Parks and Places

Kenya is the original safari destination of Africa and where the word safari comes from. The safari holiday experience is very well developed in Kenya so you have many options in their parks, none more famous than the Maasai Mara and a beautiful coastline adds an extra dimension to your holiday options.

Masaai Mara and Conservancies

The Maasai Mara as a Reserve is actually a small part of a much bigger ecosystem that includes the famous Serengeti in Tanzania and then surrounding the Mara reserve, are a number of Conservancies that are for the most part owned by the Maasai people that live here. They lease sections of these to local safari operators and camp owners which helps control the amount of tourist traffic. The Mara itself can be a very busy place at the height of the migration season so being in the conservancies will give you much the same game viewing experience but with a lot less pressure. This area does have an excellent resident population of wildlife that include all your classic animals of Africa so some people prefer to visit here when the migration herd is in Tanzania so there is less people pressure and still excellent game viewing.


This is the park where all the famous photographs are taken of herds of elephant or giraffe with the snow capped Mt Kilimanjaro in the background. It is right on the Tanzanian border and is in the rain shadow of Kilimanjaro, so the park receives little rain, but there are natural springs fed by water from Kilimanjaro and these form nice wetland areas in the centre of the reserve that are a major draw for animals and birds from the surrounding dry plains. There is also a dry lake bed on the Western side of the park which after good rains can be an excellent birding spot. It is possible to see unusual animals here such as Lesser Kudu, Gerenuk and Fringe Eared Oryx along with your big cats which are commonly seen here as well.

Laikipia Area

This is an interesting area of conservation created by joining a combination of privately owned ranches and community owned “Group Ranches” It is an excellent conservation model showing off how people, livestock and wildlife can all exist together. There are many conservation initiatives happening here which include the famous Lewa DownsRanch with its Rhino breeding projects, the protection of the beautiful Reticulated Giraffe and the endangered Grevy’s Zebra. Throughout the various ranches they all have their own conservation plans and focuses and all of this gels with the Samburu people who live in this area with their traditional nomadic and cattle raising lifestyles. It’s a great area to enjoy a more private and diverse wildlife experience on one of the Ranches.

Nairobi National Park

This small and unique wildlife area is now very much part of Nairobi. It is a very surreal thing to watch Rhino feeding surrounded by gazelles, giraffe and wildebeest with the Nairobi City Skyline as your backdrop. However as a way to get your feet on the ground and acclimatize before starting your Kenyan safari it is an excellent option and you will not be disappointed with the volume and variety of wildlife here and there are some tremendous small camps inside the Park that are great to start or end your safari from.

The Aberdares

A small National Park of two distinct habitats you have in the lower altitudes primarily luxuriant forest – so a great place for birders and to look for some of the forest species such as Giant Forest Hog, Black and White Colobus and Bushbuck and then you have a high plateau of moorlands which gives you excellent views towards Mt. Kenya and the Rift Valley.

Mt Kenya National Park

This is Kenyas highest peak (5199m) and Africa’s second highest. To ascend the highest peak here you do need to have technical climbing expertise however you can climb Point Lenana ( 4985m) and this only requires a good level of physical fitness. Many people compare this to climbing Mt Kilimanjaro as a more pleasurable experience from a scenery perspective with its many small lakes and changing vegetation and has a better wilderness feel with far less people joining you in the experience. To climb these you should allocate at least 4 days to this.

Tsavo East and West with Chyulu Hills

Not far West from Amboseli is the Tsavo and Chyulu Hills National Parks. Combined together they are a massive protected area and home to a significant proportion of Kenya’s elephant population. It has suffered badly for many years as a result of droughts and poaching activities but the good news is that the population is now showing signs of recovery which is great news for this iconic animal. This park is so big it would be easy to have your entire safari holiday within its boundaries and you will see an incredible array of animals, birds, scenery and habitats. The West has more rugged hills and scenery and this is interspersed with wetlands, and riverine habitats from the various rivers flowing through it. The East is less diverse but generally has a greater density of wildlife – and a small but important population of the highly endangered Hirola ( Hunters Hartebeest ) is also found here in the East.

Lake Nakuru National Park

This small National Park formed around Lake Nakuru was most famous for its incredible population of Flamingos however these have reduced in recent years as there was unexplained dramatic rise of water level in 2013 which reduced the alkalinity of the lake and forced some of the flamingos to move to Lake Bogoria. During the summer months it is an important stop off point for birds migrating South from Europe and the Arctic areas, making it an excellent birding destination and you have the added bonus of a nice rhino population and various other animals like Rothschild’s Giraffe, Waterbuck, Reedbuck and Hippo, all the big cats can also be seen here.

Meru National Park

350kms East of Mt Kenya is this relatively small National Park. This park however has a great reputation for excellent game and bird viewing and home to a sizeable populations of Buffalo, Rhino, Oryx, Elephant, Reticulated Giraffe and Grevy’s Zebra. Lion, Cheetah and Leopard are also commonly seen here in the open plains and along the edge of the swamps. This Park is where the famous life of Elsa the lion happened and told in Joy Adamson’s book – Born Free.

Mombasa and The Coast

Mombasa is Kenya’s second city and one of the old cities of the Swahili Coast of East Africa so if you enjoy history it would be worth spending a little time here exploring places like Fort Jesus built in 1593 by the Portuguese. Most people however don’t spend much time here and prefer to stay in the beach areas North and South of the Island of Mombasa. Nyali, Mombasa, Kenyatta and Shanzu Beach are all North of Mombasa and then about 30kms South is Diani Beach. In all of these areas it is possible to enjoy a variety of beach activities like water skiing snorkelling, diving and fishing or just plant yourself on the beach and relax.