Kenya Diary

Kenya is a strange mixture so far as a safari holiday is concerned. It combines the most spectacular accompanying scenery and sheer diversity of wildlife, with the need to avoid the over commercialisation and overcrowding that years of being such a top tourist destination have engendered.

With careful planning, though, it is possible to create a safari trip here that is the equal of anything found elsewhere.

Kenya contains the most extraordinary number and variety of National Parks and game reserves. On this trip we have chosen to focus on Amboseli, Meru, Samburu, the Laikipia region, and of course the Maasai Mara, probably Africa's most famous safari destination.

However, as will be seen, we have also deliberately chosen to avoid visiting the Mara itself. Although we doubt that any other Tour Operator will admit to this, the Mara, especially in high season, can be a terrible place to visit. It's really only quite a small reserve, but with over 4000 bedspaces, so that, at its height, driving around here is rather like driving around Piccadilly Circus or Times Square - not our idea of a game drive. The 'wildlife' might be prolific, but it's about as wild as that found in a zoo.

Most game viewing takes place from closed vans, as shown below, left, as opposed to open sided or open topped dedicated game viewing vehicles, and the photograph below, right, shows just a fraction of the number of vehicles that we ourselves once found ourselves parked amongst, surrounding a bewildered solitary cheetah on a fresh kill.


Fortunately we have been able to research a strategy for staying in the area of the Mara that provides all of its advantages, whilst avoiding its drawbacks - see Day Sixteen onwards. Then, although Kenya is also noted for its coastal resorts, we do not choose to recommend these to our guests, partly due to similar overcrowding, and partly due to the increasing risk from terrorism here. However Kenya is also rich in lakeside experiences, and we include two of these in this trip.

Finally, although the capital cities of most safari destinations do not actually have very much appeal, Nairobi is different, and is very well worth visiting in its own right, and not just because your return flight demands an overnight stay.

As before, almost all of the photographs accompanying this report relate directly to the trip taken, and the points at which the pictures reproduced on the right hand side relate back to the text are indicated in the text by the symbol (camera icon). Again, it is worth noting that on this trip many more photographs were taken than on the earlier Zambia trips.

Your trip begins here with Day One (although you can also link to specific days directly from the Itinerary Summary that follows).