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.

Most parts of the country experience two rainy seasons: the ‘long rains’ falling between April and June, and the ‘short rains’ between November and mid December. The rain tends to fall mainly at night and is usually a short and heavy tropical downpour. In the winter months of June, July and August, it gets cold at night, especially in the highlands north of Nairobi. Don’t forget to bring a warm jacket for early morning game drives.

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 excellent time for your safari. 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. The best months to visit Kenya’s beaches are between December and 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.

Borana Lodge

Borana Lodge is world-renowned as being at the forefront of Kenya’s wildlife conservation efforts. Located at the heart of 32,000 acre Borana Conservancy, Kenya’s newest and most successful rhino sanctuary, Borana Lodge lies at the foot of Mount Kenya, with an organic design and panoramic views over the Samangua Valley Plateau.

take me to Borana Lodge

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.

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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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Elsa’s Kopje

Named after the lioness made famous by George and Joy Adamson’s biographical book and film “Born Free”, Elsa’s Kopje is found in remote and rugged Meru National Park in Northern Kenya.  Unashamedly romantic and beautifully styled, Elsa’s Kopje is sculpted into Mughwango Hill, above the site of the Adamson’s original camp and it was from here that Elsa was finally released into the wild.

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Giraffe Manor

Located in the leafy suburbs of Langata on a 140 acre sanctuary, Giraffe Manor offers a unique opportunity to meet the resident giraffe, all of whom are of the endangered Rothschild’s species. Close up encounters with the semi-habituated giraffe as they put their heads through the windows at breakfast creates an unforgettable memory for guests.

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Hemingways Watamu

Hemingways Watamu 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.

take me to Hemingways Watamu

House in The Wild

Perched on the bank of the Mara River, House in the Wild is tucked away within the award winning Enonkishu Conservancy bordering the Masai Mara Reserve. With five guest cottages, beautiful lawns and a freeform swimming pool, House in the Wild offers the warmth and rustic charm of a family lodge, with all the home comforts you could ask for.

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Karisia Walking Safaris

Karisia Walking Safaris specialises in comfortable walking safaris, supported by camels to carry all the camping equipment and luggage. Based in eastern Laikipia, Karisia allow you to explore untouched parts of Kenya’s Laikipia Plateau only accessible on foot and offers a unique perspective on not just the animals but the land they live in.

take me to Karisia Walking Safaris

Kinondu Kwetu

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.

take me to Kinondu Kwetu

Lengishu

Lengishu is a stunning exclusive-use family home on the pioneering Borana Conservancy in Northern Kenya. For varied adventures including tracking rhino on foot – Lengishu has it all! Perched on a ridge with views across the Laikipia plains and deep into the Northern Frontier, Lengishu is made up of a main house, pool house and four separate cottages, creating a superb private retreat for up to 12 people.

take me to Lengishu

Lewa House

Located at the centre of the renowned Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Lewa House is set on top of a hill with extensive views over gentle rolling hills with Mount Kenya to the south and the rugged Mathews Range and the sacred mountain of Ol Olokwe to the north. Owner-operated with only 10 rooms, Lewa House is an charming intimate lodge, perfect for the seasoned safari connoisseur or first time safari goer.

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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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Manda Bay

Manda Bay is a rustic beach hideaway found on an idyllic island within Kenya’s Lamu Archipelago. Accessed only by speedboat, Manda Bay lies on the remote north western tip of Manda Island, on the Kenyan coast. This friendly owner-run lodge offers wonderful beach front accommodation, informal pampering and barefoot luxury, superbly combining the bush and beach experience.

take me to Manda Bay

Offbeat Mara Camp

With exceptional game viewing and a small, friendly team running this camp to the highest of standards, Offbeat Mara camp 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 Camp

Ol Donyo Lodge

Ol Donyo Lodge is set on the Maasai-owned Mbirikani Group Ranch, comprising of 275,000 acres of wilderness bordering the Chyulu Hills National Park. With majestic Mount Kilimanjaro in the distance, this 16 bed luxury lodge is one of only two Relais & Chateaux properties found in Kenya, a harmonious blend of contemporary and rustic, merging the landscape into each fabulous pool suite.

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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

Richard’s River Camp

Perfect for the discerning traveller, Richard’s River Camp is a luxury tented camp in the very heart of the Masai Mara. Designed with privacy, exclusivity as well as adventure in mind, you are ensured a warm and memorable safari.

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Sarara Camp

Sarara Camp is a romantic tented camp found within the vast Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy in the southern corner of the Mathews Mountain Range. This remote and dramatic landscape in Northern Kenya is also home to the Samburu people whose age-old traditions, including the famed Singing Wells, are as much a part of the fabric here as the wildlife.

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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.

take me to Saruni Samburu

Sasaab

Sasaab is perched on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River in the Samburu heartlands of Northern Kenya. A stunning blend of Swahili and Moroccan design, this luxury lodge has a focus on wellbeing, and offers nine thatch and canvas suites. Each suite is over 100m² in size, with a private plunge pool and breath-taking views over the river, ideal for watching the herds of elephant that come to bathe below.

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Serian ‘The Original’

Serian perfectly captures the essence of its name: meaning ‘peaceful, calm, serene’ in the Maasai language. Designed to be a retreat from the bustle of contemporary life, Serian offers a chance to experience untamed Africa in traditional tented splendour. 

take me to Serian ‘The Original’

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

Sosian

Located in the Laikipa region, Sosian is a working cattle ranch which thrives alongside wildlife and conservation practises. At the heart of the ranch stands Sosian Lodge an elegant yet informal retreat, offering a friendly home-from-home atmosphere.

take me to Sosian

The Emakoko

The Emakoko is a luxury lodge artfully built into the side of a valley on the Mbagathi River, bordering Nairobi National Park. Within 30 minutes of clearing customs at Nairobi JKI Airport, you can fall asleep to the sounds of Africa, a lion roaring or the cry of a lone hyena, an amazing contrast to the normal sounds of the city.

take me to The Emakoko

Wazi Dubu

Located on one of the world’s most private beaches, the breath-taking Wazi Dubu is the southern-most property on Kizingoni Beach, part of the Lamu Archipelago just off the Kenya Coast.

take me to Wazi Dubu

Get in touch with us now to start planning your journey

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