​Wildlife & Animals – Kenya

Anthony Ham
By Anthony Ham

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guide to Kenya.

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

Anthony is the author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

Kenya offers excellent wildlife viewing. All of the Big Five are regularly seen on a standard safari. The Masai Mara is one of the best places in Africa to see big cats, and white rhino is easily seen at Lake Nakuru. The Rift Valley lakes, especially Lake Bogoria, attract thousands of flamingo, which feed in the shallow waters.

White RhinoOccasional
Wild DogVery Rare

Wildebeest Migration

The wildebeest migration is one of Africa’s greatest wildlife spectacles. At least two million ungulates – mainly wildebeest, but also zebra and gazelle – move throughout the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem. The crossing of the Mara River is the absolute highlight of the migration.

Wildlife Highlights

Samburu and Meru in the north are home to some interesting localized dry-country species. The odd-looking gerenuk is often seen standing on its hind legs feeding on dry bushes. The Grevy’s zebra and reticulated giraffe are beautiful variants to the more common species found throughout the region. Tsavo is home to the rare fringe-eared oryx.

Best Time for Wildlife Viewing

Kenya offers quality wildlife viewing throughout the year, but the ultimate time is in the Dry season from June to October. This corresponds with the wildebeest migration in the Masai Mara. The exact timing depends on rainfall, but it’s typically in August-September when the wildebeest migration reaches the northern Serengeti, and they begin to cross into the Masai Mara. In October they make their move back into Tanzania. These months are high season for tourism. The parks are much quieter in the low season, and prices are more competitive as well.

Wildlife Rating

Recommended Wildlife Books

  • Field Guide to the Larger Mammals of Africa
    Chris Stuart
  • Pocket Guide to Mammals of East Africa
    Chris Stuart

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