Kenya & Tanzania Budget Camping Safari Over View
In Kenya's semi-arid, rugged northern region lies the Samburu Game Reserve, a small oasis that is home to many rare wildlife which includes Grevy's zebras, long-necked gerenuk antelopes, Somali ostriches and reticulated giraffes.
The Ol Pejeta Conservancy is a 90,000-acre none profit wildlife conservancy in the Laikipia District of central Kenya. The Conservancy boasts the largest sanctuary for black rhinos in East Africa, provides a sanctuary for great apes and is host to the 'big five' among a large selection of other African animals. The Conservancy also operates a successful cattle program that is integrated with the local wildlife.
Lake Nakuru is a relatively small park that has been designated as a rhino sanctuary and is considered to be one of the finest places for bird-watching. The park is a world heritage site and recognized as a wet land of international importance.
The world-famous Masai Mara National Reserve, widely regarded as the best game-viewing park in Kenya. The "Big Five" (lions, leopards, buffaloes, elephants and rhinos) may be spotted here, and more than a million wildebeests and zebras migrate annually to Masai Mara from the parched Serengeti plains of neighboring Tanzania (The Great Migration). You can also opt to visit a Masai village, where you can interact with local cattle-herders.
Lake Naivasha is one of the Great Rift Valley lakes and lies at the highest elevation of all the lakes in the valley standing at 1,890 metres. Boating at the lake provides opportunity to view schools of hippos and abundant bird life.
Amboseli is commonly reffered as Kilimanjaro royal court. The Park is famous for its big game, such as lions, cheetahs, baboons and large elephant herds that traverse the savannahs in search of watering holes or feeding grounds. The park also offers amazing view of Mt Kilimanjaro peaks which are visible early morning on a clear day.
Lake Manyara National Park lies in the shadow of the Great Rift Valley whose reddish brown escarpment wall looms 600 metres on the eastern horizon. The park is particularly known for its tree-climbing lions, who may be seen resting on a tree branch instead of a shady spot on the ground like most other lions. The lake has a wide array of bird species most notable are the lesser flamingos.
The Serengeti National park is the jewel in the crown of Tanzania's parks. The park is Tanzania's largest and best-known National Park, with a massive concentration of migratory animals who move around the park in search of food. Serengeti is most famous for its annual migration "One of the seven wonders of the world" of over one and a half million white bearded wildebeest and 250,000 zebra among others.
Often called the eighth wonder of the world, Ngorongoro Crater is the largest unbroken caldera in the world, and is one of the only places in Africa you can view every member of the "big five" (rhinoceros, lion, cheetah, leopard, elephant and buffalo) on a single game drive. Unique to Ngorongoro, indigenous tribes are permitted to live in the conservation area and local Maasai graze their livestock on the crater floor in harmony with nearby herds of buffalo and wildebeest.
Tarangire lies south of the Masai land along the Arusha - Dodoma road. The Park is home to a huge number of elephants, baobab trees and its tree climbing pythons. Other common wildlife includes waterbuck, giraffe, olive baboons and over five hundrend and fifty bird species.
Our budget camping safari takes you to samburu, sweetwaters, lake nakuru, masai mara, lake naivasha, amboseli, lake manyara, serengeti, ngorongoro crater and tarangire in a duration of fifteen days. The tour begins in Nairobi and ends in Arusha. We normally use safari vehicles which have pop up roofs ideal for game viewing. Fresh meals are prepared by our cook and we en sure high standards of hygiene. We also cater for special diets [Vegetarian meals]. This trip can be undertaken as a group joining safari or a private safari.
East Africa Budget Travel
Fifteen Days Samburu, sweetwaters, Lake Nakuru, Maasai Mara, Lake Naivasha, Amboseli, Lake Manyara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater & Tarangire Camping Safari
Day One: Nairobi - Samburu
A representative from Goshawk Tours will meet you at your hotel or pick you up from the airport and after briefing you he or she will introduce you to your safari guide and other members of the tour. You will be driven to the northern frontier. This area is a semi desert and thus very dry most of the year. Lunch en route arriving samburu late afternoon. After settling in the tent go for the evening game drive. Game to view includes the Big five, antelopes, gazelles, baisa oryx, grevy's zebra, reticulated giraffe, Somali ostrich, gerenuk and abundant bird life. Dinner and overnight at the umoja campsite.
Day Two: Samburu
On this day you will have morning and evening game drives. A visit to the Ewaso Ngiro river is most rewarding because it's the only source of water that sustains the wildlife in this reserve. Wild animals converge at the river to quench their thirst. Samburu people and their culture is another attraction and on request the driver guide can take you to the samburu village to experience their culture. All meals and overnight at the umoja campsite.
Day Three: Samburu - Sweetwaters
Pre breakfast game drive, depart and drive to Nanyuki town arriving in time for lunch. Check into simba lodge and after lunch drive to sweetwaters(Olpajeta Conservancy) for a game drive. Ol Pejeta Conservancy is a chimpanzee sanctuary and the only one of its kind in Kenya. All five members of the 'big five' can be encountered here; lion, buffalo, elephant, leopard and rhino, including a healthy breeding population of the highly endangered black rhino. Bird life is also abundant with over 350 different species so far recorded. Dinner and overnight at Simba Lodge.
Day Four: Sweetwaters - Lake Nakuru
After breakfast, depart Nanyuki town and drive to Lake Nakuru arriving Nakuru town in time for lunch. Check inn at chester hotel and later on head to Lake Nakuru for a game drive. Lake Nakuru is often referred to as a birds paradise because of the millions of pink flamingos found here. The lakes view from the baboon cliff depicts a pink colour due to the feather colouring of the flamingos hence the name "Pink Lake". The park hosts 450 million different bird species both migratory and terrestrial. The park is a world heritage site and recognized as a wet land of international importance. Lake Nakuru has over 50 mammal species and also serves as Black and white rhino sanctuary. The park is home to the highest population of black rhino in Kenya along with white rhinos introduced from south Africa. There are no elephants at Lake Nakuru simply because of the size of the park, elephants require a large area with lots of vegetation to feed on. Dinner and overnight at chester hotel.
Day Five: Lake Nakuru - Masai Mara
Depart early morning and head to Masai Mara; lunch en route at Narok town. Proceed on arriving Masai Mara in the afternoon. The world re known Masai Mara is famed for the millions of wildebeest, gazelles and zebras that cross the Mara river forming the wildebeest migration spectacle. You will be assisted to check into your respective tents and then head out for your evening game drive. Masai Mara has an exceptional population of Big cats, game is also plenty and abundant birdlife. Dinner and overnight at either (Mara sidai, Enchoro, Manyatta, Mara Springs, acacia campsites).
Day Six: Masai Mara
Today we will have a full day game drive; after waking up you will converge at the dinning area for your full breakfast. Your safari guide will liaise with the cook so as to organize your picnic lunches. Head out in search of game. Masai Mara has an exceptional population of big cats, herds of elephants, zebras, resident wildebeest, antelopes and gazelles can be encountered among others, bird life is also plenty. Masai Mara game reserve offers a very high chance of spotting all the big five. Spend the whole day game viewing which includes a visit to the Mara river where you will find crocodiles lazing around. One has the option to visit the Masai village or go for an early balloon ride at an extra cost. Another option is to return to the camp by four o'clock and after having a cup of coffee or tea head out for an escorted walking safari with a masai warrior. Dinner and overnight at either (Mara sidai, Enchoro, Manyatta, Mara Springs, acacia campsite)
Day Seven: Masai Mara - Lake Naivasha
Depart Masai Mara after breakfast as you do a game drive. Drive to Lake Naivasha arriving in time for lunch. On arrival at fish eagle camp you will be assisted into your respective tents. After lunch transfer to Hell's gate park on arrival your driver guide introduce you to your adventure guide. Your guides will hire mountain bikes and after park formalities begin cycling a midst game, notably there no predators. We will have a stop over at Fitcher's tower for rock climbing. The rock is 500 meters high. Continue cycling up to the ranger's post. You leave the bikes at the ranger's post and start a walking safari. Enjoy the spectacular views of the gorge including the central tower. The volcanic activity is very evident from the hot water streaming on the walls of the gorge. The guided gorge walk takes two hours. The hot springs and a fabulous scenic landscape besides the diverse wildlife are just incredible. Walk back to pick your bikes and cycle back to the park entrance. Transfer back to camp for dinner and over night.
Day Eight: Lake Naivasha - Amboseli
Have an early breakfast and go to the lake for a boat ride. Lake Naivasha is at the highest point off all the lakes within the Rift Valley. The lake is at 1800 meters above sea level and it is a fresh water lake. The lake has abundant birdlife and most extravagant fish eagle is very common. Depart and head to Amboseli via Nairobi, where you will have lunch and proceed on arriving Amboseli well in time for the evening game drive. Amboseli has a wide variety of wildlife raging from the Big five, cats, plains game and birdlife. Dinner and overnight at Kimana Camp.
Day Nine: Amboseli
Wake up early enough to the most intoxicating view of Mt. Kilimanjaro which seats majestically as the back drop of this amazing park, on a clear day the snow peaks are visible. After breakfast head out for the morning game drive which provides the opportunity to see the most since wild game come out to hunt or browse/graze very early before the sun becomes to hot. Amboseli has the highest population of elephants and has been the centre for elephant research for the last thirty years with each individual known by name. Return to the campsite for lunch and spend the afternoon at leisure or take a walk around the camp making friends. Head out for the evening game drive; large herds of elephants can be encountered. Amboseli has a variety of bird life both migratory and terrestrial. All meals and over night at Kimana Camp.
Day Ten: Amboseli - Namanga Border - Lake Manmyara
Depart Amboseli after breakfast and drive to the Namanga border and after formalities proceed to Lake Manyara arriving by mid day. Pitch tent as you wait for lunch to be prepared. Spend the afternoon at leisure and later go for the evening game drive. Lake Manyara is 230 kilometers squared while the whole park is 330 kilometers squared inclusive of the lake. Lake Manyara is located under the wall of the Rift Valley and has the highest population of elephants per square kilometer in the country. If you're lucky, you'll catch a glimpse of Manyara's famous tree-climbing lions. The lake attracts thousands of lesser flamingos as well as other large water birds such as pelicans, cormorants and storks, due to its alkaline nature. Dinner and overnight at Jambo campsite.
Day Eleven: Lake Manmyara - Serengeti
Pre Breakfast game drive which offers you an opurtunity to view game you might have missed, return to the camp for your full breakfast. Depart and head to Serengeti passing through Olduvai Gorge, a fossil site excavated by the leakey family where they discovered human fossil dating back 2 million years. Lunch at the Olduvai gorge; later proceed to the world famous Serengeti National Park. Serengeti is one of the largest wildlife sanctuary in the world and it is also the site of the most breathtaking events in the animal kingdom. The migration of over a million of wildebeest to the Masai Mara game reserve. After settling in the campsite and pitching tent head out for the evening game drive. Dinner and overnight at the Seronera campsite.
Day Twelve: Serengeti
Serengeti means "endless plain" in the Masai language and much of the landscape epitomizes what we have come to expect from an East African safari; vast open savannahs dotted with acacia trees, rocky outcrops, riverine bushes, scrubs, rivers and swamps. These features give Serengeti a fascinating variety of sceneries. The day is spent exploring this amazing park with morning and evening game drive. The parks wildlife population is over 4 million and over 400 bird species both migratory and terrestrial. Meals and over night at Seronera campsite.
Day Thirteen: Serengeti - Ngorongoro Crater
After breakfast, drive to Ngorongoro Crater with packed lunch and descend 2000 meters with a four wheel drive vehicle to the floor of the crater. Ngorongoro crater is commonly referred to as the "Garden of Eden" and the park is inhabited by about 30,000 animals, of which half are zebra and wildebeest. The park has recorded over 14000 wildebeest. Tanzania's few remaining black rhino are regularly sighted in the crater, as are large herds of buffalos. On the crater floor and in the Ngoitokitok swamps, reside plenty of hippos who remain partially submerged during the day and graze on grass at night. Bird life is also abundant. Spend the day exploring this natural habitat taking a break to have a picnic lunch. Later ascend to the crater rim where you will spend the over night at Simba campsite.
Day Fourteen: Ngorongoro Crater - Tarangire
After breakfast take a guided walking tour on the crater rim; this offers amazing view of the crater. Depart and drive to Tarangire National Park arriving in time for lunch. Pitch tent while the cook prepares lunch. Spend the afternoon at leisure and later go for the evening game drive. Tanzania's third largest national park and sanctuary for an unusually large elephant population. Majestic baobab trees are an interesting feature of the park, dwarfing the animals that feed beneath them. Animals concentrate along the Tarangire River, which provides the only permanent water supply in the area. Tarangire is famous for its tree climbing pythons. Game to view in this park includes zebras, heartbeests, elephants, buffalos, waterbucks, gazelles, oryx and abundant birdlife. Dinner and overnight at the campsite.
Day Fifteen: Tarangire - Arusha
Have a light a light breakfast and head out for you final game drive early enough for a chance to spot any game species you might have missed on your previous game drives. Return to the camp around mid morning; your full breakfast will be served and afterwards depart and drive to Arusha arriving in time for lunch. Drop off at a hotel in Arusha or the airport to board a flight to your next destination.
Safari Pricing Includes:
- Transport in a custom safari minibus & 4x4 land rover with pop up roof.
- All park entrance fees.
- Meals as described in the itinerary.
- Game drives and other activities as described in the itinerary
- Services of an English speaking driver guide.
- Complimentary Bottled water 1 Litre per person per day.
- All government taxes.
Safari Pricing Excludes:
- International airfares.
- All expenditure of personal nature such as telephone calls, hard drinks, soft drinks and laundry.
- Travel Insurance.
Samburu game reserve has several lodges to chose from, some of them are built near the Ewaso Ngiro river giving superb views of game whioch frequents the river banks to drink water. Amenities include swimming pools, Conference centre, WiFi, Satellite TV and Gift shops. The lodges include Samburu Game Lodge, Larsens Tented Camp, Samburu Sopa Lodge, Elephant Bed Room, Ashnil Samburu Camp, Samburu Intrepids, Saruni Samburu, Sasaab Lodge and Samburu Simba Lodge.
Sweetwater Conservancy accommodation is in form of two lodges owned and managed by Serene Group of hotels. The Sweetwater game lodge and Olpajeta House are the only lodges in this sanctuary. Amenities in the lodges include swimming pools, Conference centre, WiFi, Satellite TV and Gift shops.
Lake Nakuru has a guest house called Naishi guest house which has accomodation in dormitory kind of sharing and bandas. Meals are prepared by our cook. There are two public campsites namely Makalia and Backpackers where one can pitch tent. Another type of accommodation is budget hotels in Nakuru town which is a five minutes drive to the park.
Masai mara camping offers accommodation in form of permanent erected tents, which have beds, beddings, mosquito nets, flush toilets and hot showers. Beddings are changed every morning and you also provided with a towel. A tent can accommodate one, two or three people. We also have family tents. There is a common dining area where meals are served and a bar. Fresh food is prepared in a buffet style by our cook. We also cater for special dietaries. In the evening there is a bonfire and the masai warriors entertain you as you relax. Most campsites use generators as the source of lighting and the generators are turned off at 1000 - 1100 hrs. Some of the camps are located right outside the boundary of the Maasai Mara though there isn't a clear demarcation or fence of the game reserve. Animals some time wonder in the camps but the camps are very safe and Maasai warriours are always on the look out.
Lake Naivasha budget accommodation comes in form of campsites, bandas, cottages or budget hotels at Naivasha town which is about 20 minutes drive to lake Naivasha. We recommend Cray fish camp, Fish Eagle cottages, Fishermans camp and Camp Carnelley's. All this facilities are at a close proximity to the lake.
The famous Amboseli National Park offers different lodge accommodation with different amenities. Most Lodges and tented camps have a swimming pool, sauna, hot steam baths, massage services, wifi, satellite tv, central dinning room, bar and baby siting services. Meals are in form of buffet style, 3 course meals or a la carte menu. Lodges include Oltukai lodge, Amboseli serena lodge, amboseli sopa lodge, Tortilis, Kibo Safari Camp, Sentrim camp.
Lake Manyara accommodation comprises of lodges, hotel and a luxury tree hotel all located at Lake Manyara National Park. Amenities offered by the lodge include a bar, gift shops, wifi, conference facilities, spas, satellite tv and different sport activities. The lodges include Lake Manyara Hotel, E Unoto Retreat Lodge, Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge, Lake Manyara View Lodge and Lake Manyara Tree Lodge.
Serengeti accommodation comprises of lodges and luxury tented camps all rated according to the amenities they offer. Amenities in the lodges and tented camps include bush dinners, swimming pool, massage, hair styling, beauty treatments, gift shop, wifi, housekeeping services, babysitting on request, full medical back-up and emergency evacuation facilities. The lodge to choose from for your Tanzania lodge safari holiday travel include Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge, Serengeti Sopa Lodge, Lobo Wildlife Lodge, Serengeti Seronera Lodge, Migration Tented Lodge, Kleins Lodge, Lemala Mara River Camp, Buffalo Springs Tented Lodge, Serengeti Bush Tops Camp, Mbalageti Tented Lodge, Kirawira Tented Lodge, Serengeti Soroi Lodge, Mbuzi Mawe Tented Lodge, Moru Kopjes Private Luxury Camp, Bilila Lodge, Lemala Seronera Camp, Grumeti River Tented Lodge, Serena Kirawira Camp, Ikoma Safari Camp, Kusini Tented Lodge, Ndutu Safari Lodge, Ndutu Private Luxury Camp, Olduvai Tented Lodge, Lemala Ndutu Camp and Lake Masek Tented Lodge
All accommodation at Ngorongoro crater is ideally perched at the rim of the crater, while others are at a short driving distance to the crater. There isn't any form of accommodation within the crater. Amenities offered by the lodge include a bar, gift shops, wifi, conference facilities, spas, satellite tv and different sport activities. The lodges include Ngorongoro sopa lodge, Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge, Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge, Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Gibbs Farm, Ngorongoro Farm House and Tloma Lodge.
Tarangire National Park accommodation is composed of lodges and luxury tented camp which have different amenities and are rated differently. Amenities include a bar, gift shops, wifi, conference facilities, spas, satellite tv and different sport activities. For Tarangire Lodge safari this are some of the lodges and luxury tented camps to chose from, they include Tarangire Safari Lodge, Tarangire Sopa Lodge, Maweninga Tented Lodge, Swala Camp and Oliver's Camp.
Samburu Game Reserve
Samburu game reserve is the most popular parks of the northern frontier fauna sanctuaries. The game park occupies an area of 165 km2. The driving distance from Nairobi is 350 km and 65km from Isiolo town to achers post gate. The park lies on the northen bank of Uaso Nyiro River, the river serves as the only source of water without which the game in the reserve could not survive in the arid country.
Samburu National Reserve was one of the two areas in which conservationists George Adamson and Joy Adamson raised Elsa the Lioness made famous in the best selling book and award winning movie Free. The Samburu National Reserve is also home of Kamunyak, a lioness famous for adopting oryx calves.
Samburu's topography is composed of river Uaso Nyiro which flows from the Kenyan highlands and flows to lorian swamp, scattered acacia, riverine forest, thorn trees and grassland vegetation. The climate for Samburu is hot dry with cool nights with an average annual maximum temperature of 30ºc (86F) and minimum annual temperature of 20ºc (68F). There is a wide variety of animal and bird life seen at Samburu National Reserve. Several species are considered unique to the region, including its ts unique dry-country animal life: All three big cats, lion, cheetah and leopard, can be found here, as well as elephants, buffalo and hippos, Olive baboon, gerenuk, warthogs, Grant's gazelle, Kirk's dik-dik, impala, waterbuck, Grevy's zebra, Beisa oryx, reticulated giraffe and over 350 bird species.
Samburu is also a masai land, the Masai people whom by definition speak the Maa language hence the name Maasai have held on to their culture even in these times of modernization. A maasai's home is called a manyatta where he lives with his wives and children. From childhood boys are obligated to look after their fathers cows while girls are obligated to doing house chores, fetching water and milking the cows. After every fifteen years there is an initiation where boys are circumcised and they become young morans and the existing morans graduate to junior elders. The Masai enjoy eating meat, milk mixed with blood during rituals such initiation and marriage. The use of herbs as medicine is still embedded in their day to day life. The Maasai are an attraction in Kenya since they managed to stick to their culture.
Sweetwaters Sanctuary/Ol Pejeta Conservancy
The Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary opened in 1993 in a negotiated agreement between the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, the Kenya Wildlife Service and the Jane Goodall Institute. The facility was initially established to receive and provide lifelong refuge to orphaned and abused chimpanzees from West and Central Africa. An initial group of three chimpanzee orphans were brought to the sanctuary from a facility in Bujumbura, Burundi in 1993. This group of chimpanzees needed to be evacuated due to the outbreak of civil war in Burundi. This was followed in 1995 by another group of 9 adult chimpanzees, followed by another 10 in 1996.
Over the last decade Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary has been compelled to keep accepting chimpanzees rescued from traumatic situations bringing the total number of chimpanzees in the Sanctuary to 41. At Sweetwaters Sanctuary chimpanzees are being carefully nursed back to health so they can enjoy the rest of their days in the safety of a vast natural enclosure. The chimpanzees live in two large groups separated by the Ewaso Nyiro River. As an integral part of the Laikipia/Samburu ecosystem, Ol Pejeta is also home to the "Big Five" and carries one of the highest wildlife densities in Kenya. In an attempt to ensure some connectivity with the greater Liakipia landscape, there are corridors along the Conservancy's northern boundary ensuring free movement of all animals, especially the large herbivores such as elephants. Predators are also closely monitored as they play a crucial role in the ecosystem of controlling prey densities.
The Ol Pejeta Conservancy is the Largest Black Rhino Sanctuary in East Africa and home to 87 black rhinos after the single largest rhino translocation ever undertaken in East Africa on February 3, 2007. The translocation was a combined effort between Ol Pejeta Conservancy, the Kenya Wildlife Service and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. In a period of 2 ½ weeks, 27 more black rhinos were successfully released into the enlarged 75,000 acres of the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. The black rhinos were moved from adjacent Solio Rhino Sanctuary - which held a surplus of 30 rhinos. This crucial translocation has helped ensure that maximum breeding rates are achieved and adequate food resources maintained. During the translocation, the experienced team equipped each rhino with a transmitter, placed in the horn. Since the release of the animals, these transmitters have allowed complete monitoring of the animals, ensuring their well-being and safety.
Lake Nakuru National Park
Lake Nakuru is one of the alkaline lakes of the Great Rift Valley. Lake Nakuru is also known as "Pink Lake" or Africa Bird's Paradise. The lake is ideally located in central Kenya within Lake Nakuru National park. The park occupies an area of 188 km2 while the lake occupies an area of 62 km2. The lake is famous for the millions of flamingos that flock the lake although flamingos are unpredictable birds and are not always to be found in the lake is such vast numbers. From a distance i.e. the baboon cliff the lake looks pink in color due to the flamingos.
The topography at Lake Nakuru is comprised of grasslands alternating with rocky cliffs and outcrops, acacia woodlands and a forest made up euphorbia trees. In the early 1960's tilapia grahami was introduced to the lake and it flourished despite the alkaline nature of the lake.
There are two species of flamingos namely lesser flamingo and greater flamingos, they feed on algae, which flourishes due to the warm alkaline waters of Lake Nakuru. It is believed that flamingos consume about 250,000 kg of algae per hectare of surface area per year. The abundance of algae in the lake is what attracts millions of flamingos to Lake Nakuru. Apart from flamingos other bird species include ducks, pelicans, cormorants, plovers, vultures, eagles, and buzzards. Lake Nakuru has over 50 animal species which include hippos, reed bucks, water bucks, rothschild giraffe's, baboons, black and white columbus monkey, hyenas, cheetahs, leopards, lions, gazelles and impalas among others.
Masai Mara Game Reserve
The world re known masai mara game reserve is a northern extension of the serengeti national park which is located in Tanzania. Masai mara covers an area of 1510km². The masai mara ecosystem is composed of rivers i.e talek river and mara river which are the main water supply for the ecosystem. The mara river is a huddle to the wildebeest migration as the wildebeests have to cross the river from serengeti most of them perishing in the jaws of crocodiles and big cats. The western part of masai mara lies the siria escarpment, loita plains and the rest is the masai pastoral land.
The masai mara game reserve is owned and run by the county council of Narok which is the richest county council in Kenya due to the revenue collected as park entrance fee. Part of the masai mara which is called the mara triangle is contracted out and privately run. Park fees are paid by the number of nights one spends in the mara conservancy.
The masai mara lies at an altitude of 1500 meters to 2100 meters. It rains twice a year in the game reserve that is during the long rains that fall between the month of March and May and during the short rains that fall on the month of October, November and part of December. June and July are the coldest months and January and February the hottest months. Temperatures during the day rarely exceed 85°F (30°C) and during the night it hardly drops below 60°F (15°C). Masai mara is a mosquito prone area but camp site are sprayed with mosquito repellants and the tents have treated mosquito nets.
Masai mara has a big population of wildlife. All members of the big five can be seen in this reserve, a large number of ungulates are also easily visible they include the wildebeest , thomson gazelles, grant gazelles, buffalos, rhinos, impalas, topis, elands, zebras, giraffes and duikers. The common predators include the lions, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas, jackals and foxes. Masai mara has over 450 identified species. Some common birds include the common ostrich, secretary bird, Kori bustard, hornbills, storks, eagles and vultures.
The wildebeest migration happens annually, this spectacle is considered as one of the 7th wonder of the world. More than a million wildebeest, accompanied by topis, zebras, gazelles and elands make their journey from serengeti national park to masai mara game reserve. Many of them perish while crossing the mara river where crocodiles and big cats make a kill on the vulnerable ungulates. The migration happens every year during the month of July after the long rains. The grass is big and plenty and for the next three months the wildebeests clear the lush grass of the masai mara. The migration varies annually due to the climate change. If the climate changes and it doesn't rain as usual the wildebeest may delay to cross over or cross over and go back since there isn't grass to feed on.
The masai people whom by definition speak the maa language hence the name masai have held on to their culture even in these times of modernization. A masai's home is called a manyatta where he lives with his wives and children. From childhood boys are obligated to look after their fathers cows while girls are obligated to doing house chores, fetching water and milking the cows. After every fifteen years there is an initiation where boys are circumcised and they become young morans and the existing morans graduate to junior elders. The masai enjoy eating meat, milk mixed with blood during rituals such initiation and marriage. The use of herbs as medicine. Their culture is still embedded in their day to day life. The masai are a big attraction in Kenya.
Lake Naivasha is at the highest elevation of all the Kenyan Rift valley lakes standing at 1,890 metres (6,200 ft). The lake is fed by two river namely malewa and gilgil rivers, and has no visible outlet. The lake covers an area of 140 km² but this varies annually due to the rainfall. The lake has an average depth of 8 meters and it is a fresh water lake.
Much of the lake is surrounded by forests of the yellow barked Acacia Xanthophlea, known as the yellow fever tree. These forests abound with bird life, and Naivasha is known as a world class birding destination. The lake habits schools of hippos and many bird species. The most common is the fish eagle. A wonderful way to spend the afternoon or morning is to take a boat ride.
Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park is located south of Nairobi 140 kilometers which is a four hours drive from Nairobi. The park occupies an area of 392 km2. The ecosystem is made up of a seasonal lake called Lake Amboseli where the park derives its name from, swamps, open plains, acacia woodland, rocky out crops, thorn bushes and marches. The landscape is dominated by the backdrop of the majestic snow-cap of Mount Kilimanjaro the highest mountain in Africa. The snow capes are visible when the clouds are clear mainly early morning and late evenings and this scene gives one the opportunity to capture wonderful memories on camera for friends and loved ones back at home.
Amboseli national park is considered Kenya second best after Masai Mara game reserve by many tourist and is the only national park in Kenya that has the highest population of elephants. The ecosystem of Amboseli though small compared to other parks sustain a large number of bird species and game. Amboseli offers some of the best opportunities to see African animals because its vegetation is sparse due to the long dry months. The park is considered most ideal for writers, filmmakers and researchers.
The Maasai are the local habitant of this area, which they call Empusel meaning "Dusty place". Other community tribes have moved to Amboseli in search of greener pastures. Beside game viewing and the ecstatic views of Mount Kilimanjaro one can visit a local Masai village to learn their way of life and to interact with the locals.
Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara lies 127 kilometers west of Arusha town a driving distance if 2 hours. The park covers an area of 330 km2 which consist of dry arid land, forest and the lake. The Lake covers an area of 200 km2 and its alkaline, the lake dries up during the dry season and it almost non existence. Most of the land area of the park is a narrow strip running between the Gregory Rift wall to the west and Lake Manyara to the east. Ernest Hemingway once described the park as "the loveliest I had seen in Africa.
The park's terrain is vast and impressive including large areas of ground water forest with giant fig and mahogany trees alternating with acacia woodlands and open plains. A good network of roads and tracks gives the tourist a maximum game and bird watching opportunity.
The lake is famous for its tree climbing lions, this behavior has been attributed to the torment of biting flies which is minimal while arboreal. The lake attracts thousands of lesser flamingos as well as other large water birds such as pelicans, cormorants and storks. due to its alkaline nature. Over 400 hundred bird species have been recorded in the park. Game to view include Leopards, lions, elephants, blue monkeys, dik-dik, gazelle, hippo, giraffe, impala, wildebeests and zebras.
Serengeti National Park
The Serengeti National Park is widely regarded as the best wildlife reserve in Africa due to its density of predators and prey. The park covers 14,763 km2 (5,700 sq mi) of grassland plains and savanna as well as riverine forest and woodlands. The park lies in the north of the country, bordered to the north by the national Tanzania and Kenyan border, where it is continuous with the Masai Mara National Reserve.
The park is usually described in three regions Serengeti plains, Western corridor and Northern Serengeti. Serengeti plains are characterized by the endless, almost treeless grasslands. This is where the wildebeest breed, as they remain in the plains from December to May. Other ungulates also occur in huge numbers during the wet season. Kopjes are granite florations which are very common in the region, and they are great observation posts for predators, as well as a refuge for hyrax and pythons. The Western corridor the "black cotton" soil covers the swampy savannah of this region. Grumeti river is home to enormous Nile crocodiles, colobus monkey, and the martial eagle. The migration passes through from May to July. The Northern Serengeti landscape is dominated by open woodlands and hills, ranging from Seronera in the South, to the Mara river in the limit with Kenya. Apart from the migratory wildebeest and zebra (which occur from July to August, and in November), the bushy savannah is the best place to find elephant, giraffe and dik dik.
Human habitation is forbidden in the National Park with the exception of staff for TANAPA, researchers, Frankfurt Zoological Society staff, and staff of the various lodges and hotels. The main settlement is Seronera which houses the majority of research staff and the park's main headquarters, including its primary airstrip.
As well as the migration of ungulates, the park is well known for its healthy stock of other resident wildlife, particularly the "Big Five". The park also supports many further species, including cheetah, Thomson's and Grant's gazelle, topi, eland, waterbuck, hyena, baboon, impala, African wild dog and giraffe. The park also boasts about 500 bird species, including ostrich, secretary bird, Kori bustard, crowned crane, marabou stork, martial eagle, lovebirds and many species of vultures.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
The Ngorongoro conservation area was established in the year 1959 and later become a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. The crater is one of the biggest caldera in the world and has been described as one of the most spectacular game hunts in Africa. The crater has a diameter of 14.5km and a depth of 2000ft - 2500ft. The crater covers an area of 264 km2.
The crater highlands on the side facing the easterly trade winds receives 800-1200 mm of rain a year and is covered largely in montane forest, while the less-steep west wall receives only 400-600 mm; this side is grassland and bush land dotted with Euphorbia trees. The crater floor is mostly open grassland with two small wooded areas dominated by Acacia xanthophloea. The major source of water for the park is Ngoitokitok Spring, Munge Stream and Lerai Stream.
The best vantage point is the flat-topped Engitati Hill in the north-eastern corner of the park. Lake Magadi, a large but shallow alkaline lake in the south-western corner, is the main feature of the crater. A large number of flamingos, hippos and other water birds can usually been seen here. The Lerai Forest a fever tree forest located in the south is a good place in the park to see animals such as elephants, waterbuck and flitting sunbirds. Swamps, thorn scrub and grassland fill the rest of the park and provide the bulk of wildlife viewing.
The park is one of the most densely crowded wildlife areas in the world and is home to an estimated 30,000 animals. There are no giraffe, topi or impala in the park - they probably find it to difficult to negotiate the crater rim cliffs and there is also insufficient grazing for large herds of antelope, inside the park. However the park teems with wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, aggressive pack hunting hyenas and resident lion prides. Supported by a year round supply of water and fodder, the park supports a vast variety of animals, which include impressive herds of wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, eland, warthog, hippo, giant elephants and a small population of black rhino. Another big draw to this picturesque park is it dense population of predators, which include lions, hyenas, jackals, cheetahs and the ever elusive leopard, which sometimes requires a trained eye to spot.
The Ngorongoro Crater is only open from 06h00 to 16h00 and only 6 hour safari permits are issued which allows for only a single 6 hour morning game drive or 6 hour afternoon game drive to the park. There are two picnic and toilet spots - the one in the Lerai Forest and at the other at the Ngoitokitok Springs located in the south-eastern section of the park.
Tarangire National Park
Tarangire National Park lies 118 km southwest of Arusha town and covers an area of 2,850 square kilometers. The name of the park originates from the Tarangire river that crosses through the park, being the only source of water for wild animals during dry seasons. The Park is the sixth largest national park in Tanzania after Ruaha, Serengeti, Mikumi, Katavi and Mkomazi. The landscape is composed of scattered baobab trees alternating with open acacia woodlands, open bush, plains, swamps, rivers and palm trees.
The park is famous for its huge number of elephants, baobab trees and its tree climbing pythons. Visitors to the park can expect to see any number of resident zebra and wildebeest in addition to the less common animals. Other common animals include waterbuck, giraffe, and olive baboons.
Home to more than 550 species, the park is a haven for bird enthusiasts who can expect so see dozens of species even in the dry season. The swamps are the focus of the largest selection of breeding birds anywhere in the world. Yellow-collared Lovebirds are a common bird sighting in the trees along the Tarangire River. The park is also famous for the termite mounds that dot the landscape. Those that have been abandoned are often seen to be home to dwarf mongoose.
Tarangire National Park can be reached via paved road from Arusha in under four hours. Lake Manyara National Park is only a 70 kilometers (43 mile) drive from Tarangire. One can visit the park all year round but the month of June to September are the driest months and wildlife population decreases. Besides game viewing other activities include Guided walking safaris, day trips to Maasai and Barabaig villages, as well as to the hundreds of ancient rock paintings in the vicinity of Kolo on the Dodoma Road.
Do's And Don'ts In The Game Reserves & National Park.
- Do not Litter the reserve/park.
- Do not feed the animals, i.e. monkeys or baboons.
- Do give the animals the right of way and do not disturb wildlife.
- Do not take any plant or animals remains, dead or alive.
- Do not start fires or throw cigarettes in the reserve.
- Do stay in your vehicle except at designated viewing points.
- Do not shout, laugh loudly, play radio or cassettes as this will keep away the animals.
- Do not provoke any animals its dangerous.