Kenya - The Land Where Safari Was Born

Posted by Nick Niesen on October 29th, 2010

As a child, Africa fascinated me - a land where the wild and exotic animals of storybooks and zoos roamed free on the plains. And where Kenya was always the quintessential home of the safari.

Many visits later I'm no less enthralled by this region of dramatic contrasts, and remarkable wildlife amid stunningly beautiful and varied landscapes that are still unencumbered by the trappings of man. And little compares to nights filled with the primal sounds of the bush - the hoots and laughs of hyenas, the grumble of distant lions and the snorts of a hippo.

Kenya, the land where safari was born, is also known as the cradle of mankind - evidence of some of the earliest human settlements has been found here, suggesting that it was the birthplace of humanity from which descendents moved out to populate the world. However, it's the boundless wilderness and big game of this region that has long attracted adventure seekers from all over the globe. No other African country can boast such an incredible range of scenery, unique geographical features and species.

A safari in Kenya is an extraordinary holiday for any wildlife lover, no matter your budget or the level of adventure you're looking for. There's no end of things to explore; from the highlands of central Kenya to the great Rift valley; from the elephants of Amboseli wallowing in a small watering hole, to the vast shores of Lake Victoria, the second largest lake in the world; and from the spectacular views of Africa's highest point, Mount Kilimanjaro, down to a coast of shimmering white sands along the Indian Ocean.

Soak up the wonders of nature while camping under the stars out in the bush, hundreds of miles away from civilization, or relax in luxury at one of the lodges scattered throughout the many game reserves and national parks of this magical country.

Whether you're walking, driving, or even bobbing your way across the plains atop a camel, you'll discover the scents, sounds, and footprints of the bush, as you enjoy the sight of a hyena at full gallop, weaving behind the adrenaline-powered run of a gazelle, or a mighty battle as buffalo bulls fight over territory.

If you venture on a Kenyan safari during July or August, perhaps the best way to check out the wildlife is by hot air balloon. Few places offer a better vantage point from which to witness the amazing phenomenon that is the annual wildebeest migration across the plains of the Maasai Mara, when millions of hooves thunder northwards in search of sweeter grazing during the drier months in the south.

The Maasai Mara Reserve, 200 sq miles of rolling hills, woods and acacia trees watered by the Mara and Talek rivers, opens onto the Serengeti plains of Tanzania. Home to the famously independent and traditional herdsmen, no trip to Kenya would be complete without a visit to Masai Mara. They regard themselves not just as residents of this area but as much a part of the life of the land, as the land is part of their lives.

A visit to Kenya is a veritable life-changing experience filled with an abundance of wildlife, including elephants, zebras, black rhino, lions, leopards and various antelope. One visit alone will be enough to make you understand Earnest Hemmingway's words, "unknowable, unimaginable, unbelievable... and completely unforgettable."

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Nick Niesen

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Nick Niesen
Joined: April 29th, 2015
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