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TRAVEL ADVICE

If you’re planning a holiday to Kenya our travel guide will help you decide where and when to go and what to do whilst you’re there.

by Tom Blakey

Kenya is undoubtedly one of our favourite luxury African safari destinations. We think that it offers some unique and unforgettable travel experiences – from witnessing the greatest wildlife spectacle on earth –  the Great Migration, to spotting leopards, lions and cheetahs in the Masai Mara and joining a camel safari in Laikipia Plateau in Kenya’s remote and wild north.

Lion spotted on a Kenyan safari

Where to go

Here at Wayfairer our Kenya holidays tend to focus on the following areas:

Southern Kenya: Masai Mara National Reserve > Masai Mara Conservancies > Amboseli National Park

Northern Kenya: Samburu National Reserve > Laikipia Plateau and the conservancies

Central Kenya / Great Rift Valley: Lake Nakuru National Park > Lake Naivasha

Kenya Coast: Diani Beach > Msambweni Beach

What to do

We have listed below 12 different activities to take part in during your Kenyan :

  1. Stay at the famous Giraffe Manor Hotel in Nairobi and feed the resident Rothschild giraffes from your breakfast table
  2. Spot the ‘big 5’ during game drives in Kenya’s spectacular national parks, reserves and conservancies
  3. See the vast plains and incredible wildlife of the Masai Mara from a hot air balloon
  4. Visit the Daphne Sheldrick Orphanage in Nairobi
  5. Witness the greatest wildlife spectacle on earth - the Great Migration
  6. Experience activities such as wild dog tracking, camel safaris, walking safaris, horse riding, rafting and swimming in waterfalls in Laikipia Plateau
  7. See large herds of elephants in Amboseli National Park against the backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro
  8. Spot leopards, lions and cheetahs in the Masai Mara
  9. Photograph the iconic flocks of pink flamingos at Lake Nakuru
  10. Gain an insight into different cultures, such as Maasai and Samburu, by visiting villages and markets
  11. Go on a bushwalk with a local guide on community owned land
  12. Relax on the pristine white sands of Diani Beach on the Kenyan coast

When to go

The climate in Kenya is, for most of the year, beautiful. Expect warm temperatures and blue skies plus a cooling breeze on the coast and in the high altitude safari destinations.  However, being an equatorial country, weather conditions can be volatile with heavy rains and extreme heat is possible in certain months. The weather has a big impact on the surrounding vegetation and river systems which in turn effects wildlife movement and game viewing opportunities. On the coast, stormy conditions in the rainy months can impact ocean visibility and debris on the beaches.

We think the best time to visit Kenya is during the dry season from June to early November as temperatures are pleasant and there is little chance of rain. You can expect spectacular wildlife viewing opportunities and you’ll see all the big African game congregating around waterholes and along the riverbanks. It is worth noting that July and August can get very busy in the national parks and reserves.

If you want to see the Great Wildebeest Migration, the best time to visit Kenya is from July to October. The migrating herds usually move into the Masai Mara in July and they stay in Kenya for around 3-4 months, before moving south to Tanzania in October.

The ‘short rains’ last for a few weeks in November and into early December - there are usually fewer tourists which can lead to some very intimate wildlife sightings if you are willing to chance the afternoon showers. Mid-December through to the end of March is a good time to visit Kenya and the wildlife sightings are excellent, but, particularly in the North of the country, it can be very hot in the middle of the day. The long rains arrive in April and remain until the end of May - you can expect a heavy rain shower most afternoons.

It is also worth noting that Kenya is a large country with very different landscapes. It can be pouring with rain in the high altitude and lush plains of the Masai Mara but be bone dry in the deserts of Samburuland – that's the nature of the beast.

Where to stay

Here are some examples of the fantastic accommodation we use in Kenya -

Mara Plains Camp

One of our favourite luxury camps in Kenya is Mara Plains Camp which is located in the heart of the Olare Motorogi Conservancy on the northern border of the Maasai Mara National Reserve.

Mara Plains Camp is one of the Maasai Mara's most luxurious and environmentally friendly safari camps. It has been constructed without using any cement in an effort to minimise its impact on the environment that surrounds it and it is entirely possible to remove the camp without it leaving any trace. With only seven tents, Mara Plains is one of the smallest camps within the Mara region, giving a very personal and intimate feel and a high degree of flexibility.  Game viewing is excellent, especially big cats, and the camp is located close to migration crossing points of the Mara River.

Saruni Samburu

As the only lodge in over 200,000 acres of unspoiled wilderness teeming with wildlife to explore exclusively, and guided by Samburu warriors passionate about their land and culture, the safari experience at Saruni Samburu is intimate and truly exceptional.

Saruni Samburu has one of the most awe-inspiring locations in Kenya thanks to its uninterrupted views over the conservancy. The lodge makes all it can of this, and has an openness that allows for a fantastic mix of outdoors living with a high degree of style. It's a luxurious option, but is very unpretentious and has a relaxing atmosphere. 

Almanara Luxury Villas

Diani Beach is one of the most exclusive locations for Kenya beach holidays. Situated on the South Coast of Mombasa, the 25 Kilometre strip is made up of Tiwi Beach, Galu Beach, Chale Island, Funzi Island and Kinondo. Almanara Luxury Villas  is located on Galu Beach, which is the central part of three stretches of 7km beaches that make up Diani. The beach is extremely clean and quiet, away from the hassle of the larger hotels situated further north.

Each of the six Executive Villas at Almanara Luxury Resort is fully air-conditioned, boasting 3 double bedrooms, all with en-suite bathroom, plus a downstairs cloakroom. All of the rooms have been individually decorated with local artwork and bespoke furniture.

Itinerary Ideas                     

The suggestions below are examples of holidays which we can arrange, however they can be tailored to suit your personal preference.

Kenya Safari & Beach – 10 days

Enjoy a luxury safari in the Masai Mara and a few days of rest and relaxation on the white sands of Diani Beach on the Kenyan coast.

Luxury Kenya Safari – 9 days

Stay in luxury lodges in the Samburu Reserve and the Masai Mara, and enjoy game drives, guided walks and authentic cultural interactions.

Kenya: Off The Beaten Track – 12 days

Experience a different side of Kenya with a camel safari, rhino tracking and sleeping under canvas in the Masai Mara.

Responsible Travel

We are committed to responsible, sustainable and ethical tourism and we’re proud to work with a fantastic supplier in Kenya that wholeheartedly shares our core values with regards to responsible tourism. You can read more about our responsible tourism values here.

We encourage all of our clients who are visiting Kenya to travel in a responsible and respectful manner to ensure that tourism has a positive impact on the economy, the environment, and the local communities. You can read our guide to responsible travel in Kenya here.

Travel Essentials

Flying time: London to Nairobi = 8 hours

Recommended Airlines: British Airways

Time difference: Nairobi (EAT) is 2 hours ahead of London (BST)

Currency: Kenyan Shilling (KSh). The exchange rate is approximately UK£1 = KSh135, US$1 = KSh104 and €1 = KSh119.

Visa Requirements: A visa is required to enter Kenya. You can either get your visa on arrival at the airport, or before you travel. To minimise time spent queuing at the airport, you may wish to get your visa before you travel. You can apply for single entry visas on the evisas website. Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Kenya and you must ensure that you have two blank pages in your passport on arrival.

Vaccinations: Visitors to Kenya should ensure that they have Hepatitis A, Polio, Typhoid and Tetanus vaccinations. There is a risk of malaria in some areas of Kenya, therefore anti-malaria medication is recommended and you should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Avoid mosquito bites by wearing long sleeves and long trousers especially after sunset, using insect repellents on exposed skin and sleeping under a mosquito net.

There is low risk of yellow fever in some parts of Kenya and a vaccination is required depending on which area you are visiting.  Under International Health Regulations a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers who have transited for more than 12 hours through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. Click here for further information about yellow fever vaccination certificates and recommended vaccinations for Kenya.

Your Wayfairer Kenya Holiday

On selected Wayfairer holidays we offer a ‘meet and assist’ service. With this personal service, you will receive a warm welcome from a friendly representative as soon as you disembark the aircraft from your international flight. A representative will escort you through immigration, customs and baggage collection and they will remain with you until you meet your driver in the arrivals area. Please ask your Africa Luxury Travel Specialist for more information about this service.

The majority of our clients fly from London Heathrow to Nairobi with British Airways. The return flight from Nairobi back to Heathrow (BA 64) departs at 23h15 and we will make arrangements for that day to ensure that you’re don’t waste the final day of your holiday. For example we will book a flight from the Masai Mara, Amboseli, Samburu, Ukunda etc, to Nairobi’s domestic airport where you will be met by a car and driver who will be at your disposal for the afternoon, before taking you to the international airport later that evening.

During your afternoon in Nairobi you may wish to visit the Giraffe Centre, Kazuri beads, the Karen Blixen Museum, the Nairobi Museum, or you could visit the various markets selling the African artefacts such as Utamaduni, the masai market at Galleria Mall.

You may want to consider fostering an elephant via the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and then you can visit at the orphanage at 5pm during the foster parents feeding time. Click here for details about how to foster an elephant.

Language Tips

We encourage our clients to travel with a Swahili phrasebook and make an effort to learn some key words and phrases. Swahili is easy to pick up for native English speakers as the words are pronounced exactly as they look to an English speaker.

Welcome/Come in - Karibu (kah-ree-boo)

Hello - Jambo (jah-mboh)

Goodbye - Kwaheri (kwah-heh-ree)

How are you? - Habari yako? (hah-bah-ree yah-koh)

Very well - Mzuri sana …and you?

Na wewe je? - Okay Sawa

What’s up? (informal) - Mambo?

My name is…  - Jina langu ni… (jee-nah lah-ngoo)

What is your name? - Jina lako ni nani? (jee-nah lah-koh nahnee)

Pleased to meet you - Nimefurahi kukutana

Thank you - Asante (ah-sah-nteh)

You are welcome - Karibu (kah-ree-boo)

Please - Tafadhali (tah-fah-thah-lee)

Sorry - Pole (poh-leh)

If you’d like to plan a holiday to Kenya, please call our Africa Fair Travel Specialists on 0203 143 4293 or send an online enquiry to start your journey.

Talk to the team

Find out more and tailor your perfect trip with the help of
our specialist team on 0203 143 4293