by AdminSoa
December 3, 2015

 

Why_Kenya_Small_Giraffes2

Why Kenya?

 

Kenya is widely considered to be one of the most accessible safari destinations in the world. With Nairobi International Airport located within driving distance of the nearest national park, you can land in the morning and be on safari by the afternoon.

Home to the legendary Masai Mara National Park as well as other world famous parks such as Amboselli and Lake Nakuru, Kenya is a perfect place to see the Big 5 in the wild and to also witness the Great Migration as it concludes each year on the Masai Mara. Beyond these iconic parks, Kenya has over two dozens national parks and conservancies to be explored – from the rhino sanctuary at Ol Pejeta to the rambling Samburu-Buffalo Springs parks in the north, from the misty highlands of Abadare to the intricate geological formations of Hell’s Gate; there’s something for everybody in Kenya.

In addition to the opportunity to see some of Africa’s most iconic animals in their natural habitat, Kenya also offers visitors the chance to go on a cultural safari as they learn more about the tribes and religions of the Kenyan people.

The more adventurous may even wish to tackle the steep slopes of Mount Kenya, Africa’s second highest mountain and the mountain from which the country takes its name.

Last, but certainly not least, the picturesque Indian Ocean coastline of Kenya is home to such famous beach escapes as Mombasa, Malindi, and the quaint island of Lamu. After you’ve had your fill of game drives and stunning panoramas, wash away the dust in crystal clear waters.

 

 

Why_Kenya_contensts

When To Visit Kenya

As it straddles the equator, Kenya does not have the traditional four seasons. Instead, it experiences alternating periods of wet and dry.

The short dry season stretches from January to March and the long dry season lasts from July until October. These dry seasons are considered the best time for game viewing. With clearer weather and less vegetation, ideal conditions are available in most of Kenya’s national parks for spotting animals in action.

The short wet season is between November-December and the long wet season lasts from April to May, and sees the country painted green as the high rainfall nourishes the land and ushers in the calving season among herbivores. While this makes for beautiful landscapes and is also a good time for bird watching, the denser undergrowth and the many available sources of water do tend to make game viewing more difficult. This does translate into a saving for those visiting in this time, as many lodges lower their rates to encourage visitors.

What_We_Offer_Small_Mount_KenyaMigration_BackgroundKenya_Coast_Beach

For the beaches of the Kenya coast, the weather remains warm and clear year round. The temperatures are at their highest between mid-March and May, however, and it might be best to avoid this period.

For the Great Wildebeest Migration, the vast herd of wildebeest, zebras, and antelope makes its home on the Masai Mara between July and October. The exact timing varies from year to year based on rainfall, so bear in mind that the above dates are not a guarantee of seeing the Great Migration during your visit.

Big Five Safaris can be done year round, although the dry season (January-March and July-October) tend to provide better game viewing conditions as animals are forced closer to water sources and the undergrowth is less thick.

Climbing Mt. Kenya can be achieved year round, with the mountain maintaining a fairly cold climate at its peak. Climbing is more difficult during the rainy season, and so it is best to climb in January-February, or between July & October when the weather is drier.

For visiting arid Northern Kenya, it is possible to visit at any time of year. With temperatures ranging between 20-40C, it is best to go in one of the cooler months – June, July, August, or December.

Kenya_Coast_Small (2)Kenya_Coast_Small

For Events

The East African Arts Festival takes place in Nairobi each March, and is the largest celebration of the arts in East Africa. Showcasing music, art, theatre, fashion, literature, architecture, sculpture, traditional crafts, and more – the event takes place at the Kenyan National Museum.

The International Camel Derby in northern Kenya takes place midway through each year, with dates changing from year to year. Maralal’s International Camel Derby has grown from its humble roots as a camel race back in the 90s to a major international festival that draws visitors from all over the world. With nomadic tribes from all over the region coming together to participate, the derby is a colourful cultural event worth experiencing.

The Mombasa Carnival takes place each November, and is widely regarded as Kenya’s most popular festival. A celebration of Kenya’s mixed African and Arabic roots, the festival turns Mombasa into a huge party packed with parades, live music, delicious food, and a celebration of Kenyan culture.

Occurring each year in November, the Lamu Cultural Festival takes place on the World Heritage listed island of Lamu. A real land that time forgot, Lamu represents Swahili culture as it was before the advent of modern Kenya, and the festival celebrates this traditional way of living with traditional Swahili poetry, dhow races, henna painting, donkey races, a celebration of Swahili cuisine, and more.

safari_drivers_Africa

Safari Drivers and Guides

Over Shadows of Africa’s years in operation, we’ve carefully selected only the best guides, drivers, and auxiliary staff to ensure you get the absolute best service during your trip. All of Shadows of Africa’s staff have many years of experience in the industry.

All of our safari guides are fluent in both English and Swahili, and have received training at schools such as the College of African Wildlife to ensure they have the best working knowledge of African wildlife, plant-life, and birdlife. This makes them excellent at knowing where to find the animals you’re looking for, and they’ll make it their main goal to ensure you spot the animal you’re most excited to see. Over their years of safari experience, they’ve not only become experts in the parks and their residents, but have also become open, gregarious people you’ll soon come to consider as a friend. Local people with a passion for Africa, Shadows of Africa’s safari drivers are consummate professionals whose love for Africa is infectious.

Climbing_Africa

Our mountain guides are experts at climbing the mountains of Kenya and Tanzania, with our Mount Kenya guides undertaking upwards of twenty climbs up the mountain each year. Speaking fluent English and Swahili, they’re the men charged with ensuring you make it safely to the top (and back).

For each climb we assemble a team of lead guides, assistant guides, cooks, porters, and other camp who will do their utmost to ensure you attain your goal of summiting the mountain. Possessed of an in-depth knowledge of the mountain and the hazards that climbing at altitude may pose, they’re responsible ensuring you feel safe on your climb, while also possessing an in-depth knowledge of the flora, fauna, and topography of the mountain. They know when to give encouragement, when to stop for rest, and how to spot the tell-tale signs of altitude sickness or hypothermia that might derail a climb. They know the challenges that the mountain poses, but they also know the feeling of accomplishment that climbers will feel when they reach the top. They’re one part guide, one part assistant, and one part personal trainer.

You can get to know your guide ahead of time by checking the site’s About Us page.

1535007_617216131740404_4896426706040214906_n

 Safari Vehicles: Safe & Comfortable

Your safety and comfort are extremely important to us here at Shadows of Africa. Our fleet of safari vehicles has been specifically designed to handle the rigours of a true African safari while still affording you the maximum possible comfort on Africa’s dusty and often bumpy roads.

All of our safari vehicles are equipped with comfortable seats, 4x4 drive for handling rough terrain, a first aid kit, a HF radio, slide windows, a pop up roof, and plenty of storage space so you can bring all of your luggage along for the ride. Each safari vehicle is also equipped with multiple electrical outlets so you can charge your electronics while on the move.

Each safari vehicle is equipped to carry up to six people in comfort. Each seat is equipped with a seat belt, and the vehicle has the latest safety features to ensure your peace of mind.

Our safari vehicles go through regular maintenance checks that include oil checks, fluid checks, electronics checking, new tires (if necessary), and any additional maintenance necessitated by Africa’s often unforgiving roads.

phoca_thumb_l_giraffe_and_horses_in_the_gardens

Types of Accommodation

Shadows of Africa offers four distinct tiers of accommodation designed to suit all budgets and tastes. Ranging from traditional camping out under the stars all the way up to the ultra-luxurious, your safari can be designed to use only one tier of accommodation or to mix and match.

the_ark_elephants-lo

Ultra Luxury

Featuring such world renowned brands as and Beyond, Four Seasons, and Asilia, this tier of accommodations offers the very best of service and the very best of facilities. If you’re looking for something truly special in your accommodation, the Ultra Luxury tier of accommodation provides just that.

Ranging from traditional lodges to extravagant tented lodges under the stars, Ultra Luxury is for those seeking the absolute best Africa has to offer.

luxury_kenya

Luxury

For those who want the five star experience without paying five star prices, our Luxury tier offers lodges and tented camps that can boast magnificent views, spacious rooms, excellent service, and stunning wildlife viewing.

The equivalent to a four or five star hotel, our Luxury accommodation partners can be expected to offer such diverse services as spa facilities, nightly entertainment, world class cuisine, and more!

Our luxury lodges are as diverse as the landscapes of Tanzania, ranging from lodges built in the treetops or among the rocks of the Serengeti, to accommodations built along the rim of Ngorongoro Crater or at the heart of a fragrant coffee plantation.

Many different options, but all of which offer top level service at affordable prices.

Medium_safari

Medium

Whether they’re located amid the hustle and bustle of Arusha or out in the bush, all of our Medium accommodations are chosen for their ability to foster an atmosphere of tranquility and remoteness.

Our medium lodges and tented camps can generally be expected to have WiFi internet, full service bars and restaurants, laundry service, money exchange, and gift shops. Individual establishments may vary.

Medium tier lodges are perfect for families or couples wanting their western creature comforts, but who are traveling on a budget. The equivalent to three star accommodations, all of our Medium lodges are carefully chosen for their service, facilities, and location.

safari_camping_2

Budget 

For those traveling on a budget, our Budget tier offers a mixture of budget lodges and camping facilities that cater to both the budget conscious traveler or the adventurer.

Our budget lodges offer you western style bathroom facilities and the usual comforts you’d expect to find in a budget hotel back home, while all camping sites are equipped with western bathrooms and running water.

Even though you’re ‘roughing it’, you’ll be accompanied by one of our chefs who will prepare delicious meals for you, and your guide will set up your tent as you eat.

All campsites in and near Tanzania’s national parks and conservancies are patrolled 24 hours a day by armed rangers who are adept at keeping you safe without detracting from the beauty of falling asleep to the sounds of Africa’s wildlife.

Mara_Background

 Masai Mara National Park

Separated from the legendary Serengeti by the Kenya-Tanzania border, the Masai Mara is Kenya's most popular national park and one of the best known national parks in the world. Home to both the Great Wildebeest Migration and a year round population that includes the legendary Big Five, Masai Mara is a park that begs multiple days of exploration.

The biggest drawcard for the park is the annual migration, which sees millions of herbivores arriving from Tanzania to take advantage of the more fertile conditions. With the park being considerably smaller than the colossal Serengeti in the south, it's the perfect place to see the sheer number of animals up close.

When the Migration isn't taking place, however, the park is still a must see part of any Kenyan safari itinerary. The Big Five – African elephant, Cape Buffalo, leopard, lion, and rhinoceros – all call the park home year round, and the topi antelope is best viewed in the park. Other animals easiest to spot in the park include the shy bat-eared fox, the roan antelope, and the Masai giraffe.

Leopard_Kenya_small Mara_rhino_Small (2)0

Size: 1,510 square kilometers.

Location: South-western Kenya.

Best Time: Year round. July to November for Wildebeest Migration.

To Do: Game drives, hot air ballooning, Masai nature walks, and cultural experiences.

Known For: Great Wildebeest Migration, big cats, and topi antelope.

Additional Activities

  • Hot air balloon safari
  • Bird watching
  • Masai nature walk

Background_Amboseli_2

Amboseli National Park

With a view of Mount Kilimanjaro so spectacular you'd be forgiven for thinking Africa's tallest mountain was in Kenya (it's not), Amboseli National Park is a wildlife photographers dream, offering game viewers the opportunity to photograph African elephants against the awe-inspiring backdrop of the Roof of Africa.

The park's elephants are well known for being especially photogenic, as the free ranging herds often come close to cars as if they are ready for their close-up. Also in the park are three other members of the Big 5 – with rhinos, lions, and cape buffalo also present.

Visitors to the park are also able to go on a cultural safari, with the opportunity to meet with the local Masai population or even pay a visit to one of their villages.

Amboseli_contensts

Size: 392 square kilometres.

Location: 240km from Nairobi.

Best Time: January to February or June to September.

To Do: Game drives and cultural activities.

Known For: Elephants and views of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Additional Activities

  • Bird watching
  • Photography tour
  • Cultural visits

Lake_Nakuru_2.jpg

Lake Nakuru National Park

Home to thousands (and occasionally millions) of brightly coloured flamingoes, Lake Nakuru is one of the most photographed bodies of water in all of Africa. Both species of flamingo call the lake home, and at times it's hard to see the water for the great shifting pink mass that scours its waters for food.

Of course, there is more to Lake Nakuru than the spectacle of the flamingoes; giraffes, waterbuck, both species of rhinoceros, and predators such as leopards, lions, and cheetah also call the park home. Plans are also in place to expand the park to make it a premier rhino sanctuary, ensuring there'll be the chance for people to see these mysterious beasts for generations.

The park is also a premier birdwatching location in Africa, with notable local species including the African fish eagle, the Goliath heron, pied kingfisher, and the Verreaux Eagle.

Lion_Nakuru_smallNakuru_Lake_9

Size: 188 square kilometres.

Location: Central Kenya, near Nakuru Town.

Best Time: July to February to avoid wet season. March to June for calving season.
To Do: Game drives and birdwatching.
Known For: Flamingoes.

Additional Activities

  • Bird watching
  • Lake Naivasha boat safari
  • Lake Naivasha/Crescent Island walking safari

 

Mount Kenya National Park

Surrounding the sizable footprint of Mount Kenya, the Mount Kenya National Park is dominated by the towering spires of Kenya's highest mountain. The park is primarily visited by those wishing to climb the mountain, but its lowlands do offer limited game viewing opportunities including the cape buffalo and primate species such as the black-and-white colobus monkey.

shutterstock_176199419

Size: 715 square kilometres.

Location: Surrounds Mount Kenya.

Best Time: January to February or July to October.

To Do: Mountain climbing and game viewing.

Known For: Climbing Mount Kenya.

Kenya_NP_small_2

Nairobi National Park

Arguably Africa's most accessible national park, the Nairobi National Park lies so close to the bustling city that it is possible to see the city's skyscrapers in the background as you observe herds of zebras and wildebeest moving across the grassy plains.

The perfect park for a day trip during a long layover or as an addition to a lengthier safari, Nairobi National Park is also particularly family friendly with a number of fun activities close to or within the park to occupy bright young minds. The Elephant Orphanage and Giraffe Centre offer a far more up close and personal game viewing experience than can usually be found in the wild, and the Wildlife Conservation Education Centre offers plenty of hands on learning opportunities as well.

While the park boasts no wild elephant population, it is home to most other notable African Kenya_NP_giraffe_small2game including lions, leopards, rhinoceros, cheetah, ostriches, hippopotamus, and giraffes.

  Kenya_NP_small2

Size: 117.2 square kilometres.

Location: 7km from Nairobi.

Best Time: July to March.

To Do: Game drives, Elephant Orphanage, walking safaris, Wildlife Conservation Education Centre, and Giraffe Centre.

Known For: Perfect for a day trip from Nairobi.

Additional Activities

  • Elephant orphanage visit
  • Picnicking
  • Dine at the Rangers restaurant
  • Bird watching
  • Ivory Burning Site Monument visit
  • Walking safari
  • Nairobi Safari Walk

Tsavo_Background

Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks

The largest protected area in all of Kenya, Tsavo East and Tsavo West are two separate national parks that can be visited separately or combined into a single, large safari experience.

Possessed of striking volcanic terrain such as the Yatta Plateau (the largest lava flow in the world) and the spectacular Mzima Springs, the park is every bit as eye-catching as a geological playground as it is a fantastic game viewing site.

The entirety of the Big Five can be found within the twin parks, as well as other iconic African game such as hippopotamus, cheetahs, giraffes, waterbucks, zebras, and a huge variety of antelope from the statuesque Eland to the adorable dik-dik.

Tsavo_small_2 shutterstock_200281976

Size: 13,747 square kilometres and 7,065 square kilometres respectively.

Location: Roughly halfway between Nairobi and Mombasa.

Best Time: May to October.

To Do: Game drives, bird watching, camping, walking safaris, and caving.

Known For: Big Five and volcanic landscape.

Additional Activities

  • Yatta Plateau visit
  • Bird watching
  • Walking safari
  • Ngulia sanctuary visit (Tsavo West)
  • First World War site tour (Tsavo West)
  • Caving expedition

 

 The Great Wildebeest Migration

The Great Wildebeest Migration is a yearly migration of wildebeest, zebras, and antelopes that Migration_Contenstsdefies belief. This massive movement is sometimes called the Greatest Show on Earth; a monumental feat of stamina and determination from the wildebeest & zebra (not to mention the predators that harry their every move) that is a true bucket list item and something not to be missed.

The world famous Great Wildebeest Migration draws people from all over the world to witness the movement of more than a million wildebeest as well as the 400,000 zebra and 200,000 gazelle that accompany them.

The Great Wildebeest Migration takes place largely within Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, but the Masai Mara acts as the final destination of the migration.

Migration_Kenia_Small Migration_Small

August – November: Mara River Crossing (Mara River)

As the herd moves from the Serengeti into the Masai Mara of Kenya, the herd must confront another obstacle: the Mara River. Much like the Grumeti River, this river acts as both a source of life-giving water and a dangerous obstacle for the vast herd.

The largest lion pride on the Serengeti dogs the movements of the herd from behind, while the river’s crocodile population means that there’s no escape in going forward either. It makes for some spectacular viewing, and witnessing this crossing is one of the most sought after experiences in all of Africa.

Once the crossing is complete, the great herd settles on the Masai Mara for several months to feed, rest, and rebuild their strength before commencing the return leg of their journey.

Activities 

  • Game viewing
  • Mara River Crossing
  • Bush meals and sundownders
  • Stargazing
  • Dawn game viewing

Add_Ons

Safari Add-Ons

Walking Safari

Accompanied by an armed guide who is extremely knowledgeable about the area you’ll be exploring, you’ll have an unparalleled opportunity to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of the African bush. Your guides don’t just know the animals, but also the local flora as well. As you walk, you’ll learn all about the plants, trees, birds, reptiles, and big mammals that call the area home.

Walking safaris are not commonplace in Kenya, but can be done at various lodges across the country. Ask Shadows of Africa about combining your lodge accommodation and a walking safari.

Lilac breasted roller small

Bird Watching

A guided bird watching tour in Africa is every true bird lover’s heart’s desire.

Shadows of Africa can arrange guides with professional ornithological qualifications, providing you with expert guidance to spot a variety of bird species including some endangered or rare indigenous species. Bird watching is best during the warm season, when endemic as well as migratory species can be spotted in the same area. We can also arrange for you to be accompanied by specialized safari guide, Mike Taylor. With more than thirty years of experience in the region, Mike is a font of knowledge when it comes to local bird species.

The most popular sites for bird watching include the Masai Mara, Samburu National Park, Lake Nakuru National Park, Nairobi National Park, Tsavo East & West, and Abadares National Park.

Sunset with safari car silhouette at Masai Mara

Night Game Drive

If you want the opportunity to spot some of Africa’s nocturnal animals such as hyenas, hippopotamus, lions, leopards, genets, civet cats, porcupines, aardvarks, and cape hares; a night game drive might just be the option for you! Night game drives are by far the most popular safari addition, and can be an exciting and memorable adventure you’ll treasure for the rest of your life.

Many predators do their hunting at night, and so a night game drive is a fantastic opportunity to see lions and leopards doing what they do best.

Night game drives are not permitted within most national parks, and so Shadows of Africa makes use of a private reserves and special game areas. Ol Pejeta and the various conservancies surrounding the Masai Mara are the best places to experience a night game drive.

Add_Ons_2

Balloon Safari

There’s nothing quite like soaring high over the Masai Mara for a bird’s eye view of the park’s boundless plains and teeming animal population. Hot air balloon safaris over the Masai Mara can be arranged to fit in with any itinerary that includes a night in the Masai Mara region.

Taking off at dawn each morning, each balloon holds up to 12 passengers and takes you up to 1000ft to see the sun rising over the park and ride the early morning breeze. Your pilot will help you spot and identify the animals going about their business below, affording you a magnificent platform from which to view and photograph lions, elephants, zebras, giraffes, and more.

After your early morning exploration, you’ll touch down in a peaceful corner of the Serengeti for a champagne breakfast. Toast the coming of the new day with champagne before enjoying a delicious breakfast in the shade of one of the park’s iconic umbrella trees.

Once your appetite has been sated, you’ll be presented with a certificate as a memento of your adventure before being driven back to your lodge to start your day of game driving.

Kenya_Tribe

 Cultural Tours

You can enhance your experience in Kenya by adding a cultural tour to your itinerary. Meeting the different tribes gives you a valuable insight into the daily lives of the people who call Tanzania home.

Shadows of Africa can arrange a number of unique cultural experiences to add-on to any safari,

Golf_Kenya

 Golfing in Kenya

Kenya is rapidly emerging as a world class golfing destination. With over forty courses scattered across the country, year round pleasant weather, and the option to combine your golfing trip with a few safaris, it’s a truly unique destination for those wanting to play a few rounds in a totally different environment.

Shadows of Africa is able to design the perfect golfing safari for you, combining world class golfing facilities with some of the most astounding game viewing that Africa has to offer. With a number of golf courses close to Nairobi as well as courses by Lake Naivasha, Lake Nakuru, Mt. Kenya, and along the Kenya Coast, a few rounds of golf can be added on to virtually any itinerary.

Sample Golf Safari Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Nairobi. Transfer to hotel.

Day 2: Round of golf at the Mutahaiga Golf Club.

Day 3: Round of golf at the Limuru Golf Club.

Day 4: Masai Mara game drive safari.

Day 5: Round of golf at Sigona Country Club.

Day 6: Travel from Masai Mara to Nairobi. Fly to Mombasa.

Day 7: Round of golf at Nyali Golf Club.

Day 8: Relax on the beaches of beautiful Mombasa.

Day 9: Relax on the beaches of beautiful Mombasa. Fly to Nairobi.

Day 10: Depart from Nairobi.

 Nairobi_Background

Nairobi

From its humble roots as a small settlement in mosquito-riddled swampland to its status today as one of Africa's most developed and cosmopolitan cities, Nairobi is the safari capital of the world and a city that seems on the verge of bursting with energy and optimism.

Far from being apart from the natural world from which Kenya derives so much of its income, Nairobi is very much a city in the wilderness. A developed and modern metropolis on the very fringes of the Nairobi National Parks in which lions, giraffe, and wildebeest go about their business unphased by the busy city. It's a rare safari experience to be able to photograph a pride of lions against the backdrop of distant skyscrapers.

Elephant_Orphanage_Small Nairobi Park2

Activities in Nairobi

  • Day trip to Nairobi National Park for a game drive
  • Visit the Elephant Orphanage
  • Visit the Karen Blixen Museum from Out of Africa
  • Dine on local game at Carnivore Restaurant
  • Visit the National Museum of Kenya
  • Try Kenyan cuisine at Mamba Village
  • Cultural visit to the Bomas of Kenya
  • Visit the Animorphange Zoo
  • Visit the Giraffe Centre

 Kenya_Coast_Background

The Kenya Coast

Kenya is not just known for its national parks and the animals that call them home. The Indian Ocean coastline of the country is famous for its white sand beaches and crystal clear waters.

Highlighted by historic Mombasa and the Swahili culture that influences the region so heavily, the Indian Ocean Coast (sometimes known as the Kenya Coast) is a glorious ribbon of silver and sapphire just begging to be explored at a leisurely pace.

History and culture buffs will be enchanted by the tumbled ruins of ancient Geda and the more well preserved remains of sites such as Fort Jesus within Mombasa's centuries old Old Town district. Swahili settlements such as Lamu also offer a great opportunity for visitors to better familiarise themselves with Kenya's native population.

Looking for a beach break? The Kenya Coast boasts marine reserves perfect for snorkelling or scuba diving, palm-shaded resorts offering up pampering aplenty, and white sand beaches perfect for swimming and sunbathing. So well regarded are Kenya's beaches that Watamu Beach has even been rated among the top ten beaches in the world!

The entire region offers up a startling contrast of cultures where traditional Swahili culture blends with white-walled mosques and five star resorts. It's an utterly enchanting fusion that needs to be experienced to be believed.

Why_Kenya_Mombasa_Small

  Culture and Tribes of Kenya

Masai

The most famous tribal people not only in Kenya but in the world, the Masai people have spread out across Kenya and Tanzania and remain largely in touch with their original beliefs and culture. Where most Kenyan tribes have adopted the modern western lifestyle, the Masai people lead lives quite similar to those they have lived for thousands of years.

Perhaps the most famous practice of the Masai is their proud warrior tradition, around which much of their social life revolves. When a Masai boy reaches the appropriate age (generally between the age of 12 and 25) his father may decide that he is ready to become a man. After a painful circumcision ritual, the young warriors to be spend several months away from home for training and further ceremony, and generally live apart from their tribe until they return as senior warriors.

Tribes_contensts

Senior warriors are important figures within their tribe, charged with defending the village. They are able to take multiple wives provided they have the wealth to support them. In Masai terms, wealth is measured in the amount of cattle an individual owns; although modern Masai may hold other jobs that generate income.

Because of their reliance on herd animals over agriculture, the Masai typically need a great deal of land to maintain their nomadic lifestyles. Conservancies in Kenya and Tanzania cater to this wandering lifestyle, and it is possible for tourists to visit Masai villages in both countries. While those villages that allow visitors tend to be somewhat less authentic as a result of their exposure to western culture, it is still a fascinating cultural experience and a popular part of any Kenyan safari.

Kenya_Kikuyu_Tribe

The Kikuyu Tribe

Making up 22% of the Kenyan population, the Kikuyu number about 6 million people and are the largest ethnic group in the country. A tribe who have embraced the modern 'western' way of life, the Kikuyu have enjoyed great economic and political power in Kenya since the nation's founding. Three of Kenya's presidents have been from the Kikuyu tribe.

Originally farmers in the lands surrounding Mount Kenya, the Kikuyu lost much of their traditional lands to the British during the colonial era. This lead to great unrest within the country and contributed to the Mau Mau rebellion that was a catalyst for the independence of Kenya. Although they regain their ancestral lands following the rebellion, the Kikuyu these days live all over Kenya.

Prior to converting to Christianity, the Kikuyu believed in a God called Ngai who lived atop Mount Kenya. Similar to the Christian belief in an Adam & Eve, the Kikuyu believed humanity had arisen from a single man (Kikuyu) and woman (Mumbi) who had nine children that would go on to become the Kikuyu.

The Kikuyu traditionally practice polygamy, allowing men to take multiple wives. In an interesting twist on this arrangement, wives were also allowed to take male lovers. The children of such affairs would become the property of the husbands and be raised as if they were his own.

 

The Luhya Tribe

The second largest ethnic group in Kenya, the Luhya comprise roughly 5.3 million people from between 16 and 18 sub groups. Agriculturalists who traditionally dwelt in the lands between Lake Victoria and the border with Uganda, the Luhya are a modern tribe who live in many cities across Kenya.

The Luhya believed in a God called Were and also worshipped the spirits of ancestors, but many have now converted to Christianity.

The Luhya are distinct in being a tribe that does not practice female circumcision, although males are circumcised between the ages of 8 and 15, usually at large annual ceremonies. These ceremonies create age sets comprised of individuals who were circumcised in the same ceremony.

Another interesting practice of the Luhya came at times of death and mourning. All mourners would come and stay with the family of the deceased for forty days to sing songs, tell stories, and celebrate the memory of the departed. Modern Luhya have replaced this forty day vigil with a shorter one (generally a week), but this mourning period remains an intriguing part of Luhya culture.

 

The Swahili Tribe

A coastal tribe of traders, the Swahili have enjoyed extensive contact with other tribes and nations over their history. Their language, Swahili, is spoken across a number of East African countries and is one of the two official languages in Kenya.

Their contact with other nations has made it difficult to establish what is traditional in Swahili culture, as they have adopted a great many customs and beliefs from those they have encountered. The strongest influence on the Swahili people is their Muslim religion, which is practiced among Swahili people much as it is elsewhere in the world.

Before You Travel

 

Kenya_Visa

Kenyan Visa Information

Entering Kenya requires both a valid passport and a Kenyan visa. While the information below is up to date at the time of writing, it is advisable to always check ahead to ensure visa processes or charges have not changed.

Who needs a visa?

With the exception of a select few countries, anybody entering Kenya is required to have a visa.

Passport

To enter Kenya, you’ll also need a passport with at least six months validity remaining. Your passport will need at least two pages free.

How to obtain a visa

As of August 31st 2015, Kenyan visas can be applied for online at https://immigration.ecitizen.go.ke/

The cost of a visa is $51 for a single entry, $21 for a transit visa lasting up to three days, or $101 for the East Africa Tourist Visa, which covers Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda for a period of up to ninety days.

Visas upon arrival can still be processed, but it is much quicker and more convenient to arrange your visa in advance.

If you have any further questions about the visa process, please don’t hesitate to contact us. That’s what we’re here for!

Kenya_Car

Vaccinations for Kenya

As a developing country, Kenya has issues with a number of potential harmful diseases. Thankfully, many of these can be vaccinated against before you travel.

Before departing for your trip, it is advisable that you speak with your physician about getting vaccinated against the following:

  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis A & B
  • Meningitis
  • Rabies

These are in addition to the vaccinations that all travelers should have up to date regardless of where they are traveling, such as: MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, chickenpox, polio, and a flu shot.

It is also advisable that you speak with your physician about measures that you can take to minimize your chance of exposure to malaria and cholera.

Finally, if you are traveling from an area where yellow fever is a problem, you will be required to have a yellow fever vaccination as a condition of entry. If you are traveling from such an area and do not have a vaccination certificate, your visa application may be denied.

Malaria is prevalent throughout Kenya, except in high altitude areas (above 1,800m) and in highly urbanized areas like Nairobi. Malaria medications differ from country to country dependent on conditions, so be sure to advise your physician that you’ll be traveling to Kenya. Saying you’ll be traveling to Africa is not enough, as conditions differ greatly between countries. You should begin taking your malaria medication a few days before your trip, and continue to take it for a short period after you have returned home.

HIV/AIDS are no more a problem here than they are anywhere else in the world. Provided you are not taking undue risks, you have nothing to fear.

When it comes to medical attention, nurses and doctors in Kenya are highly qualified, especially in cities such as Nairobi and Mombasa. Most camping sites, lodges, and hotels have on site physicians and are in close contact with the Flying Doctors Service should an evacuation be needed.

what_to_pack_Kenya

What to Pack

Packing for your first safari can be a bit daunting. What do you bring? What don’t you need? Below you’ll find our recommended list of things to bring along with you when you’re on safari.

  • A backpack;
  • A warm sweater or light fleece;
  • A windbreaker or waterproof jacket;
  • Walking shoes or boots;
  • A long sleeve dress shirt and trousers;
  • Sunglasses;
  • Hat;
  • Sunscreen and lip balm;
  • Insect repellant;
  • Camera;
  • Binoculars;
  • Batteries and/or charger for your camera;
  • A flashlight or headlamp;
  • Guide books;
  • Phone and charger.

You may also wish to bring your own first aid kit. While all of our Shadows of Africa vehicles have their own on board first aid kit, it never hurts to be prepared.

  • Anti-malarial medication;
  • Painkillers;
  • Antihistamines for allergies and insect bites;
  • Cold and flu medication;
  • Anti-Diarrheal medication;
  • Medicines for rehydration after diarrhea or sunstroke;
  • Insect repellant;
  • Sunscreen and lip balm;
  • Eye drops;
  • Moisturiser for treating sunburn;
  • Antiseptic lotion;
  • Rubbing alcohol;
  • Bandages and plasters;
  • Scissors;
  • Tweezers;

You may also wish to bring along water purification tablets and any medications you take for any existing medical conditions.

Don’t let the above list daunt you. Many of these items are only necessary in extreme cases, but it’s better to have something and not need it than it is to need something and not have it!

 

This entry was posted in Tours, Kenya, Kenya Attractions.
← Previous Post Next Post →