Kenyan Treasures: Our Safari Travel Experiences
Masai Mara – The Great Migration
One of Africa’s premier game reserves, the Masai Mara is best known for massive annual migration of hundreds of thousands of zebra, eland and gazelle, and millions of wildebeest. The Masai Mara is also famous for its exceptional Big Cat population and stunning open savannah scenery. This vast game reserve in the southwest of Kenya forms a continuation of Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park with the wildlife spectacle of the Great Migration moving between the two wilderness areas. Witnessing this
awesome migration, which takes place around July to September and October, is a once in a lifetime experience and must see in Kenya. An excellent way to view the open grasslands and wildlife, especially during the migration, is by hot air balloon. Booking in advance is strongly recommended, as Mara safaris and balloon trips are very popular.
The Masai Mara Game Reserve is teeming with wildlife, covering some 1510 sq km of plains and riverine woodland along the meandering Mara and Talek rivers. The vast Mara reserve is home to numerous giraffe, warthogs, bat eared foxes and grey jackals, as well as spotted hyenas and baboons. Various antelopes are also found in abundance in the park, such as topis, impala, hartebeests, Thomson’s gazelles and Grant’s gazelles. Wildebeest are the most abundant animals in Mara with their number estimated to be in the millions during migration season. The Masai Mara is also home to large herds of elephants, zebras and buffaloes as well as plenty of hippos.
The park is named after the Maasai people who traditionally inhabited the area and also derives from the Maasai description of the wilderness area when viewed from above – “Mara” meaning spotted which aptly describes the patchy appearance of the vegetation and the shadows cast by clouds over the plains. One of the highlights of visiting the Masai Mara is the cultural experience of interacting with Kenya’s native Masai people.
Mount Kenya – Hike to the Peak
Located in the Central Highlands, Mount Kenya is one of the most popular destinations in Kenya, drawing hikers from across the world. Different types of forest vegetation grow on its lower slopes and many of the plant species found on Mount Kenya are endemic to the mountain. The views from the summit of this peak, Africa’s second highest, are breathtaking and Mount Kilimanjaro can be seen from the top on clear days. Snow-capped Mount Kenya, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lies only 16 km’s south of the Equator. The Mount Kenya Hike with African Budget Safaris is a 5-day hiking trek to the summit of Point Lenana, one of the highest peaks of Mount Kenya.
Amboseli National Park – Kilimanjaro Scenery
Amboseli covers only 392 sq km’s in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya, yet this small park is a surprisingly rewarding game viewing destination being home to an abundance of wildlife. Amboseli Park is Kenya’s second most popular national park after the Masai Mara. Amboseli’s main attractions are the stunning views of Mt. Kilimanjaro lying on its southern boundary, encounters with the Masaai people and the chance to get up close to free-roaming elephants. The park offers excellent photographic opportunities,
especially for capturing elephants up close with the spectacular backdrop of Kilimanjaro, the highest freestanding mountain in the world.
The park is home to elephant, lion, cheetah, wildebeest, buffalo and zebra. Jackal, hyena, warthogs, and the Maasai giraffe are also found in Amboseli. Amboseli consists mainly of grassland savannah and lush swamps created by water from melted snow on Kilimanjaro that drains down beneath lava flows to surface amidst the dusty plains below.
Lake Nakuru National Park – Birder’s Delight
Lake Nakuru National Park, famous for its greater and lesser flamingoes, covers 180 sq km’s of central Kenya, northwest of Nairobi. The transitional savannah vegetation around the lake supports a white rhino population in the southern area and black rhino can also be sighted. Nakuru is a birding paradise, inhabited by nearly 450 bird species including several interesting water birds. Warthogs, buffaloes, reedbucks, waterbuck and sometimes leopard can also be found in Nakuru Park.
Lake Naivasha & Hell’s Gate National Park
The highest of the Rift Valley lakes, Lake Naivasha is home to a wide variety of birds and numerous hippos. This freshwater lake lies close to Elsamere, the former home of Joy and George Adamson of Born Free fame. Activities include boat rides to Crescent Island Game Sanctuary and bike rides in Hell’s Gate National Park, as well as relaxing on the cool lake shores and visiting Elsamere.
All these exotic travel experiences are available on www.exotictravel.com