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The Swahili word for journey, Kenya is considered the birthplace of the safari—and for good reason. Home to the Big Five, the wildlife abundant Masai Mara National Reserve provides a seasonal migration for millions of wildebeest. The Amboseli National Park, with its swamplands and dizzying views of Mt. Kilimanjaro, makes for the perfect backdrop for rare and endangered wildlife sightings. Hidden in a valley located in the cooler climate of Kenya’s Central Province, Solio Game Reserve provides the setting (45,000 acres) for a breeding reserve of black rhinos.
Lapped to the east by the Indian Ocean, Kenya’s wooded savannahs, equatorial mountain tops, great lake, and wildlife preserves captivate you as you get off the beaten track. Immerse yourself in mass wildlife sightings in one of 50 national parks. Allow Africa’s second highest mountain Mt. Kenya (17,058 feet) to transfix you with its jagged facade that contrasts sharply with the rolling greens of surrounding lowlands. Prepare to enter a striking land of immense wildlife and the Masai people.
The Masai Mara Natural Reserve is a standout attraction famed for its diverse wildlife and shifting landscapes. An ecosystem of abundant migration, the Great Migration is central to the reserve’s popularity, as zebra, wildebeest and more migrate to and from Tanzania. The Big Five, as well as crocodiles, hippos and cheetahs (to name a few) can also be found in this wilderness wonderland.
Africa’s snowcapped Mt. Kenya (17,058 feet) draws admirers from all over the world. Take camp at the foot of this dizzying spectacle and explore the Mau Mau caves. Cross a river by footbridge and climb to the top of a waterfall with views of rapids. Wander the wave like curves of Mackinder Valley before tackling Mt. Kenya, and later, return to a warm campsite fire with newfound friends.
Crowned by Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,340 feet), Amboseli National Park is the ideal African location to view free-roaming herds. Known as the home of the African elephant, the park guarantees jumbo size sightings. Several types of safaris are possible (there are five wildlife habitats) here. Regardless where you choose to go, 600 bird species, cheetahs, giraffes, leopards and wild dogs ensure rare sightings and unique landscapes.
Fueled by the Galana River that supports diverse wildlife, the Tsavo East National Park gives you the opportunity to spot crocs, hippos, dik-diks and the occasional leopard. The park itself is divided into two parts (east and west): while one side of the park could be described as dusty and dry (east), the other (west) is wetter with swamps and springs hosting buffalo, dust-red elephants and black rhino. Look out for the lava trail found here.
Low coastal plains found on the Indian Ocean contrast the mountainous plateaus found in Kenya’s center. The highlands have higher altitude and temperate climates. The best time for viewing wildlife in Kenya are the dry season months that run from June to October (migration of wildebeest being a feature), due to less dense bush and waterhole gatherings. January and February are more pronounced months of dryness, which influence the influx of visitors to the country. The wet season, November to May, provides greener scenery and a chance to spot newborn wildlife. The equator passes through Kenya—you can visit both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere in a day.
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