Kenya Safaris
Kenya Safaris

Kenya Safaris

Seasons
Dry: Late June-Mid Oct & Late Dec–Mid March Wet: April-May & Late Oct-Early Dec
Fly to
Nairobi
Languages
Swahili, English and > 30 local dialects
Price Point Created with Sketch.
Currency
Kenyan Shilling (KSH) & US Dollar (US$)

Safaris in Kenya

Kenya is the original African safari destination and still one of the best. Around 8 percent of the country’s land is protected, and it is home to nearly 400 species of mammals and more than 1,000 species of birds. Its landscapes range from sun-bleached savannahs to jagged mountain peaks.

Located in the heart of Africa, Kenya shares borders with five countries: Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania. To the east, it is bounded by the tropical waters of the Indian Ocean. The Great Rift Valley runs north to south through the country, which is named after Mount Kenya, Africa’s second-highest peak. It is also home to Lake Victoria, the second-largest freshwater lake in the world.

The Masai Mara is arguably the most famous Big 5 reserve in the world, and therefore the setting for dozens of BBC and National Geographic wildlife documentaries. As well as its high concentration of lion, leopard and cheetah, the Mara is the site of the Great Migration river crossings, when approximately 1.5 million wildebeest must cross the crocodile-filled waters as part of their endless journey around the Mara and the adjacent Serengeti in Tanzania.

In the central county of Laikipia, conservancies such as Ol Pejeta protect critically endangered black and northern white rhino. Around Mount Kenya, travellers will find high-altitude trails to hike, run or mountain-bike. In the east, white-sand beaches at Lamu and Diani are lapped by the warm Indian Ocean. Nairobi, the bustling capital, is one of the continent’s biggest business hubs, with a national park right on its limits.

The people are just as diverse as the landscape: Kenya is home to 44 officially recognised tribes. Throughout Kenya, old cultures meld with new and ancient traditions sit alongside modern customs. The predominant religion is Christianity, however there is a significant Muslim population and many people still practise traditional African religions. Kiswahili and English are the official languages of this multicultural country, although many indigenous languages are widely spoken. In the Mara, most guides and camp staff are Maasai and you’ll likely meet many Samburu people from northern Kenya in Samburu National Reserve.

With a major international airport, fly directly to Nairobi from travel hubs including New York, London and Bangkok. The quickest way to get around the country is by light aircraft, but it’s also easy to drive to Laikipia or the Mara, seeing some of rural Kenya en route.

Kenya Safari Camps

Safari Regions in Kenya

Kenya is not a country you can see all in one go. There are multiple destinations and experiences that will keep you coming back again and again.

Kenya's safari destinations are spread across the country and each is dense with wildlife.  Guests landing in or departing from Nairobi might choose to spend a night or two in this vibrant city which has plenty on offer, including game viewing at Nairobi National Park for a local game drive.  Reaching the safari parks is done by vehicle or by a short domestic flight from Wilson Airport.

To the south of Kenya lies the Greater Masai Mara region, which comprises of the renowned Masai Mara National Reserve and adjacent Mara ConservanciesWith its abundant wildlife, this is one of the best places in the world to see lion, leopard and cheetah. To the north lies the rolling high-altitude hills of Laikipia where you will find Ol Pejeta Conservancy.  Also very worth visiting is the semi-desert of Samburu National Reserve; the country’s highest peak, Mount Kenya; and blissful palm-fringed beaches that extend along the Indian Ocean coast.

 

Our Kenyan Safaris

Safari holidays in Kenya will often begin from Nairobi when guests arrive at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and are fetched by one of Asilia's friendly guides. Our Kenyan safaris come in three forms: standard itineraries like Kenya Explored (nine days), Asilia by Air flying safari itineraries such as Kenya Classic Safari (seven days) and shorter Asilia Adventure 'bolt-on' itineraries which include Active Southern Kenya (three days).  All of these provide you ideas for planning, showing how camps and regions can be combined smoothly. When you're ready, enquire with our friendly safari experts who will help you put together an incredible safari to Kenya, designed just for you.

Things to Do in Kenya

Kenya is an easy country to travel, with a well-established tourism industry and lots of things to see and do. Here are some of the country’s highlights, the wildlife you may encounter, the people you might meet, plus a guide to the cuisine and some useful travel tips.

Wildlife

There’s a reason Kenya is one of the top safari destinations. Not only is it home to all of the most iconic African animals, but visitors can also find many rare and endangered species in Kenyan reserves and conservancies.

Start with the Big 5 in the Masai Mara (lions, leopards, elephants, buffalos and black rhinos). The Mara is a particularly great place to see big cats, including cheetahs. Then of course, there is the world-famous Great Migration that journeys into the Mara every year, from around July to October.

Samburu is known for its own special Big 5: the reticulated giraffe, the blue-skinned Somali ostrich, the beisa oryx, Grevy’s zebra and the long-necked gerenuk antelope.

Then take a snorkelling or diving trip from the Kenyan coast to discover marine life that includes dugongs, dolphins, turtles and whales.

Culture

There are 44 officially recognised tribes in Kenya, including the Maasai, Samburu, Swahili and Turkana. Kikuyu is the largest ethnic tribe. Those from non-African backgrounds mostly have British or Indian heritage.

The majority religion is Christianity, practised by more than 80 percent of the population, followed by Islam. Hinduism is also practised, as well as traditional tribal faiths.

Travel Tips

Here are some handy tips for travelling in Kenya:

  • The main languages are Swahili and English.
  • The currency is Kenyan shillings and there are plenty of ATMs, including at Nairobi’s international airport. You can also use US dollars for tips on safari.
  • Start every conversation with a greeting. It’s normal to shake hands with people upon meeting, often with the left hand on the right arm as a show of respect.
  • Please ask before taking someone’s photograph.
  • On safari, the dress code is casual. Along the coast (with the exception of beach destinations) and in traditional villages, it’s respectful to dress conservatively.
  • For the best value, travel outside peak season. Most camps slash their rates during the low season, when there is still plenty of wildlife to see in national parks and reserves.
  • Pack light and in a soft bag. Light aircraft flights have strict restrictions on luggage weight. Remember that most camps have laundry facilities.
  • Tipping is entirely at your own discretion, but the recommended amount is roughly US$15-20 per person per night for a guide (you can hand that over to your guide directly at the end of your stay) and US$10-15 per person per night for the camp staff (this is usually put in a communal tip box and shared between the staff equally). You can tip in Kenyan shillings or US dollars, which will be exchanged.
Cuisine

Nyama choma (Swahili for roasted meat, usually of beef or goat) is a typical Kenyan meal. The meat is usually served with kachumbari, a salsa of tomatoes, onions, chili and lime juice, and ugali, which is like polenta.

You’ll see tilapia from Lake Victoria on plenty of menus, usually fried.

There’s a big Indian population in Kenya, which is reflected in commonly found dishes and snacks, such as samosas, biryani, pilau and chapati. The cuisine gets more flavoursome closer to the coast, where there’s a strong Indian and Arabic influence.

On safari, you’ll usually get a chance to try all of these typically Kenyan foods, as well as international dishes (pasta, pizza, curries, Western-style breakfast) and lots of fresh salads and fruits.

Travel with the East Africa safari experts

Asilia owns and operates safari lodges and experiences in Kenya: it's our back yard. Our friendly and knowledgeable guides are from the region, and our classic safari camps and lodges are situated in prime locations close to the action.

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Kenya Safari Activities

Great Migration

Great Migration

With safari camps all along the migration route, no-one is better positioned to offer you the best seat in the house for the greatest show on Earth.

The Big 5

The Big 5

East Africa is renowned for offering visitors the chance to spot some of the world’s most iconic wildlife species in their natural habitats.

Cultural Visits

Cultural Visits

No visit to East Africa is complete without exploring the diverse cultures and traditions of the people of this region.

Family Safari

Family Safari

Take your loved ones on the greatest adventure: a family safari in the vast and unspoiled wilderness of East Africa. With a highly skilled guide at your side, you will discover that the African bush truly is the finest family playground.

Walking Safari

Walking Safari

There is an anticipated excitement when you plan for a walking safari. Going to bed the night before prepared, with your trusty boots at the foot of the bed, your natural-toned attire neatly placed over the back of the chair and your backpack checklist at the ready.

Sleep under the stars

Sleep under the stars

End an amazing day spent out in nature with an unforgettable night, going to sleep under the clear African night sky.

Night drives

Night drives

Night drives offer a thrilling way to experience the bush under the cover of dark. See the savannah change as a whole new world of nocturnal creatures appear.

Photography

Photography

A safari in Africa is one of the most iconic trips photographers can make to add to their collection of self-captured images.

Classic Tented Safari

Classic Tented Safari

Stay in comfort while on a classic tented safari. Our tented safari camps offer everything you need: king size beds, en-suite bathrooms and expansive views onto the wild landscapes on Kenya.

Frequently Asked Questions About Kenya Safaris

  • A Kenyan safari will cost about US$ 700 - US$ 1,200 per person, per day. A typical Kenya safari will last 5 – 10 days, so you should budget around $3,500 - $12,000 per person, depending on the level of accommodation you prefer. These budget estimates would cover the safari camps, park fees, meals and drinks, and would exclude your international flights and certain other expenses like internal transport, visas and insurance.

  • The best time to go on a Kenya safari is during the drier weather from late June to mid-October and from late December to mid-March. The wildebeest migration is typically in the Masai Mara from late July until early November, with other wildlife being excellent year-round in Kenya. Low-season travel (from late January-March and during June and November) is also a good time to visit Kenya, with fewer tourists in the parks and much better rates on offer for a less expensive trip.

  • Both Kenya and Tanzania offer excellent safaris that can include the Great Migration and a classic tented experience. The best option depends on your travel preferences, the availability at the time you want to go, and your budget. Tanzania safaris are usually 20% - 25% more expensive compared to Kenya.

  • Kenya is an excellent tourist destination: rich in culture, easy to travel with a range of accommodation and plenty to see and do. Safaris are a key highlight which include famous wildlife areas such as the Masai Mara and spectacular sightings like the Big 5 and the Great Migration. Kenya also boasts a beautiful tropical coastline, providing the option of spending a few days by the warm and clear Indian Ocean.

  • There are a multitude of itinerary options in Kenya, from the Singing Wells in Samburu and the desolate landscapes of Lake Turkana, to the technical climbing challenge of Mount Kenya or hiking amongst the Chyulu Hills in the south west. The Great Migration can usually be incorporated in the Masai Mara from July to late October, but there is excellent wildlife viewing to be found year-round in a variety of different locations across the country.

Positive Impact in Kenya

By making bold, and often pioneering, investments into areas that are ecologically and economically vulnerable, we aim to turn these areas into viable conservation economies, benefitting both the local communities as well as the environment.

 

We acknowledge that people and nature are inseparable partners, so we work closely with communities, authorities, NGOs and industry partners to achieve the best possible long-term outcomes for all concerned. With the help of our guests, who contribute a levy of US$5 for each night that they stay with us, we’re able to make the most significant positive impact towards our goal of empowering these areas, including the communities and wildlife that call them home.

Twende Porini

Twende Porini

Our Twende Porini programme welcomes children from local communities to experience what a safari is all about. As well as having plenty of fun as our guests, they learn about the importance of protecting our wildlife and conserving the areas that we call home, and the benefit that tourism can have for their communities.

Maa Beadwork

Maa Beadwork

Maa Beadwork empowers local women to use their traditional Maasai beadwork to improve their lives and the lives of those in their community. The women create beautiful, hand-made beaded items that are sold in our camp stores, thereby providing an income to support their families.

FGM Education

FGM Education

Changing sociocultural norms requires a multi-pronged approach. Female Genital Mutilation is a traditional practice that is prohibited yet still carried out in local communities. Together with anti-FGM ambassadors, The Maa Trust has implemented education programmes and offer alternative rite of passage programmes, to help end the practice of FGM.

Maa Honey

Maa Honey

Maa Honey combines the conservation of African bees with the need for sustainable income generation. Beehives are owned by a group of local women who harvest and bottle the honey, which is then sold to camps across the Mara, providing an income for the women and employment opportunities in the Mara.

Children and Youth Programm

Children and Youth Programm

Through this programme, The Maa Trust offers career guidance and scholarships to the youth in the Mara. Each child identifies their desired career, is provided with close guidance and is given the opportunity and means to achieve these goals.

Rhino Ark

Rhino Ark

Rhino Ark develops and implements practical solutions to the challenges affecting Kenya’s mountain forests, Mount Kenya, The Abedares and Mau/Eburu Forests. They have built a fence to protect the South Western Mau Ecosystem and provide education and empowerment opportunities to benefit surrounding communities.

Mara Predator Conservation Programme

Mara Predator Conservation Programme

The Mara Predator Conservation Programme’s efforts span three primary areas with robust carnivore populations in Kenya – The Greater Mara, Amboseli/Tsavo, and Laikipia/Samburu. By providing conservation education, supporting wildlife clubs, and sharing vital information, the programme helps to protect and support the predator populations of Kenya.

Mara Elephant Project

Mara Elephant Project

The Mara Elephant Project saves and protects the African elephant population in the Mara by combatting poaching operations; collaring, monitoring and researching elephants; and mitigating human-elephant conflict across their large dispersal area.

Pardamat Conservation Area/Wildlife Tourism College of Maasai Mara

Pardamat Conservation Area/Wildlife Tourism College of Maasai Mara

The Wildlife Tourism College of Maasai Mara was started out of necessity to expand the current Koiyaki Guiding School. Currently, the school is being relocated to Endoinyo Erinka within the Pardamat Conservation Area so that it is easier to access. The school provides opportunities for youth to study and, after graduating, acquire permanent jobs in their chosen field.

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