Recently Stephanie Rudolph, Yampu’s Group Sales Manager, journeyed to Africa visiting Kenya’s Maasai Mara, Lake Nakuru and the Samburu National Reserve. Highlighted by adventure, stretching landscapes and safaris packed with wildlife, Stephanie inspected a variety of accommodations and researched itineraries for Yampu clients. Returning from a thrilling safari, we are ecstatic to highlight Stephanie’s Kenya tour, and suggest great options for your first, or next, African safari!
Yampu’s Kenya tours begin in Nairobi, the country’s capital and largest city. Following an overnight in Nairobi to rejuvenate and enjoy the bustle of the modern city, Stephanie transferred approximately 6 hours to the Maasai Mara, Kenya’s most famous wildlife reserve. The Maasai Mara is a classic savannah with endless stretches of grasslands and abundant with wildlife. It is home to Africa’s Big Five, as well as over 500 species of birds including ostriches, larks and sunbirds.
Also taking residence in the area of the park are many Maasai communities who for decades have tended their cattle sharing the land with the local wildlife.
One of the animal kingdom’s most impressive movements, and one of the Seven New Wonders of the Natural World, is the Great Migration of the wildebeest. Stephanie got to witness this in Tanzania a week prior to arriving into Kenya. As the dry season approaches the southern Serengeti in Tanzania, thousands of wildebeest search for greener pastures as they travel to the northern edge of the Maasai Mara and into the National Reserve. Occurring annually, the great migration begins in early July and lasts through late September. These months during the dry season are also the best time to visit for outdoor activities.
Another popular season in the Maasai Mara is the birthing season, locally referred to as ‘Toto Time’. Beginning in December and continuing into February, this time of year is also the primary tourist season (January and February) when the weather is the driest and hot, but not unbearably so. During these months the grasses are shorter and the wildlife congregates around watering holes making them easier to spot.
From the Maasai Mara, Stephanie transferred six hours to Lake Nakuru National Park. Located centrally in Kenya, the national park sits only two hours outside Nairobi. The highlight here is the lake, a large yet shallow alkaline lake famous for its dense population of flamingos. One of the first National Parks dedicated to bird preservation, Lake Nakuru has been attracting bird lovers from around the world!
Unfortunately these past few months has seen an unbelievable change in the lake. For the first time since the early 1970s, the lake has flooded covering the alkaline shore and forcing the flamingos, for which it is famous, to take up temporary residence in another lake just north of Nakuru. While it was a bit disappointing, Stephanie did get to experience the lake as most other travelers have; with the brilliant pink colors of the flamingos dotting the shoreline. Traveling around Kenya Stephanie relayed the information regarding the flood but the locals rarely believed her, it is so rare!
The absence of the flamingos led focus to the other wildlife highlighted at Lake Nakuru. Declared a rhino sanctuary in 1983, the National Park today has approximately 45 black and 31 white rhinoceros, and is also a popular giraffe sanctuary. Though the flamingos are anticipated to return within the next few months, there are still plenty of animals making this lake worth a visit.
After returning to Nairobi for another night, Stephanie traveled six hours through verdant farmland to the Samburu Reserve. Resting just north of the equator, the Samburu Reserve sits under an intense equatorial sun creating sparse vegetation. Under these rugged conditions you can find several indigenous wildlife species including the Grevy’s zebra, Gerenuk, reticulated giraffe and Beisa oryx.
The Ol Pejeta Conservancy is slightly south of the Samburu Reserve. Covering 90,000 acres of varied wildlife, the Conservancy is home to Africa’s Big Five and is home to more than 85 black rhinos, one of Africa’s endangered species! This is a great area to add a couple of days, breaking up the trip between Samburu and Nairobi, allowing you to visit the famous Chimpanzee Sanctuary and see wildlife in another terrain.
Going to Kenya:
- The best time to visit Kenya is during the dry season, both January and February or from June to September. January and February attract the most tourists so we recommend booking in advance.
- A visa is required for persons 17 years old and above prior to entry into Kenya. A single Entry Visa (valid for three months from date of issue) will cost US$ 50.