Kenya evokes the raw brilliance of Africa. It's the drumbeat of wildebeest hooves across the Masaai Mara, leopards lounging in acacia trees, and elephants contrasting the snow-capped cone of Mount Kilimanjaro. This is where African safari started and the best things to do in Kenya will immerse you in both wildlife and wilderness.
Kenya's beauty is its diversity. There are more safari destinations here than anywhere else in Africa, so the classic thing to do in Kenya is a multi-day safari across distinctive locations. Every wilderness has its own atmosphere and highlights, from the rhinos of Laikipia to the Mara River crossing. Game drives in these parks and private conservancies provide the foundations of a Kenya safari, as they get you up close with so much more than only the big five.
For many decades Kenya was the jewel of African safari. Its parks and reserves have been exceptionally preserved and ever since the 70's there's been a luxury safari industry. You can explore all the different safari habitats, from montane forest to grass plains, and iconic savannah to riverine valleys. Such diverse landscapes make Kenya a haven for almost all of Africa's great wildlife. In particular, the big cats, black rhino, elephants, and hippos. Spotting the ungulates doesn't even require safari. Especially in the center of the country you can see zebra, giraffe, and various antelope along the side of the main road.
World-renowned Maasai Mara is the unmissable destination, especially from July to September when over a million zebra and wildebeest charge across the Mara River to graze in the park. In Amboseli National Park, elephants roam beneath the evocative cone of Mount Kilimanjaro. Tsavo East and Tsavo West are excellent if you're looking for wild bushland and rugged game drives. Then there is a series of smaller parks along the spine of the Great Rift Valley, each distinguished by a unique appeal, from admiring black rhino to multi-day walking safaris with Samburu warriors.
The mature and sophisticated safari industry caters for all tastes and budgets. The range of options for luxury safari is particularly impressive. Huge private conservancies are reserved for just a handful of guests, beautiful camps offer exclusivity in famous parks, and micro flights provide connections to destinations almost inaccessible by road. The popularity of Kenyan safari had been it's only significant downfall. For example, the Maasai Mara is more crowded with safari trucks than adjacent Serengeti in Tanzania. However, a downturn in tourism works in the favor of those that do visit Kenya for safari.
Kenya's safari camps immerse you in the wilderness experience. They are not just places to stay, but front-row seats to pure wildlife theatre. You listen, smell, and feel the wild, as fabulous four-legged mammals wander straight past your suite. And you will be amazed at how much traditional luxury you can also find deep in Kenya's wildernesses.
Kenya is the white-sand Indian Ocean paradise hardly anybody knows about. The coastline is sublime, endless miles of Indian Ocean paradise and hardly another soul around. Adding in a stay on the coast is a perfect complement to a Kenya safari.
In Kenya you do more than see animals from vehicles. This is where you can walk, ride, fly and dine amid wildlife herds. You can explore at night, when lions chase their prey across moonlit plains. Kenya offers so many angles, from staggering volcanic mountains to a safari spa surrounded by zebra. There's a fabulous collection of adventure and exclusive things to add to your Kenya bucketlist.
Kenyan safaris can travel in multiple directions but they usually meet in the Maasai Mara. The rich choice of destinations and activities make Kenya ideal for tailored safaris and combining a variety of habitats and experiences. Road and air transport make ambitious itineraries feasible as Kenya's offers the chance to incorporate five or more safari destinations into a vacation. Good transport connections also make Kenya a base for the other world-renowned experiences in East Africa; notably gorilla trekking in Rwanda or Uganda, and Tanzania's Serengeti, Ngorongoro, and Kilimanjaro.
Conservation and culture go hand in hand throughout Kenya. Traditional tribes have helped preserved the wilderness and lived alongside wild animals for millennia. They are the gatekeepers to an animal realm and will provide a very unique local insight. Kenya also showcases some of Africa's recent conservation success stories and you can get involved with saving the world's most magnificent animals.