THE ULTIMATE SAFARI DESTINATION
Kenya is how we probably all imagine Africa with open, rolling plains dotted with spreading acacia trees stretching into the shimmering distance and merging with the cobalt sky at the edge of the horizon.
Kenya’s prolific game and expanses of wilderness led to the “safari” evolving as a form of a thrilling and often decadent recreation in the heady colonial days. A country of more than half a million square kilometres, it has huge tracts of wild and untrammelled land with some excellent specialist safari operators, guides and trackers who run safaris to the same high standards that first put Kenya on the map.
To those in the know there are small luxurious camps and lodges, positioned away from the tourist areas, owned by those with an infectious passion for Kenya and an intimate knowledge of their terrain.
With over 30 National Parks and Reserves Kenya really offers tremendous diversity. The impressive Rift Valley dissects the entire country; the famous Masai Mara is classic wildlife-country and few things are more incredible than its migration when some two million plains game accompanied by predators and scavengers journey through the reserve in an endless cycle of life and death; the snow-capped peak of Mount Kilimanjaro watches over the huge herds of elephants in the Amboseli National Park; to the north Mount Kenya stands sentinel over the rugged and wooded mountain parks of Mount Kenya and the Aberdares; further north again is the arid Samburu National Reserve; whilst to the east is the famous Tsavo National Park, the largest park in Kenya.
The Indian Ocean coast is another world and makes a wonderful contrast to the bush. Whilst “touristic” in parts there are some idyllic spots with empty beaches lapped by the azure waters of the Indian Ocean. Some areas still have authentic Swahili culture and heritage that has survived relatively unscathed with narrow streets, mosques and markets and dhows pulled up on the beaches creating an atmosphere of living history which, combined with the fantastic beaches nearby, make for an enriching beach holiday.
Kenya is a geographical microcosm of almost the entire African continent and has a good infrastructure allowing the traveller to see a tremendous amount in a short time.
With pleasant overall conditions all year round, Kenya’s southern highlands and coastal lowlands see little variation in conditions. Each has a wet season between Mar-May (‘long rains’) and a second one Nov-Dec (‘short rains’). Temperatures are consistent throughout the year and quite cool for an equatorial region on the coast (25-32°C), dropping slightly inland and then raising again closer to Lake Victoria.
BEST TIME TO TRAVEL
The peak season for travel to Kenya is July to early October, which is mainly due to two factors – the Great Migration (which normally comes into the plains of the Masai Mara over this time) and also the school holidays. Outside of these months then you can basically travel to Kenya at any time, although we do recommend that you avoid the months of April & May as this is when the long rains fall. January to March and October & November are great times with good value and offers available.
Health & Vaccinations
We recommend that you are up to date with all of the usual vaccinations – Typhoid, Polio, Hepatitis A & B, Tetanus and Rabies. In addition a course of malaria prophylaxis is required. You will also need a Yellow Fever vaccination if visiting a Yellow Fever area before entering Kenya (for example if coming from Tanzania on a two-centre itinerary). Please contact your local GP for full advice at least 3-4 weeks before travel.
Passport & Visa
British passport holders must be in possession of a full 10-year passport and must have at least 6 months validity beyond the date of the return journey. In addition you will need to have a minimum of 2 consecutive blank pages in your passport. British passport holders require a visa that can be obtained upon arrival into Kenya. The cost of this is currently USD $50 per person. For any clients connecting from Kilimanjaro Airport to the Masai Mara to ensure that they have their visas in advance for both countries, passengers without these requirements will not be allowed to make the connection.
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