Kenya is a top wildlife destination, recommended especially for those taking a first-time safari. The Masai Mara offers excellent big cat encounters and is the setting for the yearly wildebeest migration. Palm-lined beaches offer a perfect place to relax after an action-packed safari in the Mara. Being a Kenyan, you are lucky enough to experience this right on your doorstep.
Here are the top five areas to visit for a safari while in Kenya.
Masai Mara National Reserve
The Masai Mara National Park, locally just known as The Mara, is by far the most popular area for a safari in Kenya. It is only a 40-minute flight from Nairobi, or if you are familiar with the roads, it would only be about a 5-hour road trip from Nairobi. This area is known for spotting cats including lions, leopards and cheetahs.
Karen Blixen Camp Masai Mara
However, the most popular time of the year to visit the area would be from around July to October when the annual wildebeest migration arrives from the Serengeti in Tanzania.
Lake Nakuru National Park
This area is a birders paradise with about 400 species found in the area. The area is famous for flamingos lining the shores and gives a new meaning to “pretty in pink”. You would be able to spot these birds throughout the year, but the ideal time would be in the dry-hot season of January and February. The flamingo population can reach up to 2 million in the park at times.
Lake Nakuru National Park flooded with Flamingos
As the park is a protected area, this stop is excellent to spot both rhinos and giraffes. Other wildlife you are almost guaranteed to see would include Buffalos, Zebras, Impalas, Olive Baboons, Vervet Monkeys, Waterbuck and a large variety of water birds. Yellow-billed Pelicans, Marabou Stocks and Fish Eagles are among the popular.
Amboseli National Park
After the Masai Mara National Reserve, the Amboseli National Park is a firm favourite while on safari in Kenya. Only a 4-hour drive from Nairobi, this is an ideal weekend getaway for locals. Searching for the Big Five, Amboseli is an excellent choice. The park is famous for its large herds of elephants.
Amboseli National Park
Another unique attraction of the park is the breathtaking views of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak. Although this mountain is situated just across the border in neighbouring Tanzania, the best views are from Amboseli. Here you get that postcard-perfect picture of the snow-capped peaks rising over the savannah. The best times to get that postcard picture would be at dawn or sunset when there are very few clouds and soft light.
Tsavo National Parks
This national park is split into two parts, West and East. The reason for the split is due to the railway line that runs from Mombasa to the interior of Kenya.
Tsavo National Park
Together it forms the largest park in Kenya, covering almost 21,000 square kilometres. Visitors to the park are spoilt with large herds of elephants as well as mesmerising landscapes. To the east, the terrain is generally flat with dry plains. The west is more mountainous and wet with swamps. The Big five is also found here with a large variety of birdlife.
Samburu Game Reserve
The game viewing in the Samburu Game Reserve is some of the best and would be enjoyed by a first-timer on safari as well as your well-travelled. Except for wildlife sightings, you would also be able to enjoy some cultural interactions. Being home to both savannahs and forests, you will be able to spot a variety of wildlife. The savannahs are ideal for leopards.
Zebras in Samburu Game Reserve
Elephants are found in large numbers, and you might be lucky enough to spot the super-rare wild dog. The park is also home to their own Big five including the Grevy zebra, Somali ostrich, reticulated giraffe, gerenuk and the beisa oryx. Whether you are a local travelling to Kenya is a fantastic destination for a safari. Why not start planning today with parks close enough for a weekend getaway or travelling a little further, why not start planning today!