Tourism in Kenya: Land of Wildlife Paradise
Let me first welcome you to this site with the warm Swahili greeting "karibu" which simply means "welcome". It is my desire and hope that through this project, I shall be able to provide you with interesting material on Kenyan tourism. Kenya is a paradise as far as tourism and widelife is concerned. Very few countries can rival Kenya when it comes to the variety of animals we have. Those of you who have seen the movie "Out of Africa" will appreciate the beauty and the variety that I am talking about. Sample our variety, our hospitality and the first class accomodation that the country offers and I am sure you will come back for more. Here is something to appetise you. "Karibu Kenya" and as they say, "Kenya Hakuna Matata" or briefly, Kenya is a peaceful country.
Come to Kenya and I promise you that you will enjoy the sunshine of the capital city, Nairobi and its variety of wild animals a stone-throw away at the Nairobi National Park the day you land at the Jomo Kenyatta International airport. Those that choose to fly directly to Mombasa, the gateway to East-africa, and the second largest city, will discover that the town has plenty of sea and beautiful beaches to entice the tourist to want to come back again. Click here to see a bit of Nairobi and Mombasa. These towns enjoy wonderful weather, and if you don't believe me click here to find out the weather forecast in kenya.
Kenya is a tourist paradise with plenty to offer to those wanting a variety of tour packages.Find out what we have to offer. As African Safaris states, "In Kenya you will discover a diverse, modern, yet ancient land. A safari in Kenya encompasses more than just game viewing. Kenya is a land not only of magnificent wildlife but of amazing landscapes, beautiful lakes, a tropical coastline, strong ethnic traditions, hospitality and artistry. "Jambo Karibu," soft, warm voices greet you in Swahili everywhere in this friendly country. The distinct regions in Kenya vary in geographical configuration, habitats and unique species. Your Kenya Experience will definately leave you with a lasting impression and tempt you to return again.
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Kenya says the magazine "is one of the favourite destinations for travellers from all over the world. It is an all year round destination and has so much to offer. It is a country of outstanding natural beauty, warm, friendly people and a lot of charm. Your holiday will be most enjoyable as you explore the natural attractions, scuba dive or just swim in the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean or enjoy the company of the people who treat you like old friends from the moment you arrive." As so many have discovered, the Kenya Experience leaves a lasting impression.
A safari in Kenya can start with a journey through the lush highlands, where Mount Kenya stands sentry over all or a rest and a round of golf at the Windsor Country & Golf Resort or at the Muthaiga Golf Club. The Windsor Golf and Country Club Resort is "an oasis of comfort" 15 minutes from the city centre. It "is set in its own 200 acre grounds surrounded by coffee plantations and with views to Mount Kenya and the sacred Maasai Buffalo Mountain in the distance". The Windsor offers one of - if not the - best 18 hole PGA championship golf courses in Africa where the Syke's monkeys offer an unusual "hazard". The ponds, lakes and forests are homes to indigenous wildlife. The property is also a natural sanctuary for birds such as Egyptian geese, black kites, egrets and of course the brown eagles soaring over the fairways. "The Windsor's soothing atmosphere and its visual beauty inspires great loyalty from its discerning visitors".
In the nearby country-side, Coffee and tea plantations line the road, small thatched villages dot the fields, colorfully garbed women trudge along your route and small boys tend herds of goats and sheep. On the wide-open rolling grasslands of the Maasai Mara, you see a wide variety of animals as well as the proud Maasai people. In Nairobi you experience a vibrant and growing city - a mosaic of many races and cultures. Shops of every kind sell almost anything you want - safari clothing, gemstones and jewelry, Akamba wood carvings, beadwork, Kiondo baskets, printed fabrics and many other local handicrafts. The markets are fun to visit and bargains abound. In fact, bargaining is a way of life, so don't be shy!".
Aberdares National Park - This small reserve (elevation 7000 feet) comprises mostly forest, and much of the Aberdare mountain range lies within its borders. The park is well known for sightings of elephant, rhino, hyena, baboon, buffalo, lion, several varieties of antelope, genet cat and bushbabies. The excitement begins at sunset, as the animals venture to the floodlit salt licks and water holes.
Amboseli National Park - In the heart of Maasai land, this park offers extraordinary views of Mount Kilimanjaro, only 30 miles away in Tanzania. The park is best known for its large elephant population. Also sighted here are baboon, herds of buffalo, giraffe, ostrich, lion, cheetah and impala. The swamps provide superb habitats for many species of birds.
The Great Rift Valley, one of the wonders of the world, contains the planets largest concentration of flamingos, the seven great lakes of Kenya, and overwhelmingly dramatic scenery. The Valley is actually the effect of a massive fracture-line below the earths surface, and runs over 5,000 kilometers from Lake Baikal in Ukraine in the north to Mozambique in the south.
In Kenya, the Rift Valley is so deep and sharply defined that it can be seen clearly from 90,000 miles out in space! The Valley is about 50 kms. wide, and as deep as 3,000 meters in the Central Highlands. Volcanic activity on the floor of the fault occurred as recently as 1966, when Ol Doinyo Lengai (near Naivasha) erupted. Longonot, Suswa and the Caldera of Menengai Crater are other volcanic sites. From the rim of Menengai Crater extends a panorama of the Northern Rift, and a dozen hill ranges which include the Mau and Aberdares Ranges, the Tugen Hills, the precipitous Elgeyo-Marakwet Escarpment, the Matthews Range, and the Cherenganis, which collectively offer the finest hill scenery in Kenya.
Close to Lake Nakuru, in the Nakuru National Park, is the first black rhino sanctuary, constructed as part of the government plan to save the rhino from extinction. At Lake Nakuru, more than a million pink flamingos may be seen feeding on the abundant algae. A few miles north of Nakuru lie the dramatic hot Sulphur Springs of Lake Bogoria, described by an early explorer as having "the most beautiful view in Africa." This is another haunt of both flamingos and large numbers of the greater kudu - the largest and most beautiful of the spiral-horned antelope.
Nakuru National Park - Home to thousands of flamingoes and other waterfowl, the alkaline Lake Nakuru shares its name with the park that surrounds it. There is a good possibility of spotting leopard. Rhino can be observed here as well as large populations of baboons and waterbuck. This is the only park in which Rothschild giraffe can be found. Lake Nakuru is world famous for, and was created a National Park to protect, its stunning flocks of lesser flamingo which literally turn its shores pink. Its birdlife is world renowned: a beacon for leading ornithologists' scientists and wildlife film-makers. The park spans an attractive range of wooded and bush grassland around the lake, offering wide ecological diversity, from lake water, woodland to the rocky escarpment and ridges.
Notable game within the lake includes hippo and clawless otters. On the shores roam waterbuck, Bohor's Reedbuck and zebra. The woodlands and forest are now home to both black and white rhino. In 1987 only two black rhino remained following the ravages of poaching. By creating a rhino sanctuary within the Park and reintroducing a breeding herd from Laikipia, the K.W.S. has now successfully reestablished rhino in the park.
Game viewing is relatively easy: buffalo, leopard, lion, Rothschild's Giraffe, White and Black Colobus monkey are plentiful in the forest. The bushlands offer eland, steinbok, impala, Chandler's Reedbuck and dik dik, whilst rock hyrax and klipspringer occupy the cliffs and escarpment.
Lake Baringo - This freshwater lake is the northernmost of the lakes located in Kenya's Rift Valley. Activities are water oriented and include boat trips and fishing. Camelback rides are available, and it is possible to visit with members of the Njemp tribe. On the island in the middle of the lake are gushing hot sulfur springs surrounded by exquisite desert roses. Over 400 species of birds have been identified. Close to Nairobi, at the southern end, is Lake Naivasha, the highest and purest of the Rift Valley lakes, with teeming birdlife and a large resident hippo population. Naivasha is a fertile area where a wide variety of horticultural produce is grown for export, and where three of Kenya's newly developed vineyards are situated.
Maasai Mara National Park - The most famous of Kenya's national parks, the Maasai Mara caps of northern end of the Serengeti Plain. The Mara River, a natural boundary between Kenya and Tanzania, sets the stage for the twice-yearly spectacle of wildebeest and zebra herds. Lions reside in large prides, and the ability to observe them at close range astonishes most first-time visitors. Early morning balloon rides are available over the seemingly endless plains, followed by a champagne brunch and game drive.
Mount Kenya - At 17,058 feet, the mountain is a dramatic backdrop for the manicured lawns and beautiful gardens of the Mount Kenya Safari Club. A stop her provides a rest and an opportunity to luxuriate at the health club. Tennis, golf, horseback riding and swimming are available. On the premises is a wonderful animal orphanage that allows close contact with several species.
Samburu National Researve - Unique to this arid landscape are gerenuk, Somali ostrich, reticulated giraffe, Grevy's zebra and dik-dik. Crocodile line the banks of the Ewaso Ngiro River, where families of hippo have recently established residency. Elephant can be sighted, as well as leopard, lion, oryx and cheetah. There are plentiful herds of various antelope, including Grant's and Thompson's gazelles.
The Cherenganis drop is a series of magnificent scarps of 2,500 meters to the Kerio Valley, which is the start of a desert journey to the Jade Sea, or Lake Turkana, which is one of the string of seven lakes of the Rift Valley. Lake Turkana is the biggest of Kenya's lakes, and contains, within its 6,405 sq. km. area a reserve for Afnca's largest concentration of crocodiles. This is an anglers paradise with its large numbers of tilapia [striped perch), catfish and Nile perch.
Tsavo West National Park - Extensive semi-arid plains dominate this park and over 60 species of mammals have been sighted here, including elephant and buffalo. Mzima Springs, a geological wonder of water seeping through volcanic rock to form clear pools lushly surrounded with greenery, is the highlight of the park. Here you can walk down to an underwater viewing platform in the hope of observing hippos while vervet monkeys greet you.
Nairobi's main entertainment centres include - Bomas of Kenya with exhibitions of African traditional dances , Karen Blixen Museum, the house where Karen Blixen lived from the "Out of Africa " fame; National Museum, famous for Leakey pre-history discoveries and tribal artifacts; Utamaduni, an upmarket craft centre in Langata; Kazuri Beads, original ceramics in Karen and the Craft Market and Undugu Co-op store in the Westlands area.
For further information on the various national parks please click here to go to Kenya Wildlife services site.
Click here for Nairobi's major telephone contacts or here for Nairobi's restaurant contacts .
Nairobi National Park (28,000 acre - 113 square kilometre) is located only ten kilometres south-west of Nairobi city centre. Though the area was part of the Great Southern Game Reserve of Kenya created in 1889, it remained a grazing ground for the Maasai and Somali herdsmen. The Park was established by proclamation on 16th December 1946, thus becoming the first national park to be established in East Africa. The great variety of habitats offers suitable living conditions to great number of different animals. All the big-five, leopard, lion, buffalo and rhino, except elephant are represented.
Tourists will be delighted with the variety available and ease of reach. Day trips can easily be arranged with guided tours. Nairobi is full of reputable tour agents. Click here to see Road Map of Kenya.
The population of many of the grazers especially wildebeest, Coke’s hartebeest (kongoni), eland and Zebra occasionally followed by lion and hyena undergo seasonal migrations southwards through the Kitengela Game Conservation Area. Even when most of the migratory animals are away, the park is rich with resident populations of Bufalo, Maasai giraffe, Black rhino, eland, impala, Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelle, common and Defassa waterbuck, hippo, warthog, Olive baboon, monkeys and the attendant carnivores - lion, spotted hyena, cheetah, jackals, bat-eared fox and many smaller carnivores. Birds are plentiful with the commonest resident bird species like Secretary bird, Martial, Crowned, and Tawny. Other are Bateleur guineafowl, Yellow-necked spurfowl, francolins, quails, mousebird, Maasai ostrich, Crested crane, Kori bustard, Ground hornbill, European white stork and many others.
A self-guided nature trail along the Athi River which forms the Southern Park boundary, provides the visitors with an opportunity to watch hippo, crocodile, monkeys and a great variety of birds. The importance of Nairobi National Park lies in its great variety of animals to be seen (over 100 species of mammals and 400 species of birds have been recorded in the park), the ease of seeing them and the nearness of the park to the city. No where else in the world where a visitor may see such a great variety of mammals and birds existing in the wild so close to a large city. This closeness to the city means that even business visitors on a quick trip or visiting dignitaries with limited time can get at least a glimpse of Kenya’s outstanding wildlife splendour. Most notable being the park’s large prides of lion, cheetah and the rhino. It is also an easily accessible recreation area for people living in the city.
Tourist Links And Additional Information
Kenya is a beutiful country with a lot of sunshine and beautiful beaches. The beach resorts south of Mombasa town are dominated by Diani Beach, a large stretch of sand over ten kilometres long and fringed by a calm blue ocean. The Jadini forest adjoining the beach is a favourite haunt for leopard, colobus monkeys, baboons and a great variety of forest birds. Other beach resorts along the coast include Likoni Beach, just across from the Likoni Ferry and Shimoni Beach, almost on the Kenya-Tanzania border.
The North coast is also the home of many famous five-star hotels like Nyali beach Hotel, Whitesands, Serena, and Mombasa Continental Resourt (formerly The Intercontinental), among others. If you need to contact any of the hotels in kenya please click here and the icon above for their contact.
Mombasa, "Kenya's second largest town is a tropical centre par excellence: steamy, lazy but ready, at any moment to burst into colourful life. All around there are superb beaches ... (which) are the backdrop for one of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world, rated in the top three (with Australia's Barrier Reef and the Red Sea) by experienced divers. With even the most limited equipment, easily hired almost anywhere, you can, corny as it sounds, enter another world. The most spectacular sections are far to the south of Wasini Island and, north, between Watamu and Malindi, each enclosed in marine national parks".
Mombasa island is connected to the mainland to the west by causeways, to the north by the Nyali bridge and to the south, by the Likoni ferry. " At its most appealing heart is Old Town, a maze of lanes, mosques and cramped elderly houses sloping gently down to the once busy dhow harbour. Fort Jesus, an impressive reminder of Mombasa's complicated bloody past still overlooks the Old Town, from where it once guarded the harbour entrance. It is now a national monument and museum.
Many recreational activities are organized by hotels along the South coast for the enjoyment of the visitors. these include water-skiing, wind-surfing, scuba diving, goggling and deep-sea fishing. Mombasa is also a cheap place to buy the fabrics the coast is famous for. Check out the latest khanga (also known as leso) designs in Biashara Street. Some of the home-produced patterns are so good they are beginning to make an impact worldwide! Biashara street houses shops selling household goods, bags, mats, baskets and several other locally made items. On Moi Avenue, you will see the more expensive boutiques, electrical shops, shoe shops, bookshops and tour operator offices. At the Old Town is devoted to gift and curio shops, and the emporiums are over-whelmingly luxuriant in their display.
Huge elephant tusks stand at the entrance to the city's commercial area and seem to invite you to enter. Not far from the tusks is Uhuru Fountain, one of the main symbols of African Independence. Constructed in the shape of the African Continent, it is decorated with bright colours and the Mombasa coat of arms. At the Old Port small boats and dhows are still seen sailing the waters around Mombasa. As the largest port of Kenya, Mombasa exports to other countries such items such as coffee, tea, the insecticide pyrethrum and sisal. Some of her imports include oil, bicycles, shoes, cars and metals.Visit the famous "Lango la Papa" street and test the variety of fish or just sip kahawa murwa and halwa safi from Malindi. Mombasa has many thriving businesses and factories. You can buy beautiful carvings and other works of art, jewellery and clothing. Its factories produce cans, soap, paraffin, paint, sugar, flour, glass, paper bags and cement.
For an extensive information on Mombasa, please visit Mombasa 0nline.
The weather pattern is that January and February are hot and dry, while from March to May it is hot and wet (the long rains). From June till October the climate is warm and dry, while from November to December Mombasa experiences the "short rains".
The main tourist seasons tie in with the rainfall patterns: the most popular periods are December and January and July and August. July and August are probably the best months overall for game viewing. October to January are the months with the clearest seas for goggling especially November.
Shimoni, about 120 kilometres from Mombasa is the gateway to the adjoining Kisite-Mpunguti Marine National Park (28 sq. kms) and Reserve as well as the main centre for the fishing industries along the South coast. As you sail to the Marine Park, you will see Dolphins play with your boat. From there you may visit the Wasini Island to see its unique moon-like landscapes.
The Shimba Hills National Reserve, about 40 kilometres from Mombasa, is near the South Coast holiday resorts. It stands at an altitude of 300 - 400 metres and consists of rolling hills of grasslands alternating with beautiful patches of equatorial rain forest remnants. It was established in 1968 for the protection of the last breeding herd of Sable antelope in the country. The reserve offers a cool change from the coastal heat and panoramic views of the ocean to the south and the Usambara and Pare mountains across the border to Tanzania.
Animals found in the Reserve include elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard, Red duiker, Bushbuck, Bush duiker, suni, Blue monkey, Black and white colobus, Serval cat and Black-faced vervet monkeys. Birds are plentiful with common species like hawk eagle, Crested guineafowl, Hornbills, Turaco, Barbets, Honey guide, Woodpecker, Flycatcher, Shrikes, Orioles, Sunbirds and many others.
The North coast between Mombasa island and Kilifi 70 kms with long stretches of sun-drenched beaches fringed with palms "make the area a tourist paradise" (What's On).The New Nyali Bridge across Tudor Creek links the Island with the beach resorts which stretch northwards along the coast. Ahead from the bridge is the Nyali Estate which offers a sports club, golf course and some of the finest hotels along the north coast. A private wildlife and forest conservation sanctuary established by Bamburi Cement Company forms the first link in a chain of attractions along the north coast.
The sanctuary is established on a depression left when the company quarried the coral limestone for the manufacture of cement. A Swiss agronomist, Rene Haller, helped the company to rehabilitate the devastated environment by establishing stands of forests, shrubs, vineyard, citrus trees, mangoes, bananas and glades alive with various species of wildlife and ponds of fish where Tilapia and other fish species are bred and grown to the delight of thousands of visitors.
The Kipepeo Aquarium constructed by Monsieur Allard compliments the Bamburi Quarry Farm. Here, beautiful coral gardens, shells and coral fish are on display for the enjoyment of the visitors. About 8 kilometres from Mombasa town and opposite Hotel Continental is the newly established Mombasa Marine National Park (10 sq. kms), and further on in Kilifi District the beautiful Kilifi Creek provides prolific birdlife with the Carmine bee-eater dominating the scene. Water sports include a 15-minute circular flight around the Creek by seaplane - a memorable experience for the visitors.
The Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Reserve, a preserved remnant of indigenous coastal forest famous for its indigenous rubber trees, avifauna and butterfly life, at Kilifi-Watamu area is not to be missed. It is the only place in the country where the rare Aders Duiker and the Golden rumped elephant shrew live. Unique bird species include Sokoke pipit and Sokoke Scopes owl.
Visitors interested in touring the remote North Coast and Lamu Island will proceed on the Malindi-Lamu road which crosses Sabaki River . On the way they may stop at Karawa to see Formosa Bay - the largest beach on East African Coast with its sand dunes. Further on before Garsen is the Tana River Delta with green riverine forests which support large numbers of water birds and the famous breeding grounds for Herons.
The Gede villages on the seaward side off the main Malindi Road and a short distance before Watamu houses Kenya’s most important monument, the GEDE or GEDI RUINS about 20 kms south of Malindi town - an Islamic civilization city, which disappeared mysteriously about three hundred years ago. The ruins were gazetted as a monument in 1927 and became a National Park now a National Museum (45 acres) in 1948. The great city Mosque and parts of the King’s Palace and other city houses have been restored, well-preserved and signposted with well maintained trails for the benefit and enjoyment of the visitors who can now view them with admirable ease.
From Gede village one travels for about 8 kilometres to Watamu village beyond which is the Watamu Marine National Park established in 1968 for the preservation of the coral reef resources. About 19 kilometres north of Watamu lies Malindi town, the former port of call for ships sailing in the Indian Ocean via the Cape of Good Hope. Its seven kilometre long curving beach is ideal for surfing during the monsoon in July and August and a favourite haunt for visitors. The town’s coast offers excellent facilities for deep-sea fishing where sportsfishermen have caught some of the largest fish in Africa. The best time for big game fishing is from end of September to the end of April.
The restraurants are great, and you should taste our "nyama choma" either at the Carnivore or at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi. The game meat is great and the variety is plenty. Try also crocodille meat at Mamba Village in Mombasa or at the Carnivore !!! E-mail us about your experience. What's On, a local tourist guide, sums it up by stating boldly "Kenya is a favorite destination for travellers from around the world. It is an all year round destination with so much to offer.