Why Kenya? The Great Rift Valley runs through the heart of the country, offering some of the most spectacular wildlife experiences on the planet. It’s really a shiny jewel in the crown of Africa.
Republic of Kenya
Swahili and english
A majority Christian & Islam, among other Religions
EAT (UTC + 3)
Home to over 42 tribes, the Bantu Community has most of the country’s local residents. 2 of the most popular, the Maasai and the Samburu tribes, are distinguished by their colorful, traditional clothing regalia and semi-nomadic forms. It is also home to the Second highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kenya.
Kenya has a great diversity of habitat offering endless opportunities for wildlife viewing. Wildlife rich areas such as the Masai Mara Game Reserve, Lake Nakuru, East & West Tsavo and Amboseli National Parks are some of the natural wonders you can visit. With over 54 gazetted national parks and reserves, there’s certainly no shortage of wildlife for any enthusiast.
Kenya’s colorful history since colonial times is largely reflected in its architecture. Within the city center, stands the National Archives, the Macmillan library, the Norfolk, All Saints Cathedral, Kipande House, among many others. Notably, the home of Baroness Karen Von Blixen who wrote the «Out of Africa» memoirs still exists today at the foot of the Ngong Hills. Surrendered upon independence, the residence was preserved and opened later, as one of Kenya’s national museums, in 1986.
Kiswahili and English are the official languages, the latter being the main language in formal and educational setting.
Kenya’s geographical diversity gives it wide temperature changes. The climate is tropical, warm and humid in low-lying coastal areas, with a refreshing ‘cool-ness’ in the Central and Rift highlands.
The equator crosses the central plains of Laikipia, allowing temperatures to be constant throughout the year. The arid desert of northern Lake Turkana is mainly dry, with occasional rain. Kenya is a popular destination to visit at any time of the year, although the best times are usually outside the rainy season, when wildlife is plentiful. The long rains begin from the end of March to May, while the shortest rainy season occurs in November.
Coastal areas are affected by the monsoon winds (tropical climate subtype) of northern Kaskazi, descending from the northern gulf, from November to March. The Kusi is a wind that moves along the Swahili coast of Kenya and Tanzania, from April to September. The Kaskazi decreases the humid summer heat and the Kusi brings the long rains that usually last from April to early June. The best time for diving is at the end of September, through to March.
The rains end in December, The clear sky and the warm weather approaches in January and February being one of the warmest months of the year. Wildlife gathers around the wells and the weather remains ideal for diving adventures.
At the beginning of the green season the temperatures start to drop and the rainy season begins. The dust clears and comes with clean, smoke-free air. Observing wildlife at this time becomes a little difficult as animals take refuge under dense vegetation that gives them an excellent place to hide.
Rains decrease bringing cold, clear days, morning fog spreads over the Rift Valley and the central highlands. The migration begins its journey from the Serengeti across the Mara River to Kenya, forming long rows of herds that go deeper into the Mara.
Most of the wildebeest migration has moved north of the Serengeti. The short rains of November almost begin, the weather gets wetter with the dry season approaching quickly.
With her fertile highlands, a rich culture, arid & semi arid deserts, snow-capped mountains and endless plains for wildlife, Kenya is a fascinating country with lots to offer. A country so colorful, your day turns brighter, almost instantly. The scenic landscapes of the Great Rift Valley play host to Lake Nakuru & L. Baringo, where millions of flamingo lay a shade of pink, over the sparkling lake waters. The Masai Mara, at the floor of the Great Rift Valley, is home to the annual migration of wildebeest, zebra & various Gazelle species. Kenya has a high concentration of giraffe, hippo, elephant, lions, leopard and the Rhino, etc. In the Northern frontier, sits Lake Turkana, the largest permanent desert lake in the world. The area surrounding it is dry, arid desert and is home the Turkana, a nomadic tribe who eke out a living rearing goats and cattle. The Elmolo tribe lives south of the shores of Lake Turkana. Mount Kenya, is Africa’s second-highest mountain & home to antelope, colobus monkeys, leopard, buffalo and a wide array of bird life. On the coast, lies Mombasa City, the world famous Diani beach and the quaint island of Lamu; Lamu Old Town is oldest and most preserved village, inhabited for over 700 years. In Old Town Lamu, vehicles are not allowed and the fastest mode of transport is a donkey!
In honor of the Masai people, the Masai Mara National Reserve is described as the area that is observed from afar. ‘Mara’ in the Masai language means ‘Maa’ for large reflections ‘Spotted’ of clouds or thickets in the shape of a circle that shade the savanna.
Just across the border from Tanzania, the desert landscape lies the oasis of Amboseli, at the entrance of the park you are greeted by the open savanna plains, in the distance, the permanent green swamps are full of elephant herds. This creates a spectacular contrast against the towering backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Amboseli has one of the densest elephant populations, approximately 1500 cross the park. During the dry season you will be able to observe these magical creatures turning into a gray to black shadow, as herds spend their days in the central Enkongo Narok swamp. The swamps are perennial and natural springs. Ice glaciers melt on the volcanic rocks of Mount Kilimanjaro filling the underground rivers.
The long rains in April help fill the swamps during the dry season and the short rains in November. If you’re lucky you’ll be able to see a strange game just outside Amboseli, like the gerenuk and the fringe-eared oryx. The game of the plains is that of the common cape buffalo, eland, Burchell’s zebra, and wildebeest will often see smaller mammals such as the black-backed jackal moving around. Popular predators are the main attraction such as the lion, the leopard, the buffalo, the spotted hyena and the huge giraffe, posing in the background for the perfect memory of the Kilimanjaro image.
With more than 400 species of birds between October to December, migratory birds from the northern hemisphere arrive in Amboseli. The mix of local and migratory species makes an unforgettable experience. Sightings of plovers and endemic birds such as the two-band crossing are generally found only in the Amboseli Salt Flats. The Alcedines (Kingfisher), herons and ospreys are just one of the other species that you will be able to observe.
Nomadic Masai live on the edge of the park, herding cattle daily for food. Tourism plays an important role in maintaining the balance between wildlife and human existence.
Naivasha National Park belongs to the Rift Valley. This one brings together all the lakes in Kenya including The Rift Valley Lakes. In addition, Naivasha is close to the Nakuru Reserve National Park. In some parts of the park you can make excursions on foot, by bike … Lake Naivasha is a real little paradise for ornithologists. In the center of the lake is a small island where the animals walk peacefully. It is nice to take a boat trip. During the journey, you will meet numerous hippos that bathe and swim peacefully. Don’t get too close: the animal is not comfortable and it is not very friendly either.
Take a pair of binoculars if possible during your safari. Although you can observe the animals from quite close, sometimes some are far away. So it is easier to observe them like this. Also, be an early riser since during the hottest hours the animals take refuge in the shade and take a nap a good part of the day.
The Nakuru reserve, located around a large lake in the northwest of the country, houses an important fauna in its almost 46 km²: Rothschild giraffes, leopards, lions, black rhinos, etc. But the most successful thing in the park are the millions of large and dwarf pink flamingos that regularly frequent the lake (unfortunately, when the water level is low the number drops). This spectacular influx of birds has earned the park to obtain the status of a bird sanctuary, an unusual fact in East Africa.
Just north of Nanyuki village, Laikipia lies. The vast area begins near the snowy peaks of Mount Kenya and continues to the edge of the Rift Valley. Laikipia is united by a community of small and medium ranches. Farmers have designed this area to protect wildlife and offer you the experience of seeing wildlife live in harmony.
Some of the more intimate lodges have been established as a way to inject tourism revenue into conservation. Laikipia has become a wildlife sanctuary for elephants, buffalo, lions, and leopards. An anti-poaching unit has been organized to protect and monitor wildlife in the area. Included here are some endemic wildlife species such as the Grevy’s Zebra, the Reticulated Giraffe, and the African Wild Dog. The endangered black rhino feels like home and if you are an avid bird watcher there are over 350 species of birds that can be seen.
North of the Kenyan border, this arid desert area has left behind any part of the country that is lush and green. Lodwar, a large but small town, is the last port before reaching the largest salt flats in East Africa, You may think that some areas are lifeless, Lake Nile is a nest of crocodiles, hippos and migratory water birds . An existing perennial river that empties into the lake is the Omo River. It constitutes approximately 90% of the total filling of the lake.
The seasons of the Turkwell and Kerio rivers are also major contributors, making it the highest of all African lakes. The lake has no outlet and most of the water is lost through evaporation. Eliye Springs on the western side of the lake is a refreshing oasis and the blurry green breaks with the village landscape.
Tsavo National Park, southeast of Nairobi, is the largest in the country with an area of 21,000 km². It is located relatively close to Mombasa, and many tourists flock to it to enjoy the coastal holiday destinations. The park has about fifty mammal species and 400 birds, as well as a very varied landscape (here we can find the Chyulu Hills, the youngest volcanic mountain range in the world).