Have you ever sat on your laptop on a quiet weekend’s day, scrolling through your Facebook feed, when out of the blue pops this stereotypically perfect photo? At first, you think it’s an advert because of its perfection, but there’s no product placement.
So where then? Kenya, that’s where! Where majestic, engrossing pictures are the consistent norm and each day is an experience out of The Lion King. A Kenya tour means a visit to the Serengeti and Masai Mara (also spelled Maasai Mara). As well as the Big Five, unbeatable views of Mount Kilimanjaro, and of the Great Rift Valley.
Interested? Good, because we’re just getting warmed up! Below you will find a breakdown of all the options you will ever need for your Kenya safari holiday all-inclusive offers. You’ll also get a few “must-brings” and “must-knows”, just for peace of mind. African safari holidays require planning, and we’ve got your back.
Kenya Safari Destinations
When you visit Kenya, you are going to need to know all your Kenya holiday all-inclusive options and exclusive offers when planning your safari.
Kenya is a large country, 590 000 sq km to be precise. It’s home to two of the world’s largest landmarks and iconic destinations and hosts over 30 game reserves over different National Parks.
So, where can you start your dream safari?
Masai Mara: Perfect Trip to See the Great Migration
When it comes to Kenyan game viewing trips, there is no better place to start than with its most popular reserve, the Masai Mara National Reserve.
Located on the Tanzanian border and amalgamated into Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, the Masai Mara is Kenya’s “home of safari”. There can be no debate when considering its ratings and reviews that this reserve can give you the most authentic African safari. Its popularity is a testament to its deserving position as one of Kenya’s best.
Welcoming guests from Southern Africa as well as other travelers from around the world it’s not hard to see why this oasis is so popular. The great migration patterns of the herds of wildebeest, gazelle, zebra, and antelope, as well as the predators that follow them, is one of the main reasons.
If you time it right (July to October), you will be able to catch these majestic herds beginning their migration north. Into Kenya from Tanzania and the Serengeti they come, known as the “Great Migration”. The Mara is home to the Big Five (rhino, buffalo, elephant, leopard, and lion), birds of prey, and pretty much any other sort of African wildlife you can think of.
According to legend, the Kenya tours and safari expeditions are the original when it comes to the history of safari expeditions. If you get into one of the reserves’ many 4×4 vehicles, you will be joining a long line of safari explorers that dates back all the way to its pioneers.
It’s pretty amazing knowing the Masai Mara safari destination is apparently where it all began.
Book a luxury safari in Kenya at the all-inclusive Olare Mara Kempinski.
Experience an African Safari in Amboseli Park
The second most popular option for Kenya tours can be found at the Amboseli National Park, located further south along the Tanzanian border towards the Kenyan coastline. This is a special place as it has a very unique attraction: the view of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Kenyan safari tours in Amboseli – sitting right on the border – hosts an unobstructed, unbelievable view of Kilimanjaro.
Have you ever seen that famous shot of Africa’s highest mountain in a movie, on postcards, and calendars, and just about every other generalized safari shot? Well, Amboseli Park is where it was taken.
However, if this wasn’t enough for you, this is also Kenya’s elephant territory. Kenya hosts some of the largest herds in the world and Amboseli is the best place to see them. You won’t be able to fathom their sheer size, as well as the thunderous noise they can generate when on the move.
From savannah landscapes, dried-up riverbeds, and tree-covered grass plains, to Lake Amboseli’s wetlands and sulfurous springs, there really is a lot of variety here. You can get a “5 different habitats” kind of experience. If variety, wildlife viewing, and scenery are your thing, Amboseli has it for you.
Oh, and the bird game viewing is one of the best in the world. As many as 400 bird species can be seen on one of these top Kenya tours. Hop on one of the open-aired safari vehicles and see them all!
Book an all-inclusive trip for the whole family to Satao Elerai, Amboseli Park.
Game Viewing in Samburu (Shaba) Park and Buffalo Springs
When we originally looked into Samburu (also known as Shaba) National Park, we found on the surface it looked like a regular old reserve with no unique traits. But, after experiencing it and getting the opportunity to take it in a little bit deeper, we came to realize two things.
Firstly, we were on the equator. As in the centerline of latitude that spans the entire globe. We don’t know how you’d feel about that, but for us, it gave some serious perspective on how vast this beautiful world of ours is. This brings us to our second realization.
Although it is not as big or popular as the Mara National Reserve or Amboseli, these factors actually play into Samburu’s favor. Blessed with the same wildlife as the other two, Samburu is quieter in regard to tourists. This makes it ideal for those who are looking for a more recluse getaway without sacrificing the quality of an authentic Kenya experience.
Included within the Samburu National Reserve is the Buffalo Springs Park, located opposite the Ewaso Nyiro River. Named after the clear oasis found at the western end of the park, this small paradise is host to some of Kenya’s most beautiful and encompassing flora and fauna.
From the tall majestic doum palms to the wide-brimmed Acacia Elatior. With the large amounts of Commiphora and the scatterlings of Adenium Obesum, also known as the “desert rose”. A Kenyan Safari in Samburu can be the ideal remote getaway.
Book a 3-Day all-inclusive Samburu National Park safari here.
Safaris in Shimba Hills and Diani Beach
And now for a change of scenery. From the broad landscapes of the Serengeti, we move east to a lesser-known part of the country, a place that not many would think of when considering going on safari in Kenya.
The Shimba Hills are located 15km from the majestic Kenyan coastline. 33km from Mombasa, this smaller reserve offers one of the best conveniences we have ever had the privilege of discovering. And so we give you one of our (and Kenya’s) best-kept secrets for those looking to go on safari.
When you think that Zanzibar is not too far away, it should click that Kenya has some pretty amazing beaches as well. Located just 34km from Shimba Hills you’ll find Diani Beach – the perfect way to mix game viewing with a beach holiday.
Voted Africa’s leading beach destination for the third consecutive year, there is nothing else to say other than this is the “tropical safari getaway” you didn’t know you needed.
If a tropical getaway sounds like a delightful benefit worth adding to your tour of Kenya, then we seriously recommend you check this combo out.
Baobab Beach Resort and Spa will make all your all-inclusive dreams come true at Diani Beach.
See Pink Flamingos at Lake Nakuru
Next up we have Kenya’s Lake Nakuru National Park, home to the country’s largest rhino conservation, the Great Rift Valley, Soda Lakes, and let’s not forget the gorgeous pink flamingos. Lots and lots of flamingos. So many you sometimes cannot distinguish between the ripples of the water and the rustling of pink feathers.
The vast amounts of algae in the lake’s water acts as the perfect drawing factor for these pink-feathered fowls.
Although reduced in numbers after the flooding in 2013 with their migration to the nearby Lake Bogoria, flamingoes still frequent these waters, hoping to find a home to settle in. A safari for flamingoes, who knew?!
The Lake is situated in Africa’s “Great Rift Valley”, a vast cleft that cuts through mid-eastern Africa like a sort of trench. The splitting of the Nubian and Somali plates has resulted in a vast escarpment that boasts some serious scenery.
With the sub-Saharan landscape of acacia trees and grasslands, mixed with the roaming herds and valleys below, you have yourself the perfect “African savannah image”.
Flat lakes and flocks of flamingos, with enormous mountains and deep valleys. The Great Rift Valley and Lake are both destinations that should be added to your travel plans.
Book an all-inclusive Lake Nakuru 4-day trip that includes the Maasai Mara.
Nairobi Holidays & Safaris
Welcome to the capital city of Kenya, Nairobi. In line with what could be called a recurring theme of the entire country, there lies a nature reserve right outside the Nairobi city boundary. With lions and antelope staring up at concrete towers and highways, this makes for a very interesting and highly stereotypical African image.
When looking for variety in your Kenyan safari holidays and destinations without having to be in the isolated wilderness, we found that staying in the capital was incredibly convenient. Holidays to Nairobi mean you are able to experience the comfort of the city and its scenery. Tourists can explore a Nairobi National Park that is filled with buffalo, rhino, giraffe, zebra, lions, hippos, and many others.
The country’s first reserve, the Nairobi National Park allows tourists to experience Kenya’s cultural scene whilst still being able to enjoy different safaris in the area. Stay at one of Nairobi’s many hotels and explore the main tourist attractions of the area. Nairobi is also easily accessible with frequent flights from South Africa and other countries in Southern Africa.
Catch the zebra and wildebeest migration of July and August or take part in the daily “Nairobi Nature Walks”. Frequent the Wildlife Conservation Education Centre and learn more about the country itself and the habitat it fosters for its wildlife. Explore the city and the many cultural attractions it has to offer.
This is what makes this park so desirable: the access it gives you to the city. Nairobi is a Kenya cultural hub and if one of your goals whilst visiting the region is to take part in the Kenya culture then this would be the best place to start.
Unfortunately, due to the cityscape, many of the shy animals are more reclusive, such as leopards and cheetahs. If it is important to you that you see these rarities, as well as get away from the concrete jungle, then we’d recommend trying one of the other areas on our list.
However, if what you are after is exposure to the wide-open savannah, whilst being in the comfort of the city, then Nairobi should be on your to-do list.
Book a full-day all-inclusive tour through Nairobi Park.
Destinations in Tsavo for Safaris: East and West Kenya Safari Tours
Separated into two separate parks (East and West), Tsavo makes up the largest natural reserve in Kenya, and one of the largest in the world, sitting at nearly 22,000km². With the railway acting as the divide between the two parks, Tsavo is also split regarding its habitat and foliage.
In the East, you are met with large, flat, dry plains, occupied by the Galana River and Yugard Falls. The West is more made up of volcanic mountains and thick trees, waterfalls, and Lake Jipe. Swamps and springs are more frequent here, with the foliage being denser and greener.
These contrasts obviously make for a varying safari experience. If the more common savannah-dwelling wildlife is what you are after, then we’d recommend heading to Tsavo East. You’ll find the Big Five, buck, zebra, wildebeest, and other such antelope by the scores here.
In contrast, should you wish to see rhino, buffalo, elephant herds, leopard, and specifically birds, we’d suggest West Tsavo. The landscape is more conducive to their living as they are shyer.
Further research is advised into the more specific characteristics of Tsavo East and West. They really do vary in nature and we wouldn’t want you to miss out on the opportunity to experience the variety of this beautiful country in favor of your preferences. Refer to this map for your Kenyan holiday safari destinations.
Preparations for Kenya Luxury Safari
Now that you know the lay of the land, it’s time to plan how you are going to spend your precious money and time during one of your Kenyan safari vacations. Kenya is a well-organized, efficient country when it comes to its tourism and more specifically its safaris.
Here are a few tips from our travel experts to ensure a smooth experience.
Best Time for Kenya Safaris
If you haven’t picked up on it yet, we’ll give it to you again: a safari in Kenya is all about the wildebeest migration season.
Between July and October, the wildebeest migrate north into the Maasai Mara from the Serengeti. Often your best viewing of large plains of animals is now due to this mass movement.
Secondly, this period of time is known as the dry season, meaning watering holes are populated due to a scarcity of water, and shrubbery is at its lowest. For those of you that don’t know, on safari the fewer shrubs, bushes, and leaves there are, the higher the chance you’ll see that lion.
Kenya is notorious for its year-round wildlife viewing, but the migration period of July to October offers you the most in regards to experience and sighting opportunities. This is a top family adventure for game viewing in Africa.
Gear for a Luxury Kenya Safari
So you have your location, and you have your time. But what do you wear on a Kenyan safari? What do you bring? Let’s break down the Kenyan safari needs and must-haves:
A Good Quality Pair of Safari Boots
This is an essential item for game viewing during bush walks. If you’re embarking on a camping safari, you’ll need shoes to protect your feet from the local critters.
Binoculars for Game Viewing
Some of our friends’ biggest regrets are that they didn’t bring a quality pair of binoculars. Remember, the wildlife won’t be at your doorstep and you’ll want to see the pink flamingos and wildebeest migration clearly.
Integral! You won’t be on the hunt for wildlife all the time, and in your downtime, there really is nothing more soothing than a good book. Read in the peace of the wild at one of the magical safari lodges.
Charger/Adapters to Capture this Lifetime Experience
Speaking of kindles, ensure you don’t forget cellphones, GPS, and any other kind of charger you’re going to need. Don’t be that guy – have your camera charged and ready for your safari tour.
Warm Layers for Your Adventure
Underappreciated by those who don’t know Africa. Yes, it’s the equator, and yes, it’s Africa, but it can get cold out there.
Once the sun sets, or when the rains come, you’ll be surprised at how quickly the temperature can drop on the Masaai Mara. A good windbreaker and jacket/fleece are a must.
Sunscreen, Sunglasses & Hat for Game Viewing
On the opposite end of the spectrum, it can also be blistering hot. The African sun is hotter than people realize, and on the equator, it is more so. The open-aired vehicles mean you’ll be exposed to the sun at times.
In terms of sunglasses, it’s recommended to make use of polarised lenses, if possible. Light reflection and glare can sometimes hinder the spotting of more elusive animals.
Torch for Safari Lodges
The sun has set and you need to walk to the loo in the dark. Do not, and we repeat, do not get caught without a torch! Africa can make wild noises at night, and it helps to see into the dark.
Malaria Tablets and Insect Repellents
Finally, what should be one of the more obvious items, yet no less important. Kenya is a country at high risk for malaria. Precautions are essential, and insect repellents are advised.
Extra Tips for Kenyan Safaris
Firstly, Kenya has, since 2017, banned any and all plastic bags. Famous for being one of the strictest countries when it comes to plastic usage, Kenya enforces strict regulations to ensure the country remains plastic bag-free. Failure to adhere may result in imprisonment and/or a $40,000 fine.
And secondly, most of the lodges and reserves on our list do offer laundry services, but the process can be finicky. A lot of laundry is done by hand, meaning your size of laundry is reduced. Along with this, almost all laundry is ironed to ensure the killing of “Putzi” fly eggs. Try to avoid any clothing that could be damaged by the ironing process.
Kenya Safari Cost
No guide is set without some kind of idea of how much this trip may break the bank, so we’re here to put your mind at ease.
Prices will differ depending on different Kenyan safari packages and destinations. Guests from African countries such as South Africa, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Namibia will usually pay better rates than international travelers.
It is also worth noting that when there you will be spending in the local currency, that being Kenyan Shillings. In some of the reserves they may be willing to take foreign currency, but we always believe it is good to have some local coins just in case.
Now to the crux of the matter. It is widely acknowledged that going on safari anywhere is not the cheapest of ventures. When staying in a luxury campsite with all the frills, food included, and game drives in tow, you can understand why. Here are 7 things that will determine the price of your trip:
Number of Days You go on Safari
This is the most obvious one, in our books. The more days you are around, the more money you’ll spend.
Time of Year
Kenya is best visited in July through to September. The problem is, everyone knows this, making it peak season. Thus, you can expect to pay more.
Accommodation Standards: Lodge or Hotel
In Kenya, you can expect to have your safari holiday from the lowly tent to the luxury 5-star resort. Prices per night can start at $190 p/n and go all the way up to $1000 p/n. So it all depends on your needs and wants.
After spending a lot of time going through various locations, you can understand why some may be more expensive than others. Consider this when looking to do multiple reserves.
Depending on whether you want to do game drives, independent tours of the park, or get chauffeured around, you’ll see your daily expenses move accordingly. A game drive can cost between $150 to $250 per game drive.
Game drives and accommodation can also vary depending on how exclusive you want it to be. A group tour is obviously cheaper than hiring a private ranger to take you around. Personalized meals versus community dining are also options.
Last but by no means least, customization can be one of the more relevant points of expenditure. Many people prefer to have their Kenyan safari holidays planned for them through itineraries. This is convenient but not necessarily the most affordable.
Depending on specials available and your willingness to explore, we would advise a more customized approach. This ensures that you can get what you want, at a price that suits. Also, life happens so try to book places with free cancellation to avoid any unnecessary costs.
We would hope that after going through this article you have a clearer idea of what lies before you. This and the opportunity to get the best safari in Kenya, suited for your wants and budgetary needs.
Kenyan Safaris Are Waiting
Well, it looks like you are packed and ready for your holiday to Kenya. Can’t say we’re surprised. It’s a beautiful country, with beautiful people. If you are looking for that genuine safari experience that has everything from wildlife to landscape, then you can’t go wrong here.
Being a large country it is perfect for the hosting of so many animals and plenty of opportunities for game viewing. The people do a fantastic job of maintaining the reserves as well. Let’s not fool around though. It is Africa, and in Africa, you need to be vigilant.
Try to avoid things you think would provoke a situation. Don’t come on safari expecting neatness and order. The campsites may be 5-star, but the wild is not. There is no need for fancy jewelry or high heels. Nor is there a need for camouflage clothing or evening wear. If we had to offer any advice, it would be to keep it as simple and as rustic as possible.
Visiting Kenya opens the gateway to other adventures in Africa such as gorilla trekking in Rwanda or visiting the Okavango Delta on vacation in Botswana. Open yourself up to the experience and its rusticness and we promise you’ll have memories to last you a lifetime.
This is the Home of the Savannah, the original home of safari. Where Mount Kenya and Mount Kilimanjaro are the backdrops to elephant herds roaming the Masai Mara. This is the Big Five, the flamingos, the Great Rift Valley. This is Diani Beach and Nairobi. This is Kenya.