Kenya is one of Africa’s prime game viewing areas, renowned for its dramatic scenery, magnificent game parks and abundant wildlife. Cut through by the Rift Valley with its steep escarpments, volcanoes and soda lakes, the country offers incredible variety of landscapes and ecosystems. The hot coastal plains on the Indian Ocean rise to the temperate subtropical highlands around Nairobi which is 1795m above sea level. Snow-capped Mount Kenya is the second highest in Africa, whilst the highest, Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, straddles the southern border.
The Samburu Game Reserve to the north of Mt Kenya is a semi-arid region of great beauty with lots of exciting big game species such as lion and elephant. The region is also home to some rare desert-adapted species including the blue-legged Somali ostrich and strange gerenuk antelope – also known as the Giraffe Gazelle for its long neck. The gerenuk has the ability to stand on its hind legs when feeding from bushes and small trees. By contrast, the famous Masai Mara in the south is a wide open landscape of undulating grassland and plays host to the annual wildebeest and zebra migration from July to October each year. These herds attract predators from lion and leopard to cheetah and wild dog, and their intense interactions are a thrill to watch. Amboseli National Park at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro is another iconic safari area which is famous for its large elephant herds.
Other highlights include the country’s flamingo-rich soda lakes and model wildlife conservancies like wildlife-rich Lewa and the Laikipia concessions, famous for rhino. The country is also home to semi-nomadic tribes such as the Maasai and Samburu which still retain much of their traditional way of life. A cultural village visit is a worthwhile addition to any safari itinerary.