How to do Kenya
Kenya is one of the most popular destinations for our clients’ holidays. It is incredibly versatile, with brilliant options for honeymoons, anniversary and birthday celebrations, families and multi-generational safaris. It is well known to many British because of our colonial and military associations, and the large ex-pat community that lives there. For first timers, or those wanting to explore a new side to an old favourite, here is our guide on how to do Kenya.
Masai Mara for the wildebeest migration
A major draw for many visitors is the annual migration of hundreds of thousands of wildebeest and zebra from Tanzania’s Serengeti into Kenya’s Masai Mara. The dramatic river crossings – with wildebeest leaping to avoid crocodiles hiding in the Mara River’s murky waters – have been captured on many a camera. To us, the real joy of the migration is just to be amid such a sublimely vast number of animals. When the wildebeest herds are grazing you’ll often find zebra, hartebeest, springbok and eland alongside them – peacefully coexisting in an effort to find safety in numbers from predators. The downside of such an extraordinary wildlife spectacle is that plenty of people want to witness it. To ensure you are awed only by animal, and not vehicle numbers, we suggest staying in one of the private conservancies adjacent to the Masai Mara National Reserve itself. These share the same wildlife, but house far fewer safari camps. Our favourites include Kicheche Mara Camp for family holidays, Serian Camp for photographic safaris and Naboisho Camp for honeymoon safaris. Any of these will allow you to enjoy the wonders of the Masai Mara in peaceful surroundings.
Bush and Beach
If you know you want to do a safari, but are worried there won’t be enough time to unwind, or that the kids will need an outlet to expend their energy, you need look no further than the ‘bush and beach’ combination holiday. Spend three or four nights traversing the Mara’s sweeping grass plains, watch cheetah sprinting after topi, lions snoozing by a zebra kill, a giraffe stripping the leaves from an acacia branch, and enjoy picnics in the company of elephants and baboons, then swap the binoculars for a bikini and a good book. If you don’t want the adrenalin to stop, then watersports abound with diving, snorkelling, deep sea fishing, kite-surfing, wind-surfing, water skiing, stand up paddle boarding, sailing and canoeing all on offer as well as horse riding, golfing, tennis and yoga. A network of regular internal flights means you can be on safari in the morning and sundowner on the beach in the afternoon. Kinondo Kwetu, Peponi Hotel and Kizingo are just a handful of some of Kenya’s great beach lodges.
Beyond the Masai Mara
Away from the Masai Mara, a patchwork of national parks, reserves and wildlife areas provide endlessly wonderful choices to add to a safari holiday. For elephant lovers, Samburu is a must. It’s also a fascinating region to learn about Kenya’s tribes, their customs and cultures. Rhino enthusiasts should include Solio or Lewa Conservancies, whilst horse riders will be in heaven at either Borana or Sosian. Meru National Park has excellent wildlife concentrations without the crowds and up in the Laikipia region you’ll find properties like Ol Malo and Sabuk with an outstanding array of activities including camel riding, multi-day walking safaris, fishing, swimming in rivers, fly camping, bush picnics, meeting anti-poaching dog units and tracking wild dog.
Kenya probably has more than its fair share of highly exclusive properties. Best known is Nairobi’s Giraffe Manor, where you can experience the strange but wonderful experience of feeding a giraffe from your bedroom window. Other extraordinary gems include Segera, where you’ll find the iconic yellow plane from Out of Africa and the stunning ‘Bird’s Nest’. This incredible construction must surely be the last word in sleep outs and wins, hands-down in our books, the most romantic honeymoon experience. Families wanting a space of their own on the beach will enjoy Alfajiri Villas, a stunning private haven with exquisite food. For the more adventurous, looking to get off the beaten track, Karisia Walking Safaris takes you into exclusive walking territory with big skies, hidden caves and swimming in waterfalls. Add a helicopter flight with Tropic Air Kenya for serious cool factor, with champagne atop inaccessible mountain ranges, and finish at Sarara in northern Laikipia for the simple pleasures of beauty, peace and tranquillity.
If this has inspired you to dream about future safaris, please do get in touch – we would be delighted to chat, no matter how early in the decision making process you might be. Email is probably the best way to contact us right now and we’ll respond as quickly as we can – usually on the same day. We very much look forward to talking to you.
We’re getting ready – Mombasa & a game safari