Top Places to Visit on a Kenya Safari
With an array of diverse flora and fauna, Kenya is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves being with the bounty of nature. Consisting of parks, reserves and private conservancies, Kenya is home to a variety of exotic animal species some of which are endangered and nearing extinction. By engaging in sustainable tourism and internationally recognized techniques of wildlife management, visitors are able to see wildlife in their own pristine natural habitats where they roam freely and are not confined to enclosures or cages.
Besides its abundant wildlife and natural beauty, Kenya has a profound culture and history, which survives even today. The six UNESCO World Heritage Sites that drives tourists to it every year is a living testimony to this. Keeping the balance of the rural and modern sides of the country, one is able to indulge in the calm quietude of the countryside and also explore the raving parties in the cities, alike.
The Must-See Places During a Safari
- Maasai Mara National Reserve – It is one of the most magnificent wildlife reserves in the world and a must-visit for all wildlife enthusiasts. The reserve gets its name after the Maasai tribes who roam in the park and bring out their livestock for grazing. Maasai Mara is famed for the Great Migration, when thousands of wildebeest, zebra, and Thomson’s gazelle travel between Serengeti in bordering Tanzania, from July through October. Plenty of hippopotamuses and crocodiles laze around in the Maraariver which can be spotted during the safaris. The park is noted for being able to provide astounding predator sightings which include lions, cheetahs, and leopards especially in the dry months from December through February. Considering the altitude of the reserve, the weather is pleasant and gentle throughout the year.
- Amboseli National Reserve – One of the popular reserves in Kenya, Amboseli harbors Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa. The reserve is known for its African Elephant population which can be spotted moving in herds almost all the time. Besides the elephants, one can also spot lions, cheetahs, giraffes, impalas, elands, waterbucks, gazelles, and more than 600 species of birds.
- Tsavo National Park – Divided into east and west segments, Tsavo is the largest reserve in Kenya. Making up for almost 4% of the country’s total area, Tsavo encompasses rivers, waterfalls, savannah, volcanic hills, a gigantic lava-rock plateau, and an incredible diversity of wildlife. Wildlife spotting isn’t easy here owing to the dense vegetation but the scenic beauty makes up for it.
- Samburu, Buffalo Springs, and Shaba National Reserves – The most famed attraction in Samburu National Reserve is Sarara Singing Wells – the local watering holes where the Samburu warriors sing traditional songs while hauling water for their cattle.
- Lake Nakuru National Park – This Park is world-renowned for the pink flamingos, which inhabit the Lake Nakuru itself. Besides the over 450 species of birds that were recorded here, the park harbours the largest euphorbia candelabrum forest in Africa. These branching succulents add an interesting contrast to the arid plains of the region.
- Lamu Island – A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lamu Old Town is supposedly Kenya’s oldest yet continually inhabited settlement with origins dating back to as old as the 12th century. Arabic, European and Indian influences are evident in the architecture with intricately carved wooden doors, coral stone buildings, hidden courtyards, verandas, and rooftop patios.
- Lake Naivasha – The highest point in the Great Rift Valley, Lake Naivasha is a gem for bird watchers. A boat ride will render splendid views of the avian life and wildlife that flourish along the banks of the lake. Over 400 species of birds have been spotted here, including African fish eagles.