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Overview

Kenya pioneered the photographic safari in the 1960s, and it remains one of Africa's top wildlife destinations. Few reserves anywhere compare to the renowned Masai Mara when it comes to predators — lion, leopard and cheetah are common — and it's also a good place to seek elephant, giraffe, buffalo and antelope, with wildebeest and zebra being abundant from July-Aug when the Serengeti migration crosses from Tanzania. An added attraction is the opportunity to visit a traditional homestead inhabited by red-robed Maasai pastoralists. Other key national parks include Amboseli, with its heavy-tusked elephants and views of snow-capped Kilimanjaro, ...

Kenya pioneered the photographic safari in the 1960s, and it remains one of Africa's top wildlife destinations. Few reserves anywhere compare to the renowned Masai Mara when it comes to predators — lion, leopard and cheetah are common — and it's also a good place to seek elephant, giraffe, buffalo and antelope, with wildebeest and zebra being abundant from July-Aug when the Serengeti migration crosses from Tanzania. An added attraction is the opportunity to visit a traditional homestead inhabited by red-robed Maasai pastoralists. Other key national parks include Amboseli, with its heavy-tusked elephants and views of snow-capped Kilimanjaro, and the vast Tsavo East and West, a stronghold for black rhino and elephant. Africa's most unusual savannah reserve, Samburu-Buffalo Springs lies in the badlands north of Mt Kenya, and supports localized dry-country oddities such as the outsized Grevy's zebra, striking reticulated giraffe, handsome oryx, and rubber-necked gerenuk antelope. En route, it's worth stopping at one the hide-like 'tree hotels' (The Ark, Mountain Lodge and Treetops) on the slopes of Mt Kenya and the Aberdares. The Laikipia Plateau, on the northern footslopes of Mount Kenya, is Kenya's top private reserve, with several lodges offering top-notch guided game drives (as well as guided walks and night drives) to seek a similar range of species as in Samburu-Buffalo Springs, along with the endangered black rhino and African wild dog.

Philip Briggs
About the Expert

Philip Briggs has written or contributed to 50-plus editions of Bradt, Insight, AA and Berlitz guidebooks to African destinations.

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Philip Briggs for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Any time. July-Oct is when the wildebeest migration reaches the Masai Mara, but the safari circuit is almost as good (and far less crowded) at other times of year