Best Kenya safaris
Kenya has to be among the first safari destinations that spring to mind when discussing an African safari. After all, it is the nation that gave rise to the safari and was the first to present the idea of the Big 5. Anyone hoping to view a wide variety of animals in Kenya must take a safari, but it can be difficult to decide which park or reserve is best. Aiming to address this, we have selected the best five safari destinations in Kenya.
- Maasai Mara National Reserve.
It is widely acknowledged and rightfully so that Kenya’s premier wildlife viewing safari destination is the famous Maasai Mara. The reserve is home to a thriving predator population all year round, with the opportunity to see prides of lions, cheetahs hunting on the open plains, and leopards stalking in the forests among its main draws. The reserve is a diversified terrain of savannah woodlands, riverine forest, and extensive grassland.
Of course, from July to October, the Mara offers the best wildlife viewing opportunities, with thousands of wildebeest crossing the Mara River on their yearly journey during the Great Migration. Some of Kenya’s most esteemed camps and lodges can be found in the Maasai Mara, such as the famous Governors’ Camp which sits along the Mara River and has a bar tent and deck overlooking the river, perfect for tracking the migration.
- Lake Nakuru National Park.
In addition to over 300 different kinds of birds that call Lake Nakuru home, visitors come from all over the world to see the enormous flocks of flamingos that congregate there. Beyond the vast array of birds that calls Lake Nakuru home, the park was designated as a rhino sanctuary in 1983 and is home to a thriving population of black and white rhinos. If you attempt south to the forested area below Flamingo Hill, you’ll find the popular lion-spotting region, where you’ll see the lionesses sleeping in the trees as well as a few leopards.
The high plains of Laikipia, which are situated northwest of the snow-capped Mount Kenya, are becoming known as one of Kenya’s best places for safari travel. This sparsely populated region has some of the most amazing views in the entire nation, with seemingly unending panoramas and vast expanses of untamed wilderness. When it comes to wildlife, Laikipia is second only to the Masai Mara in terms of population density. It is home to more endangered mammals than any other safari destination in East Africa, as well as a sizable number of endemic species, such as the Grevy’s zebra and reticulated giraffe. Laikipia’s vast rhino population is one of its main draws. Half of Kenya’s rhino population, more than 300 of these majestic animals wandering the huge plains, are found in this region.
- Meru National Park.
With its restoration following years of neglect due to unchecked poaching in the 1990s, Meru National Park is growing in popularity as an opportunity to see various animals. Even though it is still one of Kenya’s most popular parks, this fact benefits it since it leaves an untouched 870 square km area that is just waiting to be explored.
Meru may not claim quite as many visitors as other well-established parks, but its wildlife population and game viewing possibilities matches almost any other park in Kenya. The Big 5, along with cheetahs and many other savannah animals, are now sighted more frequently. A prominent part of the terrain, the streams and rivers that flow through Meru provide great chances to see crocodiles, hippopotamuses, and African fish eagles.
- Samburu National Reserve.
Samburu National Reserve, named after the Samburu people who have long been local to the area, is one of Kenya’s lesser parks compared to the likes of the Maasai Mara but is nevertheless bursting with life. The Ewaso Nyiro River flows through the unrestricted savannah grassland, attracting a variety of animals, including a sizable population of Nile crocodiles. The reserve is also home to the “Samburu Special 5,” a rare group of northern species that live in the park. These include the Beisa Oryx, reticulated giraffe, Grevy’s zebra, Somali ostrich, and gerenuk.
With approximately 350 kinds of birds, including vultures, kingfishers, marabous, Bateleur, guinea fowl, and others, Samburu has an abundant birdlife. Together with elephants, buffalo, and hippos, other Kenyan animals that can be found in the reserve are lions and cheetahs. The area is home to elusive leopards, which are most visible in the evenings. It’s also highly recommended that you schedule time for the cultural tours while you’re in Samburu. On these safaris, you’ll visit the local Samburu communities and have the opportunity to engage with the vibrant Samburu people in their natural environment.