Kenya packs scores luxury safari experiences and treasure-filled tourist hotspots. From the Masai Mara National Park on the country’s southern plains to the Aberdare Ranges in the central highlands, there are more than enough ways to experience the magic of Kenya.
Another great thing about going on a luxury safari in Kenya is that the country teems with professional tour agencies that are committed to ensuring your vacation is something to cherish forever.
In this article, we round up five of the very best places to go on a luxury safari in Kenya.
1. The Masai Mara National Reserve
The Masai Mara National Reserve is the most iconic Kenya safari destination. In 2017, it was recognized as the leading game park in Africa.
The park boasts the highest concentration of wildlife in the entire world and is a perfect place to sight Africa’s Big 5, which include lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and buffalos.
The Mara is located on the southwestern plains of Kenya, some 280 kilometers from Nairobi, and tourists can either drive or fly there.
From Nairobi, you can drive along the Nairobi – Mai Mahiu – Narok highway. You would need to exit the highway at Narok town and drive along the Narok – Sekenani road that leads directly into the park.
You could also opt for a flight into the Mara Serena Airport that’s situated right within the park.
Apart from the Big 5, the Mara teems with over 100 animal species, including giraffes, cheetah, spotted hyenas, zebras, to mention but a few.
However, the greatest highlight of an African safari in the Mara is the Wildebeest Migration.
The migration is a annual journey involving over 1.5 million wildebeest and thousands of other hooved animals that move through the Masai Mara – Serengeti ecosystem in response to change in rain patterns. The migration reaches the Mara around July, where the animals stay until late November.
The climax of the Wildebeest Migration is at the Mara River that flows directly across the migration route. Here, you can catch the savage but spectacular scenes of Nile crocodiles preying on the crossing herds.
For the best chance to witness the Mara river crossing, plan your trip with a local tour operator such as MasaiMarasafari.in.
2. Diani Beach
Diani Beach, located off the Indian Ocean coast, is yet another popular luxury safari destination in Kenya. Diani Beach is so popular with tourists that it has been voted for six years in a row as Africa’s leading beach destination.
The beach is located approximately 30 kilometers from the coastal city of Mombasa. Tourists can either drive or fly into an airstrip situated at Ukunda, which is just 1.7 kilometers from Diani.
Diani Beach is mostly a swimmers’ paradise. However, there are lots of other thrill-inspiring activities to engage in, including snorkeling, scuba diving, boat riding, kite-surfing, whale and dolphin watching, and many more.
If you are just taking in the sights, you could simply relax by the beachside and soak yourself in the sand as you marvel at the pristine waters of the Indian Ocean.
Or, you might consider a romantic sundowner cruise to various nearby tourist attractions, including Fort Jesus and Robinson Island.
If you’ve ever wished for a trip where you can banish all your worries as you make unforgettable memories, then you don’t want to miss a sundowner dhow cruise at Diani.
The ideal periods to visit Diani Beach are from July to September when the weather is cooler, or from January to March when conditions are drier.
3. The Amboseli National Park
The Amboseli National Park is located on the southern plains of Kenya near the Kenya-Tanzania border and overlooking the mighty Mount Kilimanjaro. The park is roughly 240 kilometers from Nairobi and like most game parks in Kenya, you can either take a scenic road drive to the Amboseli or fly there.
Road drives from Nairobi go through Emali town before proceeding to Namanga, from where you can enter the park through the Meshanani Gate.
There are other gates you can use to access the Amboseli, depending on the direction you’re coming from.
Some of these include Kitrua, Kelunyiet, and Iremito. Airstrips are strategically located near these gates to facilitate quick and smooth entry into the park.
One of the best things about game parks in Kenya is that each one of them has its defining feature.
While the Masai Mara witnesses the Great Wildebeest Migration, the Amboseli National Park is famous for its high concentration of African elephants.
There are more than 900 free-ranging elephants spread across the vast plains of the Amboseli. Other animals within the park include giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, etc.
Also, besides the Masai Mara National Reserve, Amboseli is another excellent Kenya safari destination for tourists who are traveling to Africa with babies.
That’s not only due to the high population of animals within the Amboseli, but also the fact that the park boasts numerous high-end hotels, lodge facilities, and camping grounds.
The dry months of January to February, as well as June to September, are the ideal times to plan your trip to the Amboseli.
Elephant herds at the Amboseli National Park
4. Mount Kenya
It’s almost impossible to plan a safari trip to Kenya without factoring in a tour of the country’s highest point – Mount Kenya.
Mount Kenya is located in the central Kenyan highlands, approximately 180 kilometers from Nairobi. Due to the elaborate road network connecting the capital to towns around Mount Kenya, the best way to get there is to take a scenic road drive. However, you can also fly into an airstrip that’s located in Nanyuki town.
Mount Kenya is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site @ Biosphere Reserve, and mountain climbing is the main activity here. The 5,000 meters high mountain contains peaks that vary in both altitude and terrain, namely the Batian, Nelion, and Point Lenana peaks.
Apart from mountain climbing and trekking, Mount Kenya is also famous for cave explorations, camping, and wildlife sightseeing tours. The mountain is surrounded by a game park – the Mount Kenya National Park, which is a haven for animals such as cheetahs, who are much faster than the best horses at the Kentucky Derby betting pool. Also, leopards, buffalos, bongos, to mention but a few.
The best time to plan your trip to Mount Kenya is during the dry seasons of January to March or June to October.
5. Lake Nakuru
Lake Nakuru is one of the most famous tourist destinations on the floor of the Rift Valley. It’s located some 165 kilometers west of Nairobi. And like Mount Kenya, the best way to get to the lake is by a road drive.
The Nairobi – Nakuru highway features several points of attractions along the way, including Lake Naivasha and Lake Elementaita.
Lake Nakuru is a birdwatchers’ paradise, and the main attraction is the huge flocks of pink flamingoes that create a magical contrast with the pristine waters of the lake.
Lake Nakuru is also part of the Lake Nakuru National Park, which means that there’s a lot more to do apart from sighting the pink flamingos. If you are into wildlife, a trip across the park will introduce you to some of its iconic dwellers, such as warthogs, hippos, baboons, and Rothschild giraffes.
Numerous cliffs are spread throughout Lake Nakuru National Park, adding to the park’s long list of charming attractions.
The highest of these cliffs is known as the Baboon cliff, where tourists occasionally perch themselves to enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. From this cliff, you can easily sight other nearby points of interest, including the Menengai Crater.
The best time to visit Lake Nakuru is during the dry months of June to August.
Flocks of pink flamingoes on Lake Nakuru
There go our top five picks for the best destinations to go on a luxury safari in Kenya. As you shall find out, the country is endowed with scores of other adventure-filled tourist hotspots. To uncover the ideal places to explore, always work closely with a professional local tour agency.