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Wildlife Locations

13 recommended locations:

Amboseli National Park

The snow-capped peak of Kilimanjaro dominates the backdrop of Amboseli National Park and creates a highly scenic setting which, for many, is the classic image of East Africa. With a full host of plains game, more than 50 mammals and 400 bird species, this is one of Kenya’s most sought-after destinations.

  • Where: Rift Valley Province
  • Ideal for viewing: African elephant, gerenuk, leopard, lesser kudu, lion
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Vehicle safaris

Laikipia Plateau

The wildlife of the Laikipia Plateau is abundant and it serves as one of the last refuges for the black rhino. Yet its tranquility and remoteness is the major attraction, and walking safaris with Masai guides in the African bush offer a feeling of solitude rarely found elsewhere in Kenya.

  • Where: Central Province
  • Ideal for viewing: black rhino, greater kudu, leopard, lion, reticulated giraffe
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Vehicle safaris

Lake Naivasha

The highest and purest of the Great Rift Valley’s lakes, Naivasha offers outstanding birdwatching, with more than 400 species recorded. It supports a variety of other wildlife, including a good population of hippo, and its lush vegetation provides a perfect setting for Joy Adamson’s house.

  • Where: Rift Valley Province
  • Ideal for viewing: Grant’s gazelle, impala, red and blue sunbird, osprey, hippo
  • Excellent for: Vehicle safaris, Birdwatching

Lake Nakuru National Park

Although Lake Nakuru is relatively small, it is known for one of the greatest bird spectacles on earth – thousands of fuschia-coloured flamingos. Over 400 species of birds are found here, and the surrounding national park is famous for its sizeable population of rhinos and the rare Rothschild’s giraffe.

  • Where: Rift Valley Province
  • Ideal for viewing: lesser flamingo, greater flamingo, Rothschild’s giraffe, white rhino, black rhino
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Vehicle safaris, Birdwatching

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

Established in 1995, the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy covers 251 square kilometres and plays host to Grevy’s zebra, sitatunga, leopard, lion, elephant and wild dog. This private reserve is particularly well known for its successful wildlife conservation, especially in connection with the endangered black rhino.

  • Where: Laikipia Plateau
  • Ideal for viewing: black rhino, Grévy’s zebra, lion, wild dog, African elephant
  • Excellent for: Wildlife for families

Mara North Conservancy

Formed as a not-for-profit organisation, the Mara North Conservancy represents the heart of one of the world's most important wildlife habitats. Its partnership between 11 camps and over 800 Masai landowners aims to create a world-class conservancy and exclusive safari experience in the Masai Mara ecosystem.

  • Where: Adjacent to Masai Mara
  • Ideal for viewing: lion, leopard, cheetah, white-bearded wildebeest, Burchell’s zebra
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Wildlife for families, Vehicle safaris, Walking with wildlife

Masai Mara National Reserve

Kenya’s finest wildlife sanctuary, the Masai Mara is a paradise of gently rolling grasslands studded with acacia trees. Remaining as the ancestral homelands of the Masai, a curious harmony between man and wildlife exists that allows a route for the large migrations and a home for predators and plains wildlife.

  • Where: Rift Valley Province
  • Ideal for viewing: cheetah, Grant’s gazelle, leopard, lion, Thompson’s gazelle
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Wildlife photography, Vehicle safaris

Meru National Park

The vast, remote, lowland area of Meru National Park was the setting for Joy Adamson’s book ‘Born Free’, and it boasts greater diversity of wildlife species than some other Kenyan parks, in particular its birdlife. Highlights include both Grevy’s and common zebra, gerenuk, lion, leopard and wild dog.

  • Where: Eastern Province
  • Ideal for viewing: beisa oryx, gerenuk, Grévy’s zebra, lesser kudu, Somali ostrich
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Vehicle safaris, Birdwatching

Samburu National Reserve

Samburu is a remote, arid wilderness of scrub desert and scorched savannah coloured with sandy creams, muted greens and earthen ochre; perfect camouflage for its wildlife and bird species rarely found elsewhere. Large herds of elephant are attracted by the Ewaso Ng'iro River, which bisects the reserve.

  • Where: Northern Province
  • Ideal for viewing: beisa oryx, gerenuk, Grévy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, Nile crocodile
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Wildlife photography, Vehicle safaris

Diani Beach

Diani Beach is one of Kenya’s most exclusive locations for a beach stay, whether you want to snorkel, scuba dive or simply relax. Situated just south of Mombasa, the white sands and turquoise warm waters of the Indian Ocean create a perfect end to an African wildlife safari.

  • Where: South east coast
  • Excellent for: Beach stay

Mombasa

Located on the east coast of Kenya, bordering the Indian Ocean, the city of Mombasa is one of Africa’s major tourist destinations, with an Arab, Indian and colonial European heritage. Here you will encounter friendly people, some of the best beaches in the world, outstanding hotels and diverse marine life.

  • Where: South east coast
  • Excellent for: Beach stay

Nairobi

Kenya’s bustling capital is more than just a starting point for your wildlife safari. Places to visit in the city include the Karen Blixen Museum, Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage and the Giraffe Centre. For those staying longer, nearby Nairobi National Park has a wide diversity of wildlife.

  • Where: Nairobi Province
  • Excellent for: City stopover

Watamu

Located about 15 kilometres south of Malindi, Watamu is a small town on the Indian Ocean coast, nestled between lush tropical forest and pristine beaches. It boasts the spectacular Watamu Marine National Park, home to a thriving population of marine life, including sea turtles, whale sharks and manta rays.

  • Where: East coast
  • Excellent for: Beach stay

View trips to these locations

Wildlife trips

Kenya is renowned as one of Africa’s best locations for wildlife, it diversity, endless beauty and world-class facilities guarantee its enduring popularity. As well as the legendary Masai Mara and the Great Rift Valley, it is blessed with rich marine life, the little-known northern desert and temperate highlands around Mount Kenya.

10 recommended trips. Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.

Big Cat Weekend

This ideal whistle-stop wildlife getaway to the Masai Mara is an opportunity to see some of the finest wildlife on earth. Lion, leopard and cheetah hunt topi, eland and gazelle in this pristine wilderness, herds of elephant roam the grasslands, while hippos and crocodiles cruise the riverbanks.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 6 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £2,395 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Kenya Adventure Camping

An outstanding value safari, staying in private camps in Amboseli National Park and the Masai Mara. All the big cats can be found here, together with large numbers of elephants and giraffes. If you value wildlife and adventure above the need for luxury accommodation, then this is the trip for you!

  • When to go: Dec-Mar, Jul-Oct
  • Duration inc. flights: 9 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £2,795 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Migration Special

After the Serengeti rains have ended and the grassland has turned to dust, witness the astonishing natural phenomenon of the Great Migration as huge herds of wildebeest and zebra make the long trip to the Masai Mara in search of fresh pasture. An unforgettable experience and a photographer’s dream.

  • When to go: Jun-Oct
  • Duration inc. flights: 10 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £5,645 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Samburu & Masai Mara Safari

This 9-day classic safari incorporates the renowned Samburu and Masai Mara National Reserves. Staying in three luxury lodges, explore the rivers and plains of the Great Rift Valley, while looking for herds of elephant, big cats and Samburu specialties including Grevy’s zebra and reticulated giraffe.

  • When to go: Jan-Mar, Jun-Oct, Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 9 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £3,995 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Ultimate Kenya Safari

A rich blend of outstanding scenery and memorable wildlife can be found on this trip to three of Kenya’s top wildlife locations - Lake Naivasha, Laikipia Plateau and the Masai Mara. Enjoy game drives, walking safaris and boat trips, before relaxing at a luxury hideaway lodge on the shores of Lake Victoria.

  • When to go: Jul-Mar
  • Duration inc. flights: 13 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £7,795 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Classic Africa Explorer

This 37-day comprehensive itinerary, which visits no less than seven countries, delivers the ultimate African safari experience and a wealth of contrasts. Travel to some of Africa’s best National Parks and stay in a range of classic lodges, hotels and tented camps on this wildlife trip of a lifetime.

  • When to go: Apr-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 37 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £16,495 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Elephant Watch

Observe elephants at close quarters on this specialist safari providing an opportunity to learn about their social structure in the company of expert Samburu naturalists. Spending four nights at the Elephant Watch Camp, you will participate in game drives and walks, birdwatching and bush picnics.

  • When to go: Jan-Mar, May-Jun, Jul, Aug-Oct, Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 7 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £4,945 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Wings over Kenya

This itinerary travels from Amboseli National Park in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro, to the highlands of Laikipia Plateau, and on to the savannahs of the Masai Mara. Flying between locations and staying in top quality camps is one of the most exciting ways to experience Kenya’s excellent wildlife areas.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 9 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £4,395 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Masai Warriors & Wildlife Galore

Ideal for young explorers, this amazing journey visits the land of the Masai warriors on a fun family educational programme in some of Kenya’s finest wildlife reserves. Staying in small camps and lodges, learn about wildlife, identify tracks and listen to the mysterious sounds of the savannah at night.

  • When to go: Dec-Mar, Jun-Oct
  • Duration inc. flights: 11 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £5,295 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Big Cat Photography with Warren Samuels

Based at Governors’ Private Camp, renowned for its comfort and key location in the Masai Mara ecosystem, this photographic tour will give you the opportunity to capture Kenya’s incredible and prolific wildlife in the company of world-renowned photographer, filmmaker and wildlife guide Warren Samuels.

  • When to go: Jun-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 9 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £5,595 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

When to go

Kenya is a year round destination, but the best season is July to February. The wildebeest migration from the Serengeti into the Masai Mara takes place from July to September.

Seasons

  • Dry season

    Jan to Feb: A brief dry lull between the short and long rains
  • Long rains

    Mar to May: This is the wettest time of the year
  • Cool and dry

    Jun to Oct: Cool and dry.The best time of year to travel, but peak season
  • Short rains

    Nov to Dec: A couple of months of intermittent rain to freshen things up

Wildlife events

  • Jul to Aug: The Migration – wildebeest & zebra head north to Masai Mara
  • Jul to Sep: Flamingoes in the Rift Valley Lakes
  • Aug to Sep: Time for butterflies!
  • Oct to : Migrating humpback whales off the coast
  • Oct to Nov: The migration – herds head south, birds arrive from Eurasia

Where to stay