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Safaris in Kenya

Different types of safaris in Kenya


Jeep Safari
Minibus and Jeep Safari, Masai Mara, KenyaAnimals have a tendency to steer clear of roads and tracks, making wildlife viewing more of a cross-country adventure. This is why the jeep safari is so popular. When travelling by car or minibus, passengers are forced to reach for their binoculars to see a distant lion crouching in the grass, while a 4x4 will turn off road to investigate and take passengers right up close and personal. Though it can be a bumpy, dusty or muddy ride, jeeps can cover a vast area, in reasonable comfort, with sufficient protection from the animals and elements. Professional driver/guides have a keen eye for spotting wildlife and are usually in radio contact with other jeeps, thereby sharing information on the whereabouts of game. Many companies provide vans or minibuses as a cheaper alternative to the jeep, but they are not equipped for off-road driving or wet weather, which can result in missing out on some great opportunities. Vans can be more crowded, as they carry more passengers and, due to the sun roof (see photo), you are unable to enhance your viewing experience by perching on the top of the vehicle!


Self-Drive Safari
Self-drive jeep safari, Masai Mara, KenyaThe advantage of this type of Kenya safari is the flexibility it offers: you choose exactly where and when you want to go. A self-drive safari is the ultimate freedom, but  requires extensive research and planning. Local knowledge is crucial to avoid bandit country, getting lost and for knowing where to find the wildlife. It might be worth seeking advice from an experienced local guide beforehand, for tips on how and where to find specific wildlife and places of interest. Detailed, up-to-date maps are essential, as is a good understanding of mechanics, should the vehicle break down.


Fly-In Safari (Air Safari)
Air taxi safari over Masai Mara, KenyaThis is ideal for those with little time. 'Air taxis' are light aircraft operating between the national parks and reserves of Kenya. They conveniently drop visitors at an airstrip inside or near their chosen game park and passengers can choose accommodation to suit their budget. Game drives are invariably organised by the safari lodges or campsites and are usually included in the price. A fly-in safari reduces travelling time considerably, so there is more time for wildlife viewing. It is also an advantage, during the rainy season, when many roads turn to mud and become impassable.


Photographic Safari
Most safari guides and drivers know how to find wildlife, but it's rare to land yourself a driver who understands the needs of a photographer. For this reason, it is crucial to seek out a company that specifically offers a photographic safari. It is worth remembering that there are few occasions when you can actually get out of the vehicle - especially when photographing big game. Specialists in photography know how vital it is to manoeuvre the vehicle into a position conducive to lighting conditions - and then to switch off the engine!


Balloon Safari
Hot-air balloon safari, Masai Mara, KenyaGliding through the air, as the sun rises over Kenya's rich and diverse landscape, is one of life's most serene and magical experiences. Balloon safaris are very popular in the Masai Mara, especially during the Great Migration (mass movement of wildebeest and zebra between June and October) where an aerial view of this extraordinary phenomenon offers the best vantage point. Weather conditions must be conducive for the balloon safari to take place and age and height restrictions apply, as well as reasonable health and fitness a prerequisite. Some consider the balloon safari to be rather expensive for an hour. But, most agree it is well worth every penny to see one of Africa's famous sunrises cast its warm hue over the beautiful savannah and the enormous stream of migrating herds.


Bird Watching Safari
Bateleur. Bird watching in the Masai Mara, KenyaKenya is a haven for bird watchers. There are approximately 1,200 species of birds, from the huge bateleur eagle (as shown) to the bright yellow 'little weaver'. The wide open savannahs, lakes and grasslands of Kenya are conducive to bird watching. Though it is highly likely you will observe birds on any wildlife safari in Kenya, it is important to book a specialist safari if bird watching is what particularly interests you. Most tourists on safari in Kenya are there to see the big five (lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino, elephant), big cats and other large mammals, rather than to stop to look at the birds. To avoid frustration, a bird enthusiast would be better suited to a specialist bird watching safari - and there are plenty of opportunities to see the big game on the way!


Walking SafariWalking safari, Masai Mara, KenyaWalking safari, Masai Mara, Kenya
There is no better way to be 'at one' with nature. A walking safari is the most sensorial of the Kenya safari experiences and an opportunity to learn about the wildlife of Kenya. It is a chance to hear, touch and savour the smells of the savannah that might otherwise go unnoticed in a jeep. In some national parks and national reserves of Kenya, like the Masai Mara, wildlife is very used to the noise and presence of humans. But in more remote or less frequented regions of kenya, noisy vehicles can startle wildlife, leaving the game viewer with little but a zebra's behind to photograph. On a walking safari, there are no engines to disturb the peace and tranquility of Kenya. Walking safaris are usually accompanied by an armed guard, so you can relax and lose yourself in the splendour of the surroundings, without worrying that some large-toothed creature is creeping up behind you.


Camel Safari
Camel safari, KenyaNothing could be more authentic than viewing wildlife in Kenya on the back of a camel. Apart from the odd grunt from your carriage, the sounds of the savannah remain uninterrupted. Camel safaris are available in Tsavo East National Park, Samburu and other regions of north and central Kenya. Support vehicles or hardy camels carry luggage and camping equipment, while passengers enjoy the scenery from atop their personal 'ship of the desert'.


Horse Riding Safari
Horse riding safari, KenyaThis is a great way to experience a Kenya safari. Wildlife viewing on horseback combines two of life's greatest pleasures while, at the same time, being an environmentally friendly safari option. The horse riding safari is available for novices and experienced riders alike, as horses are matched to the ability and experience of the rider.



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Have you been to Kenya? Is there a wildlife park or lodge that you would recommend? Write a review here about your 'big five' safari holiday and tell others about your experience - good or bad. Perhaps you know of an excellent budget campsite - or a luxury lodge that should be avoided! Otherwise, feel free to post a question. Let's share our Kenya safari wildlife experiences...

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