Destinations

  • What is the Best Safari in Kenya?

    Chris
    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!

    Are you planning a Kenya safari? Here is the best safari in Kenya to help you plan your Africa safari trip! #kenya #safari #africa #travel

    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.

    Which Kenya safari is the best? Here's how to plan the ultimate safari in Kenya for your trip to Africa! #kenya #africa #safari #travel

    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
    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
    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.
  • How to Spend Two Weeks in Tanzania

    Chris
    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!

  • Taking a Lion King Safari in Tanzania and Kenya

    Chris
    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?
  • How to Spend One Week in Tanzania

    Chris
    April 25, 2019
    When looking to spend just one week in Tanzania, you've got a wealth of choices at your fingertips. Chris runs down the many options you have to choose from.
  • Planning a Safari During Rainy Season

    Chris
    March 8, 2019
    Planning a safari during rainy season might not seem like a great idea, but Shadows of Africa has some tips on how you can experinece Africa year round.
  • How to Apply for a Tanzanian eVisa

    Chris
    February 22, 2019

    The Tanzanian eVisa - Finally!

    For a long time now, visitors to Tanzania have had two options when it came to getting a visa:

    • They could arrange this on arrival and deal with airport queues;
    • They could apply in advance by mailing their passport to the nearest consulate or embassy.

    While both of these options were relatively painless, neither could boast the convenience of the online visas that so many other countries offered.

    At long last, Tanzania has moved into the 21st century and is offering future tourists the chance to fill out an easy online form to get their Tanzanian eVisa.

    Let the Shadows of Africa team walk you through the simple process of applying for your Tanzanian eVisa.

    #1 - Go to the Tanzanian eVisa website

    First thing's first. Go to the Tanzanian Visa website. It should look like this:Tanzania Visa 1

    You're going to scroll down to the box in the lower left corner: New Application.

    Go ahead and click that.

    #2 - Set Up An Account

    On the next page, you'll be prompted to enter your email address as well as selecting a security question and answer.

    You'll also need to complete a CAPTCHA form to prove you're human. If you are not human, you can't get a visa, I'm afraid.

    On the next page, you'll be presented with your application information: an application ID and the date. You'll want to write both of these down!

    #3 - Fill Out Your Application

    The next few pages will have you fill out the meat and bones of your application.

    • Page 1: Fill out your personal information such as name, date of birth, and nationality.
    • Page 2: Provide contact information, your present and permanent addresses, and your employment information.
    • Page 3: Provide your passport information as well as information on your parents. Weirdly, you are required to provide information on your legal guardian. Just put your own name or your parents' name here.
    • Page 4: This one is a little trickier, so we'll cover it in the next section!

    Tanzania Visa 2

    #4 - Travel Information

    Up until now, this has all been pretty straightforward, but the fourth page of your application gets a little more complicated.

    1. You'll be asked to list the country in which you are applying and the nearest embassy. There is a limited selection of embassies here, so choose the one in your country or, if all else fails, select immigration headquarters.
    2. When asked for your Type of Visa, you'll need to select Ordinary (or Multiple Entry, if need be). For Purpose of Your visit, select Leisure and Holiday.
    3. If you have visited Tanzania previously, you'll need to provide the date of your last entry as well as your visa number from that visit.
    4. For your travel plans, select all that apply. Be sure to select the correct Port of Entry - the airport or land border crossing. If you aren't sure, ask your Shadows of Africa Safari Expert!
    5. When asked for your Local Host, select:Host: Company/Organisation
      Full Name: Shadows of Africa
      Mobile Number: Enter the contact number provided in your booking contract
      Email: Enter the email address of your contact at Shadows of Africa
      Company: Shadows of Africa
      Relationship: Tour Operator
      Physical Address: Mateves, Arusha, Tanzania
    6. Lastly, it will ask you for your accommodation. Ask your Shadows of Africa contact for the address of the first hotel in your itinerary and enter this.

    #5 - Travel Companions

    On the following page, you'll be asked two questions:

    • Are you traveling as part of a group or organization?
    • Are you being accompanied by minors?

    If the answer to either of these is 'yes', you'll be prompted to provide additional information.

    #6 - Documents

    On the next page, you'll be asked to upload a passport sized photo, a copy of your passport's photo page, and an invitation letter.

    An invitation letter is not actually needed for a tourist visa, but the system is set up to require one.

    Your booking contract will work in place of a formal invitation letter.

    #7 - Final Steps

    On the next page, you'll be asked to review the information you've submitted and agree to a Declaration Statement.

    Make sure everything is 100% correct, as you can't change it after this.

    You'll then make payment for your visa and be provided with confirmation.

    Visas are $50 USD (or $100 USD for US citizens), just as they would be at the border or airport upon arrival.

    You're done!

    Checking the Status of Your Tanzanian eVisa Application

    To check on the progress of your application, return to this website.

    You'll find a Visa Status button in the bottom right corner. Enter the details you were provided in step two and you're all set!

  • What is the Best Time to See the Wildebeest Migration?

    Chris
    February 11, 2019
    Wanting to know what the best time to see the Wildebeest Migration is? We've got a detailed, month by month guide to help you plan your dream safari.

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