Kenya

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Kenya

Kenya is widely regarded as the home of the safari. Steeped in tradition and fame it was Ernest Hemingway who immortalised the safari experience (although sporting and not photographic), and Joy Adamson was among the group of expatriates in the 1960s and 1970s whose endeavours to conserve African wildlife captured the world’s attention. The writings of Karen Blixen, and the adaptation of her classic book “Out of Africa” into a motion picture helped establish Kenya as the great iconic safari destination of the modern era.

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One-tenth of all land in Kenya is designated as National Parks and reserves, the most famous being the Masai Mara, which annually sees the magnificent migration of more than one million wildebeest and zebra from neighbouring Tanzania.

Within Kenya’s borders you will find savannahs rich with big game, timeless cultures unchanged by the modern world, soft white coral beaches lapped by the Indian Ocean, equatorial forests and mighty snow-capped mountains, searing deserts and cool highland retreats. All offer endless opportunities for adventure, discovery and relaxation…

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Quick Facts

Capital
Nairobi, 3.134 million

Population
48.46 million

Area
580,367 sq km (224, 081 square miles)

Major Languages
English (official), Swahili

Major religion
Christianity, indigenous beliefs

Monetary Unit
Kenyan Shilling

Flight time from London
8.5 hours direct

Time Difference 
GMT + 3

When to go
Kenya’s climate varies across the country from the tropical humidity of the coast, the dry heat of the savannah or the semi-arid areas and the cool air of the highlands.

Temperatures in these areas are fairly constant year round with an average of 27°C (80°F) at the coast, 21°C to 27°C (70°F to 80°F) in the hinterland, whilst in Nairobi and in the highlands over 5,000 ft, the daytime temperatures normally range between 19°C and 24°C (66°F to 75°F).

Most parts of the country experience two rainy seasons: the ‘long rains’ falling over a ten week period between April and June, and the ‘short rains’ over a five week period between November and December. The rain tends to fall mainly at night and is usually a short and heavy tropical downpour. In the highland areas north of Nairobi it may get chilly at night or in the early mornings – especially June, July, August when temperatures are cooler.

Between July and October the great wildebeest migration arrives into the Masai Mara from the Serengeti as the herds seek out the lush new green grass. Often to be reputed as the greatest wildlife show on earth this is the best time to do a safari. Sadly it is not the best time to combine beach with bush as during these the months the onshore monsoon blows a lot of seaweed onto the beach and so it isn’t ideal. To visit the coast the best months are therefore in Kenya’s summer between December and the end of March.

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Highlights

The Laikipia Plateau

Lying on the edge of Northern Frontier, the Laikipia Plateau stretches from the slopes of snow-capped Mt Kenya to the rim of the Great Rift Valley.
Laikipia boasts one of the largest elephant populations in East Africa (over 3,000) and is one of the last strongholds of the endangered Black Rhino. Despite its scattered mosaic of farms and cattle ranches, it is essentially still a wilderness, a wildlife refuge supporting huge numbers of game.

Compared to game reserves such as the Masai Mara, Laikipia remains relatively undiscovered to tourists and it is also the only part of Kenya in which wildlife numbers have actually increased over the past 20 years. However, it is slowly gaining recognition and offers some of the most luxurious and exclusive safari lodges in Africa.

With more mammals than anywhere else in East Africa, Laikipia is home to some of the biggest herds of elephant outside the Tsavo National Parks and is the only place to view the endangered Jackson’s Hartebeest and Kenya’s Black Rhino. Other game includes lion, cheetah, wild dog, impala, gazelle, reticulated giraffe, Grevy’s zebra and the elusive leopard.

The Masai Mara

Renowned for the abundance of lion, the Great Wildebeest Migration and the Maasai people, well known for their distinctive custom and dress, the Masai Mara is without a doubt Africa’s most famous safari destination.

In effect an extension of the northern plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania (for the border dissects the two), open savannahs, rolling grasslands and undulating hills sets the scene for spectacular game viewing.

The famous annual migration of over two million wildebeest, zebra and gazelle is one of the greatest natural spectacles on the planet. From June to mid-November witness the arrival of millions of wildebeest and zebra drawn to the sweet, lush grass raised by the long rains of April and May. Ravening packs of predators, especially hyena and lion, follow the herds whilst cunning crocodiles lie in wait to ambush the migration as it crosses the swirling muddy waters of the Mara and Talek rivers.

Whilst the eyes feast on the spectacle of plains teeming with game, the air carries the smells, the dust and the sounds of hundreds of thousands of animals.

It is however not just during the months of the migration when safari enthusiasts should visit the Masai Mara for there is an abundance of resident game all year round.

Whether it be on foot, by vehicle or floating silently above the savannah in a hot air balloon, first class wildlife viewing is always guaranteed.

The Kenyan Coast

The Kenyan coast is lined with pristine white sand beaches fringing the warm inviting waters of the Indian Ocean. Here the wilderness meets the sea, and the ocean itself holds a world of spectacular coral reefs teeming with life and colour.
The coast is a place with a long and exotic history, its calm blue waters the traditional passage of the Arabian Spice Trade. Along the length of this coast, Arab and Portuguese forts, Old Towns and the overgrown, deserted ruins of Swahili outposts bear witness to this fascinating history. In the winding medieval streets and bustling markets of Lamu and Mombasa Old Town, life has continued unhurried and unchanged for more than 400 years.

Lamu itself is the very root of Swahili culture in East Africa, which centuries ago spread down the coast from the north. When the Sultan of Oman moved from Lamu to Zanzibar Island – further south – Lamu lay dormant, forgotten for three hundred years. There is only one car on the island and the donkey and the dhow remain the dominant form of transport. The narrow streets of the old town are very much as they were in his day Lamu island itself is a beautiful place of rolling dunes and endless beaches, where tiny villages nestle among coconut and mango plantations.

Further south powder white beaches lead to offshore reefs which are alive with coral, myriad fish, sea turtles and dolphins. Both outer and inner reef walls offer world class diving with spectacular coral gardens and drop offs whilst Kenya’s deeper waters are internationally renowned for its Deep Sea Fishing with marlin and sailfish the big attractions.

The Laikipia Plateau

Lying on the edge of Northern Frontier, the Laikipia Plateau stretches from the slopes of snow-capped Mt Kenya to the rim of the Great Rift Valley.
Laikipia boasts one of the largest elephant populations in East Africa (over 3,000) and is one of the last strongholds of the endangered Black Rhino. Despite its scattered mosaic of farms and cattle ranches, it is essentially still a wilderness, a wildlife refuge supporting huge numbers of game.

Compared to game reserves such as the Masai Mara, Laikipia remains relatively undiscovered to tourists and it is also the only part of Kenya in which wildlife numbers have actually increased over the past 20 years. However, it is slowly gaining recognition and offers some of the most luxurious and exclusive safari lodges in Africa.

With more mammals than anywhere else in East Africa, Laikipia is home to some of the biggest herds of elephant outside the Tsavo National Parks and is the only place to view the endangered Jackson’s Hartebeest and Kenya’s Black Rhino. Other game includes lion, cheetah, wild dog, impala, gazelle, reticulated giraffe, Grevy’s zebra and the elusive leopard.

The Masai Mara

Renowned for the abundance of lion, the Great Wildebeest Migration and the Maasai people, well known for their distinctive custom and dress, the Masai Mara is without a doubt Africa’s most famous safari destination.

In effect an extension of the northern plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania (for the border dissects the two), open savannahs, rolling grasslands and undulating hills sets the scene for spectacular game viewing.

The famous annual migration of over two million wildebeest, zebra and gazelle is one of the greatest natural spectacles on the planet. From June to mid-November witness the arrival of millions of wildebeest and zebra drawn to the sweet, lush grass raised by the long rains of April and May. Ravening packs of predators, especially hyena and lion, follow the herds whilst cunning crocodiles lie in wait to ambush the migration as it crosses the swirling muddy waters of the Mara and Talek rivers.

Whilst the eyes feast on the spectacle of plains teeming with game, the air carries the smells, the dust and the sounds of hundreds of thousands of animals.

It is however not just during the months of the migration when safari enthusiasts should visit the Masai Mara for there is an abundance of resident game all year round.

Whether it be on foot, by vehicle or floating silently above the savannah in a hot air balloon, first class wildlife viewing is always guaranteed.

The Kenyan Coast

The Kenyan coast is lined with pristine white sand beaches fringing the warm inviting waters of the Indian Ocean. Here the wilderness meets the sea, and the ocean itself holds a world of spectacular coral reefs teeming with life and colour.
The coast is a place with a long and exotic history, its calm blue waters the traditional passage of the Arabian Spice Trade. Along the length of this coast, Arab and Portuguese forts, Old Towns and the overgrown, deserted ruins of Swahili outposts bear witness to this fascinating history. In the winding medieval streets and bustling markets of Lamu and Mombasa Old Town, life has continued unhurried and unchanged for more than 400 years.

Lamu itself is the very root of Swahili culture in East Africa, which centuries ago spread down the coast from the north. When the Sultan of Oman moved from Lamu to Zanzibar Island – further south – Lamu lay dormant, forgotten for three hundred years. There is only one car on the island and the donkey and the dhow remain the dominant form of transport. The narrow streets of the old town are very much as they were in his day Lamu island itself is a beautiful place of rolling dunes and endless beaches, where tiny villages nestle among coconut and mango plantations.

Further south powder white beaches lead to offshore reefs which are alive with coral, myriad fish, sea turtles and dolphins. Both outer and inner reef walls offer world class diving with spectacular coral gardens and drop offs whilst Kenya’s deeper waters are internationally renowned for its Deep Sea Fishing with marlin and sailfish the big attractions.

Where to stay

These are just a selection of the properties we can personally recommend. Please get in touch to hear more about our full portfolio.

Cottar’s Camp

Extending an era of luxury and quality, Cottar’s returns to the original spirit and essence of ‘safari’, reminiscent of a golden era – an era of romance, professional guiding, adventure and elegance. Situated in an untouched exclusive concession, the camp and the area guarantee privacy and an abundance of wildlife.

take me to Cottar’s Camp

Cottar’s Bush Villa

Cottar’s Bush Villa is an exclusive Mara homestead, based at the award-winning Cottar’s 1920’s Safari Camp in Kenya, East Africa. The homestead borders the latest addition to the 7 Wonders of the World,The Maasai Mara National Reserve and, is also one kilometre from the Tanzania Serengeti game reserve.

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Hemingways Resort

Hemingways Resort lies within the Watamu Marine National Park, approximately 90 miles north of Mombasa. The ambience of the hotel is one of relaxed sophistication with the friendliness of a privately-owned hotel matched by the facilities and standards of an international resort.

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Kinondu Kwetu

An hour and a half south of bustling Mombasa, Kinondo Kwetu’s secluded position means that its beach and adjoining gardens are utterly private. After bathing in the sea, you can completely relax in the hotel’s grounds and two pools, beneath the shade of towering baobab and palm trees.

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Lewa Wilderness

Lewa Wilderness is one of Kenya’s major private conservation successes as it is one of very few ranches in the world where guests can see a remarkable variety of wildlife, including many endangered animals such as both black and white Rhino species, Grevy’s Zebra and Sitatunga.

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Offbeat Mara

With exceptional game viewing and a small, friendly team running this camp to the highest of standards, Offbeat Mara is exactly what an authentic safari camp should be. Guests have access to the Game Reserve, the Mara River and early morning balloon trips.

take me to Offbeat Mara

Ol Malo

Situated on the northern edge of the Laikipia plateau, Ol Malo is nestled into a rugged escarpment looking out across the time-honored lands of Kenya’s Northern Frontier District. An ancient land inhabited by wildlife and peoples of a time long ago, undisturbed and living by the rhythm of nature and as part of this untamed and beautiful landscape is Ol Malo.

take me to Ol Malo

Saruni Samburu

Saruni Samburu Camp is a fabulously innovative hilltop lodge in a huge private conservancy just north of Samburu National Park, in Kenya’s wild north. This is a first-class unrivalled safari experience in a truly untouched and wild part of Kenya.

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Sirikoi

At Sirikoi the spacious living and dining area, infinity swimming pool and veranda deck are set within extensive lawns, scattered acacia trees and overlooking a natural waterhole where wild animals frequently visit to wallow and drink.

take me to Sirikoi

Get in touch with us now to start planning your journey

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