Popular Routes – Kenya

Popular Routes in Kenya

Popular Routes Where Wildlife Viewing Is a Major Part of the Tour

Kenya has no obvious safari routes, but there are clusters of parks that can easily be visited together. The country is relatively compact, so one can 'mix and match' to take in some of the highlights that don’t make an official circuit. Most people fly into Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and make connections from there (out of Wilson Airport). Whichever circuit is chosen, one can always add a return flight from Nairobi to the Masai Mara, which should definitely be on every itinerary.

Southwest Safari Circuit (1 to 1.5 weeks) – Masai Mara NR, Lake Nakuru NP

The southwest offers some of Kenya’s premium and most popular wildlife viewing. The country’s main attraction is the Masai Mara, whose already incredible resident wildlife population is boosted every year by the wildebeest migration coming from the neighboring Serengeti in Tanzania. Most people fly into Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and travel on to The Masai Mara by small aircraft from Wilson Airport. The next stop can be Lake Nakuru in the Rift Valley, known for its healthy population of black and white rhino.

Popular add-ons:

  • Hell’s Gate NP and Lake Naivasha for cycling among wildlife
  • Lake Bogoria and Lake Baringo for a birding extravaganza and flocks of flamingo in Lake Bogoria
  • Amboseli NP for views of Kilimanjaro and big herds of elephant
  • Lamu for a taste of Swahili culture and relaxation on the beach

Southeast Safari Circuit (0.5 to 1 week) – Amboseli NP, Tsavo NP

If on a beach holiday and wanting a safari add-on, one’s first choice is probably Tsavo East and West, and slightly further along from the coast, Amboseli NP. Tsavo East is Kenya’s biggest park and the transitional zone between the savannah and the northern semi-desert. The wide-open spaces have amazing wilderness appeal. Amboseli, at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro, offers excellent elephant viewing and is one of Kenya’s most popular parks. These parks are easily reached by car from any of the coastal resorts around Mombasa and Watamu or from Nairobi.

Popular add-ons:

  • Masai Mara for seeing the wildebeest migration and big cat action
  • Diani Beach for some sun and surf
  • Shimba Hills for seeing the rare sable antelope

Central and Northern Safari Circuit (1.5 to 2 weeks) – Meru NP, Samburu NR, Laikipia, Aberdare NP

This circuit comprises Meru, Laikipia and Samburu-Buffalo Springs. The area is altogether more rugged and remote than their southern counterpart and offers excellent wildlife viewing of some of the more interesting dry-country animal species. Aberdare, in the central highlands, offers a different kind of wildlife watching from tree hotels, including Treetops and the Ark. These places act as massive hides where you can sit and watch the animals come to you.

Popular add-ons:

  • Mount Kenya for hiking and climbing the mountain
  • Masai Mara for seeing the wildebeest migration and big cat action

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