Kenya is one of East Africa’s premier safari destinations, with massive open savannah regions hosting a huge breadth and depth of classic African wildlife. Over 10% of the country is protected in some form or other, and national parks in Kenya rate as some of the best in the world.
A safari in Kenya almost guarantees you a sighting of the big five African animals of lion, buffalo, elephant, rhino and leopard. Alongside these big hitters are hundreds of other species of African animals, and some of the world’s most diverse bird-life. The south of the country hosts the great migration of plains animals and their predators each year between June in November. In short, safaris in Kenya are up there with the best in terms of wildlife and scenery.
Straddling the equator, Kenya is dominated by the Rift Valley – a huge range of valleys strung a long a 5,000km crack in the earth’s crust that runs through East Africa. Within the Rift Valley are Africa’s highest peaks – in Kenya these are the volcanoes of Mount Kenya and Mount Elgon. East of the Rift Valley are the coastal plains, whilst the north of Kenya is made up of arid wastelands. The prime safari destinations in Kenya are the Central Highlands, and areas within the Rift Valley.
Whilst the world-famous Masai Mara and Amboseli National Parks can be uncomfortably heaving with tourists in January and February, Kenya has plenty of smaller, out of the way national parks that see only a trickle of visitors year-round. As such it’s worth considering whereabouts in Kenya to go on safari during the peak season.
Alongside safaris and wildlife spotting, a visit to Kenya allows you to easily extend your safari with a visit to a resort on the Indian Ocean coast, or with an activity such as trekking, hiking, sailing or diving.
Kenya Safari Highlights
- The Masai Mara National Reserve is one of the most dense wildlife habitats in the world, and is also on the route of the awe-inspiring great migration .
- For the classic picture postcard view of huge African elephants with snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro in the background head to Amboseli National Park.
- Work on your tan with a pre- or post-safari break on a tranquil Indian Ocean beach.
Best Time To Go On Safari In Kenya
The prime tourist season in Kenya is January and February when the weather is consistently warm and dry, with wildlife easy to spot in large concentrations. As this is peak season expect to be in company with crowds of tourists, and paying top dollar for your safari. If you’re specifically after catching sight of the annual great migration, June to October is the time to head to the Masai Mara National Park in southern Kenya.
The long rains hit Kenya through March, April and May, and the short rains from October to December. During the short rains it generally rains only for short periods at a time, meaning your wildlife viewing will not be too disrupted. This is the time you can get some great deals on safari tours, or safari lodges if you’re travelling independently.
National Parks In Kenya
With more than 10% of the country being given over to national parks and reserves, Kenya is one of the world’s leading safari destinations. Read our overview of national parks in Kenya, or click on a Kenyan national park in the below list to read more about that specific park:
- Aberdare National Park
- Amboseli National Park
- Arabuk Sokoke National Park
- Hell’s Gate National Park
- Kakamega National Park
- Lake Bogaria National Park
- Lake Nakuru National Park
- Malindi Watumu National Park
- Masai Mara National Park
- Meru National Park
- Mount Elgon National Park
- Mount Kenya National Park
- Nairobi National Park
- Saiwa Swamp National Park
- Shimba Hills National Park
- Tsavo National Park
Safari Lodges In Kenya
As a tourism-focussed country, Kenya has plenty of choice when it comes to safari accommodation. Lodge standards vary from rustic to modern, from the simple room to extreme luxury with en-suite private plunge pool.
Kenya Safari Tours
There are plenty of companies offering safari tours around Kenya. The focus is on the high end, but there are some companies that specialize in mid and budget safaris. Check out our reviews of safari tour companies in Kenya.
Kenya Safari Resources
Have you been on safari in Kenya? We’d love to hear your recommendations or suggestions! Please get involved in the comments below.