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Top Trip Memories

  • Witnessing the annual migration of more than a million wildebeest, zebras and gazelles across the swift-flowing Mara River, where hungry predators lie in wait.
  • Searching for big game in Amboseli National Park, with Tanzania’s Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, rising majestically in the background.
  • Waking to the rising sun in a game lodge with views of giraffes, zebras and wildebeests sipping water at an oasis just outside your window.
  • Encountering Maasai tribesmen in Maasai Mara dressed in traditional red cloaks herding their cattle as wildlife roam nearby.
  • Watching a leopard in Samburu Game Reserve resting on a tree branch after killing an impala – whose carcass has been stashed on a lower branch.
  • Gliding in a hot air balloon over the Rift Valley, home to a series of lakes that attract a wealth of large mammals.
  • Snapping the perfect photo of a lion springing after a warthog in the savannah.
  • Birding at Lake Nakuru National Park, home to a million flamingos, among 450 bird species.
  • Exploring the bustling city of Mombasa on the Indian Ocean, then relaxing on one of its nearby white sand beaches overlooking turquoise waters.
  • Taking a dhow ride through the mangrove swamps on the exotic Indian Ocean island of Lamu, an enclave of Islamic Swahili culture.
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Tour Tips

  • Amboseli and Maasai Mara are perhaps the two most accessible game parks in Kenya, relatively small, near to each other, and loaded with wildlife.
  • For tours to Great Migration in Maasai Mara, July-September is the time to go -- but expect lots of other visitors then, so book well in advance.
  • For fewer crowds, look for tours going to Meru National Park or Samburu National Reserve in northern Kenya, or the huge Tsavo East and West national parks..
  • The dry season (January and February into March) is an excellent time to view wildlife because that’s when animals gather at watering holes.
  • While high season in Kenya runs from January through September, springtime can bring heavy rains, occasionally making roads impassable and forcing some lodges to close.
  • When choosing a tour operator, consider the types of lodging offered, which can range from luxurious lodges to tent camping.
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Kenya Travel Reviews & Ratings

4.7 out of 5

99%

recommend

416 Reviews

  • Excellent 327
  • Great 75
  • Average 11
  • Disappointing 2
  • Terrible 1

Rating Details

  • Value
    4.7
  • Guide
    4.7
  • Activities
    4.7
  • Lodging
    4.7
  • Transportation
    4.7
  • Meals
    4.7

Tour Reviews

Kenya Wildlife with Tanzania Ext.

Kenya Wildlife Safari

5.0
November 2016
SmarTours
Recommend: Yes
This is a trip not to be missed! We took this journey in July 2016. Our group totaled only 6 and we had a wonderful time traveling together. Our guide, Abraham was wonderful and took excellent care of us. The wildlife was abundant and our guide knew just when and where to spot the animals. The accommodations on this trip were very good to excellent. The meals were mostly buffet and had good variety. Each of the hotels/lodges we stayed at had something special or unique about the location or building. This was our second SmarTours trip and it lived up to the expectations set after the first one! We were so pleased with our experience that we are looking at another SmarTours trip to a different region of Africa for next year.
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1.0
August 2016
SmarTours
Recommend: No
I recently returned from a G Adventures tours in eastern and southern Africa. When booking the trip, I was unable to find much information online at the time so I wrote this letter to my past self.

Dear Past Self,

You’re thinking about doing an overland tour of Africa? That sounds great. You’ll get to see plenty of animals, beautiful scenery, and maybe meet some locals. You could travel independently, choose a handful of places and fly between them, or you could do an overland tour. Both will probably end up being the same price. But the overland tour means you’ll get to travel with other people and see more of the scenery, even if it’s mostly through a bus window. Overlanding also means camping and very basic camp food (think tomato sauce pasta).

There are plenty of overlanding tour companies. Options include Intrepid, Africa Travel Company, Nomads and of course G. They are all quite similar, the itineraries are basically the same, and the buses follow each other. Though remember that G has only 2 guides when most others have 3, meaning your guide is often too busy to actually guide you.

You’re probably going to choose G, but here are some other things you probably would have liked to have known:

(1) Don’t expect your tour to reflect the G web site itinerary. Just because a place is listed doesn’t mean you’ll actually get to see it. Most of the time you’ll be camping on the edge of town with no transport to the town. Oh, and on average, double the number of hours of travel per day compared to what is provided in the itinerary (the drivers will even say that the times listed in the itinerary are misleading). Also: the itinerary for the ‘Zanzibar Upgrade’ (on Serengeti – Zanzibar or vice-versa) is exceptionally misleading: you only get an extra evening in Stone Town, not an extra full day, plus plenty of waiting around for the group to arrive the next morning (and, in reality, that bus driving day is not the longest travel day on that tour).

(2) Your trip experience will depend on your group and tour guide. Obviously you have no control over the group: though with G on YOLO expect younger people since there is an age limit. (Nomads is older.) The tour guide will make or break the trip. Most of the G guides in Africa will do things their own way. Some won’t provide meals which are meant to be provided, or will just provide a few dollars for you to buy snacks instead of meals. (On the Serengeti, expect 2 meals per day.) Other guides are improperly trained around group dynamics or health issues. Many will say they will do things, but won’t, and few will take feedback on board. Good luck with that.

(3) The G bus called the Lando is very comfortable. But don’t expect all the bells and whistles advertised. For most of the current tours, the USB charging points, wi-fi, cooler boxes and a/c will not work. You won’t meet a group that has a fully working Lando. Even with that in mind, you’ll find that it is the most comfortable tour bus on the road in Africa.

(4) Budget a lot of extra money for optional activities. A walk or village tour is around US$50. An extra game drive is around $150. If you don’t do optional activities, you’ll be sitting around in the camp site for a few days, often on your own. With all that time on the bus and at isolated camp sites, the trip feels very sedentary. Much less is included in the tour price than you might think (for example, at Victoria Falls entry to see the Falls is not included: you’ll have to pay yourself!)

(5) Don’t expect to be personally accommodated for by your guides. If you’re vegetarian or gluten-free, your guide won’t take you seriously, and it’s likely you’ll be fed animal products or gluten mixed into dishes. Vegetarians will get lots of vegetables and not much else. If you want to book anything in advance, like a hard-to-get-on-to optional tour such as shark diving, your tour guide won’t make that extra effort. You’ll find the G guides do the absolute minimum in Africa.

(6) Finally, G won’t genuinely respond to your feedback. Mentioning things to your guide only goes so far: expect a response like ‘This is Africa’ (TIA), the common excuse from international tour companies when their products on the ground don’t reflect what is promised online. After the tour, from G itself, you’ll get a pro-forma reply (think ‘XXX’ in place of your name). G doesn’t take feedback on board to improve its Africa trips.

Taking an overland tour in Africa is expensive and once you’re on tour it is difficult to leave (though you may hear stories of people leaving G tours early). So how you do your Africa trip is a difficult decision to make. Whichever tour company you choose, you’ll find that Africa is an incredible continent, well worth visiting. However, you’re probably better off trying another company because G Africa is quite lousy.

Regards Future Self
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Amazing as always

Classic Kenya Safari - Premium

4.0
August 2016
SmarTours
Recommend: Yes
This was my fourth time on this trip, and it won't be my last. A wonderful tour and, though small (6) the group was like most Exodus groups and we all got on very well. The accommodation is delightful, expecially Ilkeliani bush camp - the staff at both Elementaita and Ilkeliani are very kind and always pleased to help in any way they can.
The Mara is an inspiration in itself - superb scenery and enormous skies. A photographer's paradise. And then there are the animals...!

Davies is a marvellous group leader - kind, knowledgable, very amusing and really generous with his time. Nothing is too much trouble.

Take the best lens you are able to. You will get amazing opportunities to take great shots.

I hope to do this trip for a fifth time next year. It is amazing!

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Classic Kenya Safari

Classic Kenya Safari - Premium

5.0
August 2016
SmarTours
Recommend: Yes
We had been on several Exodus trips before in Africa and the Caribbean. We didn't have enough spare time for one of the longer trips so chose this one. We expected that the guides would be able to find animals in the parks and give advice, including on birds. They exceeded all expectations and more than once we located Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Hyena, Jackal and Rhino. 194 bird species was exceptional, even though we didn't take a lot of time out specifically for birds.
The two locations are brilliant in different ways. Lake Elementaita Lodge has a resident Spotted Eagle Owl. Ilkeliani has a resident Maasai wildlife expert, including copying bird calls!
Leaving a place with a male lion very close and out in the open, to drive quickly to a female leopard and cub which had just lost a kill to a hyena, that was still eating!

The two guides were exceptional. Very knowledgeable, helpful and humorous.

Take a good camera and some wildlife reference books.

We like to go to different places, but after this trip we are thinking of getting back to this area on the next one!

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Wonderful Safari Experience

Classic Kenya Safari - Premium

4.0
August 2016
SmarTours
Recommend: Yes
A good introduction to wildlife safaris. Good accommodation especially at the camp, and informative and worthwhile game drives.
Seeing and getting so close to a male lion walking along.
Also, seeing my tent for the first time!

Peter and Davis were very knowledgeable guides who went out of their way to accommodate any requests that we had. They also seemed to know exactly where all the animals were!

Take a cooler bag with you as there are no fridges in the rooms, and i couldn't get used to drinking warm water!
Trainers for the nature walks.
Wait until you get to the airport before buying any gifts. The gift shops at the airport are cheaper than the shops or Masai women, I got seriously ripped off! Wait until you get to the airport before you buy any gifts.

Tipping!
You'll need $20/2000KS for each lodge and $20/2000KS for each tour guide. If you do the nature walk at Lake Elementaita it's 100KS tip for the guide Joseph (which is payable when you leave). In total $81 required in tips.
Do not tip as you go, as it's custom to tip at the end of the trip, and tips are shared out amongst staff.

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Top Tour Operators and Travel Companies


Kenya Trips & Tour Advice

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.

Masai and Merchants

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.

The Great Migration

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.”

Related Categories

Continent:

Africa

Local  Attractions:      

Masai Mara National Park, Swahili cultures, Meru National Park, Samburu National Park & many more.

Top Activities:

SafariHikingWildlife Viewing, Game Drive & Photography.

Similar Destinations: 

TanzaniaBotswanaNamibiaZimbabweZambia , Uganda & South Africa.

 

 

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