Kenya Safari | Masai Mara Kenya | Big 5 Kenya
If you are planning a Safari to see the big 5 in africa, a Kenya Safari is just what you need. Kenya is home to some of the most amazing Wildlife and a well planned Kenya Safari would be covering not only Masai Mara in Kenya but also other National Parks making it an experience you are likely to remember for a long time.
If it is your first time planning a Kenya safari then follow these Guidelines
Your Entry point would probably be Nairobi, the Capital City of Kenya. Like any other Capital city Nairobi has a lot to offer but a lot of what you see in Nairobi can be seen elsewhere in Kenya as well. Ideally if your flying time to Nairobi is greater than 6 hours then plan for 2 nights. This would help you set the pace for the rest of the Tour.
If you have a Generous Budget then Try and book the Giraffe manor, (very difficult to book as it gets sold out months sometimes years in advance) it is one of a kind property that you would come across anywhere in the world, the most fascinating thing about Giraffe Manor is its herd of resident Rothschild’s giraffe who may visit morning and evening, sometimes poking their long necks into the windows in the hope of a treat, before retreating to their forest sanctuary.
Include to visit David Sheldrick Orphange, Early in the morning, The Sheldrick Wildlife trust has successfully rescued over 247 orphaned Elephant till date (at the time of writing this Article) spend sometime observing these orphaned bay elephants and undertsand what it takes to raise these Gentle Giants.
If you are not staying in The Giraffe Manor (Availability and Price can be a major hindrance) then another great place to observe and handfeed the Giraffes in Nairobi is the Giraffe Centre, If you are travelling with Kids then you should not miss this opportunity to vist and observe these Majestic animals.
If you get a chance and have the time then you must try one of the most popular restaurants in Nairobi called the Carnivore Restaurant. Located in the Langata suburb of Nairobi, Carnivore’s specialty is meat, and features an all-you-can-eat meat buffet. They serve a wide variety of meat and were famous for their game meat until Kenya imposed a ban on the sale of game meat in 2004.
If you have the Luxury of time and can plan to stay for at least 10-14 days (which is ideal for travel to Kenya) it would offer you the best Kenyan Safari experience, If not then you may miss on some great places and only get to witness a part of Kenya. Given below are some of the National Parks which we totally recommend depending upon your appetite for how much Safari you wish to incorporate in your Kenya Holiday.
Amboselli National Park
Head out to the South East from Nairobi to a place called Amboselli National park, located around 4 hours by car south east of Nairobi, close to the border of Tanzania. Amboselli National Park is known for its large elephant herds and views of immense Mount Kilimanjaro, across the border in Tanzania. Observation Hill offers panoramas of the peak and the park’s plains and swamps. Varied wildlife includes giraffes, zebras, cheetahs and hundreds of bird species. The western section is dominated by vast Lake Amboseli, which is dry outside the rainy season. Ideal Stay should be 2 Nights here.
Tsavo National Park
The infamous duo lions with a taste for human blood roamed the Tsavo region during the construction of the Kenya-Uganda railway in 18th Century. This unfortunate event gave rise to the popularity of the park, home to “The Man Eaters of Tsavo”.
The railway line split the expansive 21,000 sq. Km park into Tsavo West National Park and Tsavo East National Park – combined, it forms the largest park in Kenya. It is in close proximity to Chyulu Hils on the East while Taita Hills (a magnet for wildlife due to the abundance of salt rocks) and Lumo Community Wildlife Sanctuary lie on the West; and Tanzania farther west. In fact, Lake Jipe lies on this border – a perfect camping spot.
A visit to the park – with its dramatic scenery, sense of space, diverse habitat and rich history – makes for an evocative experience for anyone, connecting man and nature in a splendid manner.
Tsavo West National Park
Mzima springs, almost synonymous with this park; is a series of four natural springs (source believed to be Chyulu Hills) that feeds a pool and a subsequent papyrus- fringed stream. This is the main source of water for Mombasa residents – and wildlife of Tsavo. A thatched hut on the pool conceals a glass-viewing-tank from which a healthy number of hippos, various types of fish and other aquatic life can be safely observed, unperturbed.
The ethereal appeal of this park is simply magical; the luxuriant vegetation around Mzima springs contrasts with the “whistling” acacia trees in the dry plains that can be heard miles away atop the rocky hills. The peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro can be viewed from the same vantage point.
Beyond Mzima Springs, a volcanic Lava Flow mountain sits in the background whose emissions of black lava stretch a cool 8 Kms towards Chyulu Hills – The locals named this natural phenomenon “Shetani” Lava (meaning the Devil’s Lava in Swahili).
The peculiarity of this park does not stop there. Elephants “bathe” in this park’s distinctively bright red soil giving them a red tint (well known as the “red elephants” of Tsavo). Maneless Lions, Fringed-eared Oryx, Klipspringer, Striped Hyenas and the occasional Caracal are some of the top attractions of this park. To top that up, this is the only park in Kenya abounds with baobab trees. Elsewhere, these can be spotted in Mombasa.
Tsavo East National Park
The landscape of this park is not different from that of its twin park, Tsavo West National Park, but with one exception – it has a colossal waterhole (instead of Mzima Springs).
The lush undulating series of hills rise majestically flanked by their rocky cousins; altogether overlooking the dense forest of indigenous trees straddling the volcanic landscape. The leafless Baobab trees are a rare addition to the usual acacia trees found in the savanna.
Some birds have found a home here. Wildlife relish the endowment of their surroundings. Bats disappear in the caves during the day, which also serve as hyenas’ dens. Its natural wonders baffle the locals and amaze visitors in equal measure. It is home to Kisula Caves, believed to be the longest and deepest lava caves in Africa.
The black residue of Shetani Lava Flow and Chaimu Hill and Crater are a vivid reminder of the volcanic activity in the area. This is where Ernest Hemingway stayed in December of 1933; an experience he chronicled in his book “Green Hills of Africa”. The Chyulu Hills ranges took on the nickname.
This is one of the supreme wildlife regions in Kenya – in fact, it is referred to as the second safari capital. Laikipia is lodged between Mount Kenya to the East and Aberdare Mountain Ranges (Nyandarua) to the West; forming a vital ecosystem (and corridor) for the wildlife in Northern Kenya.
It also neighbours Samburu to the North while Nyahururu (home of Thompson’s Falls) completes the circuit to the South. The lush highlands of Laikipia are dominated by conservancies and ranches (formerly “White Highlands” occupied by white settlers during the colonial period). The terrain is rugged – rocky, hilly, and mountainous – at an elevation of up to 2,122m with a relatively cool weather despite lying squarely on the Equator.
The region generally hosts a different set of wildlife from that found on the Southern side – rare and endangered species such as Reticulated Giraffes, Black and Northern White rhinos, Grevy’s Zebras, Elephants and African wild dogs.
Mount Kenya National Park
Mount Kenya is the second tallest mountain in Africa. The scenery surrounding this designated World Heritage Site is breath-taking. It is pristine wilderness with lakes, tarns, glaciers, dense forest, mineral springs and a selection of rare and endangered species of animals, high altitude adapted plains game and unique montane and alpine vegetation. The Mount Kenya National Park includes Mount Kenya and is basically a forest reserve in which a number of animal species reside. These include elephants, tree hyrax, white tailed mongoose, black fronted duikers, mole rats, bushbucks, waterbucks, elands, leopards, black rhinos, and buffaloes
Abedare National Park
The Aberdare National Park is a protected area in the Aberdare Mountain Range in central Kenya located east of the East African Rift Valley. This beautifully scenic region is much cooler than the savannahs and offers a completely different perspective on the country. The national park lies mainly above the tree line. The scenery is spectacular with its mountainous terrain covered in thick tropical forests swathed in mist.
Set within the eastern portion of the Rift Valley, the lake is a part of the private Soysambu Conservancy. The area is much less visited than other natural attractions in the region, so you enjoy a sense of privacy and solitude in a wondrous volcanic landscape. Much of the activity in Lake Elementaita takes place within the 48,000-acre conservancy that serves as a sanctuary for nationally threatened colobus monkeys, endangered Rothschild giraffes, elusive predators, plains game, avi-fauna and many other species.
Lake Naivasha is a freshwater lake in Nakuru county and is a Part of the Great Rift Valley. Not only is it one of the primary drinking holes for buffalos, zebras, elands, impalas, waterbucks and other grazers, it is a favorite place for hippos to cool themselves during the day.
Lake Nakuru is one of the greatest spectacles on earth with its millions of feeding flamingoes and wildlife rich shore.
Lake Nakuru is a wildlife haven but it is the Flamingoes that have earned it its reputation. First time visitors to the park are never disappointed as the sight is quite overwhelming. Lake Nakuru is the best lake for viewing Flamingoes of all of Kenya’s Rift Valley lakes and it is easily the most accessible, and popular of them all.
Game in Nakuru is plentiful with Lions, Impala, Defassa Waterbuck, White Rhino and big herds of Buffalo roaming the open grasslands. A special sighting at Nakuru is the Rothschild Giraffe, introduced into the park for their special protection. With distinct patterning the Rothschild matches the Reticulated Giraffe of the north for dramatic colouring. The park is also a sanctuary for the Black and White Rhino.
We wanted to save the best for the last. If you are wanting to experience everything that Kenya has to offer including the Big 5 then this is it. What makes it even more special is the fact Masai Mara is not only one of the greatest wildlife reserves in Kenya, it is also unique in that it is not managed by the country’s wildlife services but rather by the local communities.
Located on Kenya’s south western boundary with Tanzania the Masai Mara Reserve joins the Serengeti wildlife area to form possibly the most dramatic wilderness area on the continent, which in turn has given birth to the most dazzling spectatcle on Planet earth “The Migration” Since there are no fences separating where the two countries, Kenya and Tanzania meet, it provides a free passage for all the wildlife, to continue to move from South to North and back again, as they have done for centuries.
Best known for a one stop for the Big 5 Lion, Leopard, Rhinoceros, Elephant, and Cape buffalo, Masai Mara’s landscape has grassy plains and rolling hills, and is crossed by the Mara and Talek rivers.
In our experience this is the Park that one should do towards the end of the Holiday as no other park in Kenya can match what you would see in terms of Game here.
We hope you enjoy your Kenya Safari. Plan well and rather than doing it yourself use an Operator who can help you getting the best experience.
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