Top Ten: Locations

View of the Maasai Mara; Olonana Camp

View of the Maasai Mara; Olonana Camp

1. Maasai Mara

People come to the Mara to see the amazing variety of animals roaming free in the wild. The big 5 (leopard, lion, rhino, elephant and buffalo) are all here, as are a whole host of incredible creatures including giraffe, zebra, antelopes of all shapes and sizes, aardvark, hyena, ostrich, hyrax,wild dog, warthog and so many more. The Mara is also famous for the beautiful nomadic tribes people. Here you will see the Maasai people in their traditional bright red blankets and multicoloured beaded jewellery. You can see inside their traditional homes and learn what it’s like to live in harmony with nature. Between July and October, don’t miss one of the greatest wildlife spectacles in the world, when over a million wildebeest, migrate into the Masai Mara as from Tanzania as they leap and swim across the Mara river desperately trying to avoid the snapping jaws of crocodiles who lay in wait!
Recommended Camp: Fairmont Mara Safari Club

IMG_62842. The Coast

The Kenyan Coast is a perfect place to relax in style; with palm fringed beaches and the warm Indian ocean lapping against the shore. This is an exotic location and an exciting place to be, perfect for diving, snorkelling, big game fishing and a whole host of water sports, or if you need to unwind this tropical paradise is just for a place to relax and sunbathe. The coral reefs and marine parks are home to colourful fish and dolphins, even whales are sometimes seen. A vibrant historical past, also makes the Swahili culture and architecture of the region an interesting place to visit.
Recommended Resort: Blue Bay Village , Watamu
Samburu

3. Samburu

Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba National Reserves are found in the north of Kenya. This is a hot arid region with acacia woodland reserves. Here you can see di fferent varieties of rare and endangered animals not seen in other parks such as the long necked gerenuk (an antelope which stands on two legs to eat) reticulated giraffe, Grevy’s zebra, and Beisa Oryx. There are also many elephant and cheetah and leopard. Birdlife is plentiful with large flocks of guinea fowl seen and the pygmy falcon and sandgrouse frequently seen. Traditional Samburu homesteads are interesting to visit with these tall regal people dressed in colourful attire.

Recommended Camp: Samburu Intrepids

219792_640_5154. Lake Nakuru

This is a rewarding place to do game-viewing as it’s the place to see large numbers of Rhino and the thousands of flamingos who congregate at the alkaline lake here all year round. Other animals such as pelicans, leopard (commonly seen) giraffe, lion, bat-eared fox, hippo, hyena etc are all there too. The lake is picturesque and has varied terrain with acacia forest, cliff top views, open savannah and the lake where you can get out and walk and see the flamingos and pelicans close up.
Recommended Lodge: Sarova Lion Hill Lodge

5. Lake NaivashaIMG_0253

Only an hours drive from Nairobi, Naivasha conjures up images of the 1940’s Happy Valley set (“White Mischief”) where the colonial upper classes became famous for their decadent lifestyle. The yellow fever trees, line the shoreline of the lake, and this attractive part of Kenya is a good place to be close to nature. There are various outings and things to do, including a visit to Crescent Island where you can walk in safety among wild but non dangerous animals, climb Mount Longonot (2886m), visit the geothermal Project In Hells Gate National Park or have tea at Elsamere which was the home of Elsa the lion. Boat rides on the lake will let you take in the fresh air and semi submerged hippos and soaring fish eagles. The range of accommodation in and around Naivasha ranges from swanky 5 star hotels to self catering cottages or even a private ranch with it’s own airstrip.

Recommended Resort: Great Rift Valley Lodge and Golf Resort

IMG_71416. Amboseli

Amboseli is famous for its dramatic scenery and breathtaking views of the African grasslands. The snow capped mountain – Kilimanjaro, creates a spectacular setting for gam e viewing and with a third of the park taken up by Lake Amboseli it’s swampy areas and riverine forest, contrast beautifully with the dry desert areas in the rest of the national park. You should expect to see plenty of elephant (some of the largest elephants in Africa are seen here) They make great photos in front of a backdrop of snow-capped Kilimanjaro with a dark tropical rainstorm, a colourful sunset or just a clear blue African sky. You will also have a good chance of seeing hippos, crocodiles, and lion well as the other antelopes, birds and small mammals commonly seen elsewhere.

Recommended Camp: Tortilis

people.whitman.edu7. Mount Kenya

Mount Kenya is t he second highest mountain in Africa standing at (5199m). Fewer people climb here than Kilimanjaro, but those who do, usually rate it as a more interesting climb. It’s has tremendously varied zones of vegetation and scenery as you climb; from the acacia studied plains, lush moorlands, moving up to a barren alpine zone covered in snow and finally the craggy summit. It’s toughness and beauty have gripped the imagination of adventurers for more than a century. Even for climbers with experience in mountaineering, Mount Kenya offers a challenge and a natural beauty that is difficult to beat.
Recommended Hotel: Mount Kenya Safari Club

8. LamuIMG_6216

Lamu and i t’s surrounding villages and islands, have an appeal that many find irresistible! This picturesque Swahili town with it’s quaint narrow streets and absence of cars, epitomizes the slow, gentle way of life in this part of the world. It’s relaxed rhythm and charm, makes other quiet places on the east coast seem like sizzling metropolises! After flying in, the usual way to arrive is to sail across to Lamu by dhow (a locally made sailing boat). There are various places to stay from lovely Swahili houses with rooftop patios overlooking the sea, to hotels with pools and all mod cons. The Lamu Archipelago includes some very beautiful uninhabited islands and exclusive very upmarket destinations visited by rockstars and royalty.
Recommended Resort: Kipungani

IMG_72969. Tsavo

Tsavo is the largest Gamepark in Kenya and it’s close proximity to the coast make it a popular safari destination. It’s diverse landscapes range from mountains, plains, lakes, wooded g rasslands, scrubland with enormous baobab trees to river forest. The vast openness, make it easy to imagine that this unspoiled wilderness was probably how all of East Africa once looked. You’ll see many elephant, the big 5 and a whole host of other animals and birds. Mzima Springs is an oasis in Tsavo West, and has nature walks, an underwater viewing chamber, hippo pools and rapids making this an interesting place to visit. Black lava outcrops at Shetani are also interesting as are the caves and Chaimu crater nearby.
The Ark

The Ark

10. The Aberdares

This highland area will give you a slightly cooler experience in one of Kenya’s only virgin forest reserves. Dramatic waterfalls and deep valleys, contrast with the undulating moorlands and volcanic outcrops. The birdlife is rich, and although there aren’t as many anim als to see in comparison to some of the other game-parks, there is still plenty to see. A stay at the treehouse hotels – “Treetops” or  “The Ark” will let you see a fair number of animals wandering down to the adjacent waterholes and perhaps you’ll see bushbabies and civit and genet cats which are baited each night and come within meters from guests at the bar!
Recommended Camp: The Ark

Other great places to fit into your trip

Nairobi
Urban Africa with contrasting images. art galleries, shopping malls, entertainments, great restaurants, elephant orphanage, giraffe centre etc
Recommended Hotel:  Serena Hotel

Baringo & Bogoria
Crocodiles, hippos, fish eagles and other amazing array of birdlife, hot springs.
Recommended Camp: Roberts Camp

Lake Turkana
Remote desert environment, camels, tribal people and their homesteads
Recommended Tour: Turkana Experience

Laikipia
Remote wilderness. Spectacular scenery, private ranches
Recommended Lodge: Loisaba Lodge

Shimba Hills
Handy for the coast, great treehouse accommodation, elephants if you’re lucky but few animals to see
Recommended Lodge: The Sands at Nomad

Kakamega
Tropical rain forest

Kisumu/Lake Victoria
Largest Lake in Africa, good for fishing & relaxing
Recommended Lodge: Rusinga Island Lodge

Lake Magadi
Fossils of prehistoric man

Meru National Park
Off the usual toursit route, this beautiful park was where Else the lion was taken and released.

Recommended Lodge: Elsa’s Kopje

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