If safari, that evocative Swahili word that means ‘going on a journey,‘ resonates with you then you cannot do better than look at Kenya as one of the very best safari destinations in Africa. The safari industry in Kenya is very mature and has been in existence since safari expeditions became popular.
Here are five good reasons to help you decide:
1. Varied Wildlife Experiences
Kenya has an astounding variety of wildlife destinations to choose from. Some of the most impressive are:
• The annual wildebeest migration from Tanzania’s side of the Masai Mara into Southern Kenya. Following the herds are all the big cats as well as other predators such as the hyena and who can forget the enormous Nile crocodiles that lie in wait in the rivers.
• The iconic African view of elephant herds silhouetted against the backdrop of Mt Kilimanjaro when visiting Amboseli National Park. Not only will you see large elephant herds but also a variety of plains game and the predators that hunt them.
• Visit Laikipia in the north and experience a very high density of game animals including the elusive African wild dogs. The Big 5 abound as well as rarer species such as reticulated giraffe and Grevy’s Zebra.
• Samburu National Reserve in the north houses some of Africa’s rarest fauna. This park is a shining example of commercial and community interests’ working together as it is managed by the local community. Look for Samburu’s Special Five; the long-necked gerenuk, the scimitar-horned beisa oryx, the beautifully pattered reticulated giraffe, the long-legged Somali ostrich and Grevy’s zebra with its striped coat and large ears. In addition, you may be fortunate to see African wild dogs, probably the rarest of the African carnivores.
2. Top Class Birding
The lakes and wetlands of Africa’s Great Rift Valley are the home to many magnificent bird species. Some favorite spots include:
• The alkaline waters of Lake Nakuru are home to millions of bright pink flamingos. The greater and lesser flamingos live with around 450 other species that include herons, the fish eagle, pelicans, and cormorants.
• Bird watchers must include a stay at Lake Baringo and tick as many of the almost 400 recorded species as they can. This fresh water lake attracts magnificent raptors such as the fish, steppe and tawny eagles that regularly hunt these waters.
• Lake Naivasha is another fresh water lake set in a volcanic landscape. This lake attracts rare ticks for your lists, such as black-lored babblers, great while egrets and black herons with their unusual fishing habits.
3. Fascinating Culture
Kenya has a rich cultural tradition, and the people have not only retained their cultural identity but are happy to share their culture with the traveler. Tour operators will immerse you in the rich tradition of the people who are warm, friendly and very proud of their ancestry and culture.
The statuesque Masai with their red blankets and beautiful cattle, the wonderful Samburu who will teach you to make stunning bead accessories, or the Swahili, a coastal people who will welcome you into their homes.
4. White Sandy Beaches
If you have seen Kenya’s magnificent wildlife and want a couple of days to relax before flying home, then look no further than the blinding white beaches of the Kenyan coast.
Look at islands such as Funzi and Lamo for that get away from it all break, and for exotic atmosphere, a visit to Mombasa is a must.
5. Sophisticated Infrastructure
Kenya has a sophisticated infrastructure that all travelers will welcome.
• The country retains all the charm of its history but there is a sophisticated banking system, and all major credit cards are welcomed.
• It is advisable to bring Kenyan Shillings with you as they will be the currency of choice in tiny, rural towns but in the major centers, your credit and debit cards can be used.
• Kenya has good air links with the rest of the world and transport on the ground is readily available with Uber established in the large cities.
• Ensure that you take out good medical insurance, as Kenya does have good private hospitals but medical evacuation in an emergency is preferable. Malaria is a risk, and prophylactic medicine should be taken before traveling. Check with your doctors for vaccinations against cholera before traveling.
Kenya is a safe and exciting country to visit, and all travelers should heed any security warnings that are in effect when you travel. Enjoy your African Safari in Kenya and take home many happy memories and memory cards stuffed with photographs.