Kenya and safari are synonymous. Once a Mecca for “Big Game “ Hunting , today hunting is with a camera and Kenya has set aside large areas as national parks as home to the “BIG FIVE” game animals and creatures great and small. This East African country exudes incredible natural beauty and phenomena, as well as a fascinating blend of historical and modern cultures. Little was known about East Africa in the west before the epic voyage of the Portuguese sea captain, Vasco da Gama in 1497-9 when he set foot at Malindi, and made his way to India. The shores of the Indian Ocean had received Chinese Junks at the time of the Ming dynasty and billowing and graceful lateen sailed dhows arrived and departed every year on the seasonal monsoon winds. The Arabs traded in gold and ivory and all manners of exotic goods and over time settled on the coast and an Afro Arab mix gave rise to the Swahili people and culture. The coastal people gave birth to the Swahili language, the lingua franca of Eastern Africa. The coast is now a popular beach holiday destination and ancient ruins of Arab city states, such as Gedi, near Malindi are a fascinating attraction.
The Great Migration
One of its most stirring spectacles is the Great Migration in the legendary Masai Mara game reserve. This unique natural phenomenon when two million wildebeest, zebra and gazelles move clockwise around the enormous Masai Mara-Serengeti ecosystem, driven by instinct to find fresh grazing and water.
Amid a natural drama of epic proportions, the migrating herds face daunting challenges and hardships as they make their way across the land. They must be ever vigilant against ambush from a variety of predators, including Africa’s big cats as well as huge Nile crocodiles that lie in wait at various river crossing points.
The Southern Game parks –Amboseli, Chyulu, Tsavo East and West National Parks
The iconic views of snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro- Africa’s tallest peak and the largest free-standing mountain in the world – in itself are reason to view Amboseli National Park.
Springs originating from nearby Mt. Kilimanjaro create wetlands that support a rich diversity of wildlife and most of the classic big mammals are there. Here you may spot Lion, Elephant, Buffalo, Leopard, spotted Hyena, Giraffe and Cheetah, as well as more than 300 species of birds. These parks are unspoiled and have a wide variety of lodges and tented camps, set in some of the most beautiful landscapes in Africa and boasting healthy wildlife and elephant populations. These parks are a must for any safari enthusiast
The Northern Game Reserves and Conservancies
Lying on the edge of northern Kenya’s arid savannahs, the Samburu National Reserve is one of three national reserves that cluster around the EwasoNgiro River (the other two are Shaba and Buffalo Springs). Renowned for its game viewing, the area also offers a number of adventure activities as well as fascinating cultural interactions. Laikipia /Lewa Downs, OlPejada are privately owned conservancies, while community-based conservancies, such as Saruni, Kalama, IL Ngwesi make up an increasingly large area given over to conservation with tented camps and small very private tented lodges such as Kitiche camp in the Mathews mountain range.
Kenya's capital, Nairobi, is the biggest city between Johannesburg and Cairo and a pulsating place of contrasts. With an array of international flights landing at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi has become the unrivalled gateway to East Africa and to its parks and the beaches of the Swahili coast.
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