Kenya encompasses 582,648sq km. Kenya lies on the equator between Lake Victoria and the Indian Ocean. The country harbors a rich diversity of habitats: grassy plains, rock strewn desserts, fresh and saline lakes, forested mountains, palm-fringed beaches and coral reefs. a green highland plateau and snow capped mount Kenya divided by the arid eastern rift valley covers much of the country.

Seasons

There are usually two rainy seasons: The long rains from March through may and short rains from November through December.

Temperatures in the highlands are pleasantly cool, despite their location on the equator.

 

Attractions

Kenya’s wild life sanctuaries are 18 national parks, 4 marine national parks, 4 nature reserves and 23 national reserves, five marine national reserves which are the focus of greatest wildlife tourism in the world.

Nairobi 

Nairobi is the capital and lies at the transition zone between the lower drier plains to the south and east and higher, greener highlands to the north  and west. Annual rainfall per year is estimated at 925 mm.average temperature is 21 degrees Celsius in July and 26 degrees Celsius in February.

Safari and short trips.

Nairobi national park is about 11721 ha in the south of the city, has many water holes and a well networked track, characterised  rolling grasslands. The park borders the forest fringed athi river home to hippos and crocodiles.

Heavily protected black rhino roams freely in the park, common grazers include zebras, wildebeests, giraffes, Thompson’s, hartebeest, bushbucks and ostrich. There are also many lions and fewer leopards and cheetahs.

The highlands

The central highlands lie to the north and west of Nairobi. Often cold and drizzly between June and September. The area is sunniest from December through march.

The highlands nearby have long tailed widow birds. Private ranches near Lewa downs and the sweet waters camp near Nanyuki offer camel and horseback safari into the animal rich country.

The regions other facilities include a mountain lodge on the southern western slopes of mount Kenya, and two(treetops and the ark) in the eastern Abadares.each has a water hole and salt licks that attract  elephants, buffalos, waterbucks and sometimes bongos.

Mount Kenya national park protects most of the land above 3200 meters on Africa’s second tallest mountain(after Tanzania’s mount Kilimanjaro).on clear days you can see the permanent snow fields on its twin glacial peaks, which reach 5,199m. There are lodges at the base of Naro Moru trail on the west and  the simoron trail on the drier north-western side. The trails pass be beautiful deep gorges and cut through dense montane forest hosting black fronted duikers, sunis, blue monkesy, giant forest hogs among many other animals specialised I this area.above  3,300m is open mooreland with the giant heather and tall columns of lobelia and groundsel where the rock hyrax, several raptors and the scarlet tufted malachite sunbird are found.

Aberdare national park the park is on the eastern edge of the rift valley. At 4000m elevation, the park has heavy montane forest and Mooreland. It’s hard to see wild life in this kind of conditions Because there is plenty of lush vegetation. There are more than 200 bird species. Plus elephants. Buffalos, bongos, lions and black rhinos. armed ranger guides from Kenya wildlife  are usually required when hiking this park.

The North

The north lies the semi desert flat land of thorn bush, dry grasslands, open acacia woodland, and rugged ranges that average very little in rainfall per year. these hot sun baked landscapes, are home to red robed goat and camel herders, it extends north to Ethiopia  and east to Somalia. At the southern edge of this semi-arid region stands varied national reserves (Samburu National Reserve ,Buffalo Springs National Reserve and Shaba National Reserve) with varied lodging  offering special trips to this region. The area has got good access by road from Nairobi. The above lodges line the perennial Ewaso ngiro  river  which is rimmed with towering acacia and duom palms. The river and several springs attract much wildlife, especially during the dry seasons. Mammals restricted to the Somali masai arid zone are found here.

Meru national park lies to the south east of samburu and borders Tana river, along with kora national park. Meru well watered by streams flowing eastwards from nyambeni hills and mount Kenya, hosts many animals. North of Meru  is a scrubby and sonny semi dessert region. Here you find marsabit mountain 1,705m, protected by the little visited Marsabit National Reserve. This sky high oasis is pocketed with  volcanic craters, including the Paradise lake, with its lush montane  forest necklace.  Sadly marsabit’s  once abundant population of elephants, and its wildlife in general, has plummeted due to excessive poaching and human encroachment. Still more than 300 bird species and mammals live here including the greater kudus.

The Rift valley

Kenya’s rift valley runs north to south and is generally  hot and arid. It is bordered by tall cliffs and in some areas relatively shallow steps in others. Numerous lakes line the valley. Some fresh and others alkaline, with salinity levels and varying relative rainfall. The most northerly Lake Turkana is the largest lake and yet lowest in elevation lying at just 375m. sibiloi national park is on its eastern shore, it has petrified forest and abuts fossil beds that harbour early hominid remains. Thousands of crocodiles breed in the central island west of the park.

In the west-central Kenya, Lake Baringo, reached by paved lodging and boat trips. Baringo is known for its variety of birds, hundreds of species, including endemics throng its shores and the surrounding woodlands and cliffs.

Lake  Bogoria National reserve east of the Baringo road, is a scenic soda lake with hot springs that erupt in boiling geysers. Its shores are often busy with flamingos.

Lake Nakuru National Park

The park lies in Central Kenya, about 140km north-west of Nairobi, in Nakuru district of the Rift Valley Province. The ecosystem comprises of the lake, surrounded by mainly wooded and bushy grasslands.

The park supports a wide ecological diversity with Flamingos (Greater and Lesser) and other water birds being the major attractions of the area. The ecosystem provides for about 56 different species of mammals including the white rhino and buffaloes and a variety of terrestrial birds numbering nearly 450 species.

The west

West of the rift valley is highly diverse. With hot semi-desert in the north, large areas of cool highlands, vast grasslands rich in game in the south, humid rain forest in the west, and the papyrus beds on the inland sea. Masai Mara National Reserve is the northern extension of Tanzania’s famous Serengeti plains  and is usually called “the Mara “Reachable by road or air  from Nairobi, the Mara is Kenya’s premier places for seeing wildlife. It features many excellent game lodges and camps, and a wide network of dirt roads slice through its open rolling grassland and wooded savannah. Two sizable  rivers , the Mara and Talek. Wind through the landscape, flanked by gallery forests and seasonal marshes. The reserve is most extraordinary  between July and October, when the well over a million migrant herbivores mainly wildebeests  and zebra settle in For dry season grazing. Besides the migrants the Mara hosts resident populations of elephants, hippos, topis, hartebeests, buffalos, giraffe’s, and Thomson’s and Grant gazelles. Birding is especially excellent from vehicles and from lodges. The pastoral communities the maasai live outside the game reserve they lead semi normadic life and have a very well preserved culture and rich history.

Northward, Kisumu is the main Kenyan port on the Lake Victoria Kisumu has an annual rainfall of 1,125mm mainly concentrated between March and May. The lake not part of the western rift valley is blanketed with papyrus beds that attract many water birds and a number of song birds not found anywhere Else in Kenya.

Kakamega Forest National Park. In itself this is a relic of a larger tract of wet tropical forest that once covered the area. Some of its wildlife and many of its 125 species of trees are those of the Congo basin and are not found further east. This is Kenya’s only “true jungle” this area is overlooked by most tourists there is fine walking trails and a rest camp.

Mount Elgon national park. Covers a flank of 4,321meters peak on the Ugandan border northwest of the town of kitale. It has a lodge and features a cave that elephants use for saltlicks , it also has trails through  the forest and Moorelands dotted with giant groundels.

The southeast

Between Nairobi and the Kenyan coast sprawl three superb national parks. The area is inhabited  with strudded baobab tress and open acacia woodland.

Tsavo East and Tsavo West National parks. Cover both sides of the highway  and the rail road that links Nairobi to the coastal town of Mombasa about 335kilometers to the southeast. There are excellent lodges most with water holes to attract wildlife. Some in Tsavo west are situated with views to Kilimanjaro.

The galana river, with its seasonal swamps, passes through both parks.

Tsavo west has recent evidence of volcanic craters and lava flows, as well as Mzima springs, a lush oasis where hippos breed which makes it a must see attraction.

Amboseli national park.

Amboseli National Park is located in Loitoktok District, Rift Valley Province of Kenya. The ecosystem mainly savannah grassland spread across the Kenya-Tanzania border. The park is famous for being the best place in Africa to get close to free-ranging elephants among other wildlife species. Other attractions of the park include opportunities to meet the Maasai and spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro.

The coast

At  Mombasa, Kenya’s chief port. The airport serves direct flights to and from Europe and Nairobi. Rain in this area is at its peak between April and June.  With average  temperature of 27-30 degrees.

Kenya’s 480 kilometers on the Indian Ocean is endowed with white sandy beaches and colorful chain of fringing coral. Onshore breezes balance the heat and humidity along the coast. Portions of the shores and the coastal waters are protected as marine national parks and reserves.There are numerous  fine accommodation all along the coast. From hotels to beach cottages.

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