying goods for trade between Arabia and the Indian sub-continent. Excellent beach hotels are found north and south of Mombasa. Further up the coast, the Malindi-Watamu Marine National Reserve offers good diving and snorkeling.
Best Time to Go
Excellent: Dec-Mar, Jul-Sep
Good: Oct, Nov