Saturday, March 17, 2007

Kenyan animal safari: Animals, Lakes, Rift Valley & Desert Kenya tours

The spellbinding Maasai Mara Wildlife Park

The Maasai Mara offers visitors unparalleled quantity and variety of Kenyan animals. There can be found the smallest antelope in the world-the dik-dik, to the biggest-the Eland. The dik-dik sticks to one partner for life and rarely leaves each other’s side. From the large herbivores like the giraffe and the hippopotamus, the cheetah, which is the fastest land animal in the world, to the largest and heaviest bird, the ostrich, all are found here.

Between June and October each year, three million Kenyan animals make an annual migration from Tanzania’s Serengeti to Maasai Mara in Kenya, in search of fresh grass. If you are fortunate you will be able to see the Mara River crossing, where hundreds upon hundreds of Zebra and wildebeest cross the river simultaneously where crocodile await. The migration has recently been named the seventh new wonder of the world.

If it is within your budget, a hot-air balloon ride is strongly recommended. There are several unpaved air strips in Maasai Mara on which small aero planes can land, although it can also be reached by road via the town of Narok.

Amboseli National Wildlife Park

Amboseli National Wildlife Park is situated just north of Mount Kilimanjaro and is a very popular tourist destination. This is due to its variety of Kenyan tour animals and breathtaking sceneries. Mount Kilimanjaro is situated in Tanzania just south of the border of Kenya.

Lake Naivasha birds’ paradise

Lake Naivasha is the highest of the Rift valley lakes at an altitude of 1880m. It is also the second largest fresh water lake in Kenya and is unusual that it has no known outlet, normally a requirement for a fresh water lake.

The dense vegetation in the edge of the lake supports a thriving bird population-the area has a list of over 350 species. The waters of the lake draw a great range of Kenyan game to these shores; giraffes wander among the acacia, buffalo wallow in the swamps and colobus monkeys swing in the treetops while the lakes large hippos sleep the day out in the shallows. Walking is permitted, making it ideal for hiking, biking and rock climbing. Due to the relative closeness to Nairobi, it is a good place for a one-night stop while traveling north from the capital. Boat trips on the lake are widely available, making it a great way to spend an afternoon or morning. There is also an airstrip in Naivasha with charter flights available. Take the A109 north from Nairobi for a one and a half hour drive; alternatively there are frequent bus services.

Mt. Longonot hiking bluff

Mt. Longonot stands alone over the shores of Lake Naivasha and this massive dormant volcano dominates the landscape for miles around. A climb up Mount.Longonot is an ideal day trip from either Nairobi or Naivasha. Its vast crater is an awesome sight, the jagged edge surrounding a broad expanse of vegetation. Geothermal steam puffs upwards from the walls, while buffalo and other game make their way across the crater floor.

Lake Baringo birds’ congress

Lake Baringo is at the threshold of Northern Kenya, and its fresh waters are an oasis in the dry plains. The 129sq km lake is well stocked with fish, and attracts many pelicans, cormorants and fish eagles- as well as a healthy population of crocodiles. The lake itself is truly beautiful, surrounded by volcanic ranges that stretch as far as the eye can see. Boat trips are available and are ideal for bird and hippo spotting making Lake Baringo an ideal stopover on safari to Northern Kenya. Of the 1200 different species of birds, over 450 of them have been spotted in Lake Baringo. Main road access to Baringo is directly from Nakuru by Bus or private transport to the Kampi ya Samaki, the nearest town to the lake.

Lake Magadi, the natural microwave

Lake Magadi is completely surrounded by vast natural salt flats. These sweltering hot plains prevent any Kenyan animals reaching the alkaline lake at its centre. For this reason, thousands of flamingos descend on the lake each year to nest on the elevated mud mounds at the lake’s edge safe from any potential predators. Fresh water springs at the lake’s shore attract a host of other birds.

Lake Nakuru National Wildlife Park, taking it all.

The national Wildlife Park, North West of Nairobi is home to thousands of flamingos joined into a massive flock fringe on the shores of this soda lake. This provides the visitor with one of Kenya’s best-known images. The landscape includes areas of marsh and grass lands alternating with rocky cliffs and outcrops, stretches of acacia woodland and rocky hillsides covered with Euphorbia forest on the eastern perimeter, and about 550 different plant species including the unique and biggest euphorbia forest in Africa, picturesque landscape and yellow acacia woodlands. Nakuru provides the visitor with one of Kenya’s best known images. A great opportunity for photography. By road, take the main Nairobi Nakuru road. There are also frequent bus services.

Lake Turkana Oasis in Kenyan desert

This is the largest and most Northern of the Rift Valley Lakes and is truly a breath taking sight. Lake Turkana is source to Kenya’s most remote tribes, the main one being the Turkana tribe-a visit to a Turkana tribe village is strongly recommended for all visitors to Lake Turkana. The lake has been described as “the cradle of mankind” due to the fossils found there recently. The East and West Shores of Turkana are reached from different points; the East shore is reached via Mararal and Marsabit; the west shore is accessed from Lodwar. There are airstrips on both shores for chartered aircraft. Turkana should be visited as part of a professionally organised safari.

Article Source: ABC Article Directory

Robert Muhoho is a tour consultant with Landmark Safaris. He is degreed in tourism and hospitality management and author to 500 Kenya tour articles. For free Kenya safari info visit them @