kenya - Africa: your water,wildlife,animal and sport vacation
Your Kenyan Safari
The Kenyan holiday experience is touted to be the most comprehensive in Africa. It is the only country that you will experience 3 district climatic conditions namely, Coastal Humid, cool highland and dry desert. The attractions here also range from the beaches 1) white sands, 2) wildlife, 3) the scenery of the great Rift Valley, 4) the green plantations of the highlands, 5) the cradle of mankind archeological sites, 6) No distinct cultural ethical endowments show-copped markets among others.
a) Wildlife Safaris Kenya has managed to maintain its wildlife in natural areas in National Parks and Reserves. The big five wildlife including Rhino, Lion, Leopard, Elephant and Buffalo is all found in these parks Including the small bovid. Among Kenyans most parks include the indomitable - Massai Mara - Nakuru National Park - Aberdares National Park - Tsavo National Park (11,000 kms equal size of Israel) - Samburu - Amboseli National Reserve - Among other 57 Parks and Reserves Nairobi National Park is the only park located within a capital city in the world. Lions, Zebras, gnus, Leopards, Rhino, Buffalo are 5minutes from the CBD.
The single most popular wildlife spectre in Kenya is the annual wildebeest migration to and back from Serengeti into the Maasai Mara. The wildebeest migration is such a phenomenon it involves movement of over 10 million animals crossing plains and rivers. The huge migration is such that the satellites in space picks it up as a fluid mass of black trail. The Maasai Mara lodges are usually overbooked and full in the migration months of June-Nov.
Lion and Oryx
Some years back a story extra ordinaire caught the attention of international media. This was the story of an old lioness called 'Namunyak' in Samburu National Reserve. The lioness had formed a bizarre habit of adopting 4 young Oryx for days on end. The lioness was actually protective of its adoptee(s) that she couldn't go to hunt for fear of her being killed by the males of her pride. This made her loose a lot of weight but still held on strong. On four different occasions the lioness adopted an Oryx calve after the other despite being frustrated by the male lions and disposition of others by the rangers. Namugaki is still out there in the wild while the 4th adoptee was rescued by the Kenya Wildlife Rangers can now bee seen mature at the Nairobi orphanage.
Mzee the Tortoise & Owen the Hippo
Haller Park is the former world reclaimed Bamburi Nature Trail at the coast. Reclaimed from cement Quarries of Bamburi Cement Factory the park has been fully rehabilitated with conserving trees and stocked as a zoo with giraffes, hippo gazelles Oryx, Eland, fish, snakes, etc.
A very recent and ongoing development at Haller Park has been the extra ordinary friendship between 100+ old tortoise and a young 5+ hippo. While mzee the Tortoise has seen it all unfold at Bamburi, Owen the baby hippo was orphaned after the mother died elsewhere. Now, the story is said that Own started to spend time with Mzee (Old man) upon arrival at the Park. This bond has now developed such that the two, feed, sleep and walk together. They are inseparable and Owen is especially aggressive to any intruders.
Other stories always emerge of unique unions between different wildlife species including one between a lone buffalo and a murderous black Rhino in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve. It all goes to show how free ranging animals take their entitled liberties.
Wildlife viewing in the Mara is done in 8 seater Mini vans and land cruiser trucks. The Mara is so beaming with wildlife that you can almost touch an elephant feeding. 1 - years one metre off the road. And that is from right next to the gate. Balloon safaris are the most satisfying way to view the gazillions of wildlife and especially the big five balloon safaris are booked on demand from Nairobi.
ii. Beach Safaris
Nothing beats a coastal holiday like one experience in the Kenya White Sand Beaches. This is especially good for visitors in need of lazing in the tropical coast sure for a tan and swim. Other water sports available along the beaches include - Water/wind skiing - Surfing - Deep sea fishing - Scuba diving - Swimming with dolphins - Jet skiing - Coral garden snorkeling and - Glass bottomed boat rides into marine parks
The accommodation facilities along our beaches range from 4-5 star deluxe with top of the range international service standards. You can make your choice between beach cottages, lodges, hotel and eco-camps
iii) Cultural Safaris
Kenya has a diverse cultural background from its over 42 ethnic groups. The most spectacular is however the Maasai warrior tribe which lives among wildlife in the Mara Reserve. The Maasai have a specifically intriguing lifestyle as they co-exist side by side with very dangerous wildlife. Their Moran warrior culture prepares young initiates into the warrior (army) age set. These Morans emerge from their clustered life in braided, red ochre hair, clad in very colourful red kikoi (cotton fabric) tyre sand als and complete with a spear, they are a sight to behold.
The Swahili culture at the coast is also very unique including their architecture, dressing, food etc. Cultural safaris are also organized around mythical stories like the Samson-like Lwanda Magere, Warriors, the Nyamgondho man who turned into a tree stamp after chasing away his wife given from the Gods.
The Bomas of Kenya offers traditional dances and foods and is located in the city far 1 day excursions. There are also National Museums that have collected artifacts from traditional societies for display in Museums in most towns in Kenya.
iv) Adventure Safaris
And for that visitor full of energy, Kenya offers a variety of high energy, high adrenaline, dare devil activities for that memorable feeling. The snow-copped 5000m+ Mt Kenya is a challenge to may seasoned mountain climbers. There are several built-up resting camps as well as provided for climbing routes. Climbing gear and guides are lined at base camp for the 5-6 day climb.
Bungee jumping and white water rafting is done 50 km from Nairobi town at Sagana/ that is along the upstream of Tana River.
Biking is usually organized activity within wildlife areas from your lodge. Trekking game safaris are also done in community group ranches in the Maasai Mara area.
Other adventure safaris include the overlander camping, off the beaten truck trips. These camping safaris usually involved covering larger areas and gets more interior, takes longer days but is also the most rewarding.
Adventure safaris will usually include camping in mobile 1-2 man tent units. Catering is provided while transport is by overlanders and or trucks.
v) Sport Safaris Kenya is globally recognized for its world class, record breaking athletes. Our success in International athletic gains is attributed to high attitude training. World standard high altitude camps have now been started and caters for athletes looking to improve performance.
In addition there is now a national calendar of Marathons in Kenya that athletes can test their performance i.e Nairobi Marathon, Lewa Marathon among others. Lewa Marathon is especially unique as it takes place in the middle of a game community reserve. The runners are running in the middle of Lions, Buffalo, Zebra, giraffe etc. It is a world famous event that attracts international participation. Other sparking activities in Kenya popular with visitors include Deep Sea fishing, the Coastal Regarta,---
vi) Nature Safaris
Kenya enjoys a spectrum of scenic attractions test the appetite of any nature loving tourist. From the snow capped mountains in the tropics to the descent dunes to the North East of the Country.
The Natural tropical forests of Arabuko SoKoke is a must go for any nature tourist. The coastal forest has resident elephant regulations. Among the endemic species include the elephant shrew, and the little scoops owl. The community butterfly project is also a must see for visitors.
Kakamega forest is a remnant of equatorial forest running through to DR Congo. The forest canopy is so high and interlocked it creates a permanent dark under cover. Activities in many of Kenyans forests includes bird watching, forest walks, camping Biking etc.
The Great Rift Valley provides scenic beauty observed from the Eastern Escarpment. The Rift Valley floor is dotted with active volcanic activity in the form of geysers, hotsprings and smouldering mountains, fresh water, lakes and crater lakes. L. Bogoria is an exciting destination where one boils eggs off the steam of hotsprings, flamingoes are plentiful in these lakes including Elementaita, Nakuru and Bogoria . Preferred accommodation is exclusive camps and lodges.
vii) Charity & Mission Safaris
The philanthropy safari magnitude is growing exponentially due to the increasing North South pro-pour movement. Needy situations in Africa including Kenya are a result of HIV/AIDS, Education, poverty environment, Hunger etc. There exist very ideal projects with which charitable financial and human resources are channeled to Kenya including: - Destitute Homes - Conservation Organization - School teaching - Hospitals - Churches/mosques/temples
Participants in this kind of travel include
-Gap year students -volunteers -Missionaries -Internship programs etc
There are as such organizations and tour operators that handle the traveling, orientation, booking and other logistics of such groups. Others also understand placement of these human resources in needy institutions as volunteers, teachers, interns, missionaries etc.
Accommodation is mainly hostels, home stays & Budget hotels due to the lengthy stay and the fact that this group is more of workers than tourists.
Kenya is credited as the cradle of mankind, from where the earliest remains of human bones were discovered by Dr Richard Leakey. Evidence of the earliest, man were discovered at Koobi Fora on the shores of L. Turkana, formerly L. Rudolf. Other areas that remains and tools of(adze) of the human ancestry have been found include Kaariandusi and Ololgesailie, archeological sites. All early ancestry artifacts are collected and displayed at National Museum at Nairobi. These archeological sites are also developed into tourist attractions.
There are also caves believed to have been shelter of the early man across the country. Rock paintings are evident in such areas as the
a)Mt Elgon Kitgum and Makingeny Caves b) Mfangano Island and in Malaba district.
The USAID has recently given aid to rehabilitate and preserve these caves. Other caves at Shimoni have been used as stockade for slaves in transit to major markets in Zanzibar for onward transmission to South America & Europe. Recent colonial war between the Mau Mau freedom fighters is also evident. Bombings of the Mau Mau that created lakes can be seen at Aberdare forest and Buffalo Springs Reserve.
Accommodation for historical tourists is arranged in towns closest to such sites.
Visiting Kenya for Safari
Tour operators have already pre-packaged safaris on Beach, Nature, Historical, Wildlife, Adventure Cultural, charity and Mission, Sport activities. You will need to select from a pre-arranged list of the sum.
Alternatively, some tour operators have facility to tailor a safari, whereby you fill in a form indicating your preferences from which the tour operator makes your itinerary with your endorsement. Accommodation in Kenya depends on your budget and you are able to choose from budget to 5 star deluxe.
On land transport also offers you options between 8-seater minibus, self driven cars or 4x4 and coaches.
I welcome you to Kenya for an experience worth its weight in gold.
To plan your own self-made safari vacation, visit:
About the Author: Robert is a tour consultant in Kenya and has planned business and vacation safaris for over 10,000 tourists in the East African region. He is a tour operation- major and involved in National tourism policy development in Kenya.
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