The true essence of wildlife
Take a trip to Kenya and get back to nature. Kenya is the home of the safari and is one of the few countries where you can see the coveted “Big Five” (lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros) all at once. Here’s a guide to the best natural wonders you can spot in Kenya, and where’s best to see them.
"The Big Five"
One of the Kenya’s most popular sights, the Maasai Mara Game Reserve is found in the Great Rift Valley by the Tanzania border. Home to 95 species of mammals, amphibians and reptiles, as well as more than 400 species of birds, it’s one of the most stunning wildlife reserves in the world, and is your best bet for spotting all of the big five - being particularly famous for its populations of Masai lions, African leopards and Tanzanian cheetahs.
The Great Migration
Every year the Maasai Mara Game Reserve also hosts one of the greatest spectacles of the natural world – the Serengeti Wildebeest Migration, also known as The Great Migration. Described as one of the Seven New Wonders of the World, the annual event sees more than 1.5 million animals – including wildebeests, Thomson’s gazelles, and zebras – crossing the Serengeti plains to find greener spots to graze. The migration reaches Maasai Mara between June and October each year, and the reserve features one of the most dangerous, and spectacular, points of the migration where the herds have to cross the Mara River.
Perhaps Kenya’s most famous spot for lion sightings is the Meru National Park, which was the setting of the hit book and film Born Free. The park, found to the northeast of Mount Kenya, also has populations of cheetahs, hippos, and crocodiles and takes in a stunning range of scenery, from the slopes of the Nyambeni Mountain Range, to open plains and meandering rivers.
Nairobi might be a bustling and modern capital city, but its residents are also never far from Kenya’s spectacular wildlife. Found in the west of the city, close to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the Nairobi National Park is Kenya’s first national park. It’s a great place to spot the rare black rhino, with one of the country’s most successful reserves for the endangered animal being found in the park.
Another natural wonder near Nairobi is the Ol Donyo Sabuk Natural Park, to the north-east of the city. Centered around the Ol Donyo Sabuk mountain the park offers views across the sweeping pineapple fields of the nearby town of Thika, as well as out to Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya.
Found by the Ewaso Nyiro River in the north of the country, the Samburu National Reserve may be one of Kenya’s lesser-known parks, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t also have its fair share of natural wonders. Among the rare species found in Samburu are the Grevy’s zebra, Somali ostrich, gerenuk, beisa oryx and the reticulated giraffe, known collectively as the “Samburu Special Five”.
Found at the foot of Mount Kenya, Buffalo Springs and the Shaba National Reserve are particularly good spots for seeing elephants, as well as the largest and rarest species of zebra, the Grevy’s zebra. You can also explore Kenya’s rich culture in the area, by experiencing the traditional customs of the nomadic people who inhabit the Kenyan north lowlands.
One of Kenya’s most colourful sights, the shimmering blue-green waters of Lake Nakuru are visited by millions of flamingos and pelicans every year. The National Park is also home to Kenya’s largest population of rhinos.
Whether you’re staying in the city or surrounded by nature in a safari lodge, you can experience the true essence of wildlife in Kenya. You’ll be sure to have some truly unforgettable encounters.