10 Jun Exploring Nairobi
This bustling capital is at the heart of Kenya and is one of the fastest growing cities in Africa. It is easy to get overwhelmed by its traffic and chaos but Nairobi offers everything from its own wildlife park, animal orphanages to remarkably well-kept museums and busy craft markets. Take the time to explore Nairobi for a day or two, you won’t be disappointed. The city features an all-in-one safari experience with its National Park being only a few kilometres away from the business district. Surprisingly, the park hosts ‘The Big 5’ as well as giraffes, antelopes, hippos etc…and it could be a great way to have an introduction to the African wildlife or as a ‘goodbye’ visit in case you have missed out on some fauna of your interest while visiting other parks. The backdrop of tall skyscrapers that form Nairobi’s downtown core promises striking contrasts between natural and urban Kenyan life. Within the city of Nairobi we offer cultural experiences at Bomas of Kenya (showcase of Kenya’s most iconic tribes), guided visits to the national museum (which displays some outstanding hominid fossils), animal sanctuaries (Giraffe centre & David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust), other historical landmarks, and craft markets.
Classic Safari Parks
The Masai Mara is by far the most iconic of Kenya’s parks and a must see. The reserve offers unlimited action year round and, with one of the highest concentration of big game in the world, guarantees stunning views of wildlife against a wonderfully African landscape. The yearly wildebeest migration (July to October) which involves over 1.5 million individuals following the northern rains and moving from Tanzania’s Serengeti, culminates with the famed Mara river crossing. By then, the landscape is studded with herbivores of all kinds and carnivores are plenty, feasting on the bounty of preys. The size of the event can be best appreciated from the sky by booking an early morning hot air balloon flight available at extra cost.
Against the stunning backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro, Amboseli is the go-to park to see the last wild big tusked elephants. Poaching has been a selecting force pushing towards small tusks virtually wiping out the symbolic large tusked individuals all across the continents.
Tsavo West and Tsavo East together make up for the biggest wildlife reserve in Kenya. Also the oldest, the two encompass many kinds of ecosystems and habitats so expect to see big cats. Most famed are the ‘Red’ elephants. Why red? Simply, the iron rich soil of the park ends up being part of the elephant’s daily dust bath making their appearance iconically red.
Less Explored Southern Parks
These lesser known parks offer special opportunities not available at any other park. From rock-climbing and biking alongside zebras and giraffes to hiking to the rim of an extinct volcano to discovering one of the last remaining fragments of the great Congolese rain forest in search of rare birds, these parks are a must see if you’d like to experience an alternative side of Kenya.
This is the must go to park if you have ever dreamed of a biking/walking safari. You might find yourself cycling besides giraffes, zebras and even buffalos on your way to stunning canyons where you will be guided along geothermal features. The stunning rocky formations are also a favourite for rock climbers of all levels.
This perfectly shaped volcano is an intermediate 4-hour long hike (ascent-rim-descent) which offers stunning views of Lake Naivasha and the Rift Valley. Seeing wildlife along the paths is not uncommon and definitely a thrill.
This park protects one of the last remaining patches of tropical rain forest that once extended continuously from Congo along the Equator, across the Continent. The forest harbours several species of primates (most notably Colobus, de Brazza’s and Red Tailed monkeys) and has excellent birding opportunities.
With its beautiful beaches, history, tasty food and lush parks, Kenya’s coasts promises vacation bliss. The area has been greatly influenced through the centuries by the arrival of Indo-Arab traders and Portuguese colonialists unlike anywhere else in the country. Culturally rich and very distinct, this typically Swahili region offers a unique combination of traditions, flavours and sounds and hosts some impressive historical sites.
Lamu, Malindi and Watamu
Further north, the fishing towns of Watamu and Malindi have their own submarine national parks which offer visitors breathtaking underwater views of coral reefs by snorkeling or scuba diving. Both are heavily frequented by Italian tourist making its food and African spins on Italian classics simply delicious.
The most northern large settlement along Kenya’s coast and a UNESCO World Heritage Site; Lamu offers tourists the best preserved Swahili settlement in the world. The city is car-free, and relies on donkeys for transport. The roads are tight to increase shaded areas, the flavours are spiced, rich and complex. Lamu is off-the-beaten-track and will certainly take your breath away!
The capital Mombasa naturally offers itself as a launching platform from which to explore the rich culture of the Coast and features the Portuguese made Fort Jesus, beautiful Mosques and the old town’s Arabesque architecture. Relax and soak in the vibrant culture of the old town, try some fresh halva and tea while enjoying the breeze, nothing will be fast paced here.
The South Coast
Soak in the beach, enjoy the sun and feast on delicious seafood! Then, you might want to do some kite surfing, sky-diving, sailing, snorkeling and even swimming with the whale sharks (February only). The south coast will have you relaxed and care free until you choose to do something thrilling and memorable.