Renowned for its incredible diversity of wildlife, landscape and cultures, Kenya – the soil where humanity was born – will instantly reveal why it’s famed for being the soul and home of the classic African safari experience.
World-class wildlife experiences in the home of the safari
There’s a reason why those who travel to Kenya never want to leave. This is the place that invites you to venture deeper into the wild and will surpass all your dream safari expectations. With its pristine camps, high-end lodges and iconic conservation areas, Kenya represents the future of African safari as much is it does the past.
Wildlife is a crucial driver of the country’s economy, and as a result, conservation has become the heart of Kenya. Privately run conservancies harmonise tourism with community development and wildlife conservation – Kenya is at times characterised by the fact that so many lodges and camps remain managed by their owners, retaining a sense of personality that can become lost otherwise.
Venture to the Maasai Mara (home of BBC’s Big Cat Diary), and be surrounded by exceptional inhabitants of lion, leopards, cheetahs, elephants, and buffalo. It’s here where you will get a front-row seat to witness the Great Wildebeest Migration that takes place every year from July to October.
From sighting big-tusked elephants, wildebeest, zebras, lions and hyenas in the shadow of snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro in Amboseli to trekking and having a picnic on the country’s highest peak, Mount Kenya – it’s no surprise why this land is considered to be the original destination of the safari.
But there’s more to Kenya than the Maasai Mara and the Great Migration. A visit to The Turkana Basin, home to humanity itself, can offer a window on our past and an understanding of our anthropological history that is truly unrivalled elsewhere. The Kenyan Coast, stretching from the coast of Diani Beach in the south to the Lamu archipelago in the north, will transport you to a tropical paradise with its white sand beaches and turquoise waters.Much more than just a beach destination however, the Arab-Persian trading routes have left their mark here and evident throughout.
Where to explore
Maasai Mara Reserve
The land of Big Cat Diary and for many, the recognisable face of safari in Kenya, Maasai Mara with its rich ecosystem, certainly contains the densest wildlife populations in Kenya, and one of the most iconic anywhere in Africa. Famed for the annual Great Migration when over one million stampeding wildebeest and zebra make their way from the Serengeti in Tanzania to Kenya’s Maasai Mara in search of fresh pasture, braving the Mara and Talek rivers as they go
Amboseli and Chyulu Hills
Lying on the border of Tanzania, Amboseli National Park (one of the oldest in Kenya), will astound you with its vast sweeping vistas and remnants of a volcanic past in the Chyulu Hills – home to the largest lava tube in the world. View the majestic elephant with Kilimanjaro serving as an epic backdrop; it’s genuinely one of those moments when you’ll have to pinch yourself.
Central Highlands & Laikipia
On the other side of the Great Rift Valley, you’ll find the heartland of Kenya’s largest tribe, the Kikuyu, and the home of Africa’s ancient mountains. It is diversity of experience that really shines in this special part of Africa, soar over Laikipia in a yellow biplane, trek with your own private mobile camp and camel train or fly by private helicopter north through Suguta Valley and on to Lake Turkana. . In addition, here is where you’ll find Mount Kenya, a challenging technical climb for those looking to arrive at the summit, but a source of simpler treks available to guests with simpler ambitions. .
For the real rough-and-tough explorers, the Northern Frontier District will throw you straight into the unexplored rugged bush with an enthralling and challenging wilderness experience. Where the only human inhabitants of this wild landscape are tribespeople, you’ll be far from the tourist hotspots. Unlock these untouched areas with a helicopter, trek through dunes on the back of a camel, encounter elephants in the acacia woodlands and explore prehistoric islands with traditionally dressed warriors.
Samburu National Reserve, a community-based wilderness, is situated in the southeastern corner of the Samburu District in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya. This reserve is notable for the ‘Samburu Special Five’ (Somali ostrich, grevy’s zebra, gerenuk, reticulated giraffe and beisa oryx). Another famous resident is that of elephant researcher, Saba Douglas Hamilton, whose camp here (Elephant Watch) has remained a drawcard for many visitors.
The best time to visit Kenya
Kenya is warm year-round. January to March are the driest and hottest months. For the best wildlife viewing, visit during late June to October as there’s little rain (animals congregate around water holes) and you can expect clear, sunny skies. The most popular months to visit are July and August, when the Great Migration makes its way north from Tanzania in search of grazing.