Kenya- The Heart of Africa

by Annabel Jenkins on 21 December 2015, 13:12PM

Kenya is often referred to as the ‘Heart of Africa’ – largely due to its central location on the continent and the fact that Nairobi is the centre of international activity, and air arrivals into East Africa.

Kenya is a country of true diversity – with great sweeping African plains, the second highest peak in Africa (Mount Kenya), great white sands of the coast, dense rainforest, and lively savannah rich with bushes, grasses and trees.

Here we shine the spotlight on two of Kenya’s most iconic safari destinations, the Maasai Mara and Samburu National Reserve and two of the country’s stunning Indian Ocean beach resorts, Diani and Watamu.

The Maasai Mara

The Massai Mara National Reserve is one of the most popular tourism destinations in Kenya and is regarded as the jewel of Kenya’s wildlife viewing areas. The reserve is located in the Great Rift Valley in primarily open grassland and stretches across 1,672 km².

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Wildlife tends to be most concentrated on the reserve’s western escarpment. There have been some 95 species of mammals, amphibians and reptiles and over 400 birds species recorded on the reserve. Nowhere in Africa is wildlife more abundant and it is for this reason a visitor hardly misses seeing ‘The Big Five’ (buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion, and rhino).

The Maasai Mara is also home to the annual wildebeest migration, the journey of over one and a half million wildebeest and zebra to the greener pastures of the Maasai Mara is one of Africa’s most dramatic and memorable safari experiences.

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Wildebeest can be heard from miles away as they thunder over the Kenyan border towards freshly grown and nutritious lands. Visitors can watch in awe as the banks of the Mara river swell and burst with wildebeest as they storm down the river bank into crocodile-infested waters.

Samburu National Reserve

Found within the north central Great Rift Valley area towards the North of Kenya, Samburu is visited by large herds of elephants, drawn by the promise of water in this otherwise arid landscape. In the dry season the elephants use their tusks to dig into the dry river beds, unearthing precious water.

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These waterholes become a focal point for other game and a great place for viewing a variety of animals. The reserve is thriving with wildlife and has an abundance of rare northern species such as the Grevy’s zebra, Somali ostrich, reticulated giraffe, gerenuk and the beisa oryx which are often referred to as the ‘Samburu Special Five’.

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Samburu is also home to large predators such as lions, leopards and cheetahs and over 450 species of bird have been recorded in the reserve.

Diani Beach

Diani Beach is one of the most beautiful and popular tourism spots on the coast of Kenya where ten kilometres of palm-fringed coastline meets the calm waters of the Indian Ocean protected by coral reef.

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With its wide variety of luxury hotels fronting onto the Indian Ocean Diani, while popular, tends not to be crowded to still provide travellers with a relaxing experience with white sand beaches and a year-round tropical sunny climate.

Diani Beach is located on the south coast of Kenya and accessed via the local Ukunda Airstrip or Mombasa’s international Airport which is one hour’s drive away.

Watamu

The sleepy village of Watamu is fronted by wide white beaches home to several well established hotels and is a popular resort for scuba diving. Just outside Watamu, a Marine National Park offers an ideal day trip for divers and snorkellers alike. The coral gardens are only 300 metres from the shore and home to over 600 species of sea-life.

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Whale Sharks pass through each year from October- February, with good sightings reported each day and migratory pods of Whales from Southern Africa pass through this area during the months of June- September, and are often seen breaching in deep water beyond the reefs.

The Watamu area is an important egg laying site for the endangered Green sea Turtle, which lay on the beaches several times a year, and they are often seen around this reef.

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Click here to book your next trip to Kenya


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