When you come to Kenya, what should you expect?
Kenya has an enormous amount to offer, so here’s a brief guide to the country, its people and its history, to help you. On 12th December 1963, Kenya gained its independence and became a Republic. But what was Kenya like before that – and since?
Celebrate in style in Shela, Lamu
What a magical surprise this birthday turned out to be! We landed in Lamu and I still had no idea where we were headed and as we got closer to the mainland my husband pointed out this enchanted villa on the shores of Shela. From a distance its white walls shimmered in the sunshine and after ascending the stairs and walking through the elaborately carved doors the beauty of the house took my breath away.
Adventure safaris on horseback, motorbike, bicycle, camels - you name it we can do it......
‘Kenya’, a word that conjures up ideas of adventure, great expanses of land speckled with spectacular and truly ‘wild’ wildlife. Most intrepid travellers get to witness this once in their life from a safari vehicle, better known as a photographic safari. There is nothing wrong with a ‘photographic’ safari, clambering into a 4x4 vehicle and driving through the unspoilt lands of Eastern Africa is as intrepid or adventurous as many people would like to get, but for the bold and the brave, we can offer a more extreme safari experience.
Whether from the back of a camel or a horse, the seat of a motorbike, a bicycle or a quad bike or from an old fashioned Arabic trading boat floating on the Indian Ocean, here are some ways in which to witness Kenya, whilst being ‘closer’ to nature.
Samatian Island Lodge, Lake Baringo
If you are needing a long weekend out of Nairobi and can't be doing with the coast, this is the perfect place for you. It would also be a great place to relax for a few days in the middle of a safari.
The Masai Mara in three ways… Club Class, Business Class and Economy.
‘The Masai Mara’, these three words conjure images of genuine, authentic, original ‘safari’, Acacia strewn savanna, animals galloping across the African plains and nature at its most raw, wild and un-spoilt.
If you have been on safari but haven’t been to the Masai Mara, we feel your safari experience is indeed not complete. Why is the Masai Mara the essence of safari? The most obvious answer is because it is the smallest area in which to see the Big 5 at all times of year as well as the home to the natural phenomenon that is The Annual Wildebeest Migration, which is in evidence from July until November every year. Annually, hundreds of thousands of visitors flock to Kenya to witness this wondrous cycle that has been happening for over a million years. The raw brutality of nature comes alive on the savannah and at the river crossings as the world watches, horrified, but fascinated as the wildebeest, zebra and crocodiles fight the battle they have fought for centuries.
It is obvious that visiting the Masai Mara is a must in everyone’s lifetime, and here is how to do it on the budget you have available:
A little gem under the big blue African sky…
Offbeat Mara Camp is traditional Safari at its very best- private and small, the camp offers excellent game viewing in one of the most famous safari destinations in the world. Just six tents, and a prime location means that they can provide a truly individual and tailored approach to your holiday. This small and exclusive tented camp offers game-viewing in both the serene and unspoilt Mara North Conservancy, and close access to the famous Masai Mara National Reserve.
Seeing the wonder that is the Highland Mountain Gorilla is a truly memorable experience.
Few animals have sparked the imagination of man as much as the Gorilla, the largest of the living primates. Most Gorillas live in inaccessible regions in various dense forests in tropical Africa, one subspecies, the Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) lives within only four national parks in the world, one inhabits the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda (2006 census recorded 30), the second is in a mountainous region referred to as the Virungas, which includes Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Uganda, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda and Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo DRC (2010 census recorded 480).
Informational visit by a Nomad's representative
Nomad Tanzania is one of East Africa's original safari companies. For the past 20 years they have owned and operated outstanding small safari camps in three of the remotest corners of Tanzania.
The Migration is not a single occurrence; it is a never-ending cycle which begins for a Wildebeest with its birth and ends with its death.
The Great Wildebeest Migration, the longest and largest overland migration in the world and one of the “Seven Natural Wonders of Africa”, comprises around 1.5 million Wildebeest, 200,000 Zebra, 350,000 Thomson’s Gazelles and 12,000 Eland making an epic circular journey of approximately 2000 miles in search of “greener pastures”. The Migration is not a single occurrence; it is a never-ending cycle which begins for a Wildebeest with its birth and ends with its death. Wildebeest are born in a mass birthing (known as “calving”) which takes place during January and February on the plains near the Ngorongoro Crater and the Olduvai Gorge, in Tanzania, at the southernmost extent of the Wildebeests’ range. Nature has ensured that, to increase its chances of survival, a newborn Wildebeest calf is able to stand within 2-3 minutes of birth and run with the herd within about five minutes! It is believed, from recent fossil discoveries, that Wildebeest have been grazing the Serengeti for more than a million years.
Towards the end of the short Dry season, in March, the grass plains of the southern Serengeti start to dry out and the Wildebeest continue – or commence – their journey, intuitively following the rains and fresh grasses first westwards towards the small, seasonal lake of Ndutu (Lagarja), and then northwest towards Lake Victoria. From here the herds gradually head north into the Masai Mara – and more of the life-or-death river crossings that prove such a draw for tourists from all over the world. The Wildebeest converge at the Mara River in their thousands and gather on the plains and banks beside it, waiting to cross. The cacophony as they call to one another is unprecedented. Their numbers can grow for days at a time and observers will often wait in suspense beside the river, anticipation building, until – for no apparent reason – the Wildebeest turn from the river, as one, and move away! Eventually, however, the herds will select a crossing point (frequently more than one), and the intrepid journey to the opposite bank will begin. It is still not known what prompts them to turn back or to cross – or even where they will choose to cross in any given year.
Usually, the Wildebeest begin their journey south again by late October, when the first of the Short Rains reach the plains of the Serengeti, bringing fresh growth and brimming seasonal waterholes. Rutting having taken place in May and June, the majority of the cows will already be heavily pregnant – and so the cycle continues on in perpetuity.
Leleshwa Camp / Mobile Camp / Loita Hills Hiking & Fly Camping
The Leleshwa Safari Company gave us a great, brief presentation of their products last week, you can of course book all of these through The SAFARI Company.