The first of a new series where we gather up the very best advice, tips and photos about our very favourite destinations. This week, captivating Kenya
Think safari, and most people think Kenya. Nestled on the coast of East Africa, Kenya is where Roosevelt, Hemingway and Churchill put romance into hunting, and started off the safari industry.
These days Kenyan safaris are all photographic, but the excitement remains. The greatest density of game is in the Masai Mara, the northern part of the Serengeti. This is packed with wildlife during the annual wildebeest migration, but is busy with game and predators year-round: sightings come thick and fast.
But Kenya is more than safari – when you’ve seen the ‘big five’, go trekking with tribesmen, hike mountain peaks and scuba dive reefs in the Indian Ocean.
Look no further than Richard Trillo’s article on the tribal gathering at Lake Turkana. He journeyed to world’s largest desert lake to witness a truly spectacular gathering of Kenya’s most colourful tribes and explains how you can too.
You should also check out Lizzie Matthews’ tale about sleeping under the stars in central Kenya. Perched high on a stilted wooden platform on a rocky hillside, her bed looked out over Kenya’s wild Laikipia Plateau. There aren't too many other places where you can wake up to giraffes lolloping or lions prowling between the long grasses and wiry acacia trees.
How does a five-day Field Guiding Course in the Masai Mara, sound? Julie Davidson gave it a go and reckons there is no better way to get under the skin of Kenya...
Or if climbing is more your thing, you’ll want to check out Sarah Baxter’s guide to climbing Mt Kenya. Often overlooked for the more glamorous Kilimanjaro, many claim it is a more challenging – and rewarding climb.
Tribal Gatherings: Lake Turkana, Kenya – Richard Trillo
Sleeping under the stars – Lizzie Matthews
Five days in the life of a bush safari guide – Julie Davidson
Climbing Mount Kenya – Sarah Baxter
Want the inside scoop on Kenya’s secrets? Peter Moore asked Nairobi locals about the things they love about their city and came up with a treasure trove of inside information about Nairobi’s best street food, most amazing nightlife and a wildlife park only the locals know about. You’ll also find advice on enjoying Nairobi’s cheapest beer.
Mindy Budgor, on the other hand, spent a year living with the Maasai, becoming the first female Maasai warrior and reveals how you can too. Chris Spring, from the British Museum, explains the etiquette of wearing a kanga, the colourful sarongs everyone in East Africa wears. Chances are you’ll buy one too, so his advice on not causing offence is invaluable.
Crowd sourced Nairobi – Peter Moore
More crowd sourced Nairobi – Peter Moore
How to be a Maasai Warrior – Mindy Bugnore
How to wear a manga without causing offence – Chris Spring
It won’t surprise you to learn that Kenya is a photographer’s paradise. Indeed, the wildlife section of Wanderlust's annual Travel Photo of the Year competition has been dominated by shots taken in Kenya, including the winners in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012. From epic landscapes to colourful tribes through to life and death struggles of the wildlife, there is always something to fill your frame.
If you're interested combining your love of photography with a trip to Kenya, there’s no better starting point than this article written by award-winning photographer Chris Haslam about photo safaris in Kenya.
Our guide to timing your visit to catch the Great Migration is indispensable too, as is our step-by-step guide on how to take amazing photos of this great wildlife event when you’re there
On photo safari in Kenya – Chris Haslam
Great Migration calendar: 12 months, 12 ways – Will Gray
Top 15 tips for taking Great Migration photos – Paul Goldstein
If you have any questions, pop over to the myWanderlust forum where our knowledgeable community is ready to spring into action and share all that they know. Or check out the questions people have already asked about Kenya. The answer to yours might already be there.
Beginner's Guide to East Africa – Philip Briggs
Here’s a selection of fantastic tours offered by our partners. From safaris and wildlife volunteering to relaxing coastal breaks there’s sure to be something that tickles your fancy. You’ll find the full list of tours available here.