Kenya Safari – Complete Travel Guide

With zebra, giraffe and wildebeest, peppering its vast savannahs, lion or leopard hiding underneath its ancient acacia trees and picturesque lakes reflecting thousands of pink flamingos, Kenya has everything a safari enthusiast might ask for. Don’t miss an opportunity to meet the local Maasai tribes and rest on the white sand beaches at the end of your safari.

  • Best Time To Go

    June-October for Great Migration, September-March for bird watching, November-December for calving

  • Average Safari Cost

    $100 - $600 pp/day

  • Highlights

    Classic safaris at Aberdare and Amboseli, best bird watching in Africa, true African wilderness in Samburu and Laikipia, hot springs of the Hell's Gate, coastal resorts, lakes of the Great Rift Valley, culture and wildlife of Maasai Mara, pink flamingo of Lake Nakuru, Africa’s 2nd largest – Mount Kenya, Tsavo West, the Big Five

Why go on a Kenya Safari

The most popular places in Kenya include the Great Migration crossing of the Mara River, Aberdare, Amboseli and Tsavo parks and many beach resorts. This is why the north of the country is covered in untouched wilderness available to the more adventurous travelers. While Mount Kenya and the Rift Valley still get their fair share of tourists, head to the Aberdares, Samburu and Laikipia to see more animals and less people.

Pros And Cons

  • Less popular then Tanzania and South Africa, which translates into more animal and bird watching in true wilderness
  • Clear seasons and easily identifiable times to go on a great safari
  • Great variety of wildlife to spot, including out-of-this world pink flamingo congregation on Lake Nakuru
  • Distinct indigenous cultures
  • Very child-friendly
  • Diverse landscapes
  • Great beach holidays
  • Less big cats than in South Africa and Tanzania
  • A lot of visitors in the south of the country
  • High risk of malaria
  • Travel warning related to areas near Somalia, Ethiopia and South Sudan

Best Time To Visit

As many popular African safari destination, Kenya has dry and rainy seasons that clearly divide the year. As the rule of thumb the flights would be almost half cheaper during the rainy season, but for a very good reason – wildlife would be very hard to spot.

See our straightforward guide to when to visit Kenya month by month.

During the warmest time in Kenya, animals are seen in large numbers in most popular safari areas, including Amboseli, Maasai Mara and Lake Nakuru. It is also great time to visit the coast and either have a beach vacation or join the diving craze, as the Indian Ocean is very clear during these months.
During the rainy season it is harder to spot wildlife or climb Mount Kenya, this is why the flight prices to Kenya are super cheap during this time.
The dry season signals slightly higher prices, which correspond to the variety of wildlife congregating near waterholes, lakes and creeks. During this time, you can expect to see the Great Wildebeest Migration crossing over the Mara River, separating the Serengeti and Maasai Mara.
This is a much quieter time to visit Kenya, as not many tourist are around at this time. It is also good for bird watching with some migrating birds settling in.
If you are not afraid of touristy seasons, then December is a great month to enjoy migratory bird watching and calving, when baby animals attract a lot of predators.
January to February, June to October for Great Migration, September to March for bird watching, and December for calving, which means you will see a lot of predators.
Start your Kenya Adventure

Wildlife And Birds

The Great Migration pinnacle moment falls onto the Mara River crossing, between Tanzanian Serengeti and the Masai Mara in Kenya, when the herds prepare for their dangerous journey.

This is the time to visit the area, as you will also see the Big Five. Head to the secluded Laikipia Plateau for a chance to spot wild dogs or Grevy’s zebra – both are endangered species. Elephants are most likely seen in the rough and dry Samburu chilling in the Ewaso Ng’iro River.

List Of Animals
  • Lion
  • Elephant
  • Cheetah
  • Hippo
  • Buffalo
  • Hyena
  • Giraffe
  • Black Rhino

Rare or Endangered Animals

  • African Lion
  • Black Rhino
  • Grevy's Zebra
  • African Wild Dog
  • Golden Cat
  • African White-bellied Pangolin
  • Reticulated Giraffe

Infrequently Seen Animals

  • African Elephant
  • Cheetah
  • Leopard

Frequently Seen Animals

  • Wildebeest
  • Buffalo
  • Zebra
  • Hyena
  • Lion
  • Hippo
  • Antelope

The Great Wildebeest Migration

The annual event of the wildebeest migration is one of Africa’s most fascinating wildlife events. Over two million animals, including wildebeest, gazelle and zebra migrate through the vast area between Serengeti in Tanzania and Maasai Mara in Kenya.

Fortunately for those who chose Kenya to follow this amazing occurrence, the massive crossing of the dangerous Mara River is a climax of the entire migration.

This usually happens around August time, but heavily depends on the rainfall and needs to be checked with your safari operator prior to booking.

Best Time to See More Animals
The best time to visit Kenya in order to have the most rewarding safari experience is around the dry season from June to October. As the Great Migration usually happens around August, this is probably the best time to visit. However, around October the herds make their way back from Maasai Mara to Serengeti.

Getting There And Safety

As the most historically versed in tourism, this East African country still tops the lists of many visitors of the continent. Unlike other safari destinations, Kenya is welcomes travelers with children with well-educated and patient guides, child-friendly accommodation and vehicles.

Please note that some countries have travel warnings related to areas in Kenya near Somalia, Ethiopia and South Sudan.


Most international flights land in two airports, one in the capital of Kenya, Nairobi, and the other in Mombasa, relative to other safari destinations, Kenya offers more affordable flights.

Two airports: Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) and Moi International Airport (MBA)

If you are based in the UK and Europe check out these flights to Kenya.

If you are based in the USA and Canada, check out these flights to Kenya.

Because the road to the Masai Mara is rather long and a little on the rough edge, it could be a good idea to take an internal flight from Wilson Airport (WIL) to the park. Please don’t forget check with your safari operator for more details. Other parks will also have an option of a domestic flight.

Most visitors will require a visa, however, single entry visas can be obtained on arrival. Please check, which one you qualify for. If you choose to apply for an online visa, make sure you only you the e-Visa website, as others might charge more. Alternatively, you can pay cash on arrival, but with an online visa you might avoid a long queue.

Certificate of yellow-fever vaccinations from some countries in South America and Africa is required.

Most of the country below 2,000m poses high risk of malaria, so you are safer with taking malaria tablets.

Check your local travel health authority for more information:

Drinking Water
Tap water is not considered safe in Kenya, so it would be advisable to always use bottled water or bring water sanitation tablets with you. These will come in handy for using water to brush your teeth.
Travel Insurance

Going on a safari in Africa comes with obvious risks. We recommend you get travel insurance for all safaris in Kenya. Make sure your insurance has full medical coverage, emergency air evacuation, repatriation and the standard travel insurance for cancellations, delays and luggage cover.

Check the World Nomads’ travel insurance calculator to see the cost of the safari trip cover.