The towering peaks of rugged mountains. The endless savannah of the Masai Mara. Wildlife of astounding density and diversity. And, perhaps most iconic, the Great Migration. It is little wonder that safaris were born here. Even the word “safari” itself – which means “journey” in Swahili – originated in this most quintessentially African of nations.
Eastern Africa, including Kenya, is true Africa. The images we often have in our heads, such as a single flat-topped acacia tree punctuating an otherwise endless horizon of grassland, are an everyday reality in this remarkable region.
Kenya is also a land of breathtaking drama and natural grandeur. The annual Great Migration, where more than a million wildebeest and other species risk life and limb to cross over to greener pastures, cannot be overestimated for its intensity, its scope, and its spectacle. It truly is the ultimate in safari experiences.
Our luxury Kenya safaris are second to none for quality, value for money, and comfort. Visitors on our wildlife tours will be able to participate in almost every kind of safari or game drive imaginable, including night safaris, hot air balloon rides, walking safaris, birding safaris, and even safaris on horseback.
Moreover, the lavish and stylish nature of the many safari lodges in Kenya may leave you with a serious problem – which one to choose! Though there are a range of options available to suit various budgets, the upper echelon of these lodges and camps truly outdo themselves for service, amenities, and the most remarkably warm service that a safari-goer could ever expect from a tourist destination. In fact, it must be said that it’s the Kenyan people themselves that make this safari destination unique, as they go out of their way to share their warmth and the true character of their marvellous culture with each and every visitor.
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Personifying the spirit of modern Africa, the House of Waine is boutique luxury accommodation providing gracious living in a tranquil setting. Offering the warm hospitality only to be expected from a family-run business, the hotel is central to the best of Nairobi’s attractions, such as the Karen Blixen Museum, The Giraffe Centre and the world famous David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
Offering affordable lodgings very near to JKIA International Airport, Ole Sereni Hotel has the distinction of being the only city hotel in the world bordering a game park. With unique views of giraffe, zebra, antelope and buffalo punctuating the endless green, and plenty of first-class amenities available, Ole Sereni is perfect for both business and pleasure.
An extraordinary twist to an elegant stay, Giraffe Manor is possibly the only hotel in the world that allows you to dine with an endangered African species! What could compare to enjoying a stately breakfast while watching a small herd of Rothschild giraffes walk up the garden path, poke their heads into the dining room, and nibble on a few tasty treats? Unique to say the least.
Located on the edge of Masai Mara Nature Reserve, Little Governors Camp is an intimate luxury safari camp stationed by a large marsh abounding with birds and wildlife. Fully committed to sustainability, Little Governors Camp offers superb game drives, wildlife viewing via hot air balloon, visits to conservation projects they support, and wooden decks for guests to enjoy the constant game activity around the marsh.
Karen Blixen Camp is an eco-friendly camp reminiscent of the safaris of yesteryear when visitors to the mighty savannah were few and far between. Set on the banks of the Mara River, visitors will enjoy stunning game drives during the day, and return to the camp’s luxurious amenities in the evening including swimming pool, resident masseuse, restaurant, bar and lounge area, and more.
A truly stunning luxury Kenya safari destination, Mara Bushtops Camp is synonymous with the highest standard of safaris, and the finest of facilities. As well as superb opportunities to view the “Big 5”, Mara Bushtops Camp is perfectly situated for taking guests right into the midst of the annual Great Wildebeest Migration, including the famous river crossing where a million large herbivores attempt to pass the snapping jaws of waiting crocodiles. An unparalleled safari experience.
An ideal safari retreat for honeymooners and romantics, Il Moran is privately situated in the forest along the banks of the Mara River. With ten luxury tents, and attractions including “Big 5” and “Great Migration” game drives, balloon rides, cultural visits, and walking safaris, Il Moran also offers romantic candlelit bush dinners – perfect for special occasions or your own idyllic honeymoon safari.
If the small details of your safari experience matter to you, then this is the camp to choose. Located on a bend of the Ntiakitiak River in the heart of a 35,000 acre conservancy, Mara Plains offers numerous types of game drives through iconic East African landscapes, and a lodge design of understatement and quiet class using only sustainable and innovative low-impact building techniques.
Over 1,500 square kilometres of purest Africa, the Masai Mara Reserve is globally famous for being host to one end of the annual Great Migration of over a million wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle. Also known for its exceptional population of big cats, Masai Mara Reserve boasts a range of luxurious and eco-friendly camps and lodges to choose from, with safari adventure activities for people of all tastes.
A remarkable ecosystem including over 400 species of bird and a sizeable population of hippos, Lake Naivasha has become a staple of Kenyan safaris. With its tranquil setting and plenty of accommodation options to suit all budgets, Lake Naivasha and its surrounds offer activities such as boat safaris, walking with wildlife at Crescent Island, exploring the Hell’s Gate National Park, or viewing vast flocks of flamingos congregating on the lake.
With the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro towering over the sight of hundreds of elephants, it’s easy to see why this is one of Kenya’s most popular parks. As possibly the best place in Africa to view these remarkable animals up close, the park also houses over 370 bird species in a diverse array of habitats. With an excellent list of lodges available, Amboseli could well be on your to-do list.
The largest of the African Great Lakes, and the chief reservoir of the Nile, Lake Victoria is surrounded by some of the most beautiful portions of western Kenya. One of the finest birding destinations in the world, the lake’s shores are home to over 350 bird species, and also hide numerous coveted fishing spots, making it an angler’s paradise.
A rugged but serene reserve on the banks of the Ewaso Ng’iro river, Samburu is abundant with wildlife and large game throughout its dusty savannah, plus over 350 species of birds. As well as various safari opportunities, the park also grants visitors the opportunity to visit the local Samburu villages, and interact with the vibrant Samburu people in their traditional setting and culture.
Kenya is the birthplace of the safari, and its spiritual home. Where else to enjoy not only the sublime experience of nature’s wildlife, but also the historical and nostalgic elements of the mighty safari? The iconic landscapes of East Africa await you in the endless savannah, rugged mountains, and vast lakes of Kenya.
There are few sites on this earth as spectacular and thrilling as the river crossing of the Great Migration. As one of nature’s timeless events, you will see thousands upon thousands of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle make the attempt to ford the torrential Mara River, all the while fighting for their lives against their natural predator – the crocodile. Just staggering.
Absolute stillness. The silence as you float above the plains. And a safari from an entirely different perspective. That’s what characterises the Governors Camps balloon safaris as you float serenely above the forest canopies and savannah of the Masai Mara. And then you’ll be treated to a champagne breakfast, cooked wherever you land, with the entire experience capped off by a game drive on your way back to home base. Highly recommended.
Take your sense of adventure up a notch with a Kenya wildlife safari on horseback. Up close and personal takes on new meaning when your steed is running alongside the very wildlife you are observing, making you and your mount part of the natural landscape. Typically offered as part of a mobile camp, these safaris are most suited to strong riders comfortable with uneven terrain and athletic horses.
Among nature’s more impressive spectacles is the sight of hundreds of pink flamingos wading together on the surface of Lake Naivasha. You don’t need to be an enthusiast birdwatcher to appreciate the mesmerising quality of these unusual birds as they socialise, feed, nest, breed, and raise their young in their enormous colonies.
January to February is a good time to visit Kenya, since the hot, dry weather at this time of year is generally considered to be the most pleasant. This is also when Kenya’s birdlife flocks to the Rift Valley lakes in great numbers.
June to September is the most popular time to visit as it coincides with the Migration. The herds tend to arrive any time from July onward.
The rains arrive from March through May (and to a lesser extent from November to December). Destinations Africa try and avoid sending our clients on safari during this time of the year as the black “cotton” soil of the Mara can make driving difficult. During these months the tourist attractions are much quieter – places tend to have rooms available and prices drop. Fortunately, the rains don’t generally prevent visitors from travelling around the country.
Kenya is divided into two near-equal regions by the equator. The northern region is hot and receives comparatively little rain. The southern region includes three distinct meteorological zones.
As an equatorial country, Kenya does not have a true summer and winter, but does however experience a dry and wet season. Long rains are from March through May while the short rains are generally in late November/early December.
Kenya’s coast is humid, with the mean annual temperature ranging from about 25ºC in June and July to about 30ºC in Feb, March and April.
Nairobi temperatures range from 20 – 24ºC during the day, with chilly night temperatures.
The main unit of currency is the Kenya Shilling. However, we advise taking US Dollars, Euros or British Pounds in cash or travellers cheques as these are accepted almost anywhere and can be exchanged for Shillings at any Kenyan forex bureau, all of which have competitive rates and no commission charges. Note that standard banks are generally difficult when it comes to exchanging foreign money in any form; if you need a bank, we recommend using Barclays. Please note that Kenya has strict exchange controls and visitors cannot import or export Kenya Shillings.
Banks are open 09:00–14:00 from Monday to Friday, and 09:00–12:00 on the last Saturday of the month.
American Express, Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted at the main hotels and larger shops, although smaller and more remote camps may not accept credit cards. Where cash is needed, small USD denominations are recommended.
We recommend you purchase your Kenya Shillings once you have arrived in Kenya. US Dollars are widely accepted throughout the country and you will only need local currency for market or street shopping.
Dress is typically casual and informal. We recommend cool summer clothes and beach attire for the coast plus something smarter for the evenings. It is also appropriate to wear smarter and warmer clothes for the evenings in upcountry locations.
If going on safari, hat and sunglasses are essential, as are comfortable shoes.
During the cooler months of June – August, warmer clothes are required for the evenings.
Kenya is in the yellow fever endemic zone, so please check your itinerary carefully to determine if any countries you will be visiting or subsequently connecting through (such as South Africa) require you to show a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate. Similarly, if your route to Kenya takes you through another country in the yellow fever zone (e.g. Tanzania, Zanzibar and Uganda) you will need to show a vaccination certificate on entry into Kenya. Yellow fever vaccinations must be administered at least ten days before arrival or re-entry into Kenya.
The most commonly recommended vaccinations for travel to Kenya include typhoid, hepatitis A and yellow fever. We recommend that tetanus boosters for children and adults are up to date.
Malaria prophylaxis is strongly recommended – precautions are essential in all areas all year round, although the risk is small in Nairobi and the highlands (above 2500m). Fortunately, there are several safe and effective options for both adults and children. Avoid mosquito bites by covering up with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers, especially after sunset. We also advise the use of insect repellents on exposed skin and, where necessary, sleeping under a mosquito net. Prompt investigation of fever or flu-like symptoms anytime within six weeks of travel is essential.
As with all travel to remote places, we recommend bringing a small supply of any medicines you may need, including a course of emergency “standby” treatment for malaria.
Kenya’s population is linguistically very diverse with many languages being spoken. However, English and Kiswahili are the official languages, with the latter being the more common of the two.
The Kenyan people are very friendly and service oriented – in fact, they are an essential part of what makes a holiday to Kenya so memorable and enjoyable!
All charter transfers on our luxury Kenya safari tours are in light aircraft that carry between five and seven passengers. Please note that these planes are limited with regards to the weight that they can carry. It is therefore vital that all passengers adhere to the luggage restriction of fifteen (15) kilograms per person in a soft bag.
This excludes a reasonable amount of camera equipment and carry-on luggage (up to 5 kilograms – 20 kilograms in total). In addition, please let us know if you are over 188 cm (6’2”) tall or weigh over 100kg (220lbs), so that we can plan our trip appropriately.
Tickets are generally not issued for charter flights; you will however receive a voucher for your trip.
Tap water is generally not ideal for drinking. The hotels and lodges supply water in your room either in a flask (boiled) or as bottled mineral water.
Bottled water is not necessarily provided for game activities, so you may need to purchase additional water from the lodge or local shops.
Those wanting to give something back to the local communities can volunteer to assist underprivileged women and children in tangible and practical ways. We can arrange 3, 4, 5, or 7-day humanitarian itineraries, visiting and volunteering at a number of centres around Nairobi including:
For those wanting to devote some time toward wildlife conservation as well as assist underprivileged communities, we can arrange a 4-day itinerary which includes visiting and volunteering at community centres as well as de-snaring traps and releasing wildlife.
Passport requirements: Each visitor to Kenya must be in possession of a valid, signed passport that is valid for at least six months beyond his/her scheduled departure date.
PLEASE ENSURE YOU HAVE AT LEAST TWO BLANK PAGES IN YOUR PASSPORT FOR STAMPS/VISAS ETC. IF NOT, YOU MAY BE REFUSED ENTRY INTO KENYA. FOR SECURITY PURPOSES, WE SUGGEST THAT YOU CARRY A PHOTOCOPY OF THE RELEVANT PAGES OF YOUR PASSPORT AND ANY OTHER IMPORTANT TRAVEL DOCUMENTS WITH YOU. IN ADDITION, WE ALSO RECOMMEND THAT YOU LEAVE COPIES OF YOUR DOCUMENTS WITH SOMEONE AT HOME.
VISAS: Travellers from Britain, Ireland, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, USA, Canada, Germany and France DO require a visa. South Africans do not require a visa to enter Kenya. Should you hold any other passport, please let us know.
Please note you must pre-apply for a visa online at the e-visa portal: www.ecitizen.go.ke