About Kenya Travel
Nairobi: Founded in 1899, Nairobi is one of the most prominent cities in Africa today; a hub for business and culture. It is the safari capital of East Africa. Yet much in the city harks back to its storied past such as the home-turned-museum of Isak Dinesen (Baroness von Blixen), who through her writings left us a picture of Kenya at the turn of the 20th century – a colonial world of romance, daring, struggle and triumph. Just outside Nairobi, the Giraffe Centre was established to help protect the endangered Rothschild giraffe found only in East Africa. Utamadani Market is the place to bargain for authentic arts and crafts. Nairobi National Park is four miles from downtown, resulting in an eccentric juxtaposition of skyscrapers as a backdrop to the wildness of the park.
Amboseli National Park: This national park near the Tanzanian border sits in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro, one of the most photographed icons in Africa. Burly wildebeest and buffalo mingle with sturdy impala and delicate Thompson’s gazelle while lion and cheetah are never far off. Elephants cool off in swamp waters, and the rare black rhino blends into the thorny bushes. The park boasts more than 420 species, including, incredibly, 47 species of raptors.
Masai Mara Game Reserve: Masai Mara Game Reserve is Kenya’s most irreplaceable wildlife sanctuary and is renowned for the ancient pageantry of the annual wildebeest migration. As the bronze grasslands of the Mara begin to turn green, countless wildebeest, zebra, antelope and others begin to search for new grazing lands. They cross raging rivers and defy waiting predators. Intersected by dark green veins of rich acacia woodland, this area is where some of “Out of Africa” was filmed. Herds of buffalo, hartebeest, impala and gazelle graze the savannas. Giraffe and elephant gather along the riverbanks of the Mara River, while pods of hippos congregate in the water below. The Masai Mara has the country’s largest predator population, with lion prides up to 20 strong. Among the activities available are a day trip to Lake Victoria, and a hot air balloon ride (weather permitting) over the Mara.
Samburu National Reseve: Samburu occupies the low semi-arid plains of Kenya’s Northern Frontier District. The Ewaso Nyiro River provides an oasis from the Equatorial sun. Several species here are seldom found elsewhere, such as the distinctive Grevy’s zebra with its narrow stripes; the shy long-necked gerenuk, which stands on its hind legs to feed on the tender leaves of the high tree branches; reticulated giraffe and the blue-necked Somali ostrich. Towering red termite mounds, palm-fringed river forests and the dramatic Ololokwe Mountain add to the movie-set quality of the landscape.
Private Nature Reserves: In Kenya, private game reserves and conservancies play a vital role in helping to maintain habitat for wildlife. Millions of acres are under private ownership. Through collaborations, the owners have created an important conservation area. Ranches have developed ecotourism facilites and conservation projects both within their boundaries and alongside the local communities. Local tribes participate in and share revenues generated by tourism, which help with community-orientated health, education and enterprise programs that work to alleviate poverty and create win-win situations for both residents and wildlife. Each reserve offers their own activities, many of which cannot be done in national parks such as bush walks, night game drives and horse or camel trekking. Some also have mountain biking and river rafting. Many reserves also allow guests to meet local villagers and learn something of their ancient traditions
Mt Kenya: East of the Rift Valley, imposing Mt. Kenya, an extinct volcano, dominates the scene. It is the highest mountain in the country and the second tallest in Africa. It has permanent glaciers; and its highest peak, Batian, sits at 17,060 feet. The mountain is surrounded by the Mount Kenya National Park, established in 1949. The mountain slopes are dressed in forest, bamboo, scrub, and alpine moorland, with rock, ice and snow at the highest elevations. The park, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, is also a Biosphere Reserve.
Aberdare National Park: The park is set in the cool Aberdare Mountains of the central highlands. This isolated volcanic range forms the eastern wall of the Rift Valley. Altitudes range from 7,000 to 14,000 feet. The unusual vegetation, rugged terrain and bucolic streams and waterfalls make this an area of great physical beauty. The heart of the park is a fairyland forest where a constant parade of wildlife come to the edge of a floodlit waterhole and a natural salt lick. The area is also the homeland of the Kikuyu people, who make up the largest tribal group in Kenya. Their traditions are depicted at the Kabaru Culutral Center. At Karatina, a local market sells hand-woven baskets and other crafts.
Lake Victoria: Lake Victoria is 26,560 square miles, with a 2,138-mile shoreline, making this the second largest tropical lake in the world. It is bound by Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. It contains more than 3,000 islands, many inhabited. The lake sits between the Western and Eastern Rift Valleys at about 3,720 feet.
Mombasa: Kenya’s second largest city, Mombasa, lazily stretches out along the coast facing the Indian Ocean. It boasts the largest port in East Africa. Old Town retains much of the historical flavor of the Portuguese who ruled here for 200 years. The Arabic influence is also seen in the architecture, culture and language. Fort Jesus echoes of eras past when slaves filled its cells. Artifacts from that time can be seen in the fort’s museum. Resorts along the beachfront feature a healthy roster of activities: swimming, jet skis, scuba diving, windsurfing and kayaking. Glass-bottomed boats offer glimpses of the stunning coral and marine life below. The city’s kaleidoscope of cultures makes it a fascinating destination.
Lamu Archipelago: Lamu, Manda and Paté are the three largest islands of the archipeligo, located in the Indian Ocean close to the northern coast of Kenya. Lamu Island is linked by ferry to the mainland and to Manda Island. Lamu Town, Kenya’s oldest living town, is one of the original Swahili settlements along coastal East Africa and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Arab traders were using the port as early as the 14th century. With no motorized vehicles, transportation and heavy work is done using donkeys. The island has a donkey sanctuary that provides free treatment to the animals. Manda Island is known for its 9th-century ports of Takwa and Manda town, both abandoned in the 19th century, probably for lack of water. In the 1960s, two concrete catchments were built to capture rain water on the island. Today, it is served by an aiport and ferry service to Lamu. By the 1600s, Paté Island was colonized by Arabic traders. Like Manda, it has no motorized transport.
Suggested Kenya Safari Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive Nairobi, Kenya
Day 2: Nairobi / Amboseli National Park
Day 3: Amboseli National Park
Day 4: Amboseli / Masai Mara Game Reserve
Day 5: Masai Mara
Day 6: Masai Mara
Day 7: Masai Mara / Nairobi / Depart
Custom Travel Options
Samburu National Reserve (3 days)
On the northern frontier, the park is noted for the species rarely found elsewhere such as Grevy’s zebra and reticualted giraffe.
Private Nature Reserves (4 days)
Several private nature conservancies maintain vital wildlife habitats. They also allow only limited numbers of visitors and offer activities not found in the national parks.
Mount Kenya (2 days)
This national park supports elephant, buffalo, monkey, antelope and giant forest hog as well abundant birdlife.
Aberdare National Park (2 days)
In addition to game viewing, the unusual vegetation, rugged terrain and waterfalls make this an area of great scenic beauty.
Lake Victoria (3 days)
Lake Victoria, source of the Nile, is the world’s second largest freshwater lake with Nile perch, fish eagles and playful otters.
Mombasa (4 days)
The coastal city of Mombasa is an island with magnificent stretches of white sandy beaches and coral reefs.
Lamu Archipelago (4 days)
Along ancient trade routes, these islands were settled by traders as early as the 14th century.