Kenya is a country rich in wildlife, culture, natural resources and ethnic diversity. A map of Kenya will reveal that the country is bordered by the Indian Ocean on the southeast while the Equator divides this East African country into two almost equal halves. Uganda is located to the west, Tanzania to the south, Somalia to the northeast, South Sudan to the north-west and Ethiopia to the north. The Rift Valley passes through the country, leaving behind a trail of beautiful lakes and stunning landscapes.
The weather in Kenya is quite diverse and varies widely depending on the area. The coastal areas enjoy a tropical climate while the north and north-eastern sections have a rather arid climate. Rainy season usually happens between March and June with another rainy season from October to December.
Most people associate Kenya with safaris and wilderness experiences. Kenya is famously known for the annual wildebeest migration that takes place in the Masai Mara plains. Countless tourists come to witness the millions of wildebeests, zebras and gazelles trying to cross the overflowing Mara River in search of greener pastures in the other side. Hundreds of them die as a result of drowning or fall prey to the gigantic crocodiles in the river, to lions and hyenas. This amazing wildlife spectacle takes place during the months of mid-June to September. It has been recognized as one of the seven wonders of the new world and tourists flock here in the thousands to witness this breathtaking scenario.
Masai Mara National Park, where the wildebeest migration takes place, is also the largest national park in the country. It is home to the “big five” game animals, comprising the lion, the leopard, the elephant, the buffalo and the rhino. Other great national parks and game reserves include Tsavo East National Park, Tsavo West National Park, the Amboseli National Park and the Samburu National Reserve. These are all phantastic places to visit for animal lovers. For those who would love to experience the culture of the locals, there are Maasai villages just adjacent to the national parks where one can learn about the traditions and lifestyle about this ancient tribe.
Kenya’s capital city Nairobi is another exciting place to visit. Nicknamed “the Green City in the sun”, it is home to many different people from all over the country and the world. Just 7 kilometers south of the city’s centre is Nairobi National Park which is home to many animals and bird species. Visitors can view lions, leopards, giraffes, rhinos, hippos, gazelles, impala and many other African savanna animals.
Located on the Indian Ocean and the country’s only major seaport, Mombasa is Kenya’s second largest city. One of the most popular destinations in Mombasa is the historic downtown area surrounding Fort Jesus which houses exhibits from when Mombasa was a slave port. The city also boasts several Hindi temples, a testament to the multicultural environment found here. There are several beautiful beaches north and south of the city that are surrounded by luxury hotels.
At 5,199 metres, Mount Kenya is the country’s highest peak and the second tallest peak in Africa, after Mount Kilimanjaro. This ancient volcano is located in the centre of Mount Kenya National Park which is a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The park and the surrounding forest were designated at as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Mount Kenya used to be covered by extensive glaciers; these, however, are shrinking rapidly due to global warming. For tourists the Mount Kenya National Park offers a wide variety of climbing routes and ice routes, where snow and ice are still left. There are also eight walking routes to the top.
Kenya’s outstanding wildlife watching opportunities, its colourful tribal traditions, and its coastline with its beaches and coral reefs offer diverse travel opportunities to the discerning traveller. A safari in Kenya is an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience.