Destinations

Kenya

Wild and beautiful, Kenya has it all - from vast savannahs rich in wildlife, mystical highlands, ancient forests, arid deserts, towering snowcapped peaks and a tropical coast with sugary sand beaches. Its proud and colourful tribes who maintain their rich traditions share a history with characters such as Karen Blixen and George Adamson, their stories told in classic films like 'Out of Africa' and 'Born Free'.
Out of Africa
The Kenyan landscape is dramatic and diverse, containing almost every known landform, from snowy peaks to arid deserts, mountain ranges to sprawling savannahs, large lakes and dense forests. The Great Rift Valley, its floor littered with otherworldly lakes and extinct volcanoes, cuts through this land from north to south. Mount Kenya, at 5,199 metres and topped in snow and glacial ice, stands sentinel above rolling grassland plains and the intriguing semi-desert wilderness much further to the north. Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa and source of the Nile, dominates the southwest of the country, and Lake Turkana with its rich paleontological history and haunting landscapes borders the north.

Kenya is also the traditional home and the origin of the 'safari', evoking the glamour of a bygone era, a time of colourful characters such as Karen Blixen, Denys Finch Hatton, George and Joy Adamson and Ernest Hemingway.

East Africa’s most cosmopolitan capital is a fascinating city of contrasts. The concrete jungle lays side by side with a national park, home to lions and roaming herds of zebra, giraffe and many other species. Busy city roads lead to some of the best luxury hotels in Africa. Nairobi is home to a thriving arts and culinary scene that is both world-class and distinctly Kenyan. Whether you are looking to explore the original home of Karen Blixen, feed giraffe by hand, adopt an orphaned baby elephant at Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, taste ‘Nyama Choma’ or pick up artisan pieces at a local market, Nairobi will not disappoint.

 
Where the wild things are
Kenya's rich and diverse wildlife is world renowned, especially its populations of large mammals. In its iconic Masai Mara, the plains darken during the annual wildebeest migration, with predators of all kinds in tow.
The South: Endless Plains and Quintessential African Landscapes
No trip to Kenya is complete without a visit to one of Africa’s most iconic national parks. Situated in southwest Kenya, the Masai Mara forms the northern section of the Serengeti. Its rolling savannah studded with flat-top acacia and balanite trees is home to one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in the world. The Mara is fantastic at any time of the year, but from July to October, the Great Migration takes over as more than two million wildebeest and zebra arrive from the Serengeti in search of food.
One of the most unforgettable experiences in the Mara is taking an early morning balloon ride over the sweeping plains to experience a birds-eye view of the herds. For those interested in culture, the areas bordering the reserve are still home to thousands of Maasai tribespeople, giving visitors a chance to learn more about their unique tribal lifestyle and customs.

Amboseli National Park at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro offers some of the best elephant viewing in Africa. To the east of Amboseli, Tsavo West National Park, home to some of Africa's largest surviving tuskers, offers an incredible wilderness experience in a vast and dramatic landscape. Against a background of red soils, volcanic outcrops and sweeping savannah plains, the legendary man-eaters of Tsavo once roamed here. Nestled between Tsavo West and Amboseli, Chyulu Hills National Park is renowned for its dramatically beautiful landscape; rolling green volcanic hills - the ‘Green Hills of Africa’ that so inspired Ernest Hemingway - cloud forests, granite outcrops and extinct volcanic cones offering a stark contrast to Kenya's other landscapes.

This is also one of the best places in Africa for horseback safaris with its stunning landscape and unrestricted roads, where you are more likely to come across a pride of lions than a vehicle.

The North: Rugged, Wild and Unexplored
The vast Laikipia Plateau stretches from the slopes of Mount Kenya to the edge of the Great Rift Valley. Ranging from dry savannah and open woodlands to dramatic canyons and low forested valleys, this is a beautiful area with an exciting story. It hosts a network of conservancies and community owned ranches that run some of Kenya’s most effective conservation projects to save endangered species such as lions, wild dogs, Grevy's zebra and white and black rhinos. There are opportunities to visit and even take part in some of these important conservation projects. For a really unique experience we recommend a night sleeping under the endless African stars in a four-poster bed on a raised wooden platform listening to the sounds of the African bush.

Remote, rugged and unspoilt, Kenya's Northern Reserves include the Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba National Reserves, Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy and Meru National Park. The area offers a beguiling mix - fertile hills, forests, baobabs and doum palms and an impressive diversity of animals including Northern Kenya's endemic species; Grevy’s zebra, gerenuk, Somali ostrich, reticulated giraffe as well as all the big cats and healthy elephant and buffalo populations.

Samburu is the traditional home of the nomadic and pastoralist Samburu people, and Meru was made famous by the book and feature film ‘Born Free’ depicting the release of Joy & George Adamson’s beloved ‘Elsa’ the lioness back into the park.

We believe that best way to see this large, remote area is by helicopter. Imagine flying over Mount Kenya and its glacial lakes, following the rivers of Samburu, soaring over the ancient forests of the Matthews Ranges, and then circling over the incredible Lake Turkana in the far north. For those interested in conservation, Reteti elephant sanctuary, in the remote and beautiful Matthews Rangers in Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy, is an elephant orphan rescue and rehabilitation program.

 

The Great Rift Valley
Stretching for over 6,500km from the Red Sea to Mozambique, the Great Rift Valley, created by the moving of tectonic plates beneath the crust of Africa, cuts Kenya in two. The valley is home to some of the world’s oldest, largest, and deepest lakes offering amazing biodiversity and extraordinary numbers of endemic species.

Beginning in the remote north is Lake Turkana, sometimes known as the Jade Sea, which sits in a land more reminiscent of the moon than of planet earth and is home to a range of incredibly resilient life-forms. This rarely visited lake is the largest desert lake in the world and supports Africa’s biggest population of Nile crocodiles.

Further south, there are a number of lakes to explore – Baringo, Bogoria, Nakuru, Elementaita, and Naivasha – all unique, all supporting a large proportion of Kenya’s wildlife, including millions of flamingos at certain times of the year. Lake Nakuru also has a healthy population of both black and white rhino and is one of the better places in Kenya to see leopard.

For those interested in an authentic cultural experience, the annual Lake Turkana Cultural Festival, is an amazing opportunity to see local tribes and ethnic communities, such as Turkana, Samburu, Gabbra, Pokot and Borana, who come together to showcase their traditional singing and dancing in their colourful costumes. It is a way to help foster economic development as well as preserving their unique cultures and traditions

 
Post-safari rest and relaxation
The only thing as important as a safari in Kenya is where you will unwind when it is over. The country has a wealth of post-safari romantic retreats for the perfect bush and beach combination.

Kenya also boasts a coastline of palm fringed, white sandy beaches, exotic coral reefs, secluded islands and sacred forests,  ideal after an intense safari experience. South of Mombasa, Diani and Galu beaches are the idyllic tropical paradise often referred to as Kenya’s own 'mini Maldives'. North of Mombasa, the Lamu Archipelago is a small collection of remote, quiet islands with Swahili ruins dating back to the 14th century. Lamu is surely the most evocative destination on the Kenyan coast.

With no cars around, the best way to discover this graceful town is by wandering its backstreets, admiring the grand old Swahili doors, peeking into hidden courtyards bursting with unexpected colours, a world away from the deafening stampedes of the migrating herds.

Lake Victoria is spread over 68,000 square kilometres, yet never more than 80 metres deep. It is one of the key sources of the White Nile and is one of East Africa’s most important geographical features. Bordering Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania, this expansive body of water stretches into the horizon – appearing more like a sea than a lake with its gentle waves punctuated by many small, verdant islands that play host to a rich variety of wildlife. Lake Victoria is not top of mind when it comes to thinking of a post safari unwind. However, with a growing number of the islands now offering a range of luxury lodges, Lake Victoria is slowly coming into its own.

If you only have the opportunity to visit one African country, it is hard to go past Kenya. Abundant wildlife, stunning landscapes, gorgeous beaches, amazing lakes, soaring mountains, rich cultural experiences and a wide variety of safari activities for all ages – Kenya is Africa at its absolute best.

DID YOU KNOW?

Victoria Falls – which straddles Zambia and Zimbabwe – is the largest waterfall in Africa. The falls span over 1.7 kilometres wide and 108 metres deep. Over 500 million litres of water plummets over the edge into the Zambezi River at its peak. Its spray can be seen from over 30 miles away, earning it the name 'The Smoke That Thunders'.

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We do not subscribe to the ‘one-size-fits-all’ philosophy. Sample itineraries and cost estimates are meant purely as a guide. To find out more, please contact one of our expert travel consultants to plan a customized itinerary based on your budget and interests.