The Safari Experts
  • kenya
Rotate phone to view
full screen images

Kenya safari


... can range enormously enormously in terms of both content and quality. This is an extremely diverse country which straddles a number of different climate zones, contains a vast range of different landscapes and is home to an unusually broad range of cultures.

Upsides ...

In so many ways Kenya represents something of a crossroads. It is a complex place, one about which it seems easy to eulogise one minute and despair the next.

Kenya is the original home of the modern safari and offers a very diverse range of experiences, from wonderfully remote high-end camps to very accessible and relatively low cost lodges. Of course the country is perhaps best known for the wildebeest migration in the Maasai Mara. There is also a great deal of history here, especially from the Colonial Era, as well as popular movie and television connections, notably Born Free and the BBC Big Cat Diary.

Read more about the upsides for travel in Kenya ...

Downsides ...

By comparison with countries such as Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana, the general quality of safari in Kenya is really rather poor. This is the home of the packaged safari, with most of the main parks being dominated by large mainstream lodges and fleets of minibuses.

Other downsides include the fact that the wildebeest migration is only in Kenya Jul/Oct, plus more general concerns about population pressure, corruption and security.

Read more about the downsides for travel in Kenya ...

Regions ...

We subdivide Kenya into six regions, each of which has its own very distinctive character and set of attractions. The majority of visitors combine two or more of these regions in their trip ...

Kenya Southwest ... is the best known and most visited part of the country, dominated by the Masai Mara, which continues to deliver top quality safari experiences so long as you plan carefully. The well known Rift Valley lakes of Naivasha and Nakuru now suffer terribly from traffic and urban expansion, but the Lake Magadi and Loita Hills area remains wonderfully pure and virtually unvisited.

Kenya Central ... is a very diverse region containing some wonderful safari areas, home to some unique species which you most likely won't see elsewhere, including reticulated giraffes, imperial zebras and gerenuks . Laikipia North is particularly well known for its superb Colonial Era ranches and family-run safari lodges. Even the relatively busy Samburu area has some superb camp options.

Kenya Southeast ... also contains a number of safari areas, set against the scenic backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro. The most famous area is Amboseli, but it can get rather busy and in many ways the adjacent Chyulu Hills is much more appealing, especially for high-end safari.

Kenya Coast ... is a 425km frontage onto the tropical Indian Ocean. Sections of this shoreline is now heavily developed with mass-market resorts and holiday homes, but there are still some wonderfully remote areas. To the south Msambweni is probably our favourite, whilst to the north there is the choice of the extraordinary Tana Delta or the islands of Lamu, Manda and Kiwayu.

Kenya North ... is an extremely remote and little-visited region with some truly spectacular desert scenery. But a combination of a lack of infrastructure and significant security concerns make travel here rather difficult, although we are able to operate some superb flying safari expeditions for more intrepid travellers.

Nairobi ... is the capital city and the main transport hub for the region.

When to visit ...

When it comes to deciding when to visit, the best season is generally considered to be Jul/Oct in the southwest region and the higher altitude parts of the central region. In the dryer desert areas and along the coast Jun/Feb is usually considered to be the optimum period, although this is very much dependent upon your choice of areas and the activities which interest you. Please refer to the seasonality sections on the individual lodge pages for detailed information.

Resources ...

Here are a few tips on issues relating to safari travel in Kenya ...

1. Passports and visas
2. Health
3. Money
4. Security
5. Electricity
6. Good books

How we like to include this country in trips ...

We find safari in Kenya to be a particularly tough sell. The problem isn't putting together trips of sufficient quality, we can do that easily enough.

The difficulty is that during the trip building process guests often find themselves being put off by the need to avoid heavy traffic in so many of the core areas.

We also find ourselves regularly having to explain to first time visitors exactly why the regular minibus tours are so awful, both as an experience and in terms of their impact on the environment.

But we remain resolute in our support for safari in Kenya, there really are some very cool options, especially for guests with higher budgets. Lower and medium level budgets are almost always better deployed across the border in Tanzania.

Kenyan trips can come in all shapes and sizes, but generally we prefer to stay at a carefully selected set of three to six lodges over a period of 7 to 14 nights, largely connected by light aircraft, but with the occasional overland transfer where the terrain in between is of sufficient interest and quality.

We are commonly asked to combine safari in Kenya and Tanzania. Despite the proximity of the two countries, we find that combination trips are often less attractive than focussing properly on one or the other. There's definitely a host of pitfalls that one can fall into, which we can discuss in more detail during the planning process.

We are also often commonly asked to combine safari in Kenya with a visit to the gorillas in Rwanda or Uganda, when these countries tend to connect much more cleanly with safari in Tanzania, with light aircraft flights directly into Serengeti.

Connections between Kenya and the countries of Southern Africa can be much more complex and arduous. The combination we are most commonly asked for is the Masai Mara and Victoria Falls, a connection which involves three flights and at least two days of international travel.

Ultimately we are here to help you build whatever combination of experiences, locations and lodges that you wish, but we are also always there with help and advice on how to make the best of your time in Africa.

Add Kenya to your wishlist

Add to wishlist
Best lodges
Ida Du Preez
Ida Du Preez, Purchasing
We really can help you create
an awesome African adventure,
so please do get in touch
and give us the chance
to shine.
Contact Us
Whenever you are ready