The ultimate kenya safari to many is checking off the Big Five and other popular wildlife at a go. This is possible, but not an ideal way to go about it. A proper Kenya Safari is all about the experience – go out in the wild and watch wildlife in their natural habitat. That said, here are the best places for a safari adventure in Kenya in 2019.
Aberdare National Park
An Aberdare National Park Safari gives off a real countryside vibe. Located near Mt. Kenya, it is relatively cold and usually plagued by an early morning mist that quickly dissipates as the sun rises. It has two contrasting habitats; The Kinangop Plateau comprised of a moorland and the Salient comprised of dense lush rainforest and a series of hills dotted with waterfalls.
Due to its high altitude, it provides some of the best panoramic views, hiking and wildlife experiences. But you have to be on high alert as the thick vegetation forms a good hideout for the animals. Elephants, leopards, hyenas, buffaloes, black rhino and even the rare black leopard are some of the wildlife you will encounter.
Amboseli National Park
A short distance from Nairobi, Amboseli is where to go in Kenya to get classic views of Mount Kilimanjaro, ironically situated across the border in Tanzania. There’s great big game viewing as well – especially around the Amboseli’s wetland areas – although it’s a popular and busy park at the best of times so expect to share your sightings with other visitors.
Laikipia Plateau: private reserves & outstanding accommodation
Kenya’s newest safari destination lies north of Nairobi on the rim of the Great Rift Valley. An area of thriving private reserves, luxurious family-friendly accommodation and huge honeymoon views, Laikipia is a must-do for those who want an air of exclusivity and a diverse Kenya safari experience away from the crowds.
Samburu National Reserve
The Samburu National Reserve is located in the North of Kenya in the desert. It’s located on the banks of the stunning, dark red Ewaso Ng’iro river. The landscape is absolutely breathtaking, with rust red terrain and sparse greenery, you will be consistently in awe of your surroundings. Unlike Solio Reserve, Samburu isn’t as protected and therefore spotting animals can be a little harder but your guides are very knowledgeable and are therefore able to take you to areas where they know there will be more wildlife. You will be in with a chance to to spot leopards, lions, cheetahs, elephants, giraffes and more here.
As aforementioned the landscape is beautiful, whilst you’d presume a desert would be complete sparse, there is considerable vegetation making it a desirable home for all the wildlife in the area. Unlike at Solio, for game drives here you will be rising with the sun to witness the best of the wildlife. This is because the heat here, as is the case for most safaris, means the animals tend to seek shelter for the peak hours of the day.
Masai Mara National Reserve
The Masai Mara is arguably the most well known reserve and also tribe to tourists visiting Kenya. Located South of Nairobi the Masai Mara is on the border with Tanzania’s Serengeti. Not only is the Mara infamous but it’s also home to the ‘Big 5’, a key attraction bring visitors to the Masai Mara. If you haven’t heard of the Big 5 beforehand then in Africa these are regarded as; lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and white/black rhinos. If you’re interested in witnessing the annual migration then the Masai Mara is a prime location to see this occur, between the months of June and September. Of all of Kenya’s National Reserve’s this is probably up there with the most ‘touristy’ but if you want to see a great selection of wildlife and experience the Masai Mara tribe then this is definitely a must on your list of parks to visit in Kenya.
Lying just off Kenya’s far north coast is a string of beautiful Indian Ocean islands – Lamu, Manda, Pate, Kiwayu and Manda Toto – known collectively as the Lamu Archipelago. An area of archaeological and historical interest as well as great natural beauty, these islands are well worth visiting for a more tranquil and away-from-the-crowds Kenya beach holiday, especially when compared to the busier and more developed central and southern parts of the coast.
Largely unvisited until quite recently, the Lamu Archipelago is now home to some lavishly luxurious accommodation in stunning settings. Popular as a post-safari add-on, activities include snorkelling and scuba diving (best between November and March when the water is clearest), historical walking tours, dhow sailing trips, sea kayaking and diving with dolphins. Flying is the best way to reach the archipelago and the airport is located on Manda Island from where you will be transferred to your hotel or lodge by boat.