Bounteous wildlife and bead-clad tribes people; gourmet bush dining under a canopy of trees, the silver cutlery and white linen gleaming in the moonlight. Kenya holds unforgettable sights and surprises at every turn. To the south, elephants traverse Amboseli National Park in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro, a dry and dusty land dappled with swamplands to attract nature’s giants, the early light of dawn turning the snow on the peaks into an ethereal pink.
Unspoilt tropical beaches stretch along a glorious coastline, with miles of coral reef that, when the tide is low enough, can be reached across the sand. Lush plantations of banana, sugarcane, coconut, sisal and cashew nut cover the verdant coastal strip, nurtured by equatorial rains. Inland lie the wondrous sights of the Great Rift Valley and the Masai Mara Game Reserve where wildebeest and zebra mass for the Great Migration. In turn, the predators gather – lion and hyena scenting their prey. The scene creates one of the greatest wildlife shows on earth.
More natural wonder awaits on nearby Lake Nakuru, the giraffe, rhino, waterbuck and tree-climbing lions taking second place to the pink explosion of over a million flamingos dotting the soda lake’s surface. To the country’s north, Mount Kenya rises majestically to the only peak where snow is found on the equator, brooding above an array of scenery from vast open savannah in Samburu to the dry plains and kopjes of Shaba National Reserve. Nature in the raw, viewed best from captivating wilderness camps topped by decadent Kenyan skies assuring endless memories and authentic luxury Kenya holiday experiences.
January to March is hot and dry with the long rains usually falling from April to early June. Between June and October it is warm and dry during the day but cold at night. The migration usually arrives in the Mara from July with river crossings from Tanzania generally taking place between July and September. The herds rest in Kenya before crossing back to Tanzania in October/November. Kenya’s coast enjoys a tropical climate – April to June can be humid, tempered by monsoon winds. Nairobi is pleasant year round due to its altitude.
With its diversity of natural habitats, it is small wonder that Kenya boasts a bountiful array of wildlife and more than a thousand species of birds. The Great Migration is, of course, the main act of this spectacular show, when the migrating wildebeest and zebra thunder across the Masai Mara National Reserve in their millions, attended closely by predators including lions, cheetahs, hyenas and leopards. For a unique perspective on the migration – one of the Seven New Wonders of the World – go up in a hot air balloon, departing in the early morning and followed by a Champagne breakfast in the savannah with crystal glassware, crisp linen and a chef on hand. Dining in the bush is also a special treat, be it a simple picnic by a hippo-strewn river, ‘Out of Africa’ sundowners on a kopje high above the plains or a romantic candlelit feast to the accompaniment of fine wines and the sound of lions roaring in the distance.
Spend a night or two in Nairobi and take time to adopt an orphaned elephant at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Foster parents receive regular news of their adopted orphan. Further exciting wildlife encounters await at Nairobi’s Giraffe Manor where guests can have close encounters with these majestic mammals as they visit the Manor throughout the day or take a stroll across the lawns to the AFEW Giraffe Centre just next door.
Barefoot luxury is the order of the day on the unspoilt beaches that line the coast, with miles of coral reef that can be reached across the sand when the tide is low. In the Mombasa National Marine Park the reefs teem with iridescent fish. Snorkel, dive or try your hand at windsurfing, kite surfing, water-skiing or wakeboarding. Anglers will enjoy the challenges of the excellent deep sea fishing or fly fishing in Watamu, one of the best areas in the world for catching black marlin and sailfish. Saddle up for a refreshing gallop along the beach, take a picnic to a remote sandbank, go mountain biking through the coastal forest or join a sunset dhow cruise to spot local dolphins.
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