Reasons to Visit Kenya
The Great Migration
Kenya, located in East Africa, is renowned for its abundant wildlife, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture. It is considered the "home" of the safari, attracting visitors from around the world. With diverse attractions such as the Maasai Mara Reserve, beautiful beaches, and interactions with Maasai and Samburu tribes, Kenya offers a range of experiences. The country spans 580,267 square kilometres, making it the 27th largest in the world. It shares borders with Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania. Nairobi is the capital city, while Mombasa is the oldest city and a popular tourist destination.
Kenya has a growing population of approximately 49.3 million and is known for its agricultural sector, mainly tea, coffee, and fresh flowers. Tourism and the service industry also contribute significantly to the economy. Kenya is part of the East Africa Community Trade Bloc.
Kenya's geography is diverse, featuring a variety of landscapes. It is bordered by the Indian Ocean to the southeast, offering beautiful coastal retreats. The country is characterized by acacia-studded savannas, semi-desert Rift Valley, and flamingo-filled lakes. The iconic sight of elephants crossing grasslands with Mt Kilimanjaro as a backdrop is well-known.
The climate in Kenya varies across different regions. Western Kenya experiences rainfall throughout the year, with April being the heaviest and January being the driest. Temperatures range from 14-18°C to 30-36°C. Coastal areas have a humid climate, with rainfall ranging from 20mm in February to around 300mm in May. Northern and eastern Kenya have higher temperatures, ranging from 20°C at night to 40°C during the day. Rainfall is sparse, often occurring as thunderstorms, with November being the wettest month and July the driest.
The best times to visit Kenya are generally between December and March, and from June to October, but regional variations and climate change should be taken into consideration.
Kenya is known for its rich biodiversity and diverse wildlife. It is renowned for Big Five sightings, including elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion, and leopard. The country is home to over 400 recorded species of mammals. Other large mammals found in Kenya include giraffe, hippo, and various antelope species. Predators such as cheetah, spotted hyena, and African wildcat can also be spotted. The plains are inhabited by giraffe, zebra, warthog, wildebeest, and gazelle.
Kenya is a bird-watching paradise, with over 1,089 different bird species recorded, including the spectacular flamingos that gather in the lakes of the Great Rift Valley. The country offers excellent birding opportunities, with sightings of sunbirds, starlings, birds of prey, and many more.
Endangered species in Kenya include black rhino, wild dog, Grevy's zebra, and Tana River Mangabey.
The country has implemented conservancies to protect its wildlife and habitats.
Kenya's economy is the largest in central and eastern Africa. It is classified as a lower-middle-income economy. The largest sector in Kenya is agriculture, with tea and coffee being traditional crops. The export of fresh flowers has also emerged as a significant industry. Tourism and the service sector contribute to the economy as well, with Kenya being a popular destination for wildlife safaris, beach vacations, and cultural experiences. Nairobi serves as the main commercial hub of the country.
Kenya is home to diverse ethnic groups, each with its own unique culture and traditions. The Maasai and Samburu tribes are well-known for their distinct way of life and colourful attire. Kenyan culture is vibrant and reflects a blend of indigenous traditions, colonial influences, and modern developments. Music and dance play an essential role in the cultural expressions of various communities.
Swahili and English are the official languages, but numerous indigenous languages are also spoken. Kenyans are known for their warm hospitality and welcoming nature.
Kenya offers a wide range of tourist attractions. The Maasai Mara Reserve is famous for its annual wildebeest migration, a remarkable natural spectacle. Mount Kilimanjaro provides a stunning backdrop for wildlife sightings. The Great Rift Valley is home to numerous lakes, including Lake Nakuru and Lake Naivasha, which attract a vast number of flamingos. The coastal region offers beautiful beaches and marine wildlife parks. Other notable attractions include Amboseli National Park, Tsavo National Park, and the historical town of Lamu.
When planning a trip to Kenya, it is important to consider the timing and climate. The best time for birding is between September and April when migratory birds are present. For game viewing, the dry months from June to October are ideal, with the wildebeest migration occurring in August and September. However, traveling in the low season can bring fewer crowds and potentially lower prices. It is advisable to pre-plan the trip and check for any lodge closures during the rainy season.
Kenya has a diverse geography, leading to regional variations in climate. Western Kenya receives rainfall throughout the year, while coastal areas experience monsoons from October to April. Northern and eastern Kenya have higher temperatures and sporadic rainfall.
It is recommended to organize tours in advance, considering options such as overland safaris, smaller group tours, or fly-in safaris. While public transport is available, it may be limited in certain areas. Self-drive tours are not recommended due to challenging road conditions and other factors.
For a safari in Kenya, it is recommended to pack neutral-coloured casual clothing such as shorts, long trousers, and shirts/t-shirts for everyday wear. Bright colours or white are not suitable for game viewing. Sturdy shoes with thick soles to protect against thorns and for walking are essential. In addition, pack a light jacket or jumper for summer, a warm jumper and jacket for winter, and a light spray jacket during the rainy season. In towns and cities, normal clothing attire is appropriate. Other items to pack include a sunhat, nightwear, underwear, socks, sandals, swimwear, scarf/gloves, beanie/warm hat for winter months, and thermals for winter conditions.
The electricity voltage in Kenya is 240 volts, and the frequency is 50 Hz. Kenya uses the Type G electrical outlets, which have three rectangular pins. If your electrical appliances use a different type of plug, you will need a plug adapter. It's important to check the voltage requirements of your appliances before plugging them in. If they operate on a different voltage, you may need a voltage converter or transformer to use them safely in Kenya.
Comprehensive travel insurance is essential when visiting Kenya. It should include full medical cover, emergency repatriation to your home country, and coverage for cancellation, loss, damage, theft of personal belongings, as well as personal injury, accidents, or illness. It is important to arrange appropriate insurance and understand the terms and conditions of the policy. Carry your insurance details with you at all times and provide the details before arrival. It may be required to show your insurance on the morning of safari departure or complete an indemnity form.