With the Indian Ocean washing its eastern shores and the immense Lake Victoria on its western border, Kenya is truly a land of contrasts. From the snow-covered peaks of Mount Kenya astride the equator and the second highest mountain in Africa, to the warm sun-kissed beaches, the scenery embraces mountains, forests, deserts and lakes, plus a staggering diversity of wildlife most visitors are attracted to the country’s coast, followed by its wonderful wildlife areas. Many come to climb Mount Kenya and some enjoy the deep-sea-game-fishing on the south coast near the Tanzanian border. Kenya has also many fine golf courses, with golfing safaris becoming a new tourist attraction.
Kenya’s wildlife heritage remains its prime attraction. From the Serengeti in Tanzania, to Kenya’s Maasai Mara and back is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to witness. The great wildebeest migration across the plains of East Africa, from the Serengeti occurs between June and September with millions of animals taking part in this awesome display of nature. The best known areas are Maasai Mara National Reserve, famous for its abundance of game and its many predators and Amboseli National Park has the best view of the snow-covered Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Tsavo East National Park, is closed to the public and only professional safari companies are allowed to enter.
Breathtaking views down into a turquoise sea, brings one to the famous Lamu Archipelago, comprising of islands of Lamu, Manda and Pate. The endless stretches of beautiful beaches are popular pursuits and a number of marine national parks and reserves has been established to protect underwater life and the wonderful coral.Cutting through the country in a north-south direction is the Great Rift Valley, containing a string of lakes (most of which are strongly alkaline) and a number of dormant volcanos. It is renown for its famous Lake Nakuru. Known all over the world for its flamingos and is recognized as being one of the natural wonders of the world. Lake Nakuru is now also a rhino sanctuary and was declared a national park, the first one in Africa to be set aside for the preservation of birdlife.
The Great Rift Valley, part of an immense fracture in the earth’s crust running 6440km from Jordan to Mozambique, slices through Kenya from north to south. One of the most impressive features on earth, spectacular and varied scenery, unsurpassed anywhere in Africa. Several volcanoes, now mostly dormant, occur in the valley and another distinctive feature is its large number of alkaline lakes, famous for the breathtaking sights of pink flamingos.
Annual Migration through Kenya and Tanzania
The Geat wildebeest Migration, where millions of animals wander the plains, is one of the wanders of the natural world. This movement is constant and exact locations cannot be guaranteed, for the migration simply follows the annual rains in search of good grazing pastures. The following guide is a general overview for reference only. Please contact us for the latest migration update, as our guides on the ground can provide more accurate positions.
November - April / May The animals congregate on the short grassy plains of the southern and eastern Serengeti, which includes the Ngorongoro Conservation area. Calving generally occurs between February and March.April / May - June Following the end of the rains, the migration gradually heads north-west towards the western corridor and Grumeti.
As most of Kenya is high-plateau country it enjoys a pleasant climate, warm days and cool nights are the norm for most of the year. In the Highlands and Rift Valley it is not unusual to experience temperatures of around 30(degrees)C 86 F) during the day, while at night one can happily sit in front of a log fire, as the temperatures drop below 10 C (50 F). Around Lake Victoria and the coast, however, it can be very hot and humid, although the sea breezes off the Indian Ocean make a stay at the coast very pleasant.
For most of Kenya, the main rains normally occur during the period March to May, followed by a short rainy period towards the end of October, lasting until early December. However, there are local variations. Along the coastal strip the rains are mainly from May until July and again in November. In the areas around Lake Victoria, the lake itself has a strong influence on the weather and it can rain, usually at night, during every month of the year.
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport: East Africa's major flight hub is located 13km / 8mi outside Nairobi and is the gateway to the Masai Mara, Amboseli, Mombasa and Kenya's beaches as well as Zanzibar and Tanzania. There are also good connections from here to Uganda, Rwanda and the Seychelles.
Wilson Airport: A regional airport about 90 minutes by road from Jomo Kenyatta, Wilson is the hub for almost all of Kenya's internal flights and serves its fly-in safari locations. Ensure you have time between your international flight and domestic flight to make the transfer between the two airports.
Moi Mombasa International Airport: Located about 10km / 6.2mi northwest of the town itself, Mombasa's airport is the gateway to the Kenyan coast.
Chartered flights are a great way to get around Kenya and avoid the country's often dirt roads; transfers from airstrips to lodges are conducted in 4X4 vehicles.
Road transfers from airports and between major destinations tend to use mini buses as do scheduled safaris to popular destinations such as the Masai Mara. Sliding windows and a pop-up roof provide passengers on mini buses with ample viewing opportunities on game drives whereas safaris to more remote destinations and private conservancies use open-sided 4X4s.
Visas are required by most visitors to Kenya including British, American, Canadian, European, Australian and New Zealand passport holders. Citizens from some smaller Commonwealth countries are exempt.
Visas are valid for three months from the date of entry and can be purchased upon arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Visitors can pay for their visas in local currency and they must possess a passport that is valid until six months after the initial date of travel.
If you plan on travelling onwards from Kenya, visas for other East African countries such as Tanzania and Uganda can generally be obtained in Nairobi for around US$50 each.
A land of vast plains, mountains, desert and tropical coastline but central to Kenya's topography is the Great Rift Valley - the geographical feature that is splitting the continent and has shaped some of Africa's most dramatic wilderness regions. Kenya is home to the legendary Maasai Mara and the great wildebeest migration with as many as twenty reserves and national parks located throughout the country.The reserves range from the northern arid and semi-arid regions of Lake Turkana and Samburu to the montane forests of Mount Kenya and the Aberdares and the vast plains of the Maasai Mara and Tsavo.The lakes of the Rift Valley such as Lake Nakuru host breathtaking images of millions of flamingoes feeding in the shallows and wildlife grazing on the shores.The Kenya coast is of the most dramatic and pristine coastline on the continent with islands such as Lamu dotting the Indian Ocean.Health & Safety
It is advised you check with your tour operator or hotel concierge - they will know if there are any potentially unsafe areas along your travel route. It is wise to avoid deserted areas, particularly at night and if you are on a self-drive adventure then please ensure your car is locked at all times - park in well-lit, busy areas.Dress-down (i.e. don’t wear excessive jewellery) when exploring Africa’s diverse cities. Concealed travel wallets are recommended.Stopping for hitch hikers is not recommended.
Consult your doctor or an immunisation centre about the relevant vaccination requirements for the countries to which you will be travelling. We do suggest you get a Yellow Fever vaccination, because it’s compulsory for most African countries. . For extra safety while travelling African countries, we recommend vaccinations for typhoid, polio, tetanus, hepatitis, meningitis and cholera. Also with your passport, make a certified copy of your certificate. Refer to www.travelclinics.co.za for more medical advise.