KENYA

Wildebeest Migration

ACTIVITIES

The activities listed here are some of the best Kenya has to offer. Ujuzi African Travel is committed to customizing a travel package that meets your travel interests and fulfills your vacation dreams. If a particular activity isn't listed here that you'd like to do, let us know and we'll incorporate it into your itinerary.



Beach Safari

The Indian Ocean coastline of East Africa is one of the most beautiful in the world, offering silver sands, year-round clear-blue waters, and tropical palms. Known as the Swahili Coastline, thanks to the unique mix of African, Arabic, and Portuguese people who typify it, it also offers a wide range of ancient cultural sites, mosques, and ancient Swahili towns, a vibrantly colorful cuisine, a wide range of marine parks backed by coastal parks, the last remains of the African equatorial rain forests, endless water-sports, child-friendly pursuits and nightly entertainments for all tastes, and one of the world's most famous barrier reefs.

The Indian Ocean coastline is an ideal water-sporting venue and the majority of resorts offer a wide range of options, which generally include any or all of the following: scuba diving, wind-surfing, kite-surfing, snorkelling, fun-boats, glass-bottom boats, catamarans and dinghies, sailing, boogie boards, jet-skis surfing, pedalos and water-skiing. Sometimes these are included in the cost of the resort - sometimes they are at additional cost. Usually lessons can also be taken (windsurfing, sailing, water-skiing in particular).


Boat Launch/Cruises

Lake Baringo

A cruise on Lake Baringo exposes you to a variety of freshwater birds in their breeding grounds. Typical sightings include Fish eagles, Verreaux's eagles, darters, cormorants and a large colony of goliath heron. Apart from the bird life there is also a large number of hippo that live in the lake. If that isn't enough, this freshwater lake has cone-shaped islands that make this stretch of water particularly scenic.


Camel Safaris

Tsavo East National Park

After you've enjoyed a few game drives, why not look for animals perched atop an animal? Camel Safaris are a treat available at Tsavo East National Park. Tsavo East attracts photographers because of its fabulous light and unbelievable views, in particular the Mudanda Rock and the Yatta Plateau, the world's largest lava flow.

Luggard's Falls on the Galana River are remarkable for the shaped water-worn rocks. Game includes: elephant, rhino, lion, leopard, crocodile, waterbuck, kudu, gerenuk, zebra, and Aruba Hunter's hartebeest. Some of Kenya's largest elephant herds make their home here, and they are a particularly spectacular sight after their dust baths, when they glow red after blowing the vivid red dust through their trunks over their bodies.


Cultural Activities

Mombasa

Mombasa's northern shoreline is renowned for its vibrant 24-hour entertainment, which includes water parks, cinemas, bowling, watersports, mountain biking and gokarting. The nightlife is also a draw for those interested in lounging or partying the night away in pubs, clubs, or discothé‘·ues.

Fort Jesus
Built in 1593, Fort Jesus is a Portuguese fort designed by a Milanese architect, Giovanni Battista Cairati, who was the Chief Architect for Portuguese possessions in the East. It was the first European-style fort constructed outside of Europe designed to resist cannon fire. Today, it is one of the finest examples of 16th century Portuguese military architecture, although it has also been influenced and changed by both the Omani Arabs and the British. As well as a tourist destination, the Fort is important as a host for numerous research programs, a Conservation Lab, and Education Department and an Old Town Conservation Office.

Old Town
"Old Town" is the part of Mombasa that is reminiscent of the days when the Arabs exerted a heavy influence on the town and its culture, and especially in the architecture and language (Kiswahili has a lot of phrases derived from various Arabic dialects). View its ancient buildings, extravagant art designs, and explore curio shops that sell antique and popular Kenyan souvenirs. Old Town is best seen when explored by foot with an experienced guide, as the streets are too narrow to accommodate a large number of vehicles. Fort Jesus is located just a few steps away from where the town "starts," so a complete tour of the fort and the "Old Town" can be done in a single day.

Gedi Ruins
The Gedi ruins date back from the 15th century, when Gedi was a small town built entirely from rocks and stones. Gedi was inhabited by a few thousand Swahili people and ruled by a very rich Sultan. Due to careful preservation, most of the original foundations can still be seen today. Guided tours are the best way to see the ruins.

Bobmbolulu Workshops
The Bobmbolulu workshops are located along the north coast of Mombasa. Founded in 1969, Bombolulu Workshops is a Project of the Association for the Physically Disabled in Kenya. It consists of a cultural center with 8 traditional homesteads, and also a traditional restaurant where guests can be entertained with traditional dances throughout the day. The center is run by the "Association for the Physically Disabled" and employs 150 disabled craftsmen and women who produce jewelry, hand printed textiles, wood carvings and leather crafts. The products are sold in a large showroom and exported to 20 countries. Bombolulu Workshops has grown to be one of the biggest rehabilitation centers in Kenya and has built a reputation as one of Kenyan's most reliable exporters.

Nairobi

Karen Blixen Museum
At the foot of the Ngong Hills lies a farm that is a relic of Kenya's past. Karen Blixen gained international fame with the release of the movie, "Out of Africa." Built in 1912, the museum was originally the farmhouse for Karen Blixen and her husband on the 4500-acre coffee farm. Today you can tour the house and gardens, a particular delight for fans of the movie and bird lovers.

Giraffe Centre
Here at the A.F.E.W. Giraffe Centre you can meet the famous "Daisy" Rothschild giraffe (an endangered species), which roam freely in the grounds of the Giraffe Manor. The visit offers close contact and an opportunity to feed the giraffes.

Njemps Fishing Village - Lake Baringo
Visit the Njemps fisherman who go about their traditional work in their amazing and unsinkable reed boats. You'll see how they build their boats, construct their homes, and smoke the fish they catch. The Njemps are also pastoralists who, during times of drought, take their livestock to the islands of Lake Baringo to graze. The sheep and goats are ferried by boat, but the cows must swim to the islands, led by a special "head cow," that is never slaughtered for meat because of its ability to lead the herd through the water.

Tana River Delta
The Tana River Delta provides opportunities to visit two different tribes: the Pokomo, agriculturalists who plant near the river; and the Oromo, or Orma, who maintain their nomadic ways, yet stay near the Tana River to pasture their livestock. Visiting these includes demonstrations of dancing and music. Their various styles of building are interesting and so is their wonderful hospitality.


Fishing

Aberdare National Park

A popular activity is trout fishing in the Guru Karuru and Chania Rivers. The streams are ice-cold and crystal clear, offering anglers the opportunity to catch some exotic species of brown and rainbow trout. Licenses are required, but then get your gear and enjoy one of Africa's most unique biomes, keeping an eye out for the occasional waterbuck or elephant who also enjoy the brisk waters of this national treasure.

Kenya Coast

East Africa is a Mecca for deep-sea fishermen, many world and all-Africa records are held in Kenya. There are six types of billfish in Kenyan waters, striped, blue and black marlin being the main species together with sailfish, swordfish, sharks, wahoo, yellowfin, tuna, and dorado. Kenya operates a "tag and release" system. Boats typically depart in the early morning, trawl for bait and then head out to the deep water to wait for the big catch. The primary fishing season is August to March, with billfish season from November to March.


Game Drives

A game drive is an exploration of the wilderness, in search of wildlife. Ideally taking place in the cooler parts of the day, game drives take place in a specially adapted safari vehicle with a professional driver/guide. Typically a game drive takes place in a custom-built safari vehicle (with either a pop-up top or open sides), which offers comfort, panoramic viewing, dedicated safari guide, optional refreshment on-board and radio-links for fast location of game.

The best time for wildlife viewing is early morning or late afternoon and evening: this is due to the fact that most of the animals retire to the shade to rest during the middle (hottest) part of the day. For best viewing, the trick is not to look AT the bush but THROUGH it. Focus your eyes at mid-range distance, look under bushes and into the shadows, and watch out for those subtle changes in colour and continuity that may indicate the presence of wildlife. Ideally you should be equipped with: binoculars, guidebook on birds and animals, drinking water, sunglasses, sunhat, and sunscreen.

Guided night game drives are usually only permitted on private reserves; typically they set off after dinner and feature the use of a spotlight. A uniquely specialised activity, which is usually not permitted within the boundaries of the national parks and reserves, a night game drive is the ultimate safari luxury. Leaving your accommodation after dinner, you will set off to discover the creatures of the night. This is the exclusive domain of hunters such as lions and leopards, and the only time when you may catch a glimpse of such elusive nocturnal creatures as aardvarks, civet cats, white-tailed mongoose and cape hares. Your vehicle will also be equipped with a powerful hand-held lamp, which can be used to sweep the bush for likely sightings

Aberdare National Park

In Aberdare, the scenery is very dramatic, mountain ranges soar to around 14,000 ft, giving way to deep V-shaped valleys with streams and rivers cascading over spectacular waterfalls. The forest is the water source for the entire local area and Nairobi. At 10,000 ft. is a belt of bamboo forest, which is the favorite haunt of the bongo, the rare and elusive antelope. Above the bamboo forest are the moorlands, reminiscent of European highlands, where the largest of the antelope, the eland, roam. Animals abound in the forest, and game viewing is very rewarding: elephant, buffalo, black rhino, giant forest hog, lion, leopard, baboon, black and white colobus and sykes monkeys are plentiful. Bird viewing is incredible with over 250 species of birds recorded.

Amboseli National Park

Amboseli is one of the most popular game parks in Kenya. The main attraction of Amboseli is its vast herds of elephant within the park. The bull elephants here have some of the largest tusks in Kenya. You're also likely to see a wide variety of waterbirds, buffalos, zebras, wildebeest, gazelles, Maasai giraffes, lions, and cheetahs, with Mt. Kilimanjaro providing a majestic backdrop.

Lake Bogoria National Reserve

Lake Bogoria itself occupies most of the reserve, and it is really a spectacular sight, reflecting searing blue skies and the rose pink of Flamingo. It has significant ornithological interest with over 135 species of birds. Like Nakuru, the alkaline lake waters grow blue-green algae, which seasonally attract hundreds of thousands of flamingo. Another highlight is the trio of geysers that erupt and feed a network of streams that feed into the lake. The surrounding bushed grasslands are home to a number of animals. The Reserve's herd of rare greater kudu makes it unique; and other game to view include buffalo, zebra, impala, dik-dik, and many other small animals.

Lake Nakuru

Lake Nakuru is world famous for its stunning flocks of lesser flamingo: the estimated 1 million birds literally turn the lake's shores pink. Game viewing is relatively easy: buffalo, leopard, lion, Rothschild giraffe, and white and black Colobus monkey are plentiful in the forest. The bush lands offer eland, steinbok, impala, Chandler's Reedbuck, and dik-dik, whilst rock hyrax and klipspringer occupy the cliffs and escarpment. Lucky visitors may even see the legendary tree-climbing lions.

Masai Mara National Reserve

The Masai Mara is probably the most visited reserve in Kenya. It offers breathtaking views and an extraordinary density of animals including the "Big Five" and a wide variety of plains game. One of its most impressive experiences is the annual Great Migration of wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle from the plains of the southwestern Serengeti that cross the political borders and rivers to reach the grasslands in late June. They are tracked by predators; lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, and circled by vultures throughout their journey. The dramatic river crossings are a gruesome spectacle of survival of the fittest.

Apart from the annual migration, game viewing is excellent year round. The elephants, black rhino, buffalo, zebra, hartebeest, topi, and the big cats roam the plains and the rivers are home to hippo and crocodiles. More than 452 species of birds, 53 of which are raptors, can be seen in the reserve. The area to the north, which is owned by the Maasai tribe, offers the same great game viewing, game walks, and night game drives.

Mount Elgon National Park

This National Park is one of Kenya's most beautiful, still wild and intact, with vast areas of untouched forests. Game viewing is excellent; the park is home to an estimated 500 elephants, buffalo, leopard, the protected colobus and blue monkeys, giant forest hog, waterbuck and various other types of antelope as well as over 240 species of birds.

Samburu Game Reserve

This rugged, hostile landscape is noted for viewing the Big Five and for cheetah. It is also home to animals typical of the drier northern regions such as the fine-striped Grevy's zebra, reticulated giraffe, the graceful long-necked gerenuk, and the Somali ostrich.

Tsavo East National Park

Tsavo East is one of Kenya's oldest and largest national parks: covering approximately 40% of the total area of all Kenya's National Parks. It is accredited as one of the world's leading bio-diversity strongholds, bushy grassland and open plains alternating with savannah and semi-arid acacia scrub and woodlands. Game includes: elephant, rhino, lion, leopard, crocodile, waterbuck, Kudu, gerenuk and zebra, and Aruba Hunter's hartebeest can be seen with its lyre-shaped horns. Home to some of the largest herds in Kenya, the elephants glow red after dust baths, blowing the vivid red dust through their trunks over their bodies.

Tsavo West National Park

Notoriously remembered for the notorious "Man Eaters of Tsavo," man-eating lions that preyed on the railway linesman building the great Uganda Railway in 1900, this park has an abundance of wildlife, including a third of Kenya's elephant population. The park also offers tremendous views with diverse habitats ranging from mountains, river forest, plains, lakes and wooded grassland. Game includes: leopard, cheetah, buffalo, rhino, elephant, giraffe, zebra, lion, plains game, crocodile and small mammals including mongoose, hyrax, dik-dik and the nocturnal porcupine.


Hot Air Balloon Safari

For those that have never experienced a balloon trip, it's an unforgettable experience. For those that have already done it, chances are they will be eager to do it again. Balloon trips typically begin with a dawn wake-up call, a cup of tea, and a short drive to the take-off site.

Here guests can watch as the balloon is inflated then, as it rights itself, they are invited to climb into the 8-10 person basket (which is equipped with safety belts). Piloted by a qualified balloon pilot, the balloon will drift in the direction of the prevailing wind and can rise up and down according to the pilot's wishes. An ideal way of viewing game, it is an unforgettable experience that usually lasts around 45 minutes to an hour before coming down to a controlled landing. Traditionally a champagne breakfast is then served (usually a full English breakfast) as flying certificates are handed out. The support team then load the balloon while the guests enjoy a game drive back to the lodge in another vehicle.


Tribal Visits

Maasai

The Maasai are an ethnic group of semi-nomadic people in Kenya and northern Tanzania. They are among the best known of African ethnic groups, due to their distinctive customs and dress and residence near the many game parks of East Africa. In fact, much of their land was commandeered to create national parks and wildlife preserves, but in return the Massai, as pastoralists, have retained grazing rights on many of those lands. Their language resembles the click languages of other Bushmen further south in the Kalahari.

Their language resembles the click languages of other Bushmen further south in the Kalahari. Their small population has seriously threatened throughout history, and the Kenyan and Tanzanian governments have often tried to encourage the Maasai to abandon their traditional semi-nomadic lifestyle, but the people have continued their age-old customs. In many ways their lives have changed little in the past 10,000 years. Most of their children have never seen a doctor or school. The bush provides for all their needs and is a classroom for their offspring. They are often willing for visitors to come and see their simple bush homes where the tree canopy alone or a cave provides them with shelter. They live entirely off the bush and from bow hunting, generally small antelopes and baboons; although in rainy seasons gazelles and antelopes come down from the Ngorongoro or Serengeti to their lush bush lands offering them richer pickings. The string on their lethal bows is made from giraffe tendons and the arrows are coated with a strong poison made from another tree. The commiphora tree provides excellent firewood, which they kindle by rubbing wood; a green commiphora provides a mosquito-repelling sap; juice squeezed out of the sansaveria provides a cure for snake bites, while aloe is used to heal cuts. Roots provide a wide range of medicines and the mighty baobab fruits is a source of drink. A few hours spent with the bushmen makes the apparently inhospitable bush country come to life and to watch them hunt is a unique experience as they stealthily spot and then creep up on their prey skillfully killing it.

Amboseli National Reserve

Here the Maasai and the national park service plan to work together to operate the reserve for the benefit of the Maasai and the reserve's natural resources. The Maasai here welcome visitors to their villages to give hunting demonstrations, dance performances, and see examples of their housing.

Masai Mara National Reserve

Step back in time and visit a Maasai village where you can interact with the Maasai people in their traditional setting and experience their culture. Often the Maasai morans (young Maasai warriors) will perform their traditional jumping dance. You also get an opportunity to purchase traditional Maasai souvenirs, art and collectibles.


Walking/Hiking

To really appreciate the wonders of the East African bush, you have to leave the safari vehicle behind; and take a walk. Slow in pace, wide-ranging in scenery and led by your trained safari guide, nature walks are designed to offer gentle exercise and a fascinating insight into the world of African trees, flowers, insects, reptiles, birds and animals.


Walking Safari

Masai Mara National Reserve

Walking safaris aren't permissible in the main reserve, but these walking safaris along the borders of the Masai Mara National Reserve give you an opportunity for an adventurous trek that may even allow you to get closer to the magnificent animals that live in the reserve. The walks are typically conducted by specially trained Maasai guides, who give you an added bonus of explaining their culture while displaying their skills in animal tracking and immense knowledge of wildlife.

Mount Elgon National Park

Mount Elgon offers excellent climbing and walking opportunities. No special equipment or experience is required and the park management provides guides. The highest peak on the Kenyan side is Koitobos (13,000 ft). It is accessed after crossing beautiful moorlands and the Hot Springs can be visited on the way.

The park is home to an estimated 500 elephants, buffalo, leopard, the protected colobus and blue monkeys, giant forest hog, waterbuck and various other types of antelope as well as over 240 species of birds. Huge Elgon Teak and Cedar trees, some over 80 feet tall, dominate the forest scenery.

  • Elephant Caves
    A major attraction is a series of four caves, all available for exploration. The largest of these is Kitum, extending more than 650 feet horizontally into the heart of the mountain. Its Maasai name means "Place of Ceremony." The caves are a favorite gathering place for elephants: every night, long convoys venture deep into the caves to feed off the rich salt deposits. This nightly practice has earned them the title "underground elephant."

Mount Kenya National Park

Part of the mountain's fascination lies in the variation in flora and fauna as the altitude changes. The lower slopes are covered with dry upland forest, the true montane forest begins at 2,000 meters is mainly cedar and podo. At 8,200 feet begins a dense belt of bamboo forest, which merges into the upper forest of smaller trees, interspersed with glades. In this area trees are festooned with high altitude moss.

These forest belts are home to many different animals and plants with at least 11 unique species. Game to view includes: black and white colobus monkey, Sykes monkey, bushbuck, buffalo, and elephant. Lower down visitors may see olive baboon, waterbuck, black rhino, black fronted duikers, leopard, giant forest hog, genet cat, bush pig and hyena. Most elusive is the Bongo, a rare type of forest antelope, whose beautiful hide was used to make Bongo drums.

The high altitude heath at the top (9000-11,000 ft) is generally open, dotted with shrubs like sage, protea, and helicrysum. Above 11,000 feet is moorland and with little game other than high altitude zebra and eland, common in the northern moorland.

Tsavo East

Enjoy an adventurous wilderness walk with excellent chances of "bumping" into the plentiful big game in Tsavo East. Nature is intact along these unspoiled wilderness and few, if any, people are to be seen. On foot in the bush, you will have time enough to notice details in the surrounding landscape, to see spoors from animals, to hear birds, and smell the African nature. And when there is a smell of animal around, there is no car window between you and the source of it.