The premier African safari destination of Kenya is known for its rich wildlife and culture as well as being an excellent birding destination. Its many highlights include Tsavo East National Park, savannah and semi-arid grasslands, separated from Tsavo West National Park by railway and road, which together make up a huge part of the Tsavo Conservation Area.
To the south of Nakuru lies its namesake, Lake Nakuru, which is often covered with flamingos in the peak bird-viewing season (November to April). Narok county is home to the world-renowned Masai Mara National Reserve, home to around 1.5 million wildebeest whose journey for survival has turned into one of the leading safari attractions in Kenya.
Have you ever wondered how a day pans out on a typical day on safari in Kenya? We have a summary of how a day might unfold in Kenya although keep in mind that changing seasons make it hard to pinpoint each moment of the day as well as varying options offered by accommodation.
Often Kenya safari camps and lodges have the whole day planned out for you. From a cup of freshly brewed tea or coffee to the wildlife-viewing spots, they have everything covered. There is plenty of time to rest and participate in activities unique to each camp.
Early Morning: Before 8 am
On a Kenyan safari, you will rise either along with the sun or before it to witness the glorious sunrise along with spectacular scenery. Once you are up, you begin the day with freshly served tea or a cup of coffee. To make the most of your day, you need to get an early start with the morning game drives when the temperature is cooler and better suited for game drives and spotting wildlife, particularly big cats which are most active at this time of the day. The early morning also allows photographers to capture the splendid beauty of Kenya’s wildlife as well as the surrounding vistas in ideal light.
The early morning game drives can get a bit chilly so, you will need to wear layers of clothing that you can shed as the temperature warms up as the morning turns into the afternoon. Although most of the game drives are well-planned by the guides, you should mention any particular interests before it starts. On a game drive, the guide will take you to places that boast frequent wildlife sightings. Every minute spent on a game drive is precious, creating lasting memories. After spending a few incredible hours through Kenyan game reserves/national parks, you will head back to the camp to rest and restore.
Mid Morning: Between 8 am to 11 am
The early morning game drives take around 2-3 hours after which you return to camp for breakfast or brunch. Dine on the mouth watering dishes prepared specially for you. One of the most unique breakfast experiences in Kenya is at Giraffe Manor, near Nairobi National Park: when you sit down for breakfast, you’re accompanied by Rothschild giraffes, who are used to peaking in through the large windows. How many people in the world can say that they have had breakfast with giraffes? What a memorable breakfast!
After breakfast/brunch, guests have the run of the safari lodge. Safari lodges usually have comfortable communal areas where you can rest, chat to other safari guests, and take in the view of the Kenyan landscape and wildlife. Spend the rest of the morning relaxing or enjoying one of the camp’s activities. For example, Loisaba Tented Camp, a safari camp near Mount Kenya National Park, offers its guests activities such as fishing and trekking as well as cultural excursions to the Loisaba Conservancy, where you learn about sniffer dogs who are part of the anti-poaching unit. It will take a few hours, and you can be back for lunch at around 1 pm.
Some safari camps offer a small library with a collection of books that you can curl up with on a comfy lounge or in a hammock while others have a spa centre where you can treat yourself to a soothing massage. Or how about cooling off in a lavish swimming pool like the naturally occurring infinity pool in Kenya’s Sarara Luxury Tented Camp, which overlooks a waterhole frequented by wildlife.
Early Afternoon: 1 pm to 3 pm
If you haven’t had a big brunch, this is the time you’ll enjoy a delicious lunch. You might have it on an outside deck overlooking a waterhole, under a canopy of trees with views of the bush or inside a cosy dining room – camps and lodges often have a variety of places where meals are set up. After lunch, you’ll have plenty of time to rest, catch up on your sleep, relax with a book or cool down in the pool.
Late Afternoon: 4 pm to 5 pm
After the afternoon heat, the temperature starts cooling down around 4 pm to 5 pm and it’s time to head out on an afternoon game drive. The diurnal species prefer these temperatures and venture out of their homes to frolic, feed, and quench their thirst. It is also an ideal time to see the Kenyan wildlife as it emerges from the shade.
Evening: 5 pm to 7 pm
There is almost always a glorious sunset waiting for you at the end of a game drive in Kenya. Often you’ll be offered a sundowner drink which you enjoy watching the sunset, a really special safari experience, before heading back to your accommodation before it gets dark. The temperatures cool down in the evening, particularly during the winter months, so remember to dress in layers which you can put on as the temperature drops.
Some camps arrange a unique bush dinner such as Sanctuary Olonana and Mara Serena Safari Lodge near Masai Mara National Park which offer a spectacular al fresco dining experience, accompanied by the views of elephants returning home and big cats on the scent of their prey.
Evening After 7 pm
On return to your camp you shower, head to the main area for pre-dinner drinks and chat with other guests before you enjoy a scrumptious dinner. After dinner, guests often gather around a campfire, with a night camp, exchanging stories and learning about Kenyan culture. For something different, some safari lodges, like Sasaab Camp and Saruni Samburu near Samburu National Reserve, provide sleeping arrangements that allow visitors to sleep under the stars.
If you’re staying at your lodge or camp for another night, the next day will follow a similar schedule. You’ll be taken to new wildlife viewing spots or spend time exploring other activities offered by the camp.
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