If you want to go on a safari in Kenya, you have a number of safari circuits that you can choose from, each offering something different.
What is a safari location?
It is a combination of several different parks and reserves that provide you with the opportunity to see some of the most beautiful wildlife in Africa. The Safari package combines destinations which could be Parks, Reserves, and Sanctuaries like Amboseli National Park, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Tsavo West and East national parks, Meru National Park, Lake Nakuru National Park etc.
What Safari locations should I visit – 5 factors to use when choosing:
- The type of animal you want to see: Each location has its own unique selection of wildlife and you should select your safari destinations accordingly. Some Parks such as Amboseli and Maasai Mara have large populations of iconic African animals like elephants, lions, leopards, zebras and giraffes. Other Parks such as Tsavo West and East National parks, Meru National Park and Lake Nakuru National Park offer more specialized safaris with a focus on smaller game such as antelopes and bird watching.
- The time of year to go: Some safari destinations will be better at certain times of the year than others. For example, Amboseli National Park is a great destination during the dry season as it has an abundance of water sources and wildlife congregate around these making it easier to spot animals. Maasai Mara National Reserve is best during the rainy season when wildebeest and zebra herds migrate through the area, offering spectacular views.
- Accessibility: Some safari locations are more easily accessible than others, so factor this into your decision-making process. Amboseli and Tsavo West national parks are both relatively close to the main cities of Nairobi and Mombasa, making them easy to reach. Meru National Park is also not too far away, but it does require more planning in terms of transportation. Here are wheelchair-accessible safaris and hotels.
- Cost: Different safari locations come with different prices tags, so take this into consideration when making your choice. Amboseli and Maasai Mara both have relatively expensive safaris, while Tsavo West and East National Parks, Meru National Park and Lake Nakuru National Park are more affordable.
- Amenities: Some locations offer more amenities than others, so you should consider this as well. Amboseli and Maasai Mara both have a range of luxury lodges and camps where you can stay during your safari, while other locations such as Tsavo West and East National Parks, Meru National Park and Lake Nakuru National Park are best for self-catering camping trips.In conclusion, there is a wide variety of safari locations in Kenya that offer something for everyone.
- The type of landscape: Each safari location offers its own unique landscapes and terrain, so if you want to explore a certain type of environment then you should choose the destination which best suits your needs.
- The activities available: It is important to consider what activities you will be able to do when you are on your safari. Some locations such as Amboseli and Maasai Mara offer game drives, walking safaris, balloon rides and night game drives, while other destinations may not be able to accommodate these activities so make sure you research this before booking.
Top Safari Destinations in Kenya:
Maasai Mara National Reserve and Mara Conservancy:
If you want to immerse yourself in the wilderness of Kenya’s Savannah and watch all the Big 5, Maasai Mara offers the best chance. There are several conservation efforts in place to protect the wildlife, and you can also spot wildebeest and zebra herds on migration. You will have access to luxury lodges, camps and tented safaris, as well as a range of activities such as game drives, night game drives and balloon rides.
The best time to visit Maasai Mara is between July and October, during the wildebeest migration season.
It costs about $300 to $500 per day to go on a Safari in the Mara inclusive of accommodation and transport. SOme luxury options in the Conservancies are as high as $1000 per day.
Amboseli National Park:
Unlike the Mara, Amboseli is a National Park and is managed by fenced in with the management and support from the Central Kenyan government. The advantage of a Park over a Game Reserve such as Mara, is that there is more control over the access and the protection of wildlife. Amboseli game drives offer a chance to spot elephants, giraffes, lion, cheetahs and other animals in abundance around its swamps and grasslands.
What sets Amboseli from the Mara and other Parks is the beautiful backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro, with snow-capped peaks that can be seen from the Park.
The best time to visit Amboseli is during the dry seasons between July and September and December to January.
It costs about $250 per day for a safari in Amboseli inclusive of accommodation and transport.
Tsavo West and East National Parks:
These two parks are a great budget option for those looking to explore Kenya’s wildlife. They are located in the South of the country, with Tsavo west offering more rolling hills and grasslands, while Tsavo East is characterized by its red soil and semi-arid landscape.
Tsavo is famous for its large tusker elephants, and there is also the opportunity to go on night game drives, as well as a variety of bird watching activities.
The best time to visit Tsavo West and East National Parks are during the dry months between July and October.
It costs about $200 to $400 per day for a safari in Tsavo
What’s unique about the two Tsavos is the variety of landscapes and wildlife to explore. The two parks offer a unique opportunity to explore the African savannah in a budget-friendly way. It is relatively close to Nairobi compared to Amboseli and is easily accessible by air or road making it a great weekend getaway option.
For those looking for an exclusive and luxurious safari experience, Laikipia is the place to be. Located in central Kenya, it offers a mixture of semi-arid desert and grassland habitats which are home to an abundance of wildlife species including elephants, cheetahs, lions and more.
In the Northern Circuit, you will also find a large population of African wild dogs, as well as the rare and endangered Grevy’s zebra. There are several luxury lodges in Laikipia with exclusive access to private reserves such as Lewa Downs and Ol Pejeta Conservancy.
Laikipia also offers walking safaris, horse riding and camel riding, offering an up close insight into the African bush. Choose from a variety of luxury tented camps and lodges for your stay.
Travelers often consider Laikipia Safaris the best for conservation safaris. In Laikipia, wildlife is not merely tolerated–but encouraged. Ranchers have removed many fences and modified their farming techniques to make room for wild animals. Laikipia plateau has become the core ofthe wildlife conservancy movement as a result.
The best time to visit Laikipia is during the dry season between July and October.
It costs about $400-$800 per day.
Lake Nakuru National Park:
If you want a single or 2-day Safari in Kenya, this location is the most ideal. The Park is fenced in and is relatively small. There are more animal sightings because of their higher concentration.
This park is best known for its large population of flamingos, but there are many other birds and mammals that call Lake Nakuru home. The park is located in the Central Rift Valley and offers a range of activities such as game drives, bird watching and even night safaris.
Lake Nakuru also hosts the endangered White Rhino, and the chances of spotting one are quite good. We were actually able to see them quite close when we recently visited.
The best time to visit is during the dry months between July and October.
It costs about $200 to $300 per day for a safari in Lake Nakuru inclusive of transport and accommodation. At Lake Nakuru, we rent our pop-up vans for $150 per day.
Meru National Park:
If you want a less-crowded Safari, you can visit the Meru National Park which is situated in the north-eastern part of Kenya and offers excellent game viewing opportunities. The park is home to lions, cheetahs, leopards, and a variety of bird species.
The Meru National Park protects the long-forgotten town of Meru which was once considered an important trading center for ivory and salt. The park offers a variety of activities such as bush walks, game drives, and night safaris.
The best time to visit Meru National Park is during the dry season between June and October.
It costs about $200-$400 per day for a safari in Meru. Accommodation ranges from basic campsites
Q. What is the best time to go on a Safari in Kenya?
A. The best time for a safari in Kenya is during the dry season between June and October. During this time, the animals can be more easily seen and photographed due to the lack of vegetation. In the Mara, the famous wildebeest migration usually occurs between June and September.
Q. How much does a Safari in Kenya cost?
A. The cost of a safari in Kenya depends on the type of safari, the number of days, the locations visited and the type of accommodation chosen. Generally speaking, a basic 3-day safari can cost anywhere between $600-$1500. Luxury safaris can cost upwards of several thousand of dollars.
Q. What types of animals will I see on a Safari in Kenya?
A. The type of animals you will see depend on the location and time of year, but some common sightings include elephants, lions, cheetahs, wildebeests, giraffes, zebra and various species of birds.
Q. What else can I do on a Safari in Kenya?
A. In addition to game viewing and nature walks, there are also opportunities for bush camping, boat trips and cultural visits. Additionally, many lodges offer activities such as hot air balloon rides, night safaris and even cultural events.
Q. What should I pack for my Safari in Kenya?
A. You should bring comfortable clothing suitable to the weather conditions as well as a hat, sunscreen and insect repellent. Binoculars are also recommended for game viewing and photography. Don’t forget to bring your camera!
Q: Can I camp at Kenya’s National Parks and Reserves when on a Safari?
A: Yes, camping is allowed at most of the National Parks and Reserves in Kenya. However, you must obtain a valid permit at the gate or by booking in advance. It is also recommended that you bring your own tent, sleeping bags and supplies if you are planning on camping. There is a mix of camps with facilities such as showers but the majority don’t have them.