Most big-game viewing in Kenya occurs on game drives in either open or closed 4×4 vehicles. The safaris we arrange do not use minibuses for game-viewing unless it is specifically requested. The best regions for seeing big game are Amboseli, Samburu, Lake Nakuru, Tsavo West, the Lewa and Ol Pejeta conservancies and the exceptional Masai Mara. Please view our regions page for more information on these and other areas. Night drives are not possible in National Parks and Game Reserves, and are therefore limited to Kenya’s numerous private game sanctuaries/conservancies.
Walking is widely available in Kenya. Whilst many safari properties offer nature walks as individual activities, the country is also an excellent destination for longer, more adventurous walking trails, often walking over several days and staying in fairly basic ‘fly-camps’ in the wilderness. All walks are fully guided with a back up crew to provide meals, drinks and undertake camp chores. In northern Kenya, camels are often used to transport camping equipment and food (and willing guests), and walking safaris supported by camels are often known as ‘camel safaris’.
Horse-riding (or Riding) Safaris
If horse riding is a priority for you, Kenya is one of the best African countries to consider with excellent riding options to suit all abilities. Riding is available throughout the country and many properties offer horse riding as an individual activity (alongside nature walks, game drives etc). Whilst this gives you the flexibility to choose how much riding you wish to do, please note that these riding safaris usually cater for mixed riding abilities, so are less likely to satisfy very experienced riders.
A few specific operators offer multi-day riding safaris which are suited to more experienced and dedicated riders. These longer safaris will typically involve spending up to 7 hours a day in the saddle, with nights out in the bush in more adventurous ‘fly-camps’ or ‘mobile tented camps’, which adds to the whole safari experience.
With over 1100 species recorded, Kenya is one of Africa’s premier birding destinations. On any safari, even the uninitiated are likely to record around 100 species over a period of a week. Changing habitats and altitude will prove even more productive. We do not specifically arrange birding group tours, but many of our customers are keen birders and putting together an individually designed itinerary is very easy. Some of the key areas to include are the montane forests around the Aberdares, Mount Kenya or Mount Elgon, the arid acacia savannah of the north, the Great Rift Valley lakes (Naivasha, Baringo, Bogoria and Nakuru), and the remnant rain forest of Kakamega (where 10% of the 367 species are found nowhere else in Kenya). On the coast, Mida Creek and the Arabuko Sokoke forest are exceptional areas. Specialist guides are available for the more serious birder. During September/October and March/April, many intra-African migrants pass through the country.
Mount Kenya offers superb mountain trekking and the trek to Point Lenana (the trekking peak) is a challenging and rewarding adventure. The views from Point Lenana, and from anywhere around the circuit summit path, are breath-taking. There are various other places in Kenya where serious walking is possible, from Mount Longonot in the Great Rift Valley to the Laikipia region and Mathews Range in northern Kenya.
Hot-air balloon safaris are possible in a couple of places in Kenya, most notably in the Masai Mara. Take-off is at dawn, and you float over the plains for about an hour before landing (usually bumpy). A ‘champagne’ breakfast is served before you transfer back to your lodge/camp. Although expensive and commercial, balloon safaris are memorable and the views are magical.
Species specific interests
Kenya offers a very wide range of wildlife viewing, but some of the key species that can be specifically focused on include the big cats (the Masai Mara is perhaps the best region in Africa to see all three big cat species – lion, cheetah and leopard), black & white rhino, and elephant. In particular, there are a few properties that focus on elephant viewing and will offer anyone who is really keen on elephants, the most thrilling experience. Kenya is also home to three species of giraffe.
Cultural Experiences and Community Lodges
Kenya is a heavily populated country with a multitude of ethnic tribes and colourful peoples, and even staying within the designated National Parks & Reserves, you will meet local people in the form of guides and staff. Outside of National Parks and Reserves, much of the land is owned by local communities. Many safari camps and lodges in these areas work very closely with their landlords, and you will be able to visit villages and learn as much about the local community as you desire. In some conservancies, camps and lodges are run totally by the community offering an even more in depth experience. Please see our section on responsible tourism for more information.
Most people who head out on safari plan to take a few photographs. However, in depth photographic safaris are growing in popularity, whether in the form of small group trips or individually tailored holidays. We are probably best equipped to arrange individually tailored photographic holidays. The flexibility and service we offer allows you to carefully plan your safari to meet your exact requirements, whilst our specialist knowledge is crucial, not just in terms of knowing where to photograph particular species, but also in terms of being able to provide suitable vehicles and guides. However, if you do wish to travel on an organised photographic tour, we currently work closely with a number of photographers who lead small groups in Kenya.
Despite having a string of lakes along the Rift Valley, water-based activities in Kenya are very limited. It is possible to do boat cruises in a few places, most notably the fresh-water lakes of Victoria, Naivasha and Baringo. On the coast, various more escapist properties may include river cruises or dhow cruises. Other water-based activities, such as canoeing, are rarely available.
Whilst there are some freshwater fly-fishing opportunities on Mount Kenya and in the Aberdares, and on Lake Victoria (for Nile perch), the best fishing on offer in Kenya is big game fishing off the coast (both traditional and on fly). Some resorts specialise in deep-sea fishing and have a fleet of good fishing boats. Most beach hotels will sub-contract fishing activities to local specialists who operate a ‘tag and release’ system. Bill fishing, particularly for sailfish, is superb from September to March. Marlin (blue, black and striped), broadbill swordfish, shark, barracuda, trevally and kingfish are just some of the other species regularly caught.
Scuba-diving and Snorkelling
Most of the Kenya coastline is protected by reef which provides excellent diving and snorkelling. Diving is best along the central section of the coast around Malindi and Mombasa, and much more limited in the far north around Lamu and Manda Islands. Snorkelling is good in most places, but it is usually necessary to go out in a boat, rather than snorkel from the beach. Up at Lamu Island, it is possible to take a boat trip to snorkel with dolphins.
Other activities available on a limited basis include quad-biking, white-water rafting, helicopter flights, rock climbing and mountain biking. We can also cater for very specific interests such as dendrology, Lepidoptera, archaeology etc