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Kenya, the heart of the former British East Africa, was the setting for the books and films “Born Free,” “Out of Africa” and many others that have inspired countless Westerners to want to visit Africa and experience a safari for themselves. If you’re one of them, Kenya may be the right country for you.
Its modern capital, Nairobi, provides a good transition when flying in and out, but the real action is in the savannahs and valleys of the south, the semi-arid deserts of the north, and the 300-mile-long Indian Ocean coast to the east, with its lovely beaches and intriguing Swahili culture.
Kenya is diverse: scattered among the most populous native tribespeople (such as Kikuyu, Luo, Meru, Samburu), you’ll find red-robed Masai warriors in the far south, black-robed Muslim women on Lamu Island, merchants from China and east India along the coast, British expats in Nairobi, global archaeologists and anthropologists out in the field, and, nearly everywhere, visitors from around the world who come to view and photograph some of the most remarkable wildlife on earth.
If you book with an experienced safari operator, you can expect to see all or most of these creatures in their natural settings: lions, elephants, giraffes, Cape buffalo, rhinos (both white and black), hippos, leopards, cheetahs, zebras, wildebeest, hyenas, warthogs, ostriches, flamingos, and many more.
While it’s not necessary to visit a half-dozen different game parks to see most of the animals you want to see, tours that take you to several distinct parts of this fascinating country have the advantage of allowing you to drink in views of some of the most extraordinary landscapes on earth. The volcanic, lake-pocked Rift Valley, the vast sprawling savannahs, the red-tinged soils and desert sands of the interior, the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean – all combine to create magical backdrops that are doubly enhanced by glimpses of giraffes loping by the roadway or the sounds of elephants marching and trumpeting in the distance.
While most everyone would like to be in Kenya in late summer and early fall for the Great Migration of wildebeest, zebras and Thomson’s gazelles racing north from Tanzania’s Serengeti Plains into Maasai Mara National Reserve, don’t overlook the quieter pleasures of game-viewing at Meru National Park or Samburu National Reserve in northern Kenya, or the wide-open spaces of vast Tsavo East and West national parks to the south.
The January-February dry season is ideal for these parks, but even during the spring rainy season game viewing can be productive and rewarding, especially in the hands of expert guides. To help you find those guides, Stride offers an ever-expanding list of reputable safari tour operators who respect the environment and know how to find the animals and the best angles for photographing them.
With a wide selection available, you’re sure to find the right Kenyan safari to suit your level of adventurousness and budget. And before you know it, you’ll be starring in your own production of “Into Africa.”
Masai Mara National Park, Swahili cultures, Meru National Park, Samburu National Park & many more.
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