Kenya Safaris – Is Kenya (Still) a Safari-Worth Destination?

Otto I. Eovaldi

Kenya is a land of enormous variety and stunning beauty, from the teeming savannah plains of the Masai Mara to the Great Rift Valley, from snow-capped peaks of Mount Kenya to the warm azure beaches along its coast. Not to forget fresh water and salt lakes, extinct volcanoes and coral reefs. It is not east to imagine how beautiful Kenya is until you have experienced it.

As a vacation destination, Kenya has a rich diversity of natural wonders, wildlife, climate and habitats of its people with their rich culture. It is not possible to see and appreciate Kenya in a hurry, and the visitor may need to decide on a few specific areas of attraction at a time.

For the sake of comparison with other Safari Destinations, I have 5 points I think give Kenya some advantages. You might consider these points when trying to make a choice.

Cheaper International Flights
Kenya has been a regional commercial hub and safari destination for a much longer time compared to its neighbours. This meant, and still means that major airlines established routes from many parts of the world to Kenya. Major airlines like KLM, BA, Air France, Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airways operate regular flights into Kenya. Other regional Airlines like South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Egypt Air and Kenya Airways also offer flights into and out of Kenya.

This situation has in turn resulted in competition and efficiency for the various airlines. To the travelers this means affordable pricing for flight tickets. Thus, traveling to Kenya from North America, Europe, Asia, Americas and even Australia is still relatively cheaper when you compare with the other countries in East and Central Africa.

Great Wildlife Parks, Reserves and Sanctuaries
Even though there a genuine concern about the value of wildlife viewing in Kenya due to over-crowding and degradation of some of the major parks and reserves, Kenya still has a lot to offer. In fact, the concern about over-crowding is mostly related to the Maasai Mara Game Reserve. This marvelous reserve actually suffers from its own fame and popularity and also from the lack of control and regulation from the authorities in charge.

That aside, Kenya still has other parks and reserves that will offer fulfilling game-viewing experience. Parks like the Meru National and Tsavo have lower visitors and boost unique attractions both in terms of natural landscapes and wild animals.

Better still, there are many private wildlife sanctuaries and ranches that are smaller and managed better, usually with the co-operation of the local communities living around. Such places, like the Laikipia Plateau (Kuki Gallmann of the “I dreamed of Africa” fame lives there), Taita Hills Saltlick Game Sanctuary and Olonana Sanctuary, are extremely scenic and with considerable animal population.

Authentic African Traditional Cultural Experience
Kenya enjoys diversity in terms of people and culture. This diversity is so visible in the different ways of life, the different ways the traditional houses are constructed, the manner of dress, the rich and elaborate cultural ceremonies, dances, cuisine etc.

Of the 42 different tribes, there are those that have stood out when it comes to retaining their traditional identity and life style. In this regard, the Maasai and Samburu would be the best known. But there are still more, even though less prominent tribes like the Njemps and El Molo that cherish the lifestyle as it was centuries ago. A visit to Kenya, will offer you the chance, if you wish to visit and interact with such people as they go about their daily chores.

High Quality Hospitality Service and Medical Facilities
Kenya enjoys superior hospitality and safari guiding services in comparison with its regional neighbours. Having had a head start in the development of tourism infrastructure, the destination has developed a relatively reliable workforce with skills to handle the demands of tourists from all over the world. World-famous hotel chains like Fairmont Hotel operate hotels in Kenya.

There are training institutions (Utalii College) and trade and industry institutions that regulate practice and service delivery too. Medical facilities in Kenya would not rival those in the first-world, but are the best when comparing with others in the sub-region – East and Central Africa.

Great Opportunity for Beach and Safari Experience
The combination of 25 National parks, 29 Game Reserves, the Private Sanctuaries and Ranches with the over 480 kilometers stretch of white sandy beaches of the Indian Ocean, Kenya is one of the few African vacation destinations where one can easily combine both a wildlife safari and an beach vacation. The distances between the various destinations are manageable and bearable both on travel by road or by way of internal flights. A vacation blending all the cultural, wildlife and beach is therefore easy to arrange.

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