Kenya is a gateway to East Africa in all its beauty. Kenya is a country with many things to offer- a country that will definitely enrich you with the number of experiences it offers. The country has a unique geography- with the Indian Ocean on one side, dramatic plateaus and rift valleys that have made Kenya the ideal place for numerous species of animals and birds. This is why it has become one of the best destinations for safari enthusiasts around the world. If you’re looking to buy a tour or holiday, check out Bookmundi.
If you’re looking to go on safaris in Kenya, this is the definitive guide for you. Learn about which parks you should definitely visit, what time you should visit, and where you could stay, right here!
Best Time for a Safari in Kenya
- Best time to visit Kenya: June-October & January-February
- High Season: July-November, January- February
- Low Season: March-May
- All Seasons: June- October (dry season), November-May (wet season)
- Wildebeest Migration: July- October
June-October- Dry Season
- This is the dry season in Kenya, and is the best time to spot wildlife, as they tend to gather around watering holes.
- This is when the weather is perfect, with clear skies and very little rain, so you won’t have to worry about mosquitoes either.
- This is the peak season for the wildebeest migration in Kenya.
- Since this is the peak season, there will be quite a bit of crowd. You have to book your flights and accommodation way beforehand.
November- May- Wet Season
- This is broadly considered to be the wet season. The heaviest rains are between March-May.
- In the other months, the rainfall is limited to short showers in afternoons and evenings, leaving your mornings and early afternoon wide open for exploration.
- The low season offers great discounts for travelers, and there won’t be too much of a crowd either.
- The scenery is lush and green all around. This is the birthing season, and you will be able to see plenty of wildlife- you just have to be prepared to travel greater distances.
Best Safari Destinations in Kenya
The Maasai Mara is one of the most popular safaris in the entire world, and for a good reason. It’s definitely the best place to see wildlife in Kenya, and also get a glimpse of the area’s cultural history. The Mara River runs through the park, drawing a variety of wildlife to its banks. The Maasai Mara is actually a continuation of the Serengeti National Reserve in Tanzania.
This is hands down the best place for you to see the wildebeest migration, which is the best safari experience you can have. There are a number of ways in which you can explore the national park- a safari jeep, or even a hot air balloon.
Maasai Mara is also the best place to visit local Maasai villages, and experience their way of life. The Maasai people have lived in the area for time immemorial, and it will definitely be an experience of a lifetime, observing how they lead life, and interact with the nature around them.
Where to stay: You can find luxury accommodations as well as camping grounds in the Maasai Mara. The northern reaches offer more private accommodations, with luxury tents and suites. Some of the exclusive hotels include Kichwa Tembo tented camp, Bateleur Camp, Elephant Pepper Camp, etc. Some of the budget camps include Enchoro Wildlife Camp, Maji Moto Eco Camp, Mara Nubian Camp, etc.
Look out for: There is a world of animals for you to see: from hippos, giraffe, buffalos, elephants, wildebeest, zebras, and the big cats.
Depending on when you visit, you can see the animals during the wildebeest migration, as well. If you have the time, visit the Narok Museum, which has great displays on contemporary and traditional Maasai culture.
Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park boasts of some of the finest views of Kilimanjaro- in fact, you will feel like you’re in a movie when you wake up from your tent, and see the snowcapped peaks of the highest mountain in Africa dominating the sight before your eyes. The national park is located on the Kenyan border with Tanzania, and offers prime big game viewing opportunities- especially around the wetlands.
Amboseli, which comes from the Maasai word meaning ‘salty dust’ has various habitats- from the dry Lake Ambolseli bed, to the savannah, the woodlands, and the wetlands. This is a great area for wildlife spotting and also to observe local Maasai communities.
Where to stay: There are a number of accommodation options for those visiting Amboseli National Park. This includes Kilimanjaro Guest House, Simba Cottage, Chui Cottage, etc. The Amboseli Campsite is open if you’re carrying your own tent. For a more luxurious accommodation, head to Amboseli Serena Lodge, Tortilis Tented Lodge, or Oltukai Lodge.
Look out for: Amboseli is probably the best place for you to view elephants. You can also view leopards, cheetahs, buffalos, giraffe, zebras, lions and crocodiles. There are 600 species of birds in the area as well. Make sure you camp out at least for one night, so you can enjoy the view of Mount Kilimanjaro. Visit the Observation Hill, which will give you a sweeping view of the whole park, including the elephants!
Samburu National Park
Samburu National Park is located in northern Kenya, and will be a fantastic change of pace coming from Maasai Mara and Amboseli National Park. It is located on the banks of the uniquely dark-red Ewaso Ngiro River. It’s a dry terrain, without much of a green cover.
The river attracts a number of animals- including the large population of crocodiles that live there. Plenty of wildlife comes to the river banks as well. The lack of thick grass cover makes it really easy to spot wildlife. This national park is less crowded than the other two reserves, so you will be able to relax, without worrying about the crowds.
Where to stay: There are a number of places to stay in Samburu National lodge, including the Samburu Sopa Lodge, Serena Lodge, Samburu Game Lodge, Sarova Shaba, etc. Larsens Tented Camp is a more luxurious option.
Look out for: Samburu is regularly visited by the big cats- lions, cheetahs, and leopards. You can also see a number of crocodiles, buffalos, reticulated giraffes, and even the endangered Grevy’s zebra.
Tips to Have a Wonderful Safari in Kenya
Here are some of the tips that will help you have a great safari in Kenya.
- Take a look at all the vaccinations and immunizations required before you can travel to Kenya. Immunization against hepatitis A, typhoid, diphtheria, tetanus is required. It is recommended that you also get a vaccination against yellow fever.
- Malaria is widespread, so make sure you are carrying anti-malarial tablets.
Safety in Safaris
- When on a safari, listen to what your guide has to say.
- Stay within the vehicle, unless the guide or the driver thinks its okay to get off.
- Do not make too much noise when you’re on the safari, especially when on a game drive. Do not make any sudden movements that might startle the animals either.
- There will be a number of smaller animals that you have to be worried about as well- insects, like scorpions, snakes, etc.
You should use a torch while walking at night, and pay careful attention to where you’re stepping.
- There might be a lot of mosquitoes when you’re traveling- so use mosquito nets, and mosquito repellant sprays.
- To make your safari experience better, you should invest in field guides that will let you identify the flora and fauna of the area.
- Traveling by road is the cheapest option when you’re in Kenya.
- You can either get your accommodation booked by travel agents. Depending on when you’re traveling, it might be cheaper to arrange the accommodation in advance.
- When booking your safari, find out what all is included. Most often, the price quotes includes transport cost from base to base, park entrance fees, and a guide. Some safaris also cover accommodation.