The World Travel Awards recently voted Kenya as the leading African safari destination. From witnessing the big 5 in Amboseli National Park to enjoying the phenomenal wildebeest migration in the Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya is the perfect destination for a true, out of Africa safari experience.
A safari in Kenya brings you up close with the cultures of its 43 tribes – Masais, the Turkana, the Samburu, and more. It gives you endless opportunities to view all members of the big 5 in their natural habitat. You also get to sample the finger-licking local cuisine while staying in comfy and affordable safari lodges spread across the country.
For lovers of water and sand, Kenya is home to one of the most popular beach destinations in the world; the Diani beach. In this article, we reveal the 5 best Kenya Safari destination for a surreal tour.
Masai Mara National Reserve
Located 304km from Nairobi (Kenya’s Capital City), the Masai Mara National Reserve is one of the leading tourist destinations in the globe. The Mara receives approximately 290,000 visitors every year. It has been repeatedly voted as Africa’s leading safari destination for 5 years in a row by the World Travel Awards. So, what exactly makes the Mara so popular?
More Wildlife Species than You Can Count: The Mara is home to the big five – buffaloes, elephants, lions, leopards, and rhinos. The Kenya wildlife services estimate that it has slightly over 1825 lions – one of the biggest populations in Africa. In total, the Mara boasts over 96 species of Mammals and over 450 bird species. So, remember to carry your camera, you will probably photograph more animal species than you have ever done in any game reserve in the world. The Mara is also where the Big Cat Diary was filmed as well as many other wildlife shows.
Exquisite Safari Lodges – From Sir Richard Branson’s Mahali Mzuri to other 5-star hotels, the Maasai Mara is dotted with lots of luxurious safari lodges. Nevertheless, if you are a budget traveler, there are lots of options as well. The trick is working with a local safari operator to help you orchestrate a tailor-made Kenya holiday itinerary within your budget. Last year I worked with AjKenyasafaris.com, and the cost of the trip was about 30% cheaper than quotes I had received from US-based tour operators.
The Exhilarating Masai Mara Wildebeest Migration – Few natural phenomena compare to the Masai Mara wildebeest migration, which takes place every year from (July- November) in the Mara. This migration is so spectacular that it was listed as one of the 8 wonders of the earth.
The migration sees about 1.2 million wildebeest, zebras, and different species of antelopes migrate from Serengeti National Park in neighboring Tanzania into the Masai Mara Game Reserve. The climax of the wildebeest migration is the Masai Mara river crossing which occurs between May and July. The migrating animals struggle to make it across the crocodiles of the Mara River. Some die, some are born, and for some, life long lessons are learned. The Masai mara migration is a must witness phenomena for lovers of Nature.
The Diani beach is located on the Kenyan Coast, and it is one of the best beaches in the world. For 5 years in a row, Diani has been voted the best beach destination in Africa by the world travel awards. Diani is the perfect retreat for tourists who want to take a dive in the warm and clear waters of the Indian ocean or just lazy around on the beautiful white sands of the beach that stretches for 17 kilometers.
There are lots of fun activities to do in Diani, including snorkeling, fishing and water sports. You can take a dhow from Diani and visit Wasini island where you can play with dolphins and enjoy seeing turtles in their natural habitat. You could also take a glass-bottom boat into the ocean and witness the breathtaking aquatic life from the comfort of your boat. Diani also has a wide assortment of hotels and whatever your budget, you are bound to find a hotel that fits your needs. If you are planning a holiday in Kenya, make sure to add Diani to your itinerary.
Amboseli National Park
If you love elephants, the Amboseli National Park is a must-visit Kenya safari destination. Amboseli, which is located in Southern Kenya, 362KM from Nairobi, is nicknamed the “land of giants” because of its huge herds of elephants that reside here. It is one of the most popular parks in Africa, and it comes second only to the Mara. The park is close to Tanzania so you will not only enjoy the wildlife but also get a sneak peek of the majestic Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Most tourists fly from Nairobi, but you can also opt for a 4 hours road-trip from Nairobi. Even though you can visit the park at any time of the year, the dry months are the most ideal. The dry months are January- February and June-October. The wet months are not very ideal for wildlife viewing, although the park has better scenery during these wet months. The Amboseli has 5 different habitats. These are acacia woodland, marshland, swamps, thorny bushes and a dry Pleistocene lake basin. Some of the expected sightings on a Kenya holiday in Amboseli include elephants, buffalo, lions, hyenas, wild dogs, cheetahs, leopards, zebras, hippos, wildebeest, flamingos. Goliath herons and more.
Climb Mt. Kenya
If mountain climbing is your thing, climbing Mt. Kenya should be one of the activities in your Kenyan tour itinerary. Mt. Kenya is located 200KM Northeast of Nairobi, and it can be easily accessed via road.
Most mountain climbers who visit Africa only think of Mt. Kilimanjaro but Mt. Kenya is just equally as good in terms of adventure. In fact, it’s off-the-beat terrain might even be better than the Kilimanjaro adventure. The mountain has three peaks with the highest peak seating at 5,199 meters. The three peaks are Batian, Nelion and Lenana. The difficulty of your climb will be determined by the peak you are looking to conquer. You should, however, climb with an experienced guide in order to avoid getting lost.
Lamu is a prehistoric town and Island located at the northern tip of Kenya’s coastline. It is the oldest living Swahili town and is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage city. The town is part of the Lamu Archipelago and its one of the few East African towns that have preserved its cultural heritage through the years. As you walk through the streets of Lamu, you will meet the occasional donkey and the friendly locals who will be adorned in their traditional (Islamic) attire. Lamu is also the best place to sample Swahili cuisine including biryani, pilau, mahamri, fish, and more.
As the saying goes, there is no better way to explore a new country than with the people who were born and raised there. Head over to Masaimarasafari.in and start planning your Kenya safari. The Kenyan based travel agent has been in business for 2 decades, and their guides were all born and raised in Kenya.