Wildlife Highlights of Kenya
Kenya offers wonderful big cat viewing, especially in the renowned Masai Mara, home to the BBC’s Big Cat Diary. Other good areas for the cats include Samburu, Nakuru, Amboseli and the Lewa Conservancy.
Elephant viewing is excellent in Amboseli, Samburu and The Mathews Range. Specialist elephant safaris are possible at a few camps in these areas, where your hosts are passionate and knowledgeable about elephants.
Some of the best viewing of black & white rhino in Africa is found in Nakuru, Lewa Downs, Ol Pejeta and various other private conservancies. The rare African wild dog can be seen throughout the country, but are not common.
The north of the country is home to some special species more adapted to arid conditions such as gerenuk, Beisa oryx, the very rare Grevy’s zebra and reticulated giraffe.
The Masai Mara, perhaps the most famous wildlife area in the world, supports an incredible variety of mammals. The plains are dominated by large herds of herbivores of which the wildebeest, zebra and Thompson’s gazelle are the most numerous. Eland, the largest antelope, mix with the other giants – elephant, buffalo, hippo and giraffe, usually under the gaze of the predator species – lion, leopard, cheetah, hyaena and crocodile. The smaller species are well represented too – dik dik, bat-eared fox, serval, caracal, aardwolf, a variety of mongoose, baboon, monkey, warthog etc.
The main seasonal wildlife highlight in Kenya is the annual wildebeest and zebra migration which usually arrives in the Masai Mara in late July, and stays until mid-late October. River crossings, when the herds ‘swim the gauntlet’ across the croc-filled Mara and Talek rivers, can be seen during this period.
Birding in Kenya is superb, with over 1100 species found through a variety of different habitats. Migrant species are most likely to be seen from October to March. Greater and lesser flamingo populations migrate between the Rift Valley lakes throughout the year, but not to a set pattern.