Golden plains and rolling hills reminiscent of the movies, wildlife action akin to an Attenborough documentary, and warm and welcoming people – say hello to Kenya.
Whether you’re planning a first safari blockbuster, or an off-the-beaten-track fifteenth safari, Kenya is a great choice.
Nuts and Bolts
-Practicalities and plus points
Easily accessible from Europe with relatively short direct and indirect flight options. Flying time on British Airways from Heathrow to Nairobi is 8 hours 40 minutes.
Very little time change (no jet lag).
Good value bush & beach combinations, when compared to other destinations.
The country’s compact nature, diverse topography and well-developed tourism infrastructure allows for a whole range of itineraries.
Incredible hosting, guiding and rewarding cultural interactions, most notably with the Samburu and Maasai people.
-Best areas for wildlife
The Greater Masai Mara and the Laikipia area. The optimum time for wildlife viewing is mid June to October, and January/February.
For the sheer concentration of wildlife, and the chance to see the wildebeest migration from July/August to October, the Mara is hard to beat. We favour the private conservancies as they offer added exclusivity with vehicle and guest numbers strictly limited, the ability to drive off road, undertake night drives and in some cases get out on foot too.
For big cats this is undoubtedly the best place to go.
Reserves in Lakipia including Lewa, Ol Pejeta and Solio are all ‘Big Five‘ and offer excellent wildlife encounters. This is also the best region to see rhino (which are tricky to see in the Mara).Some of these conservancies also offer an interesting insight to conservation efforts with extra activities available, for example, visiting the anti poaching unit, which can add an extra dimension to your trip. It is also possible to track rhino on foot at a couple of places in Kenya.
For a specialist elephant experience we’d recommend one particular camp in Samburu, which we’ve worked closely with, so please ask for advice, and we’d also recommend Reteti Elephant Sanctuary and the Sheldrick Trust in Nairobi National Park. The park is also a reliable place to see black and white rhino if you have not visited Laikipia and seen them there – this can work well if you are needing to overnight in Nairobi on arrival or departure.
Getting out on foot, on horseback, or spending a night in a mobile or fly camp ( a low impact temporary camp) is a wonderful way to experience the wilderness in a more immediate way than sitting in a vehicle. Our preferred wilderness experiences tend to take place away from the main wildlife areas, where predator action can be pretty intense, and into the quieter lesser-known areas where you can enjoy a range of different activities and enjoy them at your own pace. Some of our favourite destinations for this style of trip include Sarara in the Mathews Range of the Namyunak Conservancy and owner-run Laikipia Wilderness.
What does luxury mean to you? Space? Service? Sophistication? Guiding? Facilities?
Luxury in South Africa looks and feels very different to luxury in Kenya.
Some of Kenya’s most exclusive properties are beautifully designed tented camps with wonderful panoramic viewing decks, star beds and open-air shower platforms – these really embrace the wild experience while also offering Relais & Chateaux dining, and top-notch guiding. Other luxury properties include those which are homestead-style – beautiful, often historic properties with a quiet finesse, and the most amazing farm to fork produce. They each deliver the ‘wow’ factor but with a different tempo.
All our journeys are tailormade with your preferences in mind, so if it’s a star bed, a private plunge pool,or private dining you’re after please let us know so we can make recommendations based on your holiday budget.
For honeymoons, there are many options depending on your interests and preferences.
For bush and beach combos you may want to consider travelling beyond the Kenya coast to the Seychelles, or Zanzibar. If you’re an active/adventurous couple or more focused on the wilderness experience than chilling with a cocktail, then a combination of 2 or even 3 safari areas may be better, for example combining fly-camping or walking with a Mara safari.
Kenya is a superb destiantion for family safaris – take them to the Masai Mara and they’ll not get bored – there’s always something to see. Quieter wildlife areas are brilliant for additional activities, such as wild swimming and picnics. Add the fantastic Maasai and Samburu guides and hosts, who love children, along with activities like tracking or ‘warrior school’ and you have very happy campers.
Some camps offer family-friendly accommodation so you can all be accommodated together; some have pools so it is worth considering the age and independence of your children, and how they want to spend down-time in camp during the heat of the day. Older children may be able to cycle, or horse ride, go tracking with the guide or visit a community project such as a school. Some camps have age restrictions in place for safety, or request you pay a supplement for a private vehicle for your family, so it is always best to discuss the options.
-Kenya on a budget
Nights on safari are more expensive than nights at the beach, as a general rule. If you are on a budget think about 4 nights on safari in one place and taking the rest of the time at the beach. You can see a huge amount in 4 nights because the wildlife viewing is so reliable.
It is better to go for quality over quantity. I would much rather enjoy 4 sensational nights on a fly-in safari than 8 mediocre ones bumping around in a dusty pop-top van.
Don’t try to cram too much in – the more you move about the country the more budget you’ll spend on travelling from place to place, and the less time you’ll have on safari. It’s always best to keep things simple.
If you want to do more than 4 nights safari (and are on a tight budget) then think about combining 2 contrasting camps/ properties in one safari area, for example combine a mobile camp experience in the Mara with a permanent camp in a different area of the Greater Mara – this way you can often game drive between the properties and still get the benefit of exploring a different zone.
There are sometimes special offers out of peak season – for example Stay 4, Pay 3 at Offbeat Mara – or circuit discounts, for example Stay 6, Pay 5 when combining stays at different Kicheche camps in the Mara and Ol Pejeta.
Book early – many camps are small with only six or so tents so if you are working to a budget it’s good to get in early and secure space.
-Why you should book with a specialist
We don’t charge for advice so you have a lot to gain from consulting a specialist with genuine first-hand experience. You can spend hours researching online but at the end of it, will you really know if the camp’s location is any good for wildlife, and what the guiding, or food is like? Since a safari holiday is a significant spend for most people, it’s better to get the details right. Our team will be able to answer your questions with confidence because we’ve been and we know.
You won’t pay more through our network, than if booking direct, because our partners have access to special agent rates which are lower then the ‘rack’ rates offered online.
By booking a package with us you will benefit from financial protection (ATOL & ABTOT), and 24/7 support should anything go wrong.
By booking through us you’ll be supporting conservation charity Explorers Against Extinction at no additional cost to you.
(browse sample itineraries and a destination guide at our dedicated site, Real Africa)
All visitors (based on Jan 2024) including infants and children who intend to travel to the Republic of Kenya, must have an approved eTA before the start of their journey.
Visitors must apply for the eTA via www.etakenya.go.ke and pay a processing fee of USD $34. All eTA applications for Kenya should be submitted at least 3 days prior to travel to ensure adequate time for authorisation, however, travellers can submit their applications as early as 3 months prior to travel.
Apply for an Electronic Travel Authorisation >>>