Last Updated on June 19, 2020
Perfect has many descriptions, and Kenya has to be the most accurate yet. With it comes sceneries, landscapes, cultures, and ambiances that prove wrong the notion that the “universe doesn’t work in perfects.” It is, perhaps, this beauty that has seen the country top the World Travel Awards’ best destinations in Africa category for seven consecutive years.
In 2019, the World Travel Awards crowned Kenya as the best safari destination in the world. So, if you have Kenya in sight for your African safari holiday, you have lots of adventures waiting for you.
In this article, we will highlight 5 of the best holiday destinations in Kenya. And no! These are not just your average African safari destinations. They are the crème when it comes to African wildlife viewing, sight-seeing, nature photography, and fun, adventurous activities. Buckle up!
1. The Maasai Mara – The Home of the Big 5
It is from the wildlife-filled savannah grasslands of the Mara that words like magnificent gain their meaning. The park is captivating, so much so that it is ranked as Africa’s leading national park for 2019 for 3 years running.
The Mara hosts all members of the Big 5 – rhinos, elephants, buffaloes, lions, and leopards. It boasts over 96 different mammal species scattered all across its drool-worthy landscape which includes plains, rocky ridges, woodlands, and life-springing rivers. These include giraffes, zebras, monkeys, impalas, wild dogs, cheetahs, warthogs, bat-eared fox, spotted hyenas, reedbuck, eland and more.
Over 450 species of birds have been spotted in the Mara. So, remember to pack your binoculars.
On top of all this adventure, it is the Great Wildebeest Migration that saw this park make the cut as the eighth Wonder of the World in 2007. The wildebeest migration is a spectacular annual event that occurs between July to October. The migration sees close to two million zebras, wildebeests and antelopes migrate across the crocodile-infested Mara River from Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.
Adding insane energy to the magical wonders of the Mara is the perfect way in which you can explore Masai Mara wildlife and terrain. You can opt for game drives in 4×4 Land Cruiser with open-roof for optimal game viewing, take a hot air balloon safari, or go for guided walking safaris.
The Best Time for a Kenya Safari to Marai Mara Game Reserve
The Mara is a year-round Kenya holiday destination. However, the dry months between July and November and December to March are the best for game viewing. The grass and vegetation is at its lowest at this time, allowing you a wide field of view – as far as your eyes can see.
The animals also tend to congregate around the watering holes and the Mara River during these dry months.
If you have your eyes set on witnessing the dramatic wildebeest migration, plan your Kenya safari between June and November when the migrating animals are on the Kenyan side.
The actual river crossing occurs between June and July, but there is no fixed date. To get your timing right, work with local based Masai Mara safari operators such as AjKenyasafaris.com. Their guides were born and raised in Kenya, and they will safely and smoothly take you to Kenya remote settings where the adventure and wildlife population is at its highest.
As the saying goes, “The best way to explore a new country is with the people who were born there.” You can also work with Masai Mara based safari lodges to help you track the herd.
2. Diani Beach
Few coastal lands are blessed with that Diani kind of beauty. A thing that has certainly seen the beach stand unbeaten in the World Travel Awards’ best beaches in Africa category.
Fashioned to drop your jaws, the beach is surrounded by the mesmerizing Indian Ocean, which is made even more ethereal by the velvety white beach sands and lush greenery all around it. Its inviting waters you’ll need saving from, and its ambiance the perfect simulation of paradise.
The beach spreads spectacularly on 17KMs of coastal lands, making sure you have enough room for relaxing and unwinding. Activities to engage in range from deep-sea diving, swimming, sun-bathing, kitesurfing, snorkeling, skydiving, and whale spotting.
There’s never a dull moment here, with the hundreds of hotels, restaurants, and resorts around the beach making sure you are treated to the best of the Swahili cultures and foods.
Taking a dhow to the enthralling Wasini Island is an option when you get bored of lounging around the beach. The island offers the best of dolphin spotting and swimming and has scenery that would leave the Bahamas ashamed.
For exciting tours of the underwater, there’s the glass-bottomed dhow trip to the sandbank, and there are the sacred forests, monkey sanctuary, and Shimba Hills for the wildlife.
3. Lake Nakuru
The lake Nakuru has a scenic landscape, but that is not the most fascinating thing about it. The flamingoes are its most stunning feature. The birds flock its waters, spreading a breathtaking pink carpet over the lake.
Watching the birds rise and fall from the waters as if acting it all out is weirdly satisfying, and the natural therapy you need to relax and calm your soul. At least the thousands of photographers and tourists that frequent the lake think so.
Within the lake lies the Lake Nakuru National park, which proves the lake is more than just its flamingo flooded waters. The park sanctuaries both the black and white rhinos. The park is also home to waterbucks, buffaloes, zebras, lions, leopards, and the Rothschild giraffe.
Away from the lake is a dazzling scenery that includes waterfalls, forests, and cliffs.
4. The Amboseli National Park
Towering above the 392km² of land that is the Amboseli National Park is the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro. And just around it, among the grasslands and thickets, a wildlife circus like you’ve never seen before.
The Amboseli National Park has its name engraved on the stone when it comes to the big game and its scenery. Close to 80 different mammals can be found here, with the species ranging from rarities such as the elephant shrew to the African elephant. Other wildlife in the park include hippos, buffaloes, cheetahs, hyenas, giraffes, wildebeests, lions, and impalas.
The park is gold for photographers and nature lovers, seeing that its habitats total to five; the marshlands, open plains, thorny bushes, acacia woodlands, and the swampy regions. Each habitat offers a unique interpretation of the park, both in its vegetative and wildlife represent.
Enjoy long game drives, nature treks, sight-seeing, and mountain climbing
5. Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
Think perfection, think the Lewa conservancy. Lewa was started in 1983 as a black rhino protectorate, a job it still executes dutifully to this date. Today the 62,000-acre farm is home to 10% of Kenya’s black rhinos, 14% of its white rhinos as well as the Grevy’s zebra, giraffes, ostriches, Oryx, Dikdik, Greater Kudu, as well as the big 5.
With the conservancy comes scenic views of the beautiful snow-capped Mount Kenya and a landscape that supports a large variety of birdlife. To keep you entertained are guided walks around the conservancy, horse riding, camel riding, game drives, and sundowner picnic dinners within the conservancy.
Also, within the conservancy lies an even more fascinating attraction known as the Ngare Ndare forest. The forest is all scenery, it’s most stunning being its magnetic elephant waterfall and a lush green forest that is the epicenter of thousands of birds.
Wildlife safaris in Kenya cost as low as $200 per person per day on a full-board basis. There are also luxury safari options with all the trims for as little as $500 per person per day. Visit MasaiMaraSafari.in and start tailor-making your pocket-friendly Kenya safari holiday.
I used them to plan my December trip last year, and from booking my flight to game drives and airport shuttle services, I had a great experience.