The last time you heard of Kenya, they were probably talking about the 44th President of the United States of America, Barack Obama. Or were they talking about the 2014 winner of the Best Actress in a Supporting Role in the Academy Awards, Lupita Nyong’o?
Well, there is more from where these two legends come from. Kenya, an Eastern African country, and the home of these two legends, is Africa’s leading safari destination with a large collection of wildlife, historical attractions, beaches, and a diverse cultural experience. It is home to the big 5, the annual wildebeest migration, and bird and flora species that cannot be seen anywhere else in the world.
It is unheard-of to visit Kenya and not go for game drives. Tourist organizations around the world have recognized the magnificence of Kenya when it comes to authentic safari experience, repeatedly crowning it as the best safari destination in the world. Celebrities and world leaders have also found game drives in Kenya to be irresistible. These include Bill Gates, Angelina Jolie, Mark Zuckerberg, and more.
Next, we review the 5 best holiday destinations in Kenya.
Masai Mara Game Reserve
The Masai Mara Game Reserve was voted Africa’s Leading National Park during the 2017 World Travel Awards. It beat all other parks because of its diverse wildlife, unrivaled safari activities, superb plain scenery, and the spectacular wildebeest migration. The park is situated 299km from the capital of Nairobi. Once you land at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, you will take a less than 30 minutes local flight to the park.
Hot air balloon rides are some of the memorable activities to enjoy while at The Mara. It is a chance to see the animals and terrain overhead without disturbance. A camping safari at the Mara introduces you to prides of lions in their natural habitat, rhinos, gazelles, zebras, and numerous other wild animals. Nothing beats The Mara Sundowner in tented camps.
Celebrities and world leaders who have found The Mara game drive irresistible include actress Naomi Campbell and sports celebrities Serena Williams and Usain Bolt, among others. Masai Mara National Park has also provided the scenes for award winning movies like The Lion King that was filmed at the Rhino Ridge. It is also the permanent shooting site for one of the longest running wildlife documentaries Big Cat Diary.
When it comes to the choice of game drive vehicles, you can use the luxurious safari land-cruiser or the pocket-friendly safari vans. You can also use off-road vehicles such as the Nissan Patrol, Subaru Forester, Jeep Wrangler, and Land Rover Discovery to drive yourself around the park. Welcome to The Mara and share in the splendor.
Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park offers game drives to the feet of the highest mountain peak in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro. It is located at the border of Kenya and Tanzania, just 315km from the capital of Kenya, the Nairobi city. Upon landing at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, you take a local flight that lasts less than an hour and land right inside the park. A drive on the road is even more scintillating because you will interact with the warm local community and pick up a few souvenirs.
Amboseli National Park is famous for the majestic view of the towering Mount Kilimanjaro. The diversity of wildlife is attributed to the five major wildlife habitats of acacia woodland, swamps, marshland, open plains, and rocky thorn bush country, all compressed in one place. It gives you the chance to witness live hunting by different predators.
Some of the attractions include a game drive to watch the big cats, elephants, and a variety of birds, mountain climbing to the peak of Africa, interaction with locals for their culture and cuisine as well as vantage observation hills that give you the most scenic view of the entire park. The park is open any time of the year.
Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park is famous as the only national park in a city anywhere in the world. It means that your game drive will begin immediately when you land at the airport. You can see the park from the skyscrapers in Nairobi and the animals can see you watching through the window from the park. It is home to numerous prides of lions, the endangered black rhino, giraffes, and endless species of birds.
The park has hosted such celebrities and world leaders such as the US Secretary of State John Kerry, twice Platinum Certified musician Neyo, and Daymond John of Shark Tank. The park is open and vibrant any time of the year. You have a chance to camp as you enjoy your dinner, with elephants, lions, and buffaloes at a distance.
Aberdare National Park
The Aberdare National Park is the ideal place for mountaineers and hikers. It is in the Central Highlands of Kenya, approximately 149km north of Nairobi. You will be walking along the same trails used by the endangered black rhinos, mountain elephants, buffaloes, and the majestic black and white Colobus monkeys, among other animals. The park is also home to more than 250 bird species for watchers.
The fame of the Aberdare National Park can be traced back to 1953 when Princess Elizabeth entered the place as a princess only to depart as Queen Elizabeth upon the death of her father.
Some of the attractions are a salt lick that also doubles as a watering hole right outside your hotel window where elephants, buffaloes and other wild animals come to quench their thirst in turns. The park also has some of the most scenic waterfalls and is home to a wide range of birds.
Unlike most national parks in Kenya which are mostly Savannah Grasslands, Aberdare National park is a high-land forest park with tall trees. It rains frequently here, which makes it important to use the 4×4 safari land-cruisers instead of safari vans. Even if you opt for a self-drive vehicle, go for off road vehicles such as the Nissan Patrol, Toyota Prado V8, Subaru Forester and others.
Lake Nakuru National Park is found right inside the Great Rift Valley, just 157km North West of Nairobi. It is iconic for the pink layer of flamingos on the shores and the distinct African buffaloes. It is also a paradise for bird watchers. The park is home to other animals like baboons, zebras, gazelles, and hippopotamus. Since it is at the base of an escarpment, it offers perfect camping sites for evening borne fires after game drives. You also have a chance to visit the prehistoric Hyrax Hill museum that is a stone throw away.
Are you planning a safari to Kenya? Do not miss the different game drive packages throughout the year in different national parks around the country. Professional Africa safari companies like MasaiMarasafari.in or ajkenyasafaris.com will help you to plan memorable game drives in Kenya.