On Africa’s east coast lies a country so spectacular and diverse that many a travel guide has dubbed it “the safari capital of Africa”. From the famous elephants of Amboselli and Tsavo to the great migration in the Masai Mara, it’s hard not to yearn for a holiday in Kenya.
No trip to Kenya would be complete without a visit to its most famous national park, the Masai Mara. Bordering Tanzania, the Mara is part of the Serengeti Ecosystem, where between September and November over 2 million herd animals (including wildebeest, zebra and gazelle) migrate from the Serengeti in Tanzania up to the Masai Mara in a phenomenon widely known as the great migration. While the Serengeti is larger than Qatar, the Masai Mara is roughly a tenth of this size, but takes part in the migration of two million animals. This leads to some amazing game viewing as predator and prey battle it out to survive all around you. Couple this spectacle with some of Africa’s top lodges and camps and it’s easy to see why so many tourists flood into the area annually.
The site of many “Canon moments”, Amboseli offers some of Africa’s most memorable photographic opportunities, it’s here where pictures of elephants and giraffes with Mount Kilimanjaro as their backdrop are regularly taken. Only 392 km2 in size, the park is Kenya’s second most popular. The park has over 400 species of bird and is considered one of Africa’s top birding destinations. There is a small airstrip nearby meaning short day trips to the park can easily be arranged.
Great Rift Valley Lakes
Stretching from northern Mozambique all the way to Lebanon, a divergent tectonic plate has created some of Africa’s most spectacular lakes and mountains. In Kenya Lake Turkana in the north is famous for the world’s largest Nile crocodile population, Lake Naivasha is known for its stunning sunsets and the pink hued Lake Magadi is sought out by many adventurers. A visit to Lake Nakuru not only shows off the huge number of bright pink flamingos on the lake (sometimes estimated to be over 1 million) but the surrounding savannah is the home of relocated eastern black rhinos as well as southern white rhinos. Lake Baringo has exceptionally high numbers of lesser flamingo and is a bird watcher’s paradise. The small Lake Bogoria is also a highlight for its bird life, but is especially well known for its large geysers which shoot water high into the air.
Stunning azure waters, long white beaches and palm trees swaying in the wind await anyone visiting the Kenyan coast. Along the southern coast, Mombasa is a bustling city with lots of culture and old buildings. Visit Malindi 120 km northeast of Mombasa to see the Pillar of Vasco da Gama to commemorate his visit in 1498, see the ruins of Mnarani in Kilifi and further up the coast see the Lamu Fort built by the Sultan of Pate in the early 1800s. The town of Watamu, 105 km north of Mombasa, is also highly recommended for its Marine Park, which is considered one of the top diving spots on the Kenyan coast.
Each one of the towns you encounter as you travel up the coast is a melting pot of Muslim and Swahili culture and this is evident from the beautiful architecture. Small alleyways lined with merchants selling traditional Kenyan food as well as the spicier delicacies from the Muslim influence in the area.
Inland from the coastal havens of Watamu and Mombasa, you’ll find the East and West Tsavo National Parks. These huge national parks have a huge diversity of birdlife, the Big Five and many other interesting animals. Close enough for a visit from the coast, many a beach holiday can be added to a safari in these natural paradises.
At 5,199 m, Mount Kenya is no mountain to summit without some sort of training. Whilst it offers a shorter, more affordable and less commercial option than Mount Kilimanjaro, it is just as much of a challenge for climbers.
Wild Frontiers is an African Travel Specialist and has been operating for over 25 years. We offer a range of customised Kenya trips. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org to speak to a Safari Designer today!