Kenya Safari holiday secrets
This is part tribute to our favourite Kenya gems and part practical guide to Kenya. If you delve into the diversity of Kenya’s national parks, reserves and concessions you will find multiple favourites.
Shall we delve in more?
Nairobi may not be a place you want to stop in unless busy cities take your fancy or you are planning to visit the giraffe sanctuary or elephant orphanage. Often times logistics and flight times insist you stop for a night in Nairobi. If that’s the case, we help you find the most suitable property, either close to the airport if you arrive late and leave early or in one of the lovely leafy and safe areas.
There are all sorts of accommodation styles from chain hotels, smaller boutique hotels to owner run gems.
What’s fascinating and a great option for Nairobi accommodation is one of the properties built on or in the Nairobi National Park. This park sits oddly just on its outskirts of town complete with buildings as its backdrop.
Did you know it is Kenya’s oldest national park and the first one ever established in East Africa? What that means is it’s sentimental and surprisingly rewarding. Quite a badge – Nairobi is the only capital city in the world that has a national park that teems with wildlife whilst sitting 10 minutes from the downtown hustle and bustle.
The park is diverse in landscapes too with plains, acacia fringed rivers, cliffs, gorges and waterholes where you can see wildebeest, buffalo, lion, leopard, hippo, crocodile, 400 bird species to name a few.
One of Kenya’s hidden gems, Lake Bogoria National Reserve is the most dramatic and yet the least visited Great Rift Valley Lake simply because it’s more tricky to reach. This world heritage site has over 200 individual hot springs that boil up through the earth’s shallow crust and geysers spout cheekily throughout.
Waters are pewter blue ribbons of mirror and often a touch of pink as flamingos (up to a million) migrate to feed on the algae. The Siracho Escarpment invades the East side of the lake with its forbidding walls if lush green vegetation whilst the southern lake shores are peppered with fig trees and acacias.
Here you can see the rare greater Kudu, hyena, jackal, leopard and over 220 bird species.
Few safaris in the world include camels, bi-planes, tented camps, colourful tribal culture and elephants roaming the landscape. This is Samburu National Reserve, one of the country’s smallest areas yet most spectacular. Unlike anything else in Africa, the Samburu experience is wild with endless landscapes stretching as far as the eye can see with inselbergs, rocky outcrops, rivers and plains of doum palms and acacia groves hugging rivers.
Combine Samburu with its surrounding Northern Ranchlands Trust land and the adjacent Shaba and Buffalo Springs National Reserves and you have a massive eco system the size of Tsavo, some 22,000 square kilometres. Here there are literally thousands of elephants roaming freely, the second largest population in the country to be precise.
Guides are welcomed from the local communities and trained up to become the best in the business, colourful in traditional attire and outgoing personalities with the most infectious smiles in Africa.
Biggest conservancy in Kenya, Tsavo East and West National Parks form one of the country’s most accessible and here you can see the big five plus the rare lesser kudu. Tsavo is split into East and West, forming 4% of Kenya’s total land size. It’s still wild and underdeveloped whilst the experience highly rewarding.
Tsavo hosts some of the most spectacular landscapes from rolling plains, meandering rivers to savannah areas and forested hills. It is a year-round destination where you will find yourself game driving, rock climbing and walking. Wildlife highlights here are elephant, lion, hippo, zebra, hartebeest, lesser kugu and other plains game plus 600 bird species.
Keep in mind it’s often included in overland trips so it can get busy with larger vehicles and day trippers.