Kenya is the original, the elder statesmen, the mould from which which almost all African travel South of the Sahara has been cast. We’d bet that just saying the word ‘Kenya’ conjures up the kind of classic ‘Out of Africa’ imagery we all grew up with, and if you do it right, a journey to Kenya can deliver the Africa you’ve always imagined.
In A Nutshell
Planning a trip to Kenya requires a great deal of care. Nowhere else in Africa is the line between an unforgettable trip and a forgettable one so slender. For instance, there’s a good chance that if you’ve heard of Kenya, you’ve heard of the Masai Mara. The problem is, so has everyone else. Fortunately if you know where to look (and we like to think we do) you can minimize your exposure to the human herds coming to see the actual herds. Aside from the sheer volume of game in parks like the Mara, Amboseli and Samburu, Kenya is probably the easiest place to combine culture and safari. In areas like the Laikipia Plateau and the Chyulu Hills, nomadic Samburu herdsmen live in relative harmony with the prolific wildlife and conservation is often a locally managed affair. To the north, camel-supported treks can offer something truly unique and the beaches are among the best on the continent’s east coast.
Need To Know
- The main hubs to fly through to get to Nairobi are Amsterdam, London, Johannesburg and Brussels.
- We recommend spending 9-14 days in Kenya, and it pairs well with a trip to Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, or Seychelles.
- This is a great spot for honeymooners, families, and anyone who seeks a cultural element on their trip.
- Visas are required for North Americans and Europeans, but it is easiest to simply purchase on arrival.
- No shots are required for your entry into the country, but you may need anti-malarials depending on the regions you plan to visit. We also suggest you visit a travel health clinic before your departure to make sure you have all the basic vaccinations you need.
- The best way to get around is on small domestic flights, as the road network is not good.
- You will eat well here, but the food in itself is not a reason to visit.
- Most Kenyans speak Swahili and English, so you should have no trouble with language.
- We continue to send clients to Kenya regularly, but it is important to keep an eye on the overall political situation. It is generally quite safe in the wilderness areas, but with a history of corrupt politicians and frustrated populations, current knowledge is the best thing to have on your side.
When To Go
Kenya has distinct areas that are best in different seasons. From December through March the plains are lush and full of wildlife, so it’s a great time to visit. The migration in the Maasai Mara is amazing from late July through to October, the coast is perfect for a Christmas stay, and the plateau highlands are best from May through to September.
The tourism industry in Kenya developed early, which means there are two different levels of accommodations in the country. The older, first iteration of hotels are packed closely together, and tend to be 3-star spots. There’s a new breed of hotels cropping up right now, however, which are set away from the crowds and top of the heap in terms of service and design. Staff in the lodges is usually made up of Samburu people in traditional dress, and the decor is Afro-chic: tribal style with lots of colour, flourish and texture.
See the Herds—The best way to see the amazing game that gathers in the Masai Mara National Reserve is to avoid the crowds; base yourself in one of the private conservancies bordering the region.
Horseback Riding—There are many unusual ways to go on safari instead of sticking to the standard vehicles. One of the most interesting is by horseback, and it's how we recommend you see the Chyulu Hills and explore Amboseli National Park.
The Samburu in Laikipia—Walking is the name of game and being on foot with the Samburu is the best way to immerse yourself in their way of life and to the see the bush through their eyes.
Beach Time in Lamu—You can party with the locals in Shale town before moving on to long, empty stretches of pristine beaches away from the crowds.
Fly Fishing in the Lakes of Mt. Kenya—Jump on a helicopter and fly up to mountain lakes that would be otherwise inaccessible. Here you can practice your casting against the backdrop of some of the most staggering views in Kenya.
Flying pigs - take the doors off a helicopter and fly up the incredible rift valley to the shores of Lake Turkana
What They Say
We just wanted to thank you for a fantastic, fabulous, glorious trip that you put together for us. Everything was perfect—the drivers were there on time, the hotels were unbelievable, the transfers were smooth, the restaurants were fantastic, the tour guides were informative and knowledgeable.
— Karen B., September 2011
Kenya On The Sounder
1000-2500 USD per person, per day. This typically includes all hotels, regional flights, ground transfers, guided excursions, some meals, and Trufflepig trip planning services and support. The season you choose for your safari can have a bearing on the price of your trip and traveling in low season can potentially reduce the cost per night of the camps and lodges you stay in by 10 - 20%.