Safari in Kenya: when and where to go
A safari in Kenya is an unforgettable adventure that allows you to explore the landscapes of Africa, admiring the nature and admiring exotic animals such as the Big Five: elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos, buffalo. “Live” safaris in Kenya are a unique opportunity to spend an alternative vacation in complete relaxation, with the peace and quiet that only these places can provide. Obviously, you need to be well organized for such a trip and especially aware of the climatic conditions.
1. When to go: the best time to go on safari in Kenya
Kenya has a different climate depending on the region, but generally the recommended months for a safari are definitely February and March and then June / September .The dry season in February and March allows you to enjoy all the wonders of nature and exotic animals, mainly between January and February you can see the migration of different bird species. Instead, thousands of tourists come between June and September to witness the great migration, when wildebeest, zebra, antelope and gazelles migrate from the Maasai Mara to Tanzania in search of greenery.
On Lake Turkana in northern Kenya you can admire the beautiful pink flamingos, especially during the months of July / September and January / March.
Finally, in Tsavo National Park, you can see the so-called big five (lions, elephants, leopards, rhinos and buffalo) from August to February, among others.
Climate: along the coast it is hot and humid (26/27 ° C on average), the long rainy season lasts from April to June, August / September are the best months; sea temperature around 27/28 ° C all year round. Temperate in areas with parks and plateaus (average 24/25 ° C), the rainy season lasts from March to May, hence from January / February and from June to September the most favorable months; hot in the northern part , with an average temperature of about 27 degrees, the rains are not regular and sporadic (most likely March / May and October / December). Relatively the coolest months are July and August.
- June / September – gnu antelope migration to the Maasai Mara;
- Mid-August / late October to see elephants and rhinos in Amboseli Park;
- July / September and January / March to watch pink flamingos at Lake Turkana;
- June/August and January/February for coastal areas and beaches.
Period to avoid:
- March/May in mountain areas and national parks, to a lesser extent October/December as rainy seasons;
- April / June is the wettest period in coastal areas;
There are no real unfavorable periods for the northern areas; the climate is always hot.
2. Masai Mara.
Masai Mara can be called a natural extension of the Serengeti, one of East Africa’s protected areas. The name of the reserve comes from the name of the Maasai people (living in different areas of the Serengeti Plain) and the Mara River.
It is the place where most safaris are held, and the fact that seeing the big five is almost guaranteed makes the park a must for those who dare to go on safari.
The park is located entirely in the Great Rift Valley at an altitude of 1,500 to 2,200 meters. The rains peak between April and May, and sometimes storms make some areas of the park inaccessible. Masai Mara has exceptional hippo, lion, and rhino activity, but above all the spectacular migration of gnu, zebra, and antelope.
There are also game drives (either with a driver or on your own, according to park rules) to be able to see wild animals in their natural habitat. This is usually done early in the morning, late in the afternoon or at night.
Keep in mind that the Masai Mara is one of the most expensive and largest parks in Kenya : it has many more trails than other parks, so it is easier to get close to the animals. This type of safari is ideal for those who have a few days to spare and want to stay close to Nairobi.
Best period: June to September.
Recommended duration: minimum 3 days and 2 nights.
Amboseli Park is located in the Rift Valley, on the border with Tanzania, and is home to the very rare black rhino as well as majestic African elephants, but not only. Above the ponds are cheetahs, gazelles, zebras, lions, hippos, ostriches … and many birds (over 400 different species)! Here, too, you can see the sought-after big five .
This is the perfect place for an animal photo safari with the majestic Kilimanjaro as a backdrop . The views are truly mesmerizing: mountains, lava expanses with magnificent acacia trees, dried lake bottoms, birds’ nests.
It is advisable to start the adventure in Amboseli Park early in the morning, because at sunrise you can see the two volcanic peaks of Kilimanjaro, well lit, while in the afternoon they are often covered by clouds. Don’t forget your binoculars, because the animals don’t always follow the trails.
Although the fauna of Amboseli is abundant, it is a bit difficult to observe because cars are not allowed off the trail, and it is forbidden to get out of the car . Drive game you can always do with a guide who decides to maintain safe distances to the most dangerous animals.
Best time: July / September, January / March
Recommended duration: 2 days and 1 night.
4. Tsavo East National Park
Tsavo East National Park is another place not to be missed for animal watching, it features the famous red soil. Vegetation is lower and rarer than in Tsavo East, so it is easier to spot animals here.
It is one of the few places in the world where you can see large herds of buffalo and elephants, as well as giraffes, zebras and hyenas. There is no shortage of animals such as lions, cheetahs and leopards, which are present in large numbers.
Tsavo East is the most suitable park for those who go to Kenya for the first time and want to go on a one- or two-day safari without giving up the thrill of immersion in this magical world. In addition, it is forbidden to walk in the park or leave the lodges or tent cities after 6 p.m.
Best period: August to February.
Recommended duration: 1 night and 2 days / Park East + West I recommend 2 nights and 3 days
Recommended safari: from Mombasa: 3-day safari to East Tsavo and Salt Lick
5. Tsavo West National Park
Tsavo West National Park encompasses a great variety of landscapes, from swamps to natural springs, from rock to rolling plains. It has truly unique panoramic views, such as the volcanic lava hills and the Mzima spring (a series of four natural springs), full of hippos and crocodiles. Compared to East Tsavo, the climate here is more humid.
To this spectacular landscape we add animals such as lions, elephants, hyenas, leopards, black rhinos, zebras, giraffes, which move in endless spaces.
Tsavo West Park is known for its “man-eating lions”, that is, males without mane.
Here you can also enjoy game drives. but since in the eastern part it is obligatory to walk on the trails, it is impossible to get on the green by going “off the trails”. Also, you can’t walk around the park after 6 p.m. or leave the lodges or campgrounds.
Best period: July through October.
Recommended duration: 1 night and 2 days / Park East + West I recommend 2 nights and 3 days
Recommended safari: 3-day safari in Amboseli and Tsavo
6. Lake Turkana.
Lake Turkana is a large lake in central eastern Africa, located in the Rift Valley : it is the largest permanent desert lake and also the largest alkaline lake on the planet. Lake Turkana is home to hippos, perches and the highest concentration of Nile crocodiles in the world.
Here you can enjoy the beautiful scenery and the surrounding nature: springs that sprout from time to time, feeding streams, rainforests in which colorful orchids bloom, graffiti on the rocks among the rocks. But most interesting, of course, are the pink flamingos that crowd the lake’s waters and the many migratory birds.
This area has a drier, drier climate than the rest of Kenya, with temperatures around 35 degrees throughout the year and peaks of 50° C. Also, getting there and doing a safari is especially risky because of the wear and tear and rough terrain, often muddy . It is a truly extreme place that is hard to forget.
Best times: July / September and January / March for flamingos / November for migratory birds.
Recommended duration: 2 nights and 3 days.
It all depends on the length, type and number of parks included in the safari. If you want to choose a cheap solution, a week-long safari costs about 700.00 euros (for visiting two parks + lake). This price should be taken into account for a safari booked locally, so excluding any flight from Italy or other services such as transfers, overnight stays and more. A trip from Italy, which includes flights, safaris, overnight stays and other services, starts at about 3,000 euros per person for about 10-12 days .
Staying in a tourist facility with average standards costs about 100.00 euros per day , the cost of food is about 10.00 euros per person per meal . The cost of the trip should also include medicines to prevent malaria, even if it is not necessary: for example, Lariam can be purchased by prescription for 1 euro per pack. For flights, consider starting prices from €400.00 .
7. What to wear and what to take with you
The rule of thumb is to wear clothes in colors close to nature: khaki, brown, dark green, beige. Avoid bright colors as they can scare the animals . Always carry a hat to protect your head from the sun, sunscreen, sunglasses.
During the day, a T-shirt, bermuda shorts, and closed-toed shoes will work; for the evening, a k-shirt and a light sweatshirt.
Если вы едете в высокогорье, возьмите с собой что-нибудь от холода. Вечером надевайте длинные рукава и длинные брюки, чтобы избежать укусов комаров. В общем, для плато я рекомендую одеваться в многослойную и непромокаемую одежду для возможного душа. Для запасных – одежда нейтрального цвета и удобная парусиновая обувь. В горах надевайте треккинговую обувь, а на вершину горы Кения – подходящую одежду для холода. Не забудьте средство от комаров.
Рекомендуемая одежда: нейтральная, легкая и дышащая одежда, легкий свитер на вечер, закрытая обувь.
Полезные аксессуары: шляпа, солнцезащитные очки, зонт, репеллент, солнцезащитный крем, бинокль.
Остерегайтесь комаров: вооружитесь средствами от укусов насекомых и одеждой, закрывающей кожу.
A trip to Tanzania
Africa has a special magic – sunsets so beautiful that time stands still, remote places where the brilliance of the night stars really takes your breath away and encounters with nature that will change how you see the world.
The best and most interesting way to experience nature in Africa is on a wildlife safari, which allows visitors to get close to wild animals in their natural habitat while supporting national conservation efforts in the form of protected areas or national parks.
From all African nations to choose from, Tanzania makes your top safari destination breathtaking. A safari in Tanzania is so much more than a vacation, it is a travel experience that will make you fall in love with nature and embrace the beauty of the wilderness in a whole new way.
Tanzania is where Jane Goodall fell in love with chimpanzees. Her experience in Gombe National Park not only changed her life, but motivated her to change the world! In Tanzania, Louis and Mary Leakey discovered one of the most important archaeological finds on Earth – in Olduvai Gorge, which is still being carefully excavated today.
Tanzania has inspired artists and writers for centuries , including Ernest Hemmingway, with his famous book “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”.
What is a safari?
What is a safari and how is it different from a typical vacation?
The word safari comes from the Swahili language, meaning “a journey” and is the root of the verb “to travel” in this East African language.
Tanzania is by far the best country in Africa to go on safari – it has the largest national parks, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as well as the highest mountain in Africa.
As further proof of Tanzania’s claim as the top country in Africa for a safari, Serengeti National Park has been awarded the “Best Safari Destination” out of numerous national parks across Africa by the experts for several years in a row.
Therefore, a safari is not just a vacation, but a travel experience in Africa. While other places (like Thailand or India) may advertise “safaris,” these game drives to see animals are not comparable to an African safari, nor do they have any historical connection to this Swahili word.
Need more reasons to choose Tanzania as a safari destination?
The Great Wildebeest Migration has the largest movement of animals in the world (well, after the migration of bats, but it’s not that spectacular)! And it occurs nine months a year in the Serengeti National Park!
Only in Tanzania you can combine your safari adventure with climbing the highest mountain in Africa – Kilimanjaro.
Tanzania is the only place where one of the rarest gemstones in the world – Tanzanite – has ever been found.
Tanzania has the highest population density of animals and wildlife diversity compared to any other African country. Here you are sure to see healthy herds of elephants and can visit a rhino sanctuary where rangers work to save the endangered black rhino species. Also, the largest population of lions on the planet is in Tanzania.
While it is true that park entrance fees to Tanzanian national parks are higher than neighboring countries, Tanzania’s parks undoubtedly offer a higher quality experience for an African safari.
A Tanzania National Park safari means:
A typical African safari means a game drive under the guidance of a professional guide to designated protected areas. Your driver guide will explain the surroundings, the animals and other wildlife you encounter, and give you the opportunity to take incredible photos of it all.
In some places, there is the option for a “walking safari” (e.g. Arusha National Park) or a “tree top walk” (Manyara National Park), which means you can hike or climb close to the animals in a sustainable and environmentally friendly (and physically safe!) way.
Afterwards, you’ll continue to your accommodations at a comfortable lodge or camp, where you’ll enjoy a beautiful African sunset and eat a delicious meal while reminiscing about your exciting day.
What is a Game Drive?
By nature, safaris usually mean long game drives. Guests can expect to spend anywhere from 6-8 hours in a safari car for game viewing, especially in parks where they are only allowed to leave the vehicle in designated areas.
For this reason, some guests opt for a sunrise drive, leaving early in the morning with the hope of seeing elusive animals – such as cheetah – and returning to the lodge or hotel earlier in the day to enjoy a dip in the pool or a leisurely walk before evening.
There is no rule that says you have to stay in the park until closing time. National Park hours are 6am – 6pm, and you are welcome to come and go anytime between those hours.
Of course, it is not necessary to spend all day game drives in your car. Most hotels are located right in the middle of the national parks, and if you are doing a longer safari itinerary, you can enjoy the comfort of award-winning properties throughout the day. Water hotels that are drilled around the lodge will attract wildlife right to the deck and bring safari vibes right to you.
Because of the long time spent in a safari car, take into account traveling with young children. Think about when your young one is able to sit for extended periods of time and how attentive they can be to the experience. Safaris are exciting and there are animals, birds and unique wildlife to see all around, but it can be tiring for young travelers.
Also remember that time moves differently on safari. A morning in Tarangire National Park following a herd of elephants is exciting; your heart will race when you see a lion just a few feet away; you’ll stand up to fully appreciate the height of a giraffe, and climb through the safari car to get a perfect shot of a leopard hiding in a tree overhead.
Before you know it, it’s time for lunch; your driver will take you to a special picnic spot, usually overlooking a lake or with a fantastic view of the park, where you will enjoy your meal outside the safari car.
Things that make a safari in Tanzania special
Tanzania has the greatest diversity of wildlife in Africa, making it the best place for a wildlife safari.
Even considering Tanzania’s northern parks and attractions, it’s easy to see why Tanzania is a popular tourist destination for wildlife safaris:
The Ngorongoro Crater , a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is known for its incredible population density of animals-the highest in the world per square meter. Visitors can also spy the endangered black rhino in the Ngorongoro Crater. Visiting this amazing wildlife sanctuary gives guests the opportunity to see the most wildlife and is truly a special wildlife experience.
Serengeti National Park has also been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it is home to the most ungulates on earth and has the highest number of predators in a given area than anywhere else in the world. In the Serengeti, guests see the wildebeest migration with their own eyes – with the option of seeing them from the air either in a chartered plane or a hot air balloon adventure.
Manyara National Park, guests have the opportunity to see tree-climbing lions, enormous numbers of pink flamingos and hoards of other bird species, as well as one of the largest troops of baboons in Africa. Manyara National Park has recently built a series of linked bridges in the strong trees along Lake Manyara, allowing for a unique “Tree Top Walk” to get even closer to the incredible birdlife of this park.
Tarangire National Park has one of the largest populations of elephants in the region, visitors are sure to see elephant families with small babies in this park. During the dry season, herds of zebra and wildebeest and their predators – lions, cheetahs and leopards – make their way to Tarangire for its great river, as a source of water.
Arusha National Park is home to the famous Mount Meru, the second highest peak in Tanzania. Guests can experience a walking safari through the grasslands and near giraffes, zebras and herds of Cape Buffalo, all under the guidance of a professional park ranger, of course.
Kilimanjaro National Park is home to Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro. Climbing this incredible peak is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure for many. Altezza offers unsurpassed Kili hikes as private climbs or group tours that anyone can join. Learn more about climbing Kilimanjaro here.
Landscape and environment
Within Africa, Tanzania is one of the leading countries to set aside large areas of land for conservation or wildlife protection. Over a quarter (25%) of the nation has been designated either national parks or official protected areas.
This means that there are vast tracts of land that have remained true to the integrity of nature, remote areas where nature rules; like the famous Great Migration with millions of wildebeest charging across the Grumeti River, risking crocodiles and other predators, savannahs where lions are still king and all of nature respects the mighty elephant.
In Tanzania, visitors can see nature at its finest, untouched state away from the human habitat.
Photographers of all walks – professionals and amateurs alike – constantly choose Tanzania for great nature photos. Capture photos of African plains that seem to stretch on forever, get a close-up shot of a brilliant weaver bird building her nest in a thorny acacia tree, or some of Africa’s famous big cats like cheetahs or serval cats meandering in the long, dry grasses. Photos taken during a safari in Tanzania are excellent, even without quality photographic equipment, because the landscape here is so vivid and the wildlife so active.
National Geographic, Animal Planet and other popular wildlife documentary teams visit Tanzania because they are almost guaranteed to see wildlife in the wild and take excellent photographs.
Comfortable Safari Cars
The Tanzanian tourism industry maintains high standards that extend to safari vehicles. When you book with Altezza Travel, there is no compromise on riding in a van for your safari – you will certainly be in a modern, comfortable safari vehicle.
Our safari cars are equipped with Wi-Fi internet access, a refrigerator for cool drinks, power outlets for charging devices on the go, air conditioning and retractable tops. The ability to raise the roof of the safari car means a better view of a fun safari adventure.
Luxury lodges and camps
Accommodations in Tanzania have earned a reputation for excellent hospitality. There are many award-winning camps and lodges in the national parks that cater to high-end clientele.
Visitors to Tanzania will enjoy a luxurious experience throughout their stay. You may be in a remote location on the edge of the Tarangire River, the Serengeti Plains, or with exquisite views of the Great Rift Valley; but you can be sure to drink fine wine, eat chef-prepared meals, and enjoy all the luxuries offered by any four- or five-star hotel.
Altezza has carefully selected top-rated hotels, and our staff visits these establishments to ensure that the quality and service our guests receive meets our own high standards.
Nearly all lodges Altezza partners with for our guests safari accommodations offer beautiful pools, outdoor fire pits for nights under the stars, and top-rated restaurants within the hotels. Rooms are spacious, often with private balconies or verandas for further relaxation and breathtaking views.
Many also offer spa services and sometimes babysitting options for families. Childcare in such settings is educational and fun for all ages; children learn about Tanzanian culture and have the opportunity to participate in crafts or learn traditional dances.
Generally, guests spend early mornings and evenings at hotels or lodges, but you can create your own schedule to suit your own needs.
Professional Safari Guides
Altezza carefully selects safari guides who have experience in the field and in-depth knowledge of Tanzania’s plants, animals and history. Your safari experience will be both memorable and informative. All around, you will learn about the incredible features of nature and the behavior of African animals in an entertaining and captivating way. Despite the long time spent in cars, many families who bring their children on safaris find that the experience opened their children’s minds to nature in a whole new way. Electronic devices seem dull compared to the excitement of the real wilderness!
Our guides consistently receive positive reviews from our guests. The professional and friendly nature of Altezza guides is often considered one of the aspects that have taken a traditional safari beyond expectations.
If you are interested in an experience that is much more than a typical vacation, come to Tanzania for a wildlife safari.
If you are looking for an adventure that is not only memorable, but has the power to affect how you see the world around you, come to Tanzania for a wildlife safari.
If you want your travels to have a deeper impact and teach you about the importance of our environment, come to Tanzania for a wildlife safari.
If you want to experience the world but don’t feel like a regular tourist, come to Tanzania for a wildlife safari.
If you want to visit authentic Africa and see wildlife in their natural habitat, come to Tanzania for a wildlife safari.
If you want to have the best safari experience, come to Tanzania!