Kenya is the birthplace of the safari and an ideal safari destination. The East African nation began attracting tourists over a century ago, enticed by tales of wild animals, bordering the Indian Ocean with Mount Kenya towering over a tapestry of tiny farms, green hills, and golden savanna. Kenya wildlife safaris highlight the country’s dramatic landscapes, which include a number of national parks and reserves that provide sanctuary to the “Big Five” (elephant, lion, leopard, rhinoceros, and buffalo.)
However, Kenya’s natural heritage is so much more than the Big Five: it includes grassland plains trampled by a million wildebeest, dense forests, glacial mountain peaks, and rich coastal coral reefs, among other things. The country can be proud of its extensive network of protected areas, which includes a number of national parks and reserves as well as dozens of private and community conservancies. These cover a large portion of Kenya’s diverse landscapes and habitats and are home to animals as large as elephants and as small as elephant shrews.
Kenya Wildlife Safaris remain one of the world’s top travel experiences, with expert local guides and tailor-made tours essential.
The Masai Mara is the epitome of an African safari landscape, stretching along the Kenya-Tanzania border and forming the northern rim of the Serengeti ecosystem (most of which is in Tanzania). The sweeping grass plains of the Mara (as it is commonly known) are home to the world’s densest concentration of large mammals.
This is where you’ll find large prides of black-maned lions, bellowing elephants, grumpy buffalo, and a smorgasbord of antelope and gazelles. And that’s before we even get into the smaller animals and vast array of birds.
Tsavo East and West National Parks cover a vast area of Kenya when combined. Tsavo West (the larger of the two parks) alone covers an area larger than Wales, or twice the size of Yellowstone National Park. The two parks are separated by the Nairobi-Mombasa highway and are easily accessible from either city.
Despite being adjacent, the two parks are vastly different, with the green hills of Tsavo East standing in stark contrast to the red soil and volcanic landscapes of Tsavo West.
Meru, Kenya’s Forgotten National Park, was once one of the country’s most popular parks. However, during the 1980s, when Kenya was going through a difficult political period and insecurity gripped some parts of the country, Meru became a hotbed of poaching. Security and stability have long since returned to both the country and Meru, but this national park has never recovered its former renown. Meru National Park, on the other hand, is safari gold for those in the know—and that now includes you.
This park has a lot of variety, including all of the famous Big Five (though finding a leopard among the often dense vegetation can be a real challenge). However, the park is best known for its buffalo. There are vast herds of these grumpy, dangerous cattle, including Kenya’s largest herds of buffalo. There are also many antelope and zebra, as well as over 300 bird species.
Amboseli National Park is Kenya’s postcard park. This is where most photos of elephant herds with the (fast melting!) glaciers of Mt Kilimanjaro are taken. The elephants and the scenery are the real highlights of this park, but the swamps and marshy pools attract plenty of other wildlife in what is otherwise a very dry part of Kenya.
Another compelling reason to visit Amboseli is the opportunity to witness conservation in action through the conservancies and other environmental and community projects that surround the park. Amboseli is well-known for its elephants. During dry spells, people come from miles around to drink from the swamps and pools that color the dusty landscape green.
Lake Nakuru National Park, one of Kenya’s most popular parks, is centered on the large Rift Valley soda lake but also includes fringing grasslands, acacia woodlands, and rocky escarpments. The park, located just 5 kilometers south of Nakuru city center, is best known for its large flocks of flamingos and a large rhino population.
The park’s small size and easy access make it an excellent choice for a quick safari fix and for those without the funds to visit some of the more remote, larger, or exclusive parks, reserves, and conservancies. Aside from the key rhino and flamingo species, there are also some stunningly patterned Rothschild’s giraffes (one of the rarest giraffe subspecies) as well as heaps of baboons, warthogs, hippos, buffalo, and various antelope and gazelle. This is one of the top Kenya wildlife safari destination.
Kenya is one of Africa’s best safari destinations, with numerous national parks, game reserves, mountains, beaches, and rich culture, among other things. This East African country has a wide range of safari activities available, including the popular safari game drives, which are the best way to explore Africa’s game life in national parks. The term “game” originally referred to hunting some of Africa’s most dangerous and rare animals, such as lions, elephants, rhinos, and buffaloes. A safari game drive in Africa today, on the other hand, simply means wandering the protected areas in search of wild animals in peace. Kenyan safari game drives are filled with electrifying wildlife sightings, as well as magical scenery and dramatic views.
They are conducted in the comfort of 4WD custom-built safari vehicles, with professional and experienced safari guides. The vehicles are open-roof to provide tourists with uninterrupted views of the wilderness and are comfortable for travelers. In Kenya, game drives are frequently conducted during cooler times of the day when wildlife is most active, such as early mornings, late afternoons, and at night. The early morning game drive usually begins at 6 a.m. or 6:30 a.m. with a cup of coffee or tea before heading into the wilderness. It is recommended that travelers bring something warm, that they can remove later.
Morning game drives are the most rewarding, with magnificent orange-tinged sunrises, abundant sightings of wild animals, and a cool morning breeze. Generally, all wild animals are active at this time of day; nocturnal animals are hunting, others are returning to their shelter, and early risers have begun their day. Morning game drives usually end at around 10:00 am as the day is becoming hot, then the clients head back to the lodge/camp.
The afternoon game drives, on the other hand, usually begin around 4 p.m., after tourists have eaten and relaxed. During this time, most wild animals congregate near water sources to quench their thirst and cool off. Furthermore, this is the best time to see multiple animal species in one location. Aside from that, you’ll be treated to lovely African sunsets and scenery while sipping a sundowner drink and snack. Afternoon game drives end around 6 p.m., and tourists return to their lodge/camp for dinner.
Night game drives are not available in all Kenyan national parks, but are available in a few with private reserves and conservancies, such as Masai Mara National Reserve, Samburu National Park, and Lake Nakuru National Park. They typically begin after dinner between 7 and 8 p.m. and provide exceptional views of Africa’s nocturnal animals and birds. They are carried out under the close supervision of an experienced armed game ranger, and spotlight torches are used. Tourists exploring Africa’s wilderness at night can expect to see civet cats, bush babies, genets, and porcupines, among other nocturnals. Furthermore, visitors are likely to come across predators such as lions, leopards, spotted hyenas, and wild dogs actively hunting their prey. Hippos emerge from the water to feed during the night. Spotting animals on a night game drive can be difficult at times, but once spotted, it can be an amazing experience.
A typical safari game drive in Kenya lasts between 2 and 5 hours, depending on where you are and what you see in the wild. Even so, night game drives are the shortest, lasting about two hours. Some locations provide full-day game drives that can last up to 8 hours. Tourists are expected to either eat an early breakfast or bring a packed breakfast and lunch in this case. Safari game drives are frequently divided into two types: self-drive and guided game drives. Self-drive game drives do not include ranger or driver-guide assistance. Tourists here drive themselves and explore the wilderness in the comfort of their vehicles. However, a map is available at the Park’s entrance for easy navigation. Guided game drives, on the other hand, are overseen by knowledgeable and experienced guides who are familiar with the area. They are the most preferred and can be done in groups or privately. This is because they provide a complete learning experience about wild animals and their natural habitat.
Travelers on an Kenya wildlife safari can enjoy game drives in Masai Mara National Park, Samburu National Reserve, Amboseli National Park, Meru National Park, Tsavo East, and West National Parks, and Lake Nakuru National Park, Nairobi National Park among others. And each National Park offers its own unique experience on safari game drives.
In conclusion, game drives in Kenya can be done at any time of the year. However, the best time to go on a game drive in the Mara is between June and October, when the great annual wildebeest migration takes place. Over a million grazers, including wildebeests, gazelles, zebras, and antelopes, migrate from Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park to Masai Mara every year from June to October in search of greener pastures and water.
During their migration, these animals face a number of challenges, including crossing crocodile-infested rivers and being attacked by predators who follow them the entire way. Furthermore, the months of July to October are the driest of the year, with shorter vegetation in the Parks and thus better views of wildlife. Also, the game tracking trails are less muddy and slippery thus accessible for travelers.
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