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Kenya

Harvest in the savannah


Kenya, East Africa - Personalised Vacation
Categorised in: Africa Heritage Popular Wildlife

A
land with an exceptional population of big cats, the singular site of a devastatingly beautiful phenomenon called the Great Migration, and home to the 'Mecca of Wildlife'. As a destination for photography or simply a riveting conversation with nature, Kenya stands alone.

To the green at heart, a mention of Africa evokes its primordial picture - plains, prey and predators teaming up to spawn the most spectacular wilderness site on the planet, where large animals still maraud wild and free. And Kenya is its best showpiece, where the myriad dramas, the triumphs and the tragedies that compose life in the wild continue to show up in a mélange of hues.

What you will see and experience:

Toehold's Sachin Rai speaks about what makes Kenya special.

MASAI MARA GAME RESERVE
The famous venue of the BBC Big Cat Diary series and countless inspiring stories is a theatre of dreams. Masai Mara is where the first-time visitor to Africa starts his love affair with the continent's wildlife. For not only does this miniature paradise have a flourishing population of lions and the rest of the Big Five, it is a most splendid place to behold them.

A part of the Greater Mara Ecosystem and covering 1510 sq km, the Masai Mara National Reserve is home to what is effectively a bona fide wildlife symposium, with over 250 species of birds and a mindboggling diversity of mammals on show.

Here lies the best opportunity in Kenya to find the notoriously elusive leopard, which is often seen arresting the watcher's breath by flaunting its beauty from atop a tree or on the ground. And where there is a cat, a spotted hyaena with its trademark psychedelic calls is never far away, plotting relentlessly as it does to usurp an adversary's hard-earned kill.

Masai Mara is a land of terrestrial superlatives. The world's fastest land mammal, the cheetah, is often found sitting pretty on a termite mound, surveying the plains to locate breakfast, while the planet's largest land mammal, the African elephant, takes its size in its stride as it moves about in genial majesty.

The largest living bird on Earth, the ostrich, always likes things to be to its satisfaction. And to top all this, the giraffe, the world's tallest land mammal, uses its ground clearance to look down on one and all from the upper reaches of its slender neck. Decidedly, the denizens of this system appear to love setting records.

Rather less ambitiously but with equal beauty, an impressive variety of antelope roam the rolling plains. While the fleet-footed Thomson's gazelle runs like the wind to preserve its life from its nemesis, the cheetah, the impala glides across the frame like a symbol of elegance carrying his flamboyant horns.

Warthogs and hippopotamuses are always around the corner, while so are diverse birds such as the beautiful crowned crane and the magnificent bataleur eagle.

But, without a doubt, the imperious lion is the centerpiece of the wonderland, with the spotlight rightly on the emperor of all he surveys. If there is a better place than the Masai Mara to behold the iconic African lion, it is yet to be discovered by man.

Here, individuals of various ages and standing in lion society may be observed hunting, grooming, resting and copulating on the picturesque open plains in spectacular light, all in the public gaze.

Clearly, the most important thing that you have to do is be there.

Watch this video to see what you can experience on this Tour.

LAKE NAKURU NATIONAL PARK
Historically famous for anywhere between thousands and millions of flamingos thronging the eponymous lake of this 188 sq km reserve, obscuring its surface as an overwhelming carpet of resplendent pink, Lake Nakuru today is a must-visit for its incredible avian richness, and the sublime green fever-tree environs in which it offers the alluring opportunity to see predators.

Other attractions of this wetland sanctuary surrounding the soda lake on the floor of the Great Rift Valley include pelicans, Rothschild's giraffe, flourishing populations of baboon, warthog, Burchell's zebra and one of the highest densities of black rhino.

Clearly, Lake Nakuru is a place you mustn't miss visiting before leaving Kenya.

AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK
One of the abiding images of Africa is a big bull elephant set against the sensational backdrop of a snow-capped peak, looking like a scene from an idyll. It is actually a scene out of Amboseli.

This park is so synonymous with elephants that it has come to be known as "Africa's elephant park". And it affords the unique opportunity to observe some of Africa's biggest elephant bulls and other wildlife in spectacular vistas overlooked by the Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain. The big cat trinity is there too, just so you don't feel left out.

Clearly, you must prepare to be astonished.

SAMBURU NATIONAL RESERVE
This 165 sq km gem of a park is located some 350 kilometres from Nairobi. The Ewaso Ng'iro (meaning 'brown water') river flows through thick acacia and riverine forests, and grasslands, to make a very interesting landscape.

But most importantly, it is the opportunity the park offers to see animals that are hard to find elsewhere that makes this destination exciting. Animals like the gerenuk, which looks like the result of an antelope's ambition to look like a giraffe cut short by the non-cooperation of its lower half; the reticulated giraffe, which appears conceived by an award-winning designer of bathroom tiles; and the Grevy's zebra, an endangered and distinctly Italian-styled, pin-striped cousin of the commoner plains zebra.

TSAVO NATIONAL PARK
One of Kenya's oldest and largest parks, the Tsavo National Park is located in a semi-arid area previously known as the Taru Desert. It is situated near the town of Voi in the Taita-Taveta County of the former Coast Province, between Nairobi City and Mombasa.

Named after the Tsavo River, which flows from west to east, the park borders the Chyulu Hills National Park and the Mkomazi Game Reserve, which is in Tanzania. Tsavo National Park is divided into Tsavo East National Park and Tsavo West National Park sections by the A109 road and a railway.

Tsavo East Park is slightly larger than its sister, and is by-and-large flat, with dry plains across which flows the Galana River. This park is also known for the Yatta Plateau and the Lugard Falls.

Tsavo West National Park is wetter and more mountainous than East. It is speckled with swamps, and has Lake Jipe and the Mzima Springs as its main geographical features. It is also famous for its rich avian life and for large mammals such as the black rhino, Cape buffalo, elephant, leopard, hippo and lion. Smaller animals like the bush baby, hartebeest, lesser kudu and Maasai giraffe can also be spotted in Tsavo West.

When you should visit:

Masai Mara:
The Mara is a great place to visit for most of the year, but the peak season is July through October, because of the Mara leg of the Great Migration. Part of the wondrous show are spectacular river crossings, and significantly enhanced visibility of animals due to the grass being consumed by the scores of wildebeest and zebra. Visiting the Mara during the peak season might be relatively more expensive, but it is worth the experience as the place throbs with a beauty so dramatic and magical, it can only be understood through first hand experience.

November to February is considered 'low season' due to short rains. By now the great herds have left back for Tanzania, and the Mara looks lush green with low grass swaying ever so elegantly, making an enticing carpet of verdant green under endless skies in which clouds of dreams form dime-a-dozen.

March to May is off season for tourism, with March and April being too wet to venture into the bush. May and June, however, are exceedingly pleasant, as the rain, and the slush created thereby, are tolerable, and the park looks green and nice. Crucially, it is also the most economical time to be in the Mara.

Lake Nakuru:
Nakuru is blessed with a pleasant climate almost throughout the year, and you don't have to worry about sultry weather. But rains are common, especially in the late afternoons. The best time to visit is between July and December, or January and March.

Rains are unpredictable, even in the dry months that are in the peak tourism season. However, if you don't mind a little rain, visiting in December or sometime between April and June would be a good idea. You might also save money going at this time as it is not the peak season.

Amboseli:
Amboseli National Park is known for dramatic changes in climate, with temperatures going up to 40 degrees Celsius, then falling to 5 during the night. The climate here is hot and dry, and average temperatures vary only a little throughout the year. Being in the rain shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro means that drought is not uncommon in this region, and evaporation is high. A total annual rainfall of just 300mm usually occurs between April and May, and November and December.

Samburu:
The climate in Samburu is generally hot and dry with cool nights. The average annual maximum temperature in the area is 30°c and minimum is 20°c. Samburu receives rainfall of about 350mm during the peak season in April and November. Long rains are usually expected from early April to the end of May, and short rains from mid October to mid December. Between June and early October, and January and March, the region remains dry.

Tsavo:
Kenya lies across the equator and Tsavo East National Park is only a few degrees latitude south and Tsavo West National Park is located a few degrees south of the equator.

The temperature remains fairly the same throughout the year. But the rainfall keeps varying. The long and heavy rains in these regions occur between March and May, and this season isn't really the best time to visit these national parks. The short rains occur between October and December, but the weather is fair enough for vehicle safaris, except for some afternoon showers. From December to April, humidity is quite high in these areas.



WHY GO ON A TOEHOLD PERSONALISED VACATION?

At Toehold, we are passionate about travel and photography just as you are, which lets us understand your needs and travails perfectly. And we use our insight and experience to plan your vacation to perfection, so all you have to do is enjoy yourself and make memories for a lifetime.

Here are just some reasons you should leave your next holiday to us: expand to read more »

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • How different are your Personalised Vacations from other holidays?

    Unlike travel agents who plan your vacation from a remote destination to places they sometimes haven't experienced themselves, our Personalised Vacations offer a comprehensive toehold to experience a place through the knowledge and of experts who know the places first-hand. Besides, your holiday will be meticulously planned by making use of the best local contacts we have at every destination.
  • For whom is this Tour suitable?

    Anybody with an interest in wildlife and all the myriad marvels of the forests, and is over the age of 18 (unless accompanied by a parent or adult guardian) can go on Toehold Personalised Vacations.
  • Can I take my children to Kenya?

    You may certainly take your young child, but we don't recommend taking infants and very small children on safari. Please talk to us for more information.
  • What are the requisites for this Tour?

    Other than an interest in Africa and the rich wildlife there, the only other requisites are:
    • A valid passport and other documents required for a Kenyan visa (applied for online; costs USD 50 per adult and USD 25 for children below 12 years)
    • Valid yellow-fever and polio inoculations, which is mandatory by law (taken at least 10 days prior to arrival in Kenya and within the last ten years) – please speak with us to find out more about this.
  • Will you book my flight tickets if needed?

    Certainly! We take care of the flight ticket bookings too.
  • What is the scope of services you offer as a part of a Personalised Vacation package?

    Absolutely everything! From booking the travel tickets and arranging for a comfortable stay to suggested itineraries and planning places of interest, Toehold takes care of all the details of your vacation.
  • What is the scope of services you offer as a part of a Personalised Vacation?

    Absolutely everything! From booking the travel tickets and arranging for a comfortable stay to suggested itineraries and planning places of interest, Toehold takes care of all the details of your vacation.

© - All Text, Photographs, Videos and Narrations are properties of Toehold Travel & Photography Private Limited.




LOCALE

East Africa


QUICK INFO

  • Location:
    East Africa
  • Best time to visit:
    May to February
  • Recommended min. duration:
    7 nights/8 days
  • Salient attractions:
    Wildlife
    Nature and landscapes
  • Popular activities:
    Vehicle safari
    Birding and wildlife watching
    Photography
  • Important wildlife:
    African lion
    African leopard
    African cheetah
    African elephant
    African Cape buffalo
    Black rhinoceros
    White rhinoceros
    Hippopotamus
    Rothschild's giraffe
    Maasai giraffe
    Reticulated giraffe
    Grevy's zebra
    Burchell's zebra
    White-bearded wildebeest
    Coke's hartebeest
    Topi
    Spotted hyaena
    Common eland
    Gerenuk
    Kirk's dik-dik
    Grant's gazelle
    Thomson's gazelle
    Nile crocodile
    Leopard tortoise
    Maasai ostrich
    Grey-crowned crane
    Secretarybird
    Lappet-faced vulture
    Kori bustard
    Bataleur eagle
    Superb starling
    Lilac-breasted roller

DISCOUNTS ON RENTALS

Did you know? Photography enthusiasts joining this Tour and every other Toehold Personalised Vacation are eligible for a nett discount of 10% on all equipment rentals. Talk to us to avail of this offer!