Kenya looms large in the travel imagination, from the savannahs and rolling hills of the Maasai Mara to the plains of Samburu, where some of the world’s most rare and endangered species reside. And it’s easy to assume that it also requires a large travel budget—but not necessarily. Read on, and you may be surprised at the varied ways to experience some of Kenya’s most storied destinations.
The Maasai Mara National Reserve
More than 95 species of mammals, amphibians, and reptiles and over 400 species of birds make their home among the savannahs and rolling hills of the Maasai Mara. In July alone over 1.5 million wildebeest arrive from the Serengeti, crossing the Mara River in a spectacular migration as they scale the steep banks, thwart crocodiles in the water, and run for the fresh grass the other side, avoiding the lions as they go.
Distinctive wildlife and rich tribal culture draw travellers to Samburu. Here, you can spot the elegant and endangered Grévy’s Zebra, the spindly-legged Gerenuk antelope, and the striped Lesser Kudu—all creatures found only in the north. Safari guides are often local Samburu people, decked out in colourful fabrics and jewellery and eager to share the stories of their tribe.
Amboselli and the Chuylu Hills
This region of Kenya is famed for its luscious green mountains and, in Amboselli National Park, its high population of elephants. Hundreds traipse the ‘elephant highways’ each day from the shade of the trees to the central lake for a drink, passing the thousands of zebra and antelope on the planes on route and joining the hippos in the water once they arrive.