Straddling the equator, Kenya's warm weather, varied landscapes, tropical coastline, rich fauna and flora, combined together, set the stage for an Adventurer's playground. There is something for everyone, young and old, a large number of choices which cover a variety of interests.
Sleep under canvas - luxury mobile tented safaris flying from area to area by private aircraft, helicopter on to the slopes of Mt Kenya for a touch of fishing and a picnic, ornithological safaris to a number of areas in Kenya where over 300 species of birds have been recorded in an area. Butterfly catching in the Kakamega Forest or hiking in Hells Gate. These are but a few ideas for your Adventure Safari which are not mentioned below.
For the adventurer who wants to experience the African bush at its most natural. Camel safaris are tailor made and allow your group the pleasure of travelling at one’s own pace. Enjoy the sights, sounds and scents of the wild, watch game undetected and see vast, remote landscapes from the vantage point of a camel. Gain an intimate insight into the local people of the area and their culture.
Depending on how keen you are and what you wish to experience, a camel walk can be a full day out in the bush returning to your luxury lodge in the evening or adventure out and fly camp for the night sleeping under the stars and returning to your Lodge the next day.
Or experience the ultimate camel adventure, walking in the bush and sleeping under canvas from anywhere between three to six nights. Walk each day to a new area, accompanied by a few riding camels carrying refreshments and day-packs. In the meantime the pack camels travel in a more direct route in order to set up camp. Walk for as long as you feel comfortable, typically between 8 and 12kms getting into camp by lunchtime. In the afternoon venture out and explore the local area. Each safari is tailor made, if there are children in the group, walks tend to be kept shorter and in areas where they can mainly ride the camels. Tented accommodation is comfortable, with hot safari showers available in the evening followed by drinks around a campfire and freshly prepared meals eaten out under the stars. Guided by Maasai and Samburu, who are all local to the area, their collective knowledge of plant life, animal life and culture is enough to sustain a lifetime of study.
Maasailand, Chyulus, Rift Valley and Laikipia
One of the best ways of seeing big game is on horse-back. Horse riding is offered from a number of lodges and camps based on private ranches and community conservancies. A truly special way of exploring the magnificent countryside, horse riding is the perfect way to get right among the plains game . . . literally a few feet away from browsing giraffe, zebra and eland. Most places have a selection of horses to suit novice through to experienced riders, horses give enormous pleasure to many who have never ridden before. The peace is remarkable, the only sounds being the plod of the horse’s hooves and the singing of birds.
Rides are tailor made to suit the client and can be a short hack in the early morning returning for a hearty breakfast or a full day out with a picnic lunch. There is not just game to see but breathtaking scenery, such as riding up the slopes of Mt Kenya to Lake Ratundu.
But for the pure enthusiast and competent rider, horse riding safaris have to be the ultimate adventure. A ten to twelve day riding safari moving from camp to camp (mobile tented camp) riding through Big Game Country. You should be comfortable at all paces, able to gallop out of trouble and fit enough to ride between four and six hours a day. On days when camp moves you stop for a picnic lunch, which is carried in your saddle bag, stopping for 1.5 to 2 hours, giving time to have a short siesta under a tree before you are on the move again. On days when camp does not move you will ride out from camp to explore the local area and often return to camp for lunch.
All riding safaris are accompanied by 4wd vehicles, so game drives are also an option to get up close to the big game such as Elephant and Lion or enjoy night game drives in certain areas. Some walking on foot is necessary over rough terrain. Group sizes start at a minimum of four and maximum of 12 on set departure safaris. Tailor made as name suggests.
Maasailand, Chyulus, Rift Valley, Laikipia, Tsavo East & West
Walking in the bush is a must for anyone who enjoys the outdoors, exercise and adventure. The slower pace allows guests to take time and learn about ‘local bush craft’ – tracking animals & recognizing ‘foot prints’ as well as seeing smaller animals, reptiles & insects one would not normally see when speeding past in a car. A number of camps and lodges offer bush walks which entails going out for a couple of hours with a knowledgeable guide, stopping off maybe for a bush breakfast along the way returning to camp before the hot African sun is overhead.
Alternatively, specialist walking safaris are available, which offer walking combined with game drives moving from area to area using mobile tented camps. You will find yourselves in remote camps, living in complete comfort, eating the finest food, accompanied by the best guides in the business. This allows you the opportunity to intimately see the wildlife and beauty of unspoiled Africa. You will walk between 8 to 12 miles per day in the morning, after arriving in camp for lunch have a well deserved siesta in the afternoon and then take a game drive in the late afternoon. A typical itinerary walking through from Tsavo West to Tsavo East would be a 10 to 12 day safari.
Galana Ranch, Tsavo East & West
If you are interested in something completely different from a regular game viewing safari and you have a taste for the spirit of adventure then this is the trip for you. You don’t have to be a snake nut to enjoy this trip, as there are so many other things you will learn about. The area is so rich in other reptile fauna, insects and of course big game and birds as well. These safaris are led by Royjan Taylor, snake/reptile expert and safari guide. The starting point for these trips is either Malindi or Watamu, traveling to Galana Ranch where your base is Kulalu Camp on the outskirts of Tsavo East National Park. Trips can be organized to visit other areas of Kenya and are tailor made to suit each client’s interests.
Head out on foot in search of a possible sleeping puff adder or boomslang, sand snakes, beaked snakes and other species common in this area. Drive out of camp for a night game drive in search of the quick Red spitting cobra and other nocturnal species. In this area you are likely to find the large brown spitting cobra an entirely new species of snake and the largest spitting cobra in the world. It is reasonably common in the Kenya lowlands but the area around Galana and South of Tsavo East is where they are most abundant and that makes this area a particular hot spot in Kenya, the best and most exciting place to find, photograph and study this new giant cobra species.
Cobras aside, who knows, you may catch a sand boa under the shade of a large tree or a big African rock python sunbathing by one of the dams or possibly even the elusive and equally awesome black Mamba. There are also plenty of other reptiles including the large monitor lizard and the colorful agama lizards. Crocodiles sun themselves on the banks of the river in front of Camp.
On a trip like this you will learn a tremendous amount about snakes, the myths and the misinformation associated with them. You will come away and view them from a different perspective. They are a precious and necessary part of our eco-system, they are not evil and sinister, but possess grace and beauty and must be protected.
This is no ordinary safari, in addition to experiencing the thrill of a bush safari; clients will also experience the buzz of film-making in the wild. Expert cameraman Warren Samuels of ‘Big Cat Diary’ fame and film maker/producer Rob O’Meara have founded their own camp – ‘Film Safaris Camp’ on the northern boundary of the Maasai Mara Reserve right in the heart of migration country and in an area with a huge diversity of wildlife throughout the year.
Warren, a naturalist and well know wildlife cameraman with over 20 years experience, filming countless natural history productions. Rob, has been involved with production and post-production with years of editing and graphic design experience. By pre-arrangement and subject to availability Warren or Rob offer their expertise and share a keen desire to impart their considerable knowledge and passion for the wild to anyone eager to listen, learn and watch with them. Here is a chance to experience the best of Africa – unscripted, undirected and wildly rated.
The camp has been set up with a central Gallery tent which provides preview facilities for video and stills photography rushes, with digital photography and video editing stations on hand, which enables guest to show off their experiences and trophies of the day. Wi-fi broadband access is available throughout the camp. Game drives are conducted in open sided 4x4 Land Cruiser camera-cars, which are equipped to accommodate four to five keen photographers.
Mount Kenya is an extinct volcano with jagged peaks rising to 5,199mts above sea level, making it the second highest mountain in Africa. The peaks are permanently iced with snow and glaciers whilst the upper slopes are covered in extraordinary indigenous giant vegetation. To reach the twin summits of Batian (5,199m) and Nelion (5,188m) requires professional climbing experience and equipment. The most accessible peak is Lenana at 4,985m where you don’t need experience of mountain climbing – you just need to be fit! Reaching Lenana is achievable in three days and the trek up through mountain forests and across the moorland is spectacular. More time might be needed to acclimatize. There are three main routes up the mountain which are both challenging and beautiful.
Naro Moru Route This is the quickest and most popular route and approaches the summit from the west. The rapid ascent makes it unsuitable for climbers who need more time to acclimatize. On this route there is a steep vertical bog (wet moorland) which can be very tiring after rain. The final climb tackles a long loose scree slope up the side of the Teleki Valley.
Sirimon Route This route is the least used, approaching the summit from the north and features the most gradual ascent. The route passes through beautiful Afro-alpine scenery higher up.
Chogoria Route This is the most interesting and scenic route, passing through highland tarns and spectacular cliffs looking down into the valleys below and onto Lake Michaelson. This approaches the summit from the eastern slope of the mountain.
Most trips up Mt Kenya sell the more commercial Naro Moru route where accommodation is provided at ‘Public Campsites & Huts’ enroute which are very basic. Up market tailor made climbing trips are available, guided by a professional with accommodation in comfortable private camps, using one of the less frequented routes. The best seasons for climbing are the driest periods of mid January to March, late August through to October.
If you have a head for heights, one of the most magical ways of seeing the spectacular landscapes and vast horizons of Kenya plus a bird’s eye view of the game below, has to be by hot air balloon. The stillness of the dawn and golden colours on the landscapes below make this an unforgettable experience. Rise early for your magic ride which takes off at first light. Most flights are no longer than an hour in length following the day’s prevailing winds, landing in the bush where you are welcomed back on land with a huge ‘bush breakfast’, followed by a game drive back to your camp. Balloon safaris are available at three different locations in Kenya:
The Masai Mara - float over one of the world’s most spectacular game reserves, enjoying panoramic view of the rolling savannah and at the right time of year witness from overhead the annual wildebeest migration the Mara is so famous for.
Amboseli - with Mt Kilimanjaro as a majestic backdrop and abundant wildlife the ballooning experience in this area is second to none.
Loisaba - in northern Laikipia, soar high over the largest private accessible area of the Laikipia Plateau. A true treat to start off your day on this pristine private wilderness
"Fit mind, healthy body"
Thinking about getting fit and being fit, how about doing this for your holiday – a ‘Fresh Air’ workout? Wild fitness aims at achieving ultimate ‘functional’ fitness. This means rather than being fit for running or rowing or aerobics, it means being fit like an animal – ‘ready for anything’, ready to pounce or flee. Programs are carefully planned and do not compromise anyone’s health or safety. Professional fitness trainers run the courses as well as a nutritionist, a masseur and yoga/meditation instructor. All the above is carried out in Watamu, using the surrounding environment – beautiful beaches, sea, forest, sand dunes and fuelled by natural foods. Relaxation and stress relief through massage, yoga, meditation and just chilling out on one of the top ten beaches in the world. Also experience the local culture, integrating with the local people and environment and contributing to it at the same time. Get fit while having fun.
Wellbeing & Spas are all ‘in vogue’. Feel good, detoxify and energize. If that is what you are after Kenya has just about everything. Most properties offer a variety of health and beauty treatments from aromatherapy massage to mud musks, body scrubs, manicure and pedicures. There are also specialist retreats in coastal and wilderness locations, where fresh air and big sleeps are intermingled with yoga sessions, meditation and much more.
September – dives are mainly inside the reef (max. depth 10 meters), due to rough sea conditions.
October – dives take place inside & outside the reef depending on sea conditions.
November to January – dives on the outer reef in general clear, calm conditions, with the chance of seeing a whale shark or two. Visibility between 13-20+ meters.
February to March – the water can be cool & visibility variable, with increased fish life/activity with the possibility of seeing whale shark and manta rays. Visibility between 8-20 meters.
April - variable sea & weather conditions, normally deteriorate from late April. Visibility between 10-17 meters.
The dive sites are 10 to 20 minutes boat ride from Watamu. There are 18 dive sites, all are buoyed to prevent anchor damage.
Dives generally take place at depths of between 7 to 30 meters along the coral reef. The top of which is covered with an incredible variety of both soft and hard corals, dropping down to a sandy bottom.
Fish life includes various species of colourful reef fish such as butterfly & angelfish, damselfish, schools of jewel anthias, surgeonfish, snappers, groupers etc. Then there's the tiny creatures such as nudibranchs, frogfish, leaf fish & sole. It is also possible to see the bigger marine life such as Barracuda, several species of Rays, Turtles, Reef Sharks, Napoleon Wrasse, Moray Eels, and occasionally, Dolphins Whale Shark and Manta Rays.
Southern Kenya is certainly one of the very best African dive destinations. Diani Beach just 30 km south of Mombasa has over 32 different dive sites, all reachable with 20 or 25 minutes by boat, two wrecks: the HMS Hildasay, sunk in 1945 and the M.V. Funguro sunk in 2002, both waiting for experienced divers in 22m of water of incredible visibility.
All other dive sites are within 15 to 30 meters and offer excellent visibility, and a various range of marine life including whale sharks, and other big pelagic.
Lamu & Kiwayu
If you have a passion for the sea and all that it offers, a sea kayaking holiday could be the ultimate answer for you. This is a totally unique eco-friendly safari which has only just been introduced to Kenya. Discover the remote, wild and beautiful islands of the Lamu Archipelago in the tropical waters off Kenya’s north coast. Paddle through the Kiunga Marine reserve and learn as you go along about the fascinating history of the area and marine ecology from your experienced guide. Enjoy activities such as snorkeling, fishing, and discover bird and wildlife on the tropical islands.
The Lamu Archipelago is positioned about 200km south of the equator along the same latitude as the Seychelles and the Galapagos Islands, it extends about 100km north of Lamu and consists of numerous islands.
Accommodation is in classic safari-style tented camps with safari showers under the stars and food cooked by the camp chef. A support dhow with crew carries the camp and all the provisions for the safari and travels ahead to set-up the evening’s camp, but at all times remains within radio reach of the kayak guides. Guests have the opportunity of contributing to meals with their ‘catch of the day, fresh seafood is mostly on the menu.
All kayaks are imported new from the manufacturer in South Africa. They are designed specifically for use in the temperatures and coastal waters of Africa. A typical itinerary would be four nights; each day involves about 10-15 kms of paddling with minimal bay crossings or exposure to significant currents or swells. Slowly paddle through islands, reefs and mangrove channels. On route experience the amazing marine life, multitudes of water birds and underwater reefs. Pass local villages and watch dhows set sail for the days fishing. Depending on the time of year you may witness turtle hatchlings, flocks of roseate terns, inquisitive dolphins and curious land animals. There will be time in each day to enjoy other activities and to explore or simply relax. Kayak safaris are available from August through to March. Longer itineraries are available for the more experienced paddlers who will need a higher level of fitness and kayak experience. Paddlers will be required to cross large bays with exposure to ocean swells and currents.
"The wind sport of the moment"
Kite boarding in Kenya has really taken off. A cross between windsurfing, wakeboarding and paragliding. If you have done one of these you will have no problem adapting to this exciting water sport. Standing on a small surf board, pulled by a very powerful traction-kite allows horizontal and vertical flight – with sufficient experience you can take off. It feels like skiing behind a powerful speedboat, but of course there is no boat, no noise, no fuel – perhaps the ultimate environmentally friendly sport. All you need is an empty beach and a consistent wind blowing at between 8 – 25 knots. Kenya’s coastline is made for this with year round monsoon winds making it one of the best kite boarding spots in the world.
North of Malindi, Che-Shale is an ideal spot for kite surfing with a wide deserted 5 km long beach. A kite surfing school offers various courses from beginners through to advanced including hire of equipment. For the beginner a 2-day intensive course covers all the safety aspects and correct flying patterns to get you up and riding on a board. Pro-Kiters are more than welcome to come with their own boards and equipment. A kite-surfers Mecca.
On the South coast Galu Kinondo beach beats them all. The excellent conditions allow for beginners and pro kiters alike. Jet Ski’s are available as rescue rafts. An ideal location for the pro, try the ‘down wind special’; where a group of kiters are taken upwind to the Tiwi river by 4wd vehicles. The kiters have an uninterrupted, high speed; adrenalin packed 12km run back to base whilst taking in views of Diani and Galu Kinondo beaches.
Further north Lamu and Kiwayu also have ideal conditions for kite surfing, far more remote, an ideal get away to empty beaches and less people.
Looking for the ultimate getaway ? A dhow safari could be just what you are after. Tusitiri is a traditional dhow in look, with the luxury of every modern day comfort. Her spacious decks and gracious furnishings allow for up to 12 guests and require a minimum crew of six to man her under sail. On board facilities include a galley, bathroom amenities, cabin space for luggage and dressing, ample water storage and refrigeration. She also carries a diving compressor.
During the day activities range from the adventurous to the sporty, perfect for those seeking fun or total relaxation. One can explore the islands of the Lamu Archipelago, snorkel or scuba dive, water ski, wind-surf, go fishing, walk on deserted beaches, swim or simply relax and sunbathe. In the evenings the heavens become your ceiling and soft cushions are laid out to lounge on before dinner is served. You sleep on deck on comfortable bedding laid out at nightfall, under the stars and Africa’s magnificent moon, shimmering in the Indian Ocean, bathing Tusitiri’s decks with magical moonlight.