Fall in love with Africa on safari in Kenya.
The original safari destination, Kenya in East Africa stretches from the Indian Ocean coast in the east to Lake Victoria in the west, and borders Tanzania in the south. Encompassing savannah plains, lakelands and acacia forests – and home to the Big 5 (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino), Kenya promises a classic safari experience. There’s a nostalgia here that recalls luxury camps, canvas tents, and gin and tonic sunset cocktails. On safari in Kenya, it’s easy to believe you’re in a scene straight from “Out of Africa.”
Those in the know will tell you that the ultimate Kenya safari includes witnessing the Great Migration in the Masai Mara, seeing the snow-capped vista of Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro from Amboseli National Park, and taking part in authentic cultural encounters with local Maasai tribes.
Of course, it is the Great Wildebeest Migration that is the main drawcard for Kenya safari travelers. The annual event sees some 1.4 million wildebeest and a few hundred thousand zebras travel through Tanzania’s vast Serengeti National Park into the famed Masai Mara, Kenya, in search of new grazing. Beyond the well-known Masai Mara, Kenya is also home to Lake Nakuru National Park, famous for its large herds of antelope and hundreds of colorful bird species, as well as the community driven conservancies of Laikipia in the north (situated close to imposing Mount Kenya). Don’t be surprised, however, if the tall and dignified red-robed Maasai steal the show. These semi-nomadic people are one of the world’s last great warrior cultures and an enduring symbol of traditional Kenyan culture.
Kenya is a picture-perfect destination for bush-and-beach vacations. When you have had your fill of the wild, head straight to the country’s tropical Indian Ocean coastline, home to the pristine shores of popular island-style destinations such as Diani Beach. Here, the white sandy beaches invite you to go diving, snorkelling, windsurfing, or just to put your feet up, kick back and adjust your body clock to Kenya time. Kenya also combines easily with Tanzania, and Rwanda, allowing you to add gorilla trekking to your combo Kenya safari.
For honeymooners, a Kenya safari epitomises classic luxury. For families, a Kenya vacation is a more affordable option than other, more remote regions in Africa, with plenty of child-friendly lodges catering to the needs of young adventurers (and adventurers who are young at heart).
Best Time to Visit Kenya:
Game viewing on a Kenya safari is at its best during the dry seasons (May to September, and January through February). The safari high season runs from July through November, when the annual Great Wildebeest Migration is in full swing. If you’re a bird-watching enthusiast, visit Kenya between October and April when the migrant species have arrived.
The Masai Mara in Kenya offers spectacular game viewing and is a popular destination for Great Migration tours.
Witness striking Mount Kilimanjaro from Amboseli National Park, home to the biggest tusker elephants in Africa.
Learn about the lifestyle of the Maasai people, Kenya’s fascinating pastoral tribe.
Top Destinations in Kenya Safari
The Masai Mara National Reserve is Kenya’s flagship game park, and forms part of one the largest natural ecosystems in East Africa, extending over the Kenyan border into Tanzania, where it meets the Serengeti National Park. The park is home to an abundance of wildlife, including the illustrious Big 5 (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino).
The biggest drawcard for visitors on safari in Masai Mara is the Great Wildebeest Migration, in which almost 2 million wildebeest, gazelle and zebra migrate from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara. Most people choose to book a Masai Mara safari during June and July, when the migration arrives at the infamous Mara River for the deadly crossings. As crocodiles snap up wildebeest, zebra and gazelle, photographers delight in capturing the incredible moments on camera.
However, the Great Migration is not the only attraction. The Masai Mara National Reserve is known for its truly spectacular game viewing all year round. Lion, elephant, cheetah and leopard are all seen regularly in the wide-open savannah plains and hilly landscapes of the game reserve. Kenya is also a top-class bird watching destination, and the Masai Mara is no exception.
A safari in the Masai Mara provides opportunity for authentic cultural experiences. Also known as ‘The Mara’ by locals, the national reserve was named in honor of the ancestral Maasai people who still live traditional lifestyles in the area. A visit to one of the local villages is a real highlight. You’ll get to experience their unique way of life, and perhaps even witness the competitive jumping dance of the warriors!
Best Time to Visit the Masai Mara:
A Masai Mara safari offers year-round game viewing, during both the dry and green season. If you are keen to witness the wildebeest crossing of the Mara River, then you’ll need to be in the reserve in June – July. But be warned! This is high season in the Mara, and you’ll want to book far in advance to ensure your spot. Consider combining your safari with a trip to Amboseli National Park for exceptional views of Mount Kilimanjaro, with Lake Nakuru National Park in the Great Rift Valley region, or with Laikipia in northern Kenya.
Amboseli National Park is an interesting place. Wholey part of Kenya, its one great attraction is its exceptional views of Mount Kilimanjaro, situated across the border in Tanzania. The largest free-standing mountain in the world – and the largest in Africa – towers above the plains, its snowy peak quite frequently covered by cloud. But it provides a jaw-dropping backdrop to an Amboseli safari and sets the scene for giants.
The iconic views of Amboseli, with Kili in the background, include herds of elephant, some of whom boast the largest tusks in Africa. The park is ideal for year-round game-viewing, as its grassy plains are dotted with low scrub making it easy to spot large game like elephant, buffalo and lion. Other popular wildlife to spot in Amboseli include cheetah, leopard and wild dog, as well as giraffe and a variety of antelope species. Birders are encouraged to keep an eye out for raptors!
Amboseli is situated south-east of Nairobi and is best accessed via a short flight over the plains. It is not a large park, but it offers spectacular views and exceptional game-viewing, plus there is a variety of safari accommodation on offer – including lodges and tented camps.
We recommend combining a stay in Amboseli with a migration safari in the Masai Mara, but it’s also easily accessible from Tanzania, so a cross-border trip to the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater is entirely possible. If you’re looking for an intimate stay, then consider adding on a couple of nights at neighboring Chyulu Hills National Park, which enjoys ancient volcanic, hilly terrain.
Best Time to Visit Amboseli
The best time to visit Amboseli is normally in the dry season months between May and August, however game-viewing continues to be superb throughout the year. The wetter period from late November into February brings forth much new life to the region and is more popular with birders.
Lake Nakuru is one of Kenya’s largest soda lakes and is best known for attracting large flocks of bright pink greater and lesser flamingos, whose bright plumage can be seen for miles. The Lake is truly a birder’s paradise, and during the right season or when the weather conditions are amenable, tens of thousands of water birds gather to feed on the shores.
Some of the birds worth watching out for include the great white pelican, the blue-billed teal and the greater blue-eared starling. Do note however, that the flamingos visit Lake Nakuru perennially, also making visits to other soda-lakes in the Rift Valley region.
The best time to visit Lake Nakuru for birding is between November and April – which includes the shoulder season and wet summer rains. Breeding season is in full throng, and the males show off fantastically with their puffed-up, bright plumage. But Lake Nakuru is also a national park, and its expanse is also home to a diverse number of animal species, such as impala, waterbuck, baboon and warthog. You may even spot the rare Rothschild’s giraffe, and both black and white rhino.
Lake Nakuru is situated in west-central Kenya and forms part of the Great Rift Valley region, which is characterized by several soda lakes. Make sure to add a visit here into your longer Kenyan safari itinerary, as it’s a wonderful link between the Aberdares and Mount Kenya National Parks, and the Masai Mara for the Great Migration.
Best Time to Visit Lake Nakuru
The best time to visit to visit Lake Nakuru is during the wetter summer months (November through April) as this is ideal for birding. However, the game-viewing is good throughout the year, and a visit here can be enjoyed during the peak dry season when safaris are most popular in the Masai Mara and Amboseli.
The vast Laikipia Plateau stretches from the slopes of Mount Kenya to the rim of the Great Rift Valley and is set against the edge of Kenya’s Northern Frontier. This unique landscape is dedicated to both conservation and community, allowing the local pastoral people a place to exist in their natural state as well as to contribute to their own traditional lands in terms of wildlife protection and biodiversity.
Laikipia is made up mostly of conservancies and ranches which are knitted together along with the cattle ranches and farms in the region. The conservancies, which include Loisaba, Ol Pejeta, Solio Ranch, Ol Lentille and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, have a variety of outreach programs for the local people in their communities, as well as some significant wildlife protection initiatives.
Endangered black and white rhino, Grevy’s zebra, northern elephant herds and large predators such as lion, leopard, cheetah and hyena, are some of the animals that enjoy the protection and conservation of the local conservancies in Laikipia. Visiting one of the lodges or tented camps here will allow you the opportunity to learn more about what is being done to preserve Kenya’s wildlife, as well as to see how the local farming and ranching communities play their part in conservation.
We recommend combining a trip to Laikipia with a Masai Mara safari, as you will truly experience two very different safaris in one trip. Laikipia is also close to Mount Kenya National Park and Shaba National Reserve, which is famous for being the setting of the book and film Born Free featuring Joy Adamson and the lioness Elsa.
Best Time to Visit Laikipia
The best time to visit Laikipia is during the dry season (June to September) when the game-viewing is at its optimum. However, do note that June to October and December through March are considered peak season, and you will need to book in advance to secure your spot to the area.
Tall and imposing, Mount Kenya looms above the Great Rift Valley in Central Kenya, and holds the title of highest mountain in Kenya – and second only to Mount Kilimanjaro in neighboring Tanzania in the whole of Africa. This stratovolcano is a tough climb. Eroded slopes and steep valleys characterize Mount Kenya, and even a few glaciers make up part of the terrain.
While the upper echelons of the mountain may be restricted to those more experienced high-mountain climbers, the lower slopes and mountain forest at the base has been proclaimed a National Park and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. The varied landscape provides excellent forest trekking opportunities where you can spot several species of monkeys, antelopes, the tree hyrax, porcupines and bigger game such as elephant and buffalo. Hyena and leopard are also found in the National Park.
One of the great attractions of Mount Kenya is both trekking and climbing. Visitors can opt to enjoy a multi–day trek up to the summit area, or to include the full climb sequence which includes summitting one of the main peaks.
There are also a number of small ethnic communities living around Mount Kenya, including the Kikuyu, Ameru and the Embu – and all hold the mountain in great esteem and spiritual significance. Many of the camps and lodges in the area both employee and support the local people, and your visit contributes to this.
We recommend adding Mount Kenya to a larger Kenyan itinerary, which can include visits to the nearby Laikipia region, to Aberdares National Park towards the south, or with popular reserves like Amboseli and the Masai Mara.
Best Time to Visit Mount Kenya
The summer season between December and March offers the warmest, sunniest weather and is considered the best time to visit Mount Kenya. You can expect some rain between March and May and again from October onwards, which may draw up cloudier conditions so that your mountain views are restricted. However, the National Park is worth visiting all year round.
Kenya’s picturesque coastline was once a haven for Arabian traders and European colonialists, but is now most well-known for its beautiful white-sand beaches, vibrant community markets, local fish sellers, diving expeditions and variety of various resorts and hotels. This is not to say it’s been untouched by its past; a unique collection of mosques, churches, ruins and forts are scattered from Diani in the south, Mombasa in the center and Lamu in the north.
Mombasa is perhaps most well-known. This high-profile Kenyan coastal town attracts a variety of holidaymakers and locals alike. If you’re looking for a fun-filled holiday, where you can go from beach sand to night club or restaurant, Mombasa is your choice. For those who enjoy diving or snorkeling, or deep-sea fishing, Mombasa also packs a punch.
On the southern coast, you’ll find popular Diani beach – ideal for families or groups of friends. This is the classic Kenya beach holiday destination – beautiful views, exceptional off-shore reefs and plenty of relaxation. North of Mombasa you’ll find Malindi, which is popular with expats and holidaymakers from the United States, the UK and Europe. This clean and pretty beach town offers a more secluded, quieter holiday experience.
In the far north you’ll find the Lamu Archipelago, a tiny little island cluster just off the Kenyan coast. A holiday here is dreamy and private, with private beach villas and a real down-to-earth relaxed atmosphere.
Best Time to Visit Kenya’s Coast
The best time to visit Kenya’s coastal towns and beaches is usually between October and January, as the conditions for diving and snorkeling are optimum. However, the humidity on the coast is fairly high all year round, although we’d suggest avoiding the mid-March to May rainy season. With most safari experiences at their best during the dry season (May – August), adding on a beach holiday after that is enjoyable.
Our Top Trips
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Sensational East Africa Safari
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East African Safari & Luxury Zanzibar Honeymoon
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Masai Mara & Laikipia Fly-in Safari
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Affordable 10-night Kenya & Tanzania Combination Safari
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Intimate Laikipia & Masai Mara Safari with Governors
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Great Rift Valley and Masai Mara Governors Safari
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Kenya Countryside, Lakes & Wildlife Luxury Safari
Take a Snapshot of a Safari to Last a Lifetime
Luxury Kenya Cultural Safari
Top Experiences in Kenya Safari
Witness the greatest wildlife show on earth when over a million wildebeest, gazelle and zebra charge towards better grazing areas, dangerously crossing the Mara River where crocodiles lie in wait. No wonder it is listed as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa.
The Maasai are known for their bright red tunics, jumping feats and intricate jewellery. Spend time with these friendly, semi-nomadic people on a safari which promises an authentic cultural experience.
Gallop among the herds of the Masai Mara on horseback. This game viewing experience will take you deep into the game-rich plains for up-close wildlife encounters.
One of the best ways to experience the Masai Mara is in a hot air balloon. Floating above golden plains crisscrossed with game tracks, while searching for leopard, rhino and other animals will both excite and move you.
Capture every moment on a Masai Mara Photographic Safari. From big predators to big events such as the Great Migration, your expert guides are with you all the way to make sure you find the perfect angle.