Kenya Travel Guide
Kenya is a country of many facets, from the chirp of a bird to the splendid roar of a lion, a proud Masai warrior to a humble fisherman, luxuriant forests to snow-capped mountain peaks, and grasslands to sandy beaches. Astride the equator, in the heart of East Africa, Kenya is a haven of wildlife documentary delight and a sun-seeker's paradise! No other country in the world can offer visitors as much to see and do within its borders. You will find pristine beaches, equatorial forests, mighty snow-capped mountains, savannahs rich with big game, searing deserts cool highland retreats, timeless cultures as well as endless opportunities for exploration, adventure and relaxation more than you would imagine. The unbelievable diversity of wildlife means that there no two experiences in the wild are ever the same. Tourists have the opportunity to see and experience completely different things in a single trip to Kenya.
- Masai Mara National Reserve
- Samburu National Park
- Amboseli National Park
- Lake Nakuru National Park
- Nairobi National Park
- Mount Kenya National Park
- Aberdare National Park
- Tsavo East & West National Park
Masai Mara is not only one of the popular destination in Kenya but in Africa as well. Masai Mara is regarded as the jewel of wildlife viewing in Kenya. Situated in the Great Rift Valley, the reserve is primarily open grassland. The annual wildebeest migration involving over 1.5 million animals arriving from Serengeti in early July departing in November. The migrating animals are tracked by predators: lion, leopard, cheetah, and hyena, and circled by vultures as their journey unfolds. Their dramatic river crossings are a reality for tourists visiting in early July-August. Apart from the seasonal migration, game viewing is excellent year round. Game includes elephant, black rhino, buffalo, plains zebra, hartebeest and big cats. There have been some 95 species of mammals, amphibians and reptiles and over 400 birds’ species recorded on the reserve.
Samburu National Reserve is situated on the northern wilderness of Kenya. The Uaso Nyiro River cuts through this reserve, drawing a big population of wildlife in the reserve. The river bustles with activity from its huge population of Nile crocodiles. The reserve's topography is mainly open savannah (grassland) with clusters of acacia trees, forest, thorn trees and grassland vegetation. The game reserve is renowned for its rare species of animals unique to the park, namely: the long necked gerenuk, Grevy's zebra, reticulated giraffe and Beisa Oryx. The elusive Kenya leopard is a resident here. Other Kenyan wildlife present in the park includes cheetahs and lions, as well as elephants, buffalo and hippos. Birdlife is as plentiful as wildlife at Samburu National Reserve, which boasts over 350 different species of birds including vultures, kingfishers, marabous, bateleurs, guinea fowl, Somali ostriches and others.
Amboseli National Park is located in Loitoktok District, Rift Valley Province of Kenya. The ecosystem mainly savannah grassland spread across the Kenya-Tanzania border at the foot of the amazing Mount Kilimanjaro which is the highest mountain in Africa. The park is famous for being the best place in Africa to get close to free-ranging wild animals such as herds of elephants, zebras, buffaloes, lions, wildebeest, cheetahs and over 400 birds. It is also home to the Masai people who can often be seen grazing their livestock across the park.
The park lies in Central Kenya, 140km northwest of Nairobi, in the Nakuru district of the Rift Valley Province. The ecosystem comprises of the lake, surrounded by mainly wooded and bushy grasslands. The park supports a wide ecological diversity with the Flamingos (Greater and Lesser) and other water birds being the major attractions of the area. The ecosystem provides for about 56 different species of mammals including the white rhino and buffaloes and a variety of terrestrial birds numbering nearly 450 species.
Nairobi National Park is a unique ecosystem by being the only protected area in the world close to a capital city. The park is located only 7 km from Nairobi city Centre. The savannah ecosystem comprises of different vegetation types. Open grass plains with scattered acacia bush are predominant. The western side has a highland dry forest and a permanent river with a riverine forest. Major wildlife attractions are the Black rhino, lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, buffaloes, Giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, elands and diverse birdlife with over 400 species recorded. Other attractions include the Ivory burning site Monument, Nairobi Safari Walk, the Orphanage and the walking trails at hippo pools.
Mt. Kenya National Park is located to the east of the Great Rift Valley, about 175km North-East of Nairobi. The ecosystem lies in Central and Eastern provinces of Kenya. At 5,199m the mountain is the second highest peak in Africa. It's described as one of the most impressive landscapes in Eastern Africa with its rugged glacier-clad summits, Afro-alpine moorlands and diverse forests that illustrate outstanding ecological processes. Major attractions include unspoiled wilderness, lakes, tarns, glaciers and peaks of great beauty, geological variety, forest, mineral springs, rare and endangered species of animals, High altitude adapted plains game, Unique Montane and alpine vegetation with 11 species of endemic plants. The park is home to herds of elephants, tree hyrax, white tailed mongoose, suni, black fronted duiker, mole rat, bushbucks, water buck and Elands. Animas rarely seen include leopard, bongo, giant forest hog and rhino.
The Aberdare National Park is situated in the central part of Kenya. The topography is quite diverse with deep ravines that cut through the forested eastern and western slopes. Animals easily observed in the park include; the Black Rhino, leopard, baboon, black and white Colobus monkey and sykes monkey. Rarer sightings include those of lions, the golden cat and the bongo- an elusive forest antelope that lives in the bamboo forest. Animals like the eland and spotted and serval cats can be found higher up in the moorlands. Tourists can also indulge in picnics, trout fishing in the rivers and camping in the moorlands. Bird viewing is rewarding, with over 250 species of birds in the park, including the sparry hawk, Jackson's Francolin, eagles, goshawks, sunbirds and plovers.
The Joint mass of Tsavo West and Tsavo East National Parks forms one of the largest National parks in the world and covers a massive 4% of Kenya’s total land area. Tsavo East the larger of the two, lies to the east of the Nairobi –Mombasa road, equidistant between Nairobi and Mombasa, and offers a vast and untapped arena of arid bush which is washed by azure and emerald meandering of Galana River. Guarded by the limitless lava reaches of Yatta plateau and patrolled by some of the largest elephant herds in Kenya. The Park is home to most of the larger mammals, vast herds of dust –red elephant, Rhino, buffalo, lion, leopard, pods of hippo, crocodile, waterbucks, Lesser Kudu, Gerenuk and Hirola
Best Time to Visit Kenya
There is no “right” time—warmer months mean picnics and parks, but also crowds. During colder months skies are grey, but there are fewer tourists. There are events year-round, from outdoor summer concerts to holiday extravaganzas in the winter.
January is the coolest month with an average temperature of 41°F (5°C). July is the hottest month with an average temperature of 68°F (20°C).
The ever-expanding metro and RER train systems transport Kenyaians just about anywhere they want to go. It’s cheap and efficient; a single ticket costs $2 and day passes start at $14. Taxis and buses are also easily accessible, but locals will walk or grab a Vélib bicycle if they don’t have far to go.
Know Before Visiting
Kenya is a diverse, evolving city, so leave many of the Hollywood stereotypes at home. Try to speak French a bit and dress a little nicer than usual, but in the end, relax. Even Kenyaians wear sneakers—albeit fashionable ones.
English & Swahili