• What is the Best Safari in Kenya?

    Chris Walker Bush
    January 23, 2020

    Where Can I Have the Best Safari in Kenya?

    When it comes to planning the best safari in Kenya, logistics makes things a little bit confusing.

    Unlike Tanzania, where the entire Northern Circuit can be packed into a five-day itinerary, Kenya's diverse landscapes mean that you'll often be forced to choose between parks. Will you see the red elephants of Tsavo or the Special Five at Samburu.

    In a perfect world, you'll have the time to just visit all of them. We know that isn't always realistic, especially if you're planning a safari on a budget.

    To make the decision easier, we've selected the highlights of each of the major Kenyan national parks. You can mix and match with your safari expert to design the perfect itinerary!

    wildebeest migration masai mara kenya maasai mara

    The Maasai Mara

    No visit to Kenya would be complete without a visit to the world-famous Maasai Mara. Home to the Wildebeest Migration for 3-5 months of the year, the sprawling Maasai Mara is the quintessential safari destination.

    As Kenya's most popular safari destination, the Maasai Mara is home to a huge variety of accommodation. From budget tented camps on the outskirts all the way up to luxury lodges on the Mara River, there truly is something for all budgets.

    Even if you aren't visiting during the Wildebeest Migration (August - October), the Maasai Mara remains one of the best places in the world to spot the Big Five. You might even get lucky and spot African Wild Dogs!

    Private Conservancies

    While the Maasai Mara is a massive park in its own right and has a wealth of accommodation options, those looking for a more luxurious, secluded safari may want to consider the various private conservancies in the area.

    Many of the lodges and camps within these conservancies offer game packages inclusive of game drives, activities, meals, and alcohol. You can even purchase these packaged with flights to and from Nairobi.

    While you'll get an undoubtedly unforgettable luxury experience in such conservancies, it's important to note that even private conservancy guests will need to enter the Maasai Mara proper in order to see a river crossing on the Mara River.

    flamingos lake nakuru lake bogoria kenya

    The Lakes (Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivasha, and Lake Bogoria)

    Often combined with the Maasai Mara due to their placement between Nairobi and the Mara, Naivasha, Bogoria, and Nakuru can be combined into a two night/three-day extension that can add a lot of depth to your trip.

    Lake Nakuru National Park is the only one of the lakes to be a true national park. While it is no longer home to the flamingos that once made it famous, the park is nonetheless an excellent place for a game drive - especially if you're interested in seeing rhinoceroses.

    Remember those world-famous images of massive flocks of flamingos on Lake Nakuru? The flock might have moved on, but it can still be seen in Lake Bogoria. You won't find a lot of big game here, but Lake Bogoria's resident flamingos are a drawcard all of their own.

    Last, but certainly not least, Lake Naivasha is one of Shadows of Africa's favorite places. Overnighting on the shores of Lake Naivasha gives you the chance to take a boat safari and/or a walking safari in nearby Crescent Island Game Sanctuary.

    Hell's Gate National Park

    Located a short drive from most Lake Naivasha hotels, Hell's Gate National Park is a geologically active park with a unique volcanic landscape that is said to have inspired the landscapes in The Lion King.

    With no big game to worry about, Hell's Gate National Park is a terrific place to enjoy a bike ride or hike. You can even go rock climbing here!

    If you're looking for a break from the safari car, a day exploring Hell's Gate is a must.

    amboseli national park mount kilimanjaro kenya tanzania

    Amboseli National Park

    Amboseli National Park is home to the best views of Mount Kilimanjaro you'll find in either country.

    Located on the Kenya-Tanzania border, Amboseli is often used as a bridge between the Tanzanian and Kenyan legs of a safari. Where better to photograph elephants than against the backdrop of the Roof of Africa?

    Even if you aren't visiting Tanzania, it is possible to include Amboseli National Park in a five-day Kenyan itinerary. You can combine it with Lake Nakuru and the Maasai Mara to get a more diverse safari experience.

    Tsavo East & Tsavo West

    Often overlooked due to being a bit more 'out of the way', Tsavo East and Tsavo West lie between Amboseli National Park and the Kenya Coast.

    Combined, Tsavo East and Tsavo West account for 4% of Kenya's total landmass, making them one of the world's largest national parks. While they are home to the Big Five, their isolation and the relative sparsity of wildlife means they aren't recommended for first-time visitors.

    Tsavo West's unique blend of landscapes makes it a surreal place to visit. Extinct volcanoes, swamps, rolling plains, and natural springs combine to create an almost alien environment. While lower wildlife density might be off-putting, world-class birding and the distinctive landscape make it a photographer's dream.

    Neighbouring Tsavo East is semi-arid and can boast better wildlife viewing due to the lack of vegetation. It is here you'll find the famous red elephants of Kenya, whose habit of taking dust baths in the ruddy earth lends them a martian hue.

    If this isn't your first safari or you've got a few extra days, a trip to the twin parks of Tsavo West & Tsavo East can be a great way to add something unique to your trip.

    Samburu National Reserve

    Samburu

    Wild and rugged Samburu is home to Kenya's unique "Special Five". The special five include the reticulated giraffe, Grevy's zebra, Somali ostrich, Beisa Oryx, and Gerenuk. These five animals cannot be seen together anywhere else in the world.

    Samburu is often combined with the Maasai Mara to form a Big Five and Special Five safari. It is ideal for those wanting to get off the beaten track and see something different.

    Buffalo Springs

    Along with nearby Shaba Game Reserve, Buffalo Springs lies in the same ecosystem as Samburu. Boasting the same rugged charm and unique wildlife, it is even more off the beaten track than Samburu.

    Buffalo Springs is usually recommended for those taking an extended safari in the Samburu region, as it does not offer anything that more accessible Samburu doesn't.

    masai people kenya maasai mara

    Ol Pejeta/Sweetwaters

    Ol Pejeta (otherwise known as Sweetwaters) is the ideal inclusion for a family safari in Kenya.

    Part resort and part private reserve, Ol Pejeta Conservancy is home to something for everyone.

    First and foremost, Ol Pejeta is a terrific game-viewing destination. It is home to the highest density of wildlife in Kenya after the Maasai Mara. It is also home to the largest black rhinoceros sanctuary in East Africa. You'll even find two of the last Northern White Rhinoceros in the world here!

    Ol Pejeta is also home to a group of 37 chimpanzees, making it a great place to see our closest living relatives without having to take a trek to Uganda or Rwanda.

    There is also the opportunity to track lions on foot, spot endangered African wild dogs, go hiking or cycling, go horseback riding alongside rhinos, take night game drives, and so much more.

    mount kenya aberdare national park kenya

    Aberdare National Park/Mount Kenya

    An often-overlooked gem in Kenya's north, Aberdare National Park is a heavily forested, mountainous park famous more for its treehouse-style accommodation than wildlife viewing.

    It was here that Queen Elizabeth was vacationing when she became Queen, and the romance of that story still draws tourists to the park. We even offer a Royal Tree safari to recapture that magic.

    The park is technically home to the Big Five but a trip to Aberdare is more about the experience than the quality of game viewing. It offers unparalleled serenity in a unique, mountainous environment not found anywhere else in Kenya.

    Climbing Mount Kenya

    Africa's second-highest mountain isn't quite as famous as Mount Kilimanjaro, but Mount Kenya is worthy of your attention It may even be preferable to Kilimanjaro if you're looking for a more challenging and less crowded experience.

    Climbs range in length from 3-5 days, with different routes offering different levels of difficulty.

    maasai people mombasa kenya coast malindi watamu

    The Kenya Coast

    Zanzibar in Tanzania maybe East Africa's most famous beach destination, but don't sleep on Kenya's coast. There are some who even argue that the beaches of Malindi and Watamu are better than anything you'll find on Zanzibar.

    Accessible by overland transfer (via Tsavo East & West), train, or flights from Nairobi or the Maasai Mara, the Kenyan coast boasts similar white sand beaches and turquoise waters with much more competitive pricing than you'll find on Zanzibar.

    While crowded Mombasa isn't the ideal beach destination, there are gorgeous resorts in nearby Watamu and Malindi made for rest & relaxation.

    Why Choose?

    Of course, if you've got the time and the budget, it's totally possible to visit all of the above parks in a single itinerary.

    Our ten-day Complete Kenya safari visits the lion's share of the above parks, but speak with your Shadows of Africa safari expert about creating an itinerary that covers the width and breadth of Africa.

  • 5 Differences Between Tanzanian and Kenyan Safaris

    Chris Walker Bush
    November 30, 2019
    What are the differences between Tanzanian and Kenyan safaris? We highlight the five biggest differences between the two safari destinations.
  • Things to do in Arusha: Tours & Day Trips from Arusha

    Chris Walker Bush
    November 11, 2019
    Tanzania's safari capital is far more than just a place to overnight before your safari. The home city of Shadows of Africa is a diverse city of cuisines and cultures just begging to be explored.
  • Best safari experience in Tanzania

    Fredrick Mwange
    August 21, 2019

    Something a little different – for the best safari experience in Tanzania

    Graeme and Veronica decided to plan their trip a little differently and concentrate on just the Serengeti and Ngorongoro, allowing a little more time in each place to get the best that they could. With Dickson as their guide, it worked perfectly!

    Staying at Tukaone Camp in the Serengeti, on the Mara River, nailed the wildebeest river crossing for them!

    Moving through to the west of Serengeti Robanda Camp allowed for easy access to the central area of Serengeti and sightings of the cats, including a lioness trying to hunt and a long photographic session with a pair of mating lions.

    A night on the Ngorongoro crater rim allowed for an excursion to the lesser visited, but stunning, Empakai crater, before ending the safari of a lifetime with a full day in the Ngorongoro crater.

    Tanzania can really offer the best of safari experiences. Whatever your plans are, we can make it work for you at Shadows of Africa!

  • How to Spend Two Weeks in Tanzania

    Chris Walker Bush
    August 16, 2019

    How to Spend Two Weeks in Tanzania

    When it comes to experiencing the beauty and majesty of Tanzania, a single week just isn't enough! If you've got two weeks and you're looking for a truly unforgettable African experience, spending two weeks in Tanzania is the perfect way to do it.

    Whether you're seeing wildlife on safari, relaxing on gorgeous beaches, or pushing yourself to the limit with a Mount Kilimanjaro climb, Tanzania really does have something for everybody.

    So, how do you plan a two week trip to Tanzania?

    Don't worry, we've got you covered.

    Week One: Safari

    Unless you've already 'been there, done that', it would be criminal to visit Tanzania for two weeks and not go on safari.

    Regardless of what time of year you're visiting, taking a week to go on safari is always a good idea. While the Serengeti, Ngorongoro, and other Northern Circuit parks are the obvious attraction, repeat visitors will find plenty to amaze them in the often-overlooked Southern Circuit parks such as Selous and Ruaha.

    Shadows of Africa has a number of safaris that fit into a single week. In fact, all of our Wildebeest Migration safaris take just five or six days.

    With a night in Arusha before and after your safari, you have the perfect way to spend a week in Tanzania.

    You can see our full range of Tanzanian safaris on our tours page.

    Week Two: Zanzibar

    The name Zanzibar conjures up images of exotic beauty. It is an island of white sand beaches, turquoise waters, and a charming melting pot of cultures.

    If you've got two weeks in Tanzania planned, taking some time to relax on the picturesque beaches is a great way to unwind after your safari. Heck, you can even start your trip here and then go on safari from Zanzibar!

    While the temptation may be there to spend all of your time on the beaches, the Shadows of Africa strongly recommends also spending some time in Stone Town. It is a great way to learn more about the history of Zanzibar.

    Why not spend a night at Maru Maru or the Park Hyatt, take a guided Stone Town tour, and finish it all with a delicious spice plantation experience?

    You can then head to the beaches of Pongwe, Nungwi, Matemwe, Paje, or wherever tickles your fancy for some oceanfront R&R. Not sure where to go? We've got an amazing guide to Zanzibar beaches to help you make the right choice!

    Alternative: Climbing Kilimanjaro

    Maybe you've been on safari before or you're interested in a shorter safari like our Northern Circuit special.

    Maybe you've got amazing beaches at home and want to try something different.

    Whatever the reason, the other big attraction (pun intended) in Tanzania is Mount Kilimanjaro: Africa's highest mountain.

    Shadows of Africa can arrange climbing packages from the popular Marangu and Machame routes to routes like Umbwe and Lemosho.

    With climbs taking 5-9 days, a Kilimanjaro climb can even be squeezed in between a safari and a Zanzibar escape.

    Planning the Perfect Two Weeks in Tanzania

    Are you trying to plan your trip to Tanzania?

    Why not contact us today and talk to a Shadows of Africa safari expert about how we can plan the perfect two week trip to Tanzania for you.

    Whether it's a two-week safari, a safari/beach escape, or all three - Shadows of Africa has got you covered!

  • What a big baby! What an amazing safari experience!

    Fredrick Mwange
    August 13, 2019

    Sightings like this in Ngorongoro just confirm that in Tanzania you are in the centre of the best safari experience in the world!

    With just two nights on safari, Damaris had chosen Bougainvillea’s two properties; their lodge in Karatu in easy access of the Ngorongoro Crater, and their Thorn Tree camp in Serengeti.

    Guided by Lomayani, they had the most incredible 3 day safari, sighting lion, leopard and leopard cub and cheetah in the Serengeti, and this wonderful large baby elephant demanded some milk from its mother, despite being too large to fit anywhere nearly underneath her!

    Two nights in the right place can be all that you need for the safari of a lifetime. Don’t make it complicated, just book with Shadows of Africa.

  • Lions kill Wildebeest in the Serengeti National Park

    Fredrick Mwange
    August 2, 2019

    What a spectacular safari for Rishi Bagaria and family!

    Two Lioness pulled down a Wildebeest right in front of them, in the middle of the Serengeti!

    Lions kill in the Serengeti

     

    Thirsty lions after a kill in Serengeti

     

    Rishi and his family started at the Maasai Amini lodge between Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt Meru, moving onto their first wildlife encounters in Lake Manyara National Park before heading up and around the Ngorongoro Crater to the lovely Karibu Lions paw camp.

    They spent a day in the crater, returning to Lions paw again before dropping down into the Serengeti, where they spent two full days, overnighting at magnificently comfortable Ole Serai Turner Springs.

    Cheetah and cubs sighted in the Serengeti

     

  • Taking a Lion King Safari in Tanzania and Kenya

    Chris Walker Bush
    July 29, 2019
    Disney's The Lion King has made more and more people curious about Africa. Why not take your own Lion King safari to see the animals in person?
  • Celebrating the Lion King

    Fredrick Mwange
    July 24, 2019

    With so many reliving, or seeing for the first time, the fantastic story of the Lion King, it’s time to celebrate some of its characters.

    We reckon, from the landscapes, that the Lion King story was based in the Serengeti/Ngorongoro ecosystem and even in the famous Ol Karien Gorge.

    Why not come and experience Lion King country for yourself and see some of the films best characters really up close and personal with Shadows of Africa.

    The lions, obviously, are a must; Simba, Nala, Mufasa, Sarabi and Scar. Interestingly, and what you might not realise when watching them laze in the sun, is that male lions are highly competitive, and are well known to practice infanticide if they take over a pride of females that have young cubs, ensuring that their genes, and not another’s, are passed onto the next generation.

    And then there’s those terrible cackling hyena. Wonderful to see in the wild and additionally one of the most fascinating species, spotted hyena are the most social of all the carnivores. They are also matriarchal, meaning that the females are bigger and are more dominant than the males.

    Pumbaa, that plump joker, full of life and laughs, is everywhere when you’re on safari. Tossing his head and running along with his tail held high like an antenna behind him. Warthogs live in burrows in the ground and the mother usually push their piglets in first and then reverse in behind them, able to charge out and protect them from any signs of danger. They really do love to wallow in mud, cooling themselves down from the heat of the sun.

    We think the Lion King is fantastic, but the real thing is unforgettable!

     

     

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