The Kenya experience
Kenya is synonymous with being the home of the modern day safari. Photographic images come to mind of vast savannahs, the Maasai people with their distinctive red dress, the migration and big cats. There is more to Kenya however than the Masai Mara: the country is home to a vast array of habitats, species, cultures and activities and offers some of the most authentic cultural interactions in Africa. It is also one of two African countries, the other being Tanzania, that effortlessly combines safari and beach.
The famous Masai Mara Reserve in the south east of the country is host to the great migration: a spectacular natural phenomenon where up to two million wildebeest, zebra and antelope follow the rains in search of grazing, from the Serengeti in Tanzania to the vast Masai Mara in Kenya. They start to appear on the Kenyan side around July, heading back in October. Whilst the migration is a massive attraction, visiting the area out of the migration season will treat you to larger numbers of other game, such as elephants, as well as lower visitor numbers. There are also other worthwhile safari areas to consider in Kenya such as Meru, Laikipia, Samburu and the Chyulu Hills. For keen photographers, Kenya is a dream and we can help you decide where and when to go to make the most of your trip.
For laid back, barefoot tropical beach luxury after a busy safari, the peaceful beauty of Lamu Island in the Lamu Archipelago off the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya is idyllic. Flights to the Seychelles are frequent from Nairobi too. Watamu, just south of Malindi along the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya is also a winner for active families looking for a luxury beach option.
Here we have highlighted a few new top spots and some great options for making the most of the Kenyan safari and beach experiences.
Lengishu House is located in northern Kenya offering stunning views over the plains of Laikipia. The camp lies at the heart of the Borana Conservancy, the country’s most successful rhino sanctuary. Accommodating just 12 guests and boasting a pool and gym, family run Lengishu House is the ideal spot for a slower pace safari.
The intimate, tree house feeling of Mara Nyika is unparalleled in terms of exploration and adventure. Located on the western side of the Naboisho Conservancy bordering the Maasai Mara, Mara Nyika is the latest offering from conservation leader Great Plains oozing privacy and romance with just 4, soon to be 5, luxury tented suites. Each tent is nestled amongst the acacia trees and linked by walkways which also join the main deck and fire pit for evenings in the bush. There’s always the option of a night game drive in the private conservancy too.
There’s so much to do at Hemingways Watamu, located in the Watamu Marine National Park: learn to kite surf, enjoy a round or two of golf, get your PADI certificate and go deep sea fishing. There is also the possibility to go humpback whale and dolphin watching. This established beach resort has recently been treated to a complete rejuvenation and offers spacious luxury five star accommodation which is perfect for families.
Whatever safari experience you are looking for in Kenya, there is a camp to suit. We have picked out a few exceptional spots.
Governors’ Camp – for those in the know
Anyone who knows their safaris will be very happy at Governors’ Camps. Whilst the camps may not be as aesthetically luxurious as the newer safari camps in Kenya, Governors’ have been developing the safari experience for over 40 years so you will see incredible wildlife both during and outside the migration.
The tents are located in the centre of the Masai Mara Reserve along the Mara river where plenty of hippos, birds and crocodiles come and can be viewed from your private verbadah. Big cats are seen regularly particularly when wildebeest are calving season around February.
Governors’ Camps offer everything you would expect from the Masai Mara including immense landscapes, cultural experiences and exceptional game viewing.
Mara Plains – for the more discerning
For an exceptional safari, Great Plains managed Mara Plains offers a sustainable modern safari experience with a whiff of vintage.
Safari experiences here are particularly personalised with numbers on game vehicles limited to just 4 with access to all the surrounding conservancies, not just the National Park. Safari guests at Mara Plains have the use of Swarovski binoculars during game drives and an opportunity to marvel at the African night sky from the camp’s star telescope.
Mara Bushtops – for the more seasoned safari goer
Described by Daily Telegraph travel writer, Graeme Green as an “Eden like experience”, Mara Bushtops offers the seasoned safari goer an incredibly luxurious experience in the true sense of the word. Each of the 12 luxury tents enjoys a 100 square metre private deck overlooking the bustling salt lick. The Mara Bushtops conservancy is private to Mara Bushtops enabling guests to make the most out of their stay including nightly game drives, off road game drives, walking safaris, sundowners and sunrises. Night drives are enhanced by night vision cameras on the state of the art vehicles and there is wifi on board too.
For help and advice on travelling to Kenya and getting the best out of your trip, do give us a ring on 0208 879 7171 or pop in and see us in Wimbledon Village. Follow us on Instagram for up to date hotel news and travel inspiration.