Kenya is a top wildlife destination, recommended especially for those booking 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.
Reach new peaks and challenge yourself with an unforgettable climb of Mt. Kenya and observe the Unesco World Heritage site (and Unesco Biosphere reserve) from the soaring height of 4985m. The peak is higher but only attainable by mountaineer experts.
African safaris often entice tourists to Kenya due the renowned Masai Mara game reserve for a view of some of the most attractive wild animals in the world. The 'Great Migration' of wildebeests from the nearby Serengeti reserve of Tanzania is also a magnificent spectacle.
Apart from the abundance of game in the reserve, the Masai Mara, shared with Tanzania, is also one of the top bird-watching destinations on the planet. You can either observe those birds from the ground or gain an authentic African experience by searching the plains from the vantage point of your hot air balloon.
Learn about the Masai tribe's culture at the Masai museum in Hell's Gate National Park, before setting off on the unique cycling or walking safari where any one of the big five may be lurking around the corner. Along with a large amount of African wildlife, Hell's Gate tours are equally as prestigious for the scintillating scenery on offer, with breath-taking gorges and basalt columns.
In addition to these Kenyan safaris, the Tsavo East National Park and Longonot National Park also provide great opportunities to experience the ultimate African experience and a great chance to see the great animals in Kenya.
Kenya tours are not complete without a trip to the mesmerizing beauty of the Indian ocean. Find rare underwater life as you snorkel the mind-blowing corals of the Kenyan coast.
Best Time to Go: June to October, January to February
High Season: July to November, January and February
Pros and Cons
Excellent wildlife viewing, including the annual wildebeest migration in the Masai Mara
A wide variety of habitats and scenery
Beautiful beaches with plenty of resorts to choose from
Traditional indigenous cultures
Excellent service and well-run tourism industry
The main tourist attractions are often crowded with tourists
Except for lions, big cats generally aren’t as common as other sizeable wildlife in Kenya, such as the giraffe, hippo and elephant. The one place where you can see plenty of them, along with an abundance of other wildlife, is Masai Mara. The rhino is another less-common animal, as is the African wild dog, though you never know your luck on safari. Of course, it’s the wildebeest and zebra who really put on a show here, with the incredible annual migration.
Weather & Climate
Kenya’s equatorial location rules out a distinctive summer and winter, but it does have clear-cut Wet and Dry seasons. The wetter months (November to May) are characterized by very warm temperatures of around 30°C/86°F, with the addition of sticky humidity down along the coast. The drier months (June to October) have cold nights and mornings, and fairly pleasant afternoons. The other big climatic influence is altitude, with temperatures dropping about 6°C/3.5°F for every 1,000m/1,000ft the higher you go.
Best Time to Visit
The Dry season (June to October) is your best bet for wildlife watching. This is when the bush thins out, making animals more visible as they head for the nearest waterhole. This is also when the wildebeest and zebra pass through. The Wet season (November to May) has its attractions as well. These include fantastically green scenery, lots of newborn animals, and cheaper low-season rates.
Premier Parks and Reserves
Masai Mara- Classic safari
Amboseli- Classic safari
Lake Nakuru- Classic safari
Samburu- Classic safari
Tsavo West- Classic safari
Tsavo East- Classic safari
Buffalo Springs- Classic safari
All 26 Kenya Parks & Reserves
Want to Visit Kenya?
A game drive is an adventure that entails viewing wildlife in the comfort of a 4×4 open Land Rovers which accommodate 4 to 10 people, a sure way to give you that classical safari feeling. Safari game drives are one of the most popular ways to see wildlife in Africa.
At Safari Hunters ,game drives usually conducted in the early mornings, late afternoon or at night, since these are the coolest times of the day when most animals are more active. During the game drive, our knowledgeable Maasai guides will introduce you to the life in the savanna and share their infinite knowledge about the African wildlife.
A safari game drive can vary in length and distance, depending on individual preferences. As you drive into the wilderness, you will be captivated by the vast beauty of the savanna, with its rolling hills and infinite horizon.
The African Bush Ecosystem is renowned for its abundance of wildlife! During your game drive safari you most certainly will encounter the big five lion, cheetah, rhino, leopard and elephant as well as numerous other wildlife animals and birds.
Ever dream of seeing an elephant trumpeting its trunk, a lion licking its lips, or a cheetah sprinting through the grasslands? An African safari is a thrilling chance to see wild animals going about their daily lives in their natural habitat. East Africa (Kenya and Tanzania) has a huge variety of national parks that offer adventurous opportunities to see wildlife up close.
The history of the African safari
The word safari derives from the swahili word for ‘journey’, and in colonial times, the implication was that big game would be hunted, shot, and then arduously lugged overland by a small army of local tribespeople. US president Teddy Roosevelt popularised the concept in the United States, when he embarked on a safari of enormous proportions, ostensibly with the aim of filling the Smithsonian Institute with African specimens. 11,400 Animals fell to the party’s rifles, of which 512 were ‘big game’ – elephants, lions, leopards, buffalo, hippos and rhino, including six white rhino – rare even at the time.
The Modern Safari – Proudly Responsible
A safari still involves wildlife, but other than that the term has been re-purposed to mean something entirely new. Safaris are now for admiring wildlife and birds in the wild, along with a host of other adventures.
Safaris have largely developed into holiday trips that actually benefit the wildlife of Africa, by supporting local conservation efforts and wildlife sanctuaries. As opposed to hunting the animals, visitors get to encounter them and help make a difference in protecting the species. Safari companies either actively contribute towards conservation projects or help generate tourism revenue which is used to manage wildlife projects and game reserves.
Origins of the Word – Etymology of Safari
The English word ‘safari’ originates from the late 19th century according to the Online Etymology Dictionary.
First Arabic: The term originally comes from the Arabic word safara, meaning ‘a journey’ which was first used as a foreign word in the English langiage in 1858.
Then Swahili: The Arabic word found its way to East Africa where it was adapted to the Swahili verb kusafiri which means ‘to travel’ and the noun safari.
And then English: The Swahili word was first used in the English language in 1860 as a foreign word and then attested in dictionaries in 1890 as an English word. The legendary British explorer, Sir Richard Francis Burton is credited for introducing the word safari to the English language.
Forget the old concept of a safari as a hunting trip – that outdated usage is history! In the modern sense of a safari:
The great wildebeest migration is one of the most phenomenal natural spectacles in the world.
WHAT IS WILDEBEEST MIGRATION?
Great Wildebeest Migration, one of the 7 wonders of the world which happens right at the heart of the Maasai Mara National Reserve. Its astonishingly large numbers of wildlife species ensure guests have great game viewing opportunities. A Masai Mara safari promises incredible wildlife sightings all year round. The area is adjoined by private conservancies providing guests with intimate safari experiences.
The great wildebeest migration is one of the most phenomenal natural spectacles in the world. It is an annual movement by millions of wildebeest, accompanied by large numbers of zebra, Grant’s gazelle, Thompson’s gazelle, elands and impalas across the greater Masai Mara-Serengeti Ecosystem.
From July to Septemeber the Mara welcomes the Great Migration of wildebeest and zebra from the Serengeti in Tanzania to Masai Mara in Kenya. During the wildebeest migration, you will witness how the constant battle for survival makes the Migration Season a particularly exhilarating time to visit Kenya.
The Mara River crossing activity is considered the climax of the migration period. Mara River crossing is an event that will take you through a range of emotions, anticipation, heartache, inspiration, excitement and so much more. The sheer sight of the first herds of animals rushing into the crocodile infested river will make you long for this wildebeest migration every year.
Best time to see the Migration?
The best time to witness the migration from the Serengeti to Masai Mara is between July and September. During this period, the greatest spectacle on earth unfolds right before your eyes. Over a million wildebeest, zebra and gazelles make their way to Masai Mara by crossing the crocodile infested Mara River in search of greener pastures.
The exact timing may change from year to year as it is a spontaneous event influenced by rainfall patterns and the subsequent grazing opportunities. The animals are constantly on the move all year-round. They stay in the Masai Mara from July to October before gradually migrating back to the Serengeti from November.
Because of our longstanding commitment to the Maasai community we are able to provide authentic safari experiences to our guests with the guidance of our Masai friends. No one knows the Mara like the Maasai and as true nature specialists, guests are guaranteed a unique experience during this period.