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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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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.