Kenya...It is a country brimming with romance, thrill and adventure – nothing says “classic safari” quite like a Kenyan safari. A Kenyan safari not only boasts spectacular natural beauty in one of the most unspoiled places on earth, but it also brings you up close and personal with Africa's most sought-after wildlife. And then there are beaches--miles and miles of uninterrupted beaches. And how can we forget Mt. Kenya--the highest mountain in Kenya and the second-highest in Africa, after Kilimanjaro.
Whether you want to see animals, swim in the cerulean waters of the India Ocean or climb a mountain, Kenya has it all.
And then there's Tanzania, Kenya's neighbor to the south. Tanzania offers superb game viewing in a dramatic setting of snowy peaks, volcanic craters and the Masai steppe of endless plains. Tanzania is not only renowned for its sheer numbers of wildlife, but also for the iconic Mt. Kilimanjaro that is sure to stir your soul.
Check out this great article from the New York Times on Kenya:
Masaai Mara National Reserve is one of the most popular tourism destinations in Kenya, and all of Africa. The Reserve is located in southwest Kenya, just across the border from Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. This gigantic ecosystem is shared by the two countries and protected with a combination of national reserves and community-run conservation areas.
Wildlife tends to be most concentrated on the reserve’s western escarpment.
Apart from its picturesque scenery and regal Maasai people clad in striking red plaid garb, the Mara is best known for the Annual Migration of millions of wildebeest and zebra.
There have also been some 95 species of mammals, amphibians and reptiles and over 400 birds species recorded on the reserve.
Nowhere in Africa is wildlife more abundant, and it is for this reason that seeing the big five (buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion, and rhino) is almost a guarantee.
Amboseli lies immediately north-west of Mount Kilimanjaro, on the border with Tanzania. The Park covers 392 square km, and forms part of the much larger 3,000 square km Amboseli ecosystem.
Large concentrations of wildlife occur here in the dry season, making Amboseli a popular tourist destination. It is surrounded by six communally owned group ranches.
The National Park embodies five main wildlife habitats (open plains, acacia woodland, rocky thorn bush country, swamps and marshland) and covers part of a Pleistocene lake basin, now dry.
Amboseli is famous for its big game and its great scenic beauty – and the landscape is dominated by the towering Mount Kilimanjaro.
Sprawling on the edge of the Northern Kenyan Frontier, stretching from the slopes of Mount Kenya to the rim of the Great Rift Valley, is the Laikipia Plateau. A natural haven made up of ranches and conservancies, over time conservationists have made an effort to create a place for communities and wildlife to exist hand in hand to maintain and protect biodiversity in the region.
Vast open plains in the shadow of the snow-capped silhouette of Mount Kenya create a tranquil and secluded setting, where game drives encounter wildlife including endangered species such as black rhino, Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe and wild dogs with few other vehicles in sight.
Steeped in history from the colonial days in Kenya, this is a significant natural area from a safari and conservation perspective. It is also a perfect base to explore the wilder north and great lakes of Kenya.
Situated in Kenya’s south-west, Tsavo is an enormous wilderness area that has been divided into Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks. Combined, Tsavo is Kenya’s biggest park and, at 22,000 km² (13,671 miles), one of the world’s largest game sanctuaries.
It is particularly well known for its large herds of elephants and captivating landscapes. Tsavo is one of the less populated game areas in Kenya and is perfect for those who want to enjoy a pristine wildlife experience.
A highlight of Tsavo National Park is the spectacular Mzima Springs, where crystal-clear water flows through volcanic rock.
It may be Africa's second highest peak, but Mount Kenya is a thoroughly first-rate destination for a trek. This dormant volcano boasts dramatic, ever-changing scenery and a rich supporting cast of animals and birdlife, all without the crowds that flock to Kilimanjaro.
Most people come to the Mount Kenya National Park to climb the Mountain. There are seven routes up the mountain, which has three peaks. Most tourists climb to Point Lenana which at 4985m is the third highest peak. Only climbers with advanced technical climbing ability are allowed to attempt the other two peaks.
You will pass through several different eco-systems on your ascent from tropical forest which is home to Buffalo and Elephant to the Bamboo forest, then the upland heath which is home to many strange plants such as the Giant Lobelia and Rosette plants. This then gives way to a barren land of rock, ice and snow.
It is recommended that you spend a minimum of three nights while ascending the mountain - this allows the body to acclimate so that you do not suffer from altitude sickness. The best time of year to attempt the climb are during the two dry seasons: from the middle of January until the end of February and between August and the end of September. During the wet season it is usually overcast and visibility is poor.
Protected by an offshore barrier coral reef, Kenya’s coastline is famous for its spectacular beaches, tropical waters and array of water sports such as snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, and kite surfing. With its own unique character, the Kenyan coast offers the perfect end to an exhilarating safari.
The breathtaking destination of Diani boasts the region’s most prized beaches, and south of Diani is where you will find Wasini Island and the Wasini Marine National Park, one of the best snorkelling places in Africa. Diani lies about 19 km south of Fort Jesus, Mombasa.
The fort, built by the Portuguese in 1593 – 1596 to the designs of Giovanni Battista Cairati to protect the port of Mombasa, is one of the most outstanding and well-preserved examples of 16th Portuguese military fortification and a landmark in the history of this type of construction.
Tanzania’s oldest national park is also its most popular. The vast and incredible Serengeti, located in Northern Tanzania, has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is often said to be home to “the seventh wonder of the world”. For those who have experienced the Serengeti beauty and the migration, it’s easy to see why. The Serengeti is inarguably Tanzania’s best national park when it comes to wildlife; abundant with our planet’s most exotic animals (including elephants, giraffes, leopards, lions and buffalo), a visit to the Serengeti is nothing short of a magical experience. But what the park is undoubtedly best known for is annual wildebeest migration. Visitors can witness the sounds and sights of over six million wildebeest, zebra and gazelle scampering quickly through the open plains to find food and grazing, providing one of the most exhilarating game viewing experiences in the whole of Africa.
If you’re looking for a magical destination the Serengeti can certainly offer you a trip of a lifetime.
Located in North Eastern Tanzania, Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and can be seen from far into Kenya. The mountain represents a powerful life force for the local Chagga people and all those who have made their lives around the mountain, providing rich volcanic soils for agriculture and an endless source of pure spring waters. 75,000 people climb Kilimanjaro every year so it is not the most untouched mountain, nor is it the most arduous, however it is still an awe inspiring sight to behold and highly recommended for anyone with even a vague interest in mountaineering.
Kilimanjaro Climbing: Want to fulfill a dream and climb up the highest and most famous summit in Tanzania? To climb to the summit, you need to be in a fit and healthy state, possess strong will power and have a little bit of luck. All you really need is the ambition – we will do the rest.
A jewel in Tanzania's crown is the Ngorongoro Crater-- the world's largest intact volcanic caldera and haven to a wondrous array of animal life which makes the crater a "must do" on any visit to Tanzania. Some maintain that before it erupted, it would have been higher than Mt Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa. The backdrop of the crater walls makes for some stunning photographic opportunities as you see the animals wander through the grasslands on the crater floor towards the lake. The ancient caldera shelters one of the most beautiful wildlife havens on earth.