Luxury Safaris to Kenya
Kenya is a world-class safari destination. In fact, the word “safari” means “journey” in the local language of Swahili, and many believe this is where the concept of safari first began.
Kenya is most famous for the Masai Mara and the annual “Great Migration” when millions of wildebeest and zebra cross back and forth over the Mara River. They move north from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to Kenya’s Masai Mara in search of fresh grasses after the rains. As the herds move, they cross over crocodile-infested rivers, often with dramatic consequences.
But there is so much more to Kenya than the migration. Outside of the migration season, the Masai Mara is still one of the best safari destinations in Africa. When the herds have moved off, other animals have a chance to come out, leading to a more diverse Kenyan safari experience.
With its central location, Kenya is a safari destination that easily combines with many other African holiday destinations. The capital of Nairobi acts as a hub for travelers wanting to combine their Kenyan safari with other African safari destinations.
The African safari options are endless. At Stanley Safaris, we particularly like combining a Kenyan safari with a visit to Madagascar, or Kenya and Rwanda or Congo together to include a gorilla trekking safari. How about a food and wine experience in Cape Town, South Africa or perhaps the mighty Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe or Zambia? If you’re on the lookout for amazing animal sightings, combine your Kenya safari with Botswana’s Okavango Delta. Or catch a flight to paradise with a visit to the Seychelles islands at the end of your safari.
Luxury Kenya Safari Ideas
Kenya has perfected the art of safaris, and there are so many options to choose from. Kenyan safaris offer the ultimate wildlife experiences, with access to the Great Migration as well as many other iconic African animals. Choose between an eye opening family safari with your children, or total romance with a honeymoon safari. Kenya offers many exciting activities as well, including unique cultural experiences, helicopter safaris, and some amazing conservation success stories.
At Stanley Safaris, all our luxury safaris to Kenya are all completely tailor-made to suit the individual interests of our guests, so please take a look through some of our Kenya Safari Ideas and then lets get planning your dream Kenyan Safari.
Where to go on a Kenya Safari
Most people visiting Kenya will head straight to the world famous Masai Mara as it offers some of the best wildlife safaris in Africa. But don’t make the mistake of missing out on the rest of Kenya. There is so much more to this country that just one park.
Masai Mara and Conservancies
Kenya’s Masai Mara Game Reserve is one of Africa’s most famous wildlife reserves and for good reason. The Masai Mara is a relatively small reserve, so can be explored quite easily. There are many camps and lodges to choose from so it can get quite busy, especially during the busier migration months of July to October.
The Masai Mara offers more than just the migration though. When the wildebeest migration is not in the Masai Mara, the game viewing is still spectacular, with some of the best big cat sightings in Africa. The wildebeest migration generally forces the other animals out of the park because there is such limited space. This means that usually the general game viewing in the Masai Mara is excellent once the wildebeest and zebra begin moving south in October.
Because the Masai Mara is a government reserve, activities are limited to morning and afternoon game drives. For this reason, we prefer sending our guests to camps that are located in the private or community concessions that border the Masai Mara. There are no fences between these conservancies and the Masai Mara, and so the animals move freely between the areas. The benefit of staying in these community conservancies is that you can do more activities like walking safaris, night drives and off-road driving. Only vehicles from the camps within the conservancy can do game drives here, so you are guaranteed a more exclusive safari experience. Usually the camps will still offer at least one day inside the Masai Mara so guests can experience the Masai Mara proper during their Kenyan safari.
Amboseli and Chyulu Hills
The Amboseli National Park in Kenya is the home of the iconic images of herds of elephants walking across the savanna with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background. Amboseli is a dry, barren region and would probably not support many animals if it weren’t for the wetlands. These sustain large herds of animals, including elephants, giraffe, zebra, lion, cheetah and leopard.
Chyulu Hills is an area in the hilly area behind Amboseli and offers private wildlife viewing from a luxury lodge that offers walking safaris, horse riding safaris as well as game drives.
The area known as Laikipia was originally made up of large privately owned cattle ranches, but over the years, the farmers have taken down their fences and started to reintroduce wildlife back to the area, making Laikipia one of Kenya’s most successful conservation success stories.
Safaris to Laikipia are special because these large, privately owned reserves are home to some of Africa’s most endangered and unusual animals, including black and white rhino, gerenuk, Grevy’s Zebra, Reticulated giraffe and wild dogs. Being privately owned, the ranches of Laikipia are a playground for adventurous tourists wishing to experience walking safaris, camel safaris, fly-camping and so much more. Travelers can explore the area without seeing another tourist, which is a welcome change from the bustle of the Masai Mara.
Samburu is a dry reserve that can be found in northern Kenya. The park is home to some of Africa’s more unusual animals like the long-necked gerenuk, reticulated giraffe, Somali ostrich and the Beisa Oryx. These unique animals form the Special Five. Samburu is a great add-on to your safari in Masai Mara because it offers completely different landscapes and animals. It is also a great destination to learn more about the local Samburu culture. Most of the wildlife is seen along the main Ewaso Nyiro river that forms an oasis in the desert landscape.
Sarara can be found in northern Kenya, covering 850 000 acres of rolling hills and mountains covered in forests. This is without a doubt one of our favorite places in Kenya. Sarara is a great community conservation success story, where the camp has worked in partnership with the local Samburu people. There are many activities on offer at Sarara include walking safaris, game drives, fly camping and access to photographic hides, as well as getting to know the beautiful Samburu culture from the people who call the land home. We love Sarara and would absolutely recommend including a visit here into your Kenya safari.
The main coast of Kenya is overcrowded with large resorts, and the beaches have become a magnet for hustling beach boys, so we do not recommend the main beaches north or south of Mombasa. Instead, Lamu Island offers beautiful beaches with snorkeling at diving options. There is also Funzi Keys, a small, private island south of the bustling Diani Beach. Alternatively, take a short flight from Nairobi to the Seychelles for the ultimate in tropical beach destination.
The Masai Mara - Home of the Great Migration
Why is the Masai Mara Famous?
The Masai Mara is Kenya’s top safari destination, and for good reason. The Masai Mara is a small park, but offers some of the best game viewing in Africa. The Masai Mara is famous for it’s dramatic river crossings, where each year, millions of wildebeest and zebra brave the crocodile infest waters of the Mara river in search of new grazing areas during their migration.
When to visit the Masai Mara?
From July, the herds start arriving in the Masai Mara, entering from the Serengeti in Tanzania. They stay in the area for about 3 months before starting to move south in September/October. This is an incredible time of the year to be in the Masai Mara, but it can get very busy.
Outside of the migration time, the Masai Mara is still an incredible wildlife reserve, with most of the animals, including big cats, elephants, buffalo, giraffe and more remaining behind. During the migration season, the resident animals of the Masai Mara move out to the quieter parts of the reserve or into the community concessions bordering the park to find some space.
Where to stay in the Masai Mara
Because the Masai Mara is a government run reserve, there are regulations on the activities visitors can do, and these are limited to morning and afternoon game drives. There are community lands owned by the Masai surrounding the Masai Mara Game Reserve, and we recommend staying here during your Masai Mara safari. Together with some of Africa’s top safari companies, these community lands have been opened for eco-tourism, benefiting the local communities and expanding the areas where animals can be safe.
These private conservancies offer guests a more private safari experience as only vehicles from the camps on the land can conduct activities there. Guests can enjoy morning and afternoon game drives, as well as walking safaris and night game drives. There are no fences separating the Masai Mara from these conservancies and so the animals move freely between the area. Guests staying at safari camps in the conservancies, still have the chance to do a game drive inside the Masai Mara to experience the difference between the main park and the conservancies.
Kenya Seasons and The Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Kenya is during the dry season from June to October. This is also the time of year that the Great Migration can be found in Kenya’s Masai Mara. Kenya has 2 rainy seasons - the long rains happen in March, April and May, while the short rains happen in November and December.
Generally when it does rain, it is often a quick shower that lasts 30 minutes to an hour before the sun comes out again, so it is still pleasant to travel in Kenya during the rainy season. The temperatures in the Masai Mara range between 25°C (77°F) and 28°C (82°F) throughout the year. Average minimum temperatures vary between 11°C (52°F) and 14°C (57°F).