With a safari history stretching back almost a hundred years to the days of the great explorers, writers and big game hunters like Roosevelt, Hemingway and Finch-Hatton it is no wonder that Kenya has long been the most popular safari destination in the world. Although parts of the Masai Mara National Reserve have suffered a little from the commercialisation and crowds due to this popularity there are still many places here offering exclusivity, as do other regions like the arid Samburu region of north central Kenya.
The Masai Mara offers year round game viewing with its resident wildlife along the Mara River, but is most famous for its part in the annual wildebeest migration. The Mara forms the top end of the Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem and provides valuable grasses and water for the masses of wildebeest and zebra, generally from August to November, and is one of the locations for the well-documented river crossings.
The Samburu area, home to the semi-nomadic pastoralists of the same name, has some fantastic wildlife preserves and landscapes without the large amount of visitors of the Mara. The arid Samburu National Reserve offers a great diversity of wildlife including the hardy gerenuk and beisa oryx and is home to some of the last remaining herds of Grevy’s zebra. The nearby grasslands of the Laikipia Plateau have been transformed from cattle ranches and communal grazing land into some of the most important wildlife preserves by some amazing community – private initiatives and partnerships.
Also in the central region is the Meru National Park with its spectacular landscape of kopjes and baobab trees and once home to George and Joy Adamson. A little further west, the lakes of the Rift Valley, notably Lake Nakuru, are certainly worth a visit for their spectacular vistas and massive concentrations of flamingos and other water birds.