When planning a safari from Nairobi, one is spoilt for choice owing to the diversity of destinations Kenya has on offer.
The country’s tourism sector is as varied as it is exciting. Whether it is a solo trip, a family safari, or a group tour, Kenya has more than enough destinations to satisfy every fancy.
Also, should the innumerable safari destinations make it difficult for you to choose, then Kenya’s professional tour agents are at hand to help you out. They will easily advise you on the best places to visit in Nairobi and what to do and see when there.
No matter the ultimate destination you go for, it always pays to be informed on what each has to offer. Below, we discuss some of the best places to go on Kenyan safari from the capital, Nairobi.
1. Maasai Mara
Arguably the origin of the African safari, the Maasai Mara is a National Game Reserve situated in South West Kenya and boasts of the continent’s densest animal populations.
From the apex predator – the African lion, to lesser animals such as the banded mongoose, caracals, bat-eared fox, the Mara has it all. The Reserve is renowned for the great annual wildebeest migration, a dramatic exodus of over two million wildebeest from the Serengeti National park in Tanzania into the Mara.
The migrant herds are accompanied by an assortment of herbivores numbering in their hundreds of thousands. These companions include zebras and gazelles, all on an epic mission for greener pastures offered by the Mara savannah.
However, they have to contend with a host of predators led by lions, leopards, cheetah, hyenas, and jackals along the way. While crossing the Mara River, ferocious crocodiles lie in wait.
It is, therefore, spectacular dance and a showcase of the circle of life.
Apart from the melodrama that comes with the migration, the Mara Game Reserve is also home to the Big Five (buffalo, lion, leopard, elephant, and rhino) and over 400 bird species.
Located in southeast Kenya is the Samburu National Reserve, home to what is known as ‘the Samburu Special Five.’
These include Grevy’s zebra, Beisa Oryx, Somali Ostrich, Gerenuk, and the Reticulated Giraffe. These are so-called since they can survive in the Samburu environment.
Aside from the special five, the park is also home to elephants, wild dogs, giraffes, guinea fowl, falcons, lions, rhino, and many more.
One of the critical activities you can enjoy at the park is game drives and walking safaris.
The game drive enables you to cover more considerable distances and view a more comprehensive range of big game from the comfort of a 4X4 safari vehicle.
Meanwhile, walking safaris in the best destinations in Nairobi bring you up close with the smaller animals which you might otherwise miss while in a car.
The beauty of Samburu is that it is a fun place to be all year round, regardless of the weather.
During the wet season (November- April), it transforms into a lush green paradise full of different migrant bird species. It was thus ideal for birdwatchers at that time.
On the other hand, the dry season (June-October) brings with it easy-to-spot larger animals.
They tend to congregate more around the Ewaso Ng’iro River, which is the sole source of water in the dry season.
3. Coastal circuit
In addition to her wildlife safaris, Kenya is also famed for its stunning beaches and marine safaris.
The country’s coastal belt presents you with numerous safari options. These include world heritage sites, beach safaris, fishing excursions, and romantic dhow rides.
The multi-award-winning Diani beach is always poised to take your breath away, what with her pristine white sands and turquoise waters. Complemented by the various 5-star hotels that offer world-class accommodation, you are assured of fun-filled days and relaxed evenings.
Some of the incredible activities you get to enjoy on safari in Diani include deep-sea fishing, where you can expect big game such as sailfish, blue marlin, sharks, and swordfish.
For those not keen on fishing but who wish to interact with the ocean, other options are available, such as snorkelling excursions, swimming, deep-sea diving, and sailing.
History lovers will also enjoy sampling the rich heritage of Kenyan coastal towns, such as Lamu, dating back to the 14th century.
Historical artefacts abound in Lamu, Mombasa’s Fort Jesus, and the Gede Ruins in Watamu.
Architecture and art lovers will also be treated to the intricate woodwork of the coastal people, which is exemplified in how they fashion their trinkets, furniture, and Swahili doors.
4. Lake Nakuru
It isn’t easy to talk of picturesque destinations and not think of Lake Nakuru in all its pink flamingo glory.
The Lake, located in Kenya’s Rift Valley, is an alkaline lake that attracts these pink migrant birds in their thousands thanks to the water’s algae. Other Lake inhabitants include hippos, several fish species, with occasional touchdowns by the pied kingfisher.
The surrounding woodlands are inhabited by giant pythons, rhinos, lions, cheetah, waterbuck, and Rothschild’s giraffe. Avian lovers are also in for a treat as the park boasts colonies of Verreaux’s eagles, African fish eagles, hamerkop, and Goliath herons.
At a colossal 22,812 sq Kilometers, the Tsavo is so large it is divided into two parks; the Tsavo East National Park and the Tsavo West National Park.
Tsavo East is the largest protected park in Kenya, with an area of 13,747 sq Km. Both parks feature scores of buffaloes, lions, leopards, elephants, hippos, rhino, lesser Kudu, gerenuk, waterbuck, and crocodiles.
There are also over 500 bird species recorded so far. Apart from the impressive animal varieties, Tsavo West comes with some exciting terrain and gorgeous scenery.
There are Mzima springs that gush more than 20 million litres of crystal clear underground water daily. It is the ideal vantage point for game viewing as it serves as the animals’ central watering hole.
Other enthralling sights include the ‘shetani’ (devil) lava flow, the five sisters hills, and the Chaimu volcanic crater.
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