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The Best Times(Worst Time) to Visit Kenya 2024/2025 for Safari /Beach

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The best times to visit Kenya for a safari are from July to September or January to February during the country's dry seasons, however, these are also the most crowded travel times.

The best time for you to visit Kenya largely depends on what you want to see and your personal preferences. Read our article to find out the best times to visit Kenya based on different factors

Kenya Weather and Climate in Brief

Kenya is located on the equator and temperatures there are similar all year round , but it does have different climate zones: mild/warm in the highlands, warm/hot on the coast, and hot/scorching in the northern desert. There are major two seasons in the country: the rainy season and the dry season.

  • Dry season : January to February, July to September
  • Rainy seasons : October to December (short rainy season), March to May (long rainy season)
  • Wettest month : April
  • Hottest month : March, 21°C (70°F)

The Best Time to Visit Maasai Mara for the Great Migration

The best time to see the wildebeest migration in Maasai Mara is from July to September . During this period, you would see enormous herds of wildebeest and zebra in Maasai Mara. If you want to see the animals cross the Mara River, the best times are July and August.

This is also the dry season and, apart from the spectacle of the migration, you would have the best chance to see much more wildlife than usual as they gather around the water holes.

This is also the summer vacation season, so it is a great opportunity to see this impressive occasion with your family.

  • Weather : sunny and dry
  • Temperature : min: 10°C (50°F), max: 25°C (77°F)
  • Travel conditions : high travel season, most crowded, most expensive; good lodges and camps are hard to book.

The Best Times to Visit Kenya for Wildlife and Safari

The best times to go to Kenya for a safari are from June to October and January to February. These are the dry seasons. The weather is comfortable with sunny days and cool evenings. Animals are easy to spot as they gather around the water holes. As a bonus, there are fewer mosquitoes.

The period from January to February is relatively quieter compared to the migration period from July to September. Moreover, it is the optimal time to witness the presence of baby wildlife. Fortunately, in Maasai Mara and Amboseli National Reserves, you can encounter adorable baby elephants, lion cubs, baby zebra, and more.

  • Temperature : June to October: 10–25°C (50–77°F), January to February: 9–28°C (48–82°F)
  • Travel conditions : It's the high travel season, which is crowded and expensive. Lodges and camps are in huge demand.

However, the best time for weather does not always mean the best experience. The smart arrangement and flexible schedule even matter more . Contact us to tailor a tour that offers the best possible experience by carefully arranging and maintaining a flexible schedule.

The Best Time to Visit Mombasa for Beach in Kenya

The best time to go to Kenya's pristine coastline for a beach vacation is from October to early March due to the comfortable weather conditions. If you prefer water activities, such as diving and snorkeling, the best time for you to visit Kenya's beaches is in November. Kenya boasts some of the best beaches, including Diani Beach in Mombasa and Lamu Island.

  • Weather : Kenya's coast is humid all year round and rain could occur at any time, but it is pleasantly warm/hot.
  • Temperature : 24–30°C (75–86°F)
  • Travel conditions : high travel month

The Cheapest Times to Visit Kenya

The cheapest times to visit Kenya are during its rainy seasons . The short rainy season is from November to December and the long rainy season is from late March to May. March to May is definitely the cheapest time for a safari . But your travel experience may not be as good as hoped as the rain may interrupt your visit.

  • Weather : wet, cloudy
  • Animals : Animals are not easy to see as they tend to scatter around the park, but they may be very active.
  • Travel conditions : It's the low travel season, with cheaper prices and fewer crowds. Good discounts for lodges are easy to get.

The Worst Months to Visit Kenya

The worst time to go to Kenya for a safari and beach vacation is from late March to May, which is the long rainy season in Kenya. Kenya's beaches around the Indian Ocean coastline are very hot and wet with tropical storms.

  • Weather : Very wet — there are usually frequent storms and showers during this period
  • Road conditions : The paths in the parks could turn pretty muddy and some roads may not be accessible because of the floods.
  • Animals : You might also see fewer animals as they tend to spread out when it's wet rather than gathering around water holes.
  • Travel conditions : Some camps may close because of the bad road conditions. It is the cheapest time of the year to travel.

Benefits of Traveling during the Worst Months

However, the worst period is not too bad to travel, as the rain doesn't usually last all day and it often happens in the mornings or evenings. The sun also usually comes out quickly after a shower. There are some benefits to visiting Kenya aside from the weather.

  • Cheap prices : You could enjoy very reasonable prices. Safari lodges even offer discounted rates that are 30–50% lower than usual.
  • Very quiet : There are fewer travelers and you don't have to wait your turn to see the animals.
  • Animals are active : Some animals, such as lions, leopards, cheetahs, and hippos, are more active.

Don't let the weather stop your Kenya travel plans. If these months are your only opportunity, seize the chance ! A flexible itinerary and being accompanied by an experienced guide could truly elevate your experience. Let's customize a private trip exclusively for you .

The Rainy Seasons in Kenya

There are two rainy seasons in Kenya: the short rainy season from late October to December and the long rainy season from mid-March to May. The long rainy season sees a higher amount of rainfall than the short rainy season.

The short rainy season : This period has lower rainfall than the long rainy season and lasts from mid-March to May. You could expect brief but intense showers, usually in the afternoons or evenings. The sky is often overcast and temperatures are relatively cool. Due to the lower amount of rainfall, this season does not see much flooding, which the main rainy season does.

The long rainy season : This is the wettest period in Kenya. There are many heavy showers or downpours, which mainly occur in the evenings or at night. They usually last for about half an hour to an hour. The rain may cause floods and roads inside the wild animal reserves may become inaccessible.

Weather and Climate in Kenya

The temperature in Kenya is quite similar all year round . It has two types of seasons: rainy and dry seasons. It is dry with almost no rain in the dry seasons while the wet seasons are very humid.

The dry seasons typically occur from January to March and from July to October. During these periods, there is almost no rain. The weather is sunny, clear, and dry. The temperature is very comfortable. For example, Nairobi has average temperatures ranging between 20°C (68°F) and 28°C (82°F) during the day but is cooler at night at about 10°C (50°F) to 15°C (59°F).

The dry season is the best time for a safari trip in terms of the weather. It is also the busiest time to travel there.

Month-by-Month Guidance for Traveling in Kenya

Visiting kenya in january.

It is one of the high travel months in Kenya. It is the dry season. It is a great time to see wildlife in Maasai Mara and to get stunning views of Mount Kilimanjaro in Amboseli National Park. The land is green after the short rainy season and the animals are very active. You can also have the chance to see newborn animal babies.

The weather is very comfortable. In Nairobi, it stays around 24°C (75°F) going down to 13°C (55°F) sometimes. Over at Maasai Mara, the temperature swings between 12°C and 30°C (54°F and 86°F) on average. And if you decide to visit the coastal towns and resorts around Mombasa, expect it to be warmer at about 32°C (90°F) in the afternoon.

It is a great time to go on a safari and go hiking, diving, and snorkeling. However, it becomes crowded during this month, especially around New Year when prices and visitor numbers are highest.

Visiting Kenya in February

February is one of the best seasons for safari trips. It is the dry season. The tracks inside the park are dry, making it easy to drive along. Animals in Samburu National Reserve and Maasai Mara are very active. You will spot elephants, zebras, and giraffes in the park in large numbers.

The weather is very comfortable and similar to that in January. February is also the best month for bird-watching.

Visiting Kenya in March

The rainy season arrives in this month. Animal-view this month is a bit challenging, but you can still do it. The rains may make the tracks through the park full of mud, making them inaccessible. It is challenging for game viewing as animals may be dispersed from water sources and the thick vegetation may make it harder to spot them. However, your skillful driver would know where to find them.

It is the low travel season. There are fewer travelers in the national parks and on wildlife safaris. You may have the chance to get a better view of the animals if you're well-guided. You can travel at a very competitive price. Hotels offer great discounts and airfares are much cheaper.

Visiting Kenya in April

April is the wettest month in Kenya. If April is the only time you can visit Kenya, don't hesitate. Just go for it! And if you are after a bargain trip, April could be a top pick. You can get a great discount on lodges this month and the airlines may also offer great discounts.

In April, you may expect storms and showers but the rain doesn't usually stick around for too long. It often comes in the evening or as a quick shower, so it probably won't mess up your safari plans for the next day.

Animals are not easy to spot but our experienced drivers and guides still know where to find them. And you will see many hippo calves in Maasai Mara this month.

Be aware that some camps may close this month and the coast is wet and hot.

Visiting Kenya in May

Most travel guides suggest that you don't go during this month because of the rainy season. However, it is not actually that bad.

It is true that it's the rainy season, but the rains often come in the late afternoon or at night and don't last long. Sometimes there are short showers.

The rain brings inconvenience to a game drive, but you can still do one with an experienced driver. The roads through the park may be muddy and certain routes may be blocked, but our drivers can often take a detour.

Visiting Amboseli National Park in May can be an amazing experience — you'll see cloudy skies and huge herds of elephants enjoying the lush green vegetation in the swamps. If you're heading to Maasai Mara, just make sure to pick a camp or lodge that stays open in all weather conditions. Some camps close during the wet season because some roads can get too tricky to travel on.

Visiting Kenya in June

June is a good time to travel with children as you do not need to worry about the heat from the sun and the humidity . The large numbers of travelers are yet to arrive so you will have a bit of time to see the sights with fewer travelers in the park.

The rainy season ends this month, although there are occasional showers. June marks the beginning of the high travel season. The weather is comfortable, being warm by day and cool at night in the highlands/savanna. Although dry, it may be cloudy on most days.

June is not a good time for a beach vacation and underwater activities as it is hot and wet on the coast.

Visiting Kenya in July

From July to September, Maasai Mara and other parts of Kenya have the most traveler numbers. The Great Migration of Wildebeest in Maasai Mara attracts large numbers of travelers from all over the world.

July is one of the best times to travel, both for a safari tour and a beach vacation in Kenya. The weather is dry with almost no rain (except for on Mount Kenya and in Hell's Gate). Animals are easier to spot as the vegetation is less dense. The weather is sunny on the coast, so it is a good season for underwater activities.

If you're worried about travel costs, July might not be the best fit for you. Accommodation can get pricier — sometimes even double compared to the low travel season. And finding a place to stay could be a challenge due to high demand. But, on the upside, the experiences you'll have in Kenya are surely worth it.

Visiting Kenya in August

The Great Migration of Wildebeest in Maasai Mara is in full swing this month. You will have the chance to witness countless wildebeest and zebras crossing the Mara River. The weather is warm in the day and dry. This is the best month to go weather-wise.

August is also the best month to watch humpback whales off the coast of Kenya, breaching the surface of the water and displaying their might.

But be warned of the high travel season. It is the most crowded month of the year. You might see rows of vehicles lining up by the river banks, all there to witness the awe-inspiring river crossings of wildebeest. But the incredible views are absolutely worth it.

Be aware that the exact timing of the animal river crossings can't be predicted. But don't worry! Choosing a skillful travel guide and driver can definitely boost your chances of catching this unforgettable sight.

Visiting Kenya in September

September is a good time for an exciting safari trip without many crowds. You may see the last wave of wildebeests cross the Mara River. As the vegetation has dried out, animals tend to cluster around the water holes in the parks. So, it is easy to see them and also a good photo opportunity as there is no grass or other vegetation blocking your view.

Although it is still the high season, there are fewer travelers than in August. The chance to see humpback whales off the coast is also high this month.

Visiting Kenya in October

The early part of October can still be an excellent time for game viewing: it's the dry season without many travelers. The weather changes from the dry season to the wet season during this month. Rain usually arrives late in the month. You may still have the chance to see the migration out of Maasai Mara, depending on the weather.

Visiting Kenya in November

November is the shoulder season in Kenya. It is the short rainy season, which means that you may have short periods of rain or occasional showers during this period. The grassland is beautiful with lots of greenery and the sky is clear. If you are not worried about the haze and pollen in the air, this is a good time to go.

The animals may not be in large herds and are more dispersed across the parks, but tourist numbers are moderate.

Visiting Kenya in December

The rain in December should not affect your safari too much as it often falls in the afternoon and rarely lasts long. This is the shoulder travel season so you may enjoy a very reasonable travel price (but not as good as the low season from March to May). There are not as many travelers so you may find some beautiful quiet areas, where you can enjoy watching a cheetah or a herd of elephants all to yourself.

Although it gets busier in the latter part of the month, as the Christmas holidays come along, it is still much quieter than in the high travel season from July to October.

It's also a fantastic time of year to take a wildlife safari into any of the many national parks. In Samburu National Reserve, for example, you'll see zebras, giraffes, elephants, cheetahs, and all manner of African animals. Amboseli National Park has stunning views of Mount Kilimanjaro and December is one of the best times to visit because the lack of haze affords better views of the giant mountain.

Visit Kenya with Us

A safari trip to Kenya can be a memorable adventure. But without proper planning, it might not go as you hope. You wouldn't want to travel all the way there and not spot any animals or have to deal with unwanted large crowds, would you? So, let's turn this around. We will tailor-made a thrilling safari trip to ensure that you'll have a fantastic time in Kenya.

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Kenya Safari Holiday

See our Kenya Trip Ideas , or find out the best time to visit Kenya

Home of the tailor-made safari holiday you've been dreaming about

Your bespoke Kenya safari holiday is all about abundant game viewing, jaw-dropping scenery and long sandy beaches.

A Kenya safari holiday really captures the spirit of East Africa, as well as the imaginations of all who venture to its vast savannahs, tropical shores and dramatic peaks. Widely regarded as being the home of the safari, Kenya boasts over fifty National Parks and Reserves, offering some of the most unique game viewing experiences on the planet. Combined with the seemingly never-ending Indian Ocean coastline, it’s easy to see why Kenya is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Africa.

Safari Wildlife

Kenya’s Parks and Reserves are ranked amongst the best in the world, playing host to iconic and endangered species including the Big Five. Kenya unquestionably offers unrivalled wildlife viewing.

The Masai Mara is of course the most famous park in Kenya thanks to the vast amount of wildlife it supports. If you're looking for the chance to see Big Cats, or the Great Migration, then this is the place to be. The Great Migration happens between July and October, when torrents of wildebeest and zebra flood the savannahs of the Masai Mara, because the grass is always greener! These herbivores are of course followed by plenty of predators looking for an easy meal so it is also a brilliant time of year to see big cats and perhaps even a chase.

If it’s elephants you’re after, head to Amboseli or Tsavo, for rhino Lewa and for unusual endemic wildlife, Samburu is the place to be. Meanwhile bird-watchers should check out the Great Rift Valley, with its shimmering pink flamingo-filled lagoons and over 450 other bird species to look out for.

For the ultimate Kenya safari experience, we would recommend coming two or more safari areas so that you can experience the countrys diverse landscape and a spot a true variety of safari animals.

Safari activities

As well as classic game drives and bush walks which are a real treat for the sense, Kenya safaris are all about doing something a little different such as hot air ballooning over the Masai Mara , camel trekking across the Laikipia Plateau,horse-riding in Lewa or spending the night fly camping beneath the twinkling stars.

Kenya culture

Kenya is also known for its tribal diversity, and it’s likely your safari guide will a warrior or tribe member from the community. Visits to villages can be arranged which gives a fascinating insight into the local culture and children can take part in 'warrior academies' where they learn to identity different animal tracks and poop, as well as warrior techniques to light as fire.

National Parks and Private Conservancies

Many of our guests choose to stay in a private conservancy for their Kenyan these offer a more private experience with fewer vehicles, as well as the chance to go off-road and try alterative safari activities such as walking or riding. Private conservancies border the national parks with no barriers to the animals so they can wander freely between the two, but the public cannot. For example the Masai Mara National Park borders the Mara North and Mara Naboisho.

Kenyan beaches

A Kenya safari and beach holiday is one of our most popular trip options and with good reason! Relax by Kenya's striking blue waters lapping gently against pristine white sand beaches, Kenya’s coast offers an idyllic getaway for honeymooners, families, and everyone in between.

Boasting hundreds of miles of coral reefs, world-class diving, deep-sea fishing and enough watersports activities to keep you entertained for weeks, a stay in Watamu, Mombasa or Lamu is the perfect way to end your safari holiday.

Best time to visit

A Kenya safari offers fantastic wildlife viewing throughout the year, but there are two times of year that are particularly special.

The first is July to September which is the country's dry season, and is also when the Great Migration happens. The short grasses of the dry season make spotting wildlife easy and temperatures tend to be warm in the day and cool at night. The dry season is also a brilliant time to visit the Kenyan coast where you can enjoy sunny days without the risk of rain.

December to February is also a wonderful time for a Kenyan holiday. A safari Christmas and some winter sun is a very special holiday you will be sure to remember, and the rains are short during December. January and February is typically the calving season giving you a wonderful chance to see new born animals and migratory birds. There are fewer visitors at this time of year to July to September making it a brilliant time of year for those wanting to avoid the crowd and see some fantastic wildlife amongst the long, green grasses.

The peak rainy season is between March and May where it can get very wet and rain for much of the day - this is best avoided is possible.

Tailor-Made Holidays

You'll find a selection of trip ideas to inspire you, but every single holiday we create is tailored to our clients needs and created from scratch, so let your imagination run wild and we'll create you the perfect Kenyan safari holiday.

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When to go to kenya.

Find out the best time to visit Kenya with our month by month guide.

January is a great time for wildlife viewing. The landscapes are lush and green after the 'short rains' and newborn animals can been seen. It is hot, but brief afternoon or evening showers cool things down, without compromising your safari. Over on the coast the sea is clear, making it ideal for diving and snorkelling, and the days are warm and bright.

February is an ideal time to visit Kenya, and great for game viewing. The landscapes are green and thriving thanks to the short rains, and newborn animals will be hopping around the plains. There maybe a few afternoon showers which are welcome in the heat, and don't impact on wildlife viewing. Water clarify is excellent at the moment, which is good news for watersports enthusiasts. And if you want to spot a whale shark, now is the time to try.

Still a good option for wildlife viewing and diving, although with the 'long rains' just around the corner, expect wetter and hotter weather.

April brings the start of the 'long rains' which means game reserves and national parks become muddy and harder to drive around. Over on the coast it's hot and wet, so it isn't the best time of year to travel. Some camps and lodges close during this period.

The 'long rains' continue into May, making park tracks difficult to navigate in the mud, and the coast very warm and wet. There will be less accommodation choice at this time as several lodges and camps during this period.

June is a beautiful time of year to visit Kenya, with the rains receding to just light showers, and the long dry season not far ahead. The high grasses can sometimes make it more of a challenge to spot game, but the landscapes are lush and some animals may begin arriving early for the migration. At altitude nights can be cool, but elsewhere the temperature is pleasant.

July marks the beginning of the great migration into the Masai Mara , and with warm and generally dry weather, this is a great time of year to visit. Days are sunny, skies are blue and there isn't too much dust around, so it's a great time for photography.

The migration is now in full swing in the Masai Mara, with lots of river crossing action, so if you want to see those massive herds of wildebeest and zebra, now is the time to come. Game viewing in general is excellent and it's one of the most popular times of year to visit, so some of the main parks do become crowded. Temperatures are warm and dry.

Game viewing continues to be excellent, and the weather is generally dry so this is another ideal month to visit Kenya's parks. The bush is less dense and as animals gather around waterholes and rivers it makes wildlife spotting much easier.

October is a great time if you want to avoid the crowds and don't mind the temperature slowly starting to rise. There may be a few short showers, but game viewing remains excellent with the end of the migration, and it's a good time to holiday anywhere in Kenya.

November heralds the start of the 'short rains' and with hotter temperatures some camps are closed. The Mara however is still open, and despite sometimes stormy skies, game viewing is still good. Fewer crowds and lower prices make this an attractive month to visit. Over on the coast water clarify is good for snorkelling and diving.

The 'short rains' are bringing the landscapes back to life, and as the plains start to become green again, wildlife viewing remains good, and it's a great time for birding. Some camps are closed (mainly in the north of Kenya) but many others remain open. The showers tend to fall in the afternoons and don't impact greatly on a safari. Take advantage of reduced visitor numbers and lower prices.

Where would you like to go on safari in Kenya?

Best Places to Visit in Kenya

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What would you like to do in Kenya?

Explore our Different Types of Kenya Safari Holiday

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  •   Saturday, June 15, 2024

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A Wildlife Safari Adventure in Kenya 2024

A Wildlife Safari Adventure in Kenya 2024. Imagine a land where the earth meets the sky, where the raw beauty of nature unfolds in its most spectacular form, and where wildlife reigns supreme. Welcome to Kenya, a land of untamed wilderness, endless savannahs, and teeming ecosystems that beckon adventurers and nature enthusiasts from around the globe. In 2024, Kenya invites you to embark on a journey of a lifetime, offering an unparalleled safari experience that promises to be a tapestry of wonders.

A Wildlife Safari Adventure in Kenya 2024

The Safari Dream Unveiled

Kenya, known as the cradle of African safaris, has long held a special place in the hearts of travelers seeking to connect with the untamed beauty of the natural world. The year 2024 offers a unique opportunity for wildlife enthusiasts to immerse themselves in Kenya’s diverse landscapes, abundant wildlife, and rich cultural encounters. This journey is a celebration of Kenya’s natural heritage and its commitment to conservation, making it a perfect time to explore the country’s renowned national parks and reserves.

A Symphony of Savannas: Maasai Mara National Reserve

The iconic Maasai Mara National Reserve is Kenya’s crown jewel and one of the world’s most famous safari destinations. In 2024, it offers a front-row seat to the Great Migration. As millions of wildebeests, zebras, and gazelles cross the Mara River in their relentless pursuit of life-sustaining pastures, you’ll witness the circle of life in its purest form. The Mara promises thrilling encounters with predators like lions, leopards, and cheetahs, making it the perfect destination for those seeking heart-pounding wildlife action.

A Wildlife Safari Adventure in Kenya 2024

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy: A Conservation Success Story

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is a testament to the power of conservation efforts. This private conservancy has become a haven for rhinos, both black and white, and is home to diverse wildlife, including elephants, giraffes, and zebras. In 2024, Lewa beckons travelers to support its mission to protect and preserve wildlife. Here, you can take part in game drives, guided walks, and even the exhilarating experience of tracking rhinos on foot.

Samburu National Reserve: A World of Unique Wildlife

Samburu National Reserve offers an entirely different safari experience. Its rugged and remote landscapes are the backdrop for some of the most unique wildlife species in Kenya. In 2024, you’ll encounter the “Samburu Special Five,” including the reticulated giraffe, Grevy’s zebra, Beisa oryx, Somali ostrich, and gerenuk. The reserve’s arid beauty is also a habitat for elephants, leopards, and lions, making it an oasis of diversity in northern Kenya.

Cultural Encounters: The Maasai and Samburu Tribes

Beyond the wildlife, Kenya offers a rich tapestry of cultures, with the Maasai and Samburu tribes being among the most iconic. In 2024, you’ll have the opportunity to engage with these vibrant communities, learning about their traditions, dances, and way of life. It’s a chance to foster cultural understanding and appreciation.

kenya safari january 2024

Lake Nakuru National Park: A Haven for Birdwatchers

Lake Nakuru National Park , a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a paradise for bird enthusiasts. In 2024, the lake’s flamingo population is a sight to behold, as thousands of these vibrant birds create a surreal pink-hued spectacle. Besides flamingos, you’ll spot an array of bird species, and the park is also home to rhinos, leopards, and buffaloes.

Amboseli National Park: The Majestic Mount Kilimanjaro

Amboseli National Park is graced with breathtaking views of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest peak. In 2024, the park’s sweeping landscapes, dotted with herds of elephants and other wildlife, create postcard-worthy scenes. It’s an ideal destination for photographers and nature lovers who long to capture the essence of the wild against the backdrop of the iconic “Roof of Africa.”

Meru National Park: The Land of Elsa the Lioness

Meru National Park is the real-life setting of the heartwarming story of Elsa the Lioness, made famous by the book and movie “Born Free.” In 2024, the park offers a chance to walk in the footsteps of this incredible journey and to encounter lions, cheetahs, leopards, and numerous other species in their natural habitat.

Masai Mara: The Big Cat Capital

The Masai Mara remains Kenya’s iconic wildlife destination, but in 2024, it promises even more incredible sightings. With thriving populations of lions, leopards, and cheetahs, the Mara reaffirms its status as the “Big Cat Capital of the World.” It’s a dream come true for those seeking to witness these apex predators in action.

Tsavo National Park: A Land of Giants

Tsavo National Park is a land of giants, where enormous herds of elephants roam beneath the vast African skies. In 2024, this park invites you to be part of the conservation efforts to protect these gentle giants and their equally impressive neighbors, including buffaloes, rhinos, and lions.

Laikipia Plateau: An Undiscovered Gem

Laikipia Plateau, located to the north of Mount Kenya, remains an unspoiled and relatively undiscovered gem. In 2024, it’s a place where you can explore the wilderness on your terms, with opportunities for bush walks, horseback safaris, and cultural interactions with the local communities.

The Undiscovered Magic of Lake Turkana

Lake Turkana, also known as the “Jade Sea,” is a natural wonder that is often overlooked. In 2024, it promises the thrill of venturing into the unknown, offering a glimpse into an ancient and untouched world. This remote destination is home to unique tribes and a landscape unlike any other in Kenya.

Laughter and Learning: The Amboseli Elephant Research Project

In 2024, you have the opportunity to be a part of something meaningful. The Amboseli Elephant Research Project invites you to participate in elephant research and conservation. It’s a chance to learn about these magnificent creatures and contribute to their well-being.

kenya safari january 2024

A Taste of Kenya: Culinary Adventures

Kenya’s cuisine is a fusion of flavors, influenced by its diverse cultures and landscapes. In 2024, you can savor the rich, aromatic dishes made from fresh, local ingredients. From Nyama Choma (grilled meat) to Ugali (maize porridge) and Sukuma Wiki (collard greens), Kenya’s culinary delights are a journey for the taste buds.

Starry Nights: Sleeping Under African Skies

In 2024, you’ll have the opportunity to sleep under a blanket of stars in Kenya’s exclusive lodges and camps. The pristine night skies offer a celestial spectacle that connects you to the vastness of the universe and the serenity of the African wilderness.

Protecting Kenya’s Natural Heritage: Conservation and Sustainable Tourism

Kenya has been at the forefront of wildlife conservation and sustainable tourism. In 2024, you’ll witness the efforts made to protect the country’s natural heritage. It’s a chance to support these initiatives and become part of the global movement for responsible travel.

Closing Thoughts: A Tapestry of Wonders

As you embark on your wildlife safari adventure in Kenya in 2024, you’ll step into a world of wonders. It’s a journey that encapsulates the spirit of exploration, the thrill of discovery, and the awe of nature in its purest form. Kenya’s commitment to conservation, its diverse landscapes, and the richness of its culture make it a destination like no other.

So, get ready to embark on the safari of a lifetime, to explore the wilds, to witness incredible wildlife moments, and to connect with the heart of Africa. In 2024, Kenya is calling, and the adventure of your dreams awaits.

Popular Kenya Wildlife Safaris 2024:

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Ella McKendrick

Kenya Safari Cost 2024 – Everything You Need to Know!

By Author Ella McKendrick

Posted on Last updated: 31 May 2024

An African safari is one of those experiences that I believe must be added to your bucket-list and experienced at least once in your lifetime! Seeing iconic animals such as lions and elephants in the wild, where they belong, takes my breath away every time.

There are a number of destinations across Africa in which you can go on safari but Kenya is one of the most popular and with very good reason .

Lioness with a young cub in Amboseli National Park

Kenya is home to a number of national parks and reserves, many of which are world-famous. The Masai Mara has a reputation for being one of the best places to spot Africa’s big cats whilst Amboseli is home to some of the world’s largest herds of elephants.

April 2024 update: Whilst Kenya was once touted as a cheaper destination to go on safari in comparison to neighbouring Tanzania and Uganda, this is no longer the case due to increases in Kenya park fees which fully kick-in on 1st July 2024.

The three destinations are now comparable when it comes to prices. This guide contains all the updated costs.

To give you a very quick idea of a Kenya safari cost, a typical private safari in Kenya starts at $300 per person per day . This includes park fees, full board accommodation, your vehicle, driver guide and any taxes.

If a private safari is outside of your budget then there are cheaper options available. Shared group safaris with budget camping can cost as little as $180 per person per day , especially if you minimise the number of days in the most expensive parks.

In this article I’m going to go into more detail on how much safaris in Kenya cost, including a breakdown of costs as well as what you can expect on a luxury safari vs a budget safari.

Ella Mckendrick eating lunch at a luxury lodge with views across the Kenyan Masai Mara

  • Kenya Safari Costs At a Glance

The chart below shows you typical prices for a Kenya safari when working with a local tour operator.

By contrast, larger international travel agents or safari companies based in your local country, such as the US / UK will normally add 30 – 300% to the local operator prices below. We’ll cover the pros and cons of both booking options later.

The cost per day (usually given as the cost per person per day), will vary depending on a number of factors, including the number of people in your group, which national parks you visit and your mode of transport e.g. road or air.

The total cost for your safari is mostly dictated by how many days you choose to spend on safari. As a starting point, I’d recommend a 5 day Kenya safari itinerary and opt for a 7 – 10 day Kenya itinerary if your budget and diary permits.

Whilst not my first choice, a 3 day itinerary is also possible due to the high destiny of wildlife and short driving distance from Nairobi to the Masai Mara National Reserve.

Chart showing Kenya safari costs by type

We’ll dig into these prices in just a moment to help you better understand how the costs breakdown and how you can achieve the best value for your budget.

Ella McKendrick on safari with an Elephant in the background in Serengeti, Tanzania

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In this Guide

  • How Much Will Your Tanzania Safari Cost?

Factors Affecting Your Kenya Safari Cost

Cultural experience tours costs, special interest safari costs, mount kenya hiking costs, other safari costs, how much cash to take, final thoughts, how much will your kenya safari cost.

Safaris, whilst definitely not a cheap holiday, are an incredible once in a lifetime experience.

Kenya might not be the cheapest places to go on safari, especially after the park fee increase. However, the country is without a doubt, one of the best safari destinations in the world.

Kenya’s safari highlights include the incredible word-class Masai Mara National Reserve, home to the Big Five and Amboseli National Park with it’s famous Big Tuskers.

Big Tusker in Amboseli National Park, Kenya during the wet season in November.

Let’s start by digging in to the park fee increase and what effect this will have on your total Kenya safari cost.

Starting January 2024, park fees in Kenya are increasing across the board by around 100% with the increase fully implemented on 1st July 2024.

For example, the Masai Mara used to cost $80 + 18% tax ($94.40) per adult per entry per day in all seasons. Starting in 2024, these fees will increase to $200 + 18% tax ($236) per adult per entry per day in the peak season (July to December) and $100 + 18% tax ($118) in the low season (January to June).

Although I couldn’t find any official explanation for this increase, the general consensus is that the parks were simply getting too busy with safaris. Therefore Narok County Government and the Kenya Wildlife Service have raised the prices to reduce the numbers of safaris whilst maintaining the same income to protect the national parks and reserves.

With park fees being around 30% of your total safari cost, this increase would add around 30% on to the cost of a typical safari which now start at around $300 per adult per day.

This increase brings Kenya safari costs more inline with bordering Tanzania safari costs , with private safaris over the border starting at $350 by comparison.

Some Kenyan tour operators are planning to include less time in the more expensive parks such as the Masai Mara to offset some of the cost increases.

Although prices going up is rarely something to celebrate, this does have the benefit of giving you a better experience in the peak periods as the parks will now be less crowded, leading to better wildlife viewing opportunities.

It also rewards you financially for spending time exploring some of the lesser-known and lower-cost parks, which can still provide incredible wildlife viewing.

Cheetah with three cubs in the Masai Mara, Kenya during the wet season in November

Whilst we’ve covered starting prices, I want to delve a bit deeper and show what costs to expect as you increase comfort levels and also how your choice of booking method affects the costs.

The different comfort levels available are: budget (which can be split into budget camping or budget lodges), mid-range and luxury (which can be split into luxury and luxury plus).

The comfort levels mostly refer to the accommodation but can affect the standard of the safari vehicle too, with minibuses often being used at the lower end and 4×4 Toyota Land Cruisers being used at the medium to higher ends.

For each of these comfort levels, I’m going to show the costs when booking through a DIY self-drive approach, joining a group (shared) tour by a local company, booking a private safari with a local company and finally booking through an International travel agent.

You can jump to the different sections below:

Budget Safari Costs

Mid-Range Safari Costs

Luxury Safari Costs

A young male lion in the Masai Mara, Kenya

Budget Kenya Safari Costs

Budget safaris are entry-level safaris and the cheapest way to experience a typical African safari where you drive around in a safari truck in the national parks and view the wildlife.

Within the budget category you have budget camping and budget lodges. Budget lodges might include some large semi-permanent tented camps too which are comfortable with proper beds and western bathrooms.

Typically budget camping accommodation will be provided if you opt for a shared (group) safari. Shared safaris are run at a set time and date and usually last 3 or 6 days. They lack the flexibility and comfort of private safaris but can work out very cost-effective if you are a solo traveller as private budget safaris for solo travellers usually start around $500 per day.

For parties of 2 or more, private safaris are a cost-effective option as you are sharing the fixed costs such as the driver / guide and the safari truck between multiple people in your party. Private budget safaris will typically use budget lodges or semi-permanent tented camps.

In my experience, the satisfaction ratings for private budget safaris are consistently higher than group budget camping safaris. This is due to the aggressive cost-cutting with group safaris which gives them a lower price than private budget safaris but gives a no frills experience including less experienced guides.

Budget safari lodge with private washroom

What’s the difference between a budget and mid-range safari

The two biggest differences with a budget safari in Kenya are the accommodation choices and safari vehicle.

You might also have a less experienced guide to reduce costs and possibly visit less expensive parks or at least spend less time in the most expensive parks such as the Masai Mara.

On a budget safari, you will move between parks via road where possible as internal flights are expensive.

One of the cost benefits of going on a budget safari in Kenya vs Tanzania is that Kenya allows lower cost minibuses inside the National Parks. Whereas in Tanzania they only allow more expensive 4×4 Land Cruisers which make budget safaris slightly more expensive. Whilst the minibuses are not quite as robust and capable as the Toyota Land Cruisers, they are a cost effective means of transport around the parks and feature pop-up roofs for game viewing.

Accommodation is the biggest difference you’ll notice between a budget and mid-range safari. This can range from small tents with sleeping bags in the case of a group camping safari through to comfortable budget lodges and tented camps, often with private bathrooms in the case of private budget safaris. Mid-range accommodations are a lot more comfortable, with bigger rooms, large, comfortable beds and guaranteed private bathrooms.

Budget safari minibus in Kenya

What’s the same with a budget safari

You’ll still have a driver / guide unless you decide to self drive and you’ll probably visit the same parks although you might spend less time in the expensive parks.

Budget safari prices in Kenya

Notes on the budget safari costs

  • You can save around 12-27% if you choose a shared (group) safari package where you share the truck with strangers. However, accommodation is usually basic ground tents and communal bathrooms, and they usually have fixed 3 and 6 day itineraries and depart at scheduled times. On a like-for-like accommodation basis the savings are around 12%.
  • The private self-drive option is cheaper than the private local supplier safari because you’re saving on the driver/guide. However, since you’re paying a lot of money anyway you might as well pay a little bit extra for a driver guide to make sure you have the best sightings as well as a more relaxing experience. See my section on DIY safari for more on this topic and why I wouldn’t self drive in Kenya.
  • The international travel agent / safari company price is higher than the local safari company because you’re paying for their overheads and profit on top of the local company who carries out the safari.

Recommended Booking Options For Budget Kenya Safaris

Private Safari

Most popular & best experience – typical prices start from $300 per person per day .

Visit for free quotes from trustworthy local tour companies I use to book my own trips.

kenya safari january 2024

Group (Shared) Camping Safari

Good for budget or solo travellers – from $180 per person per day.

My recommended Kenya tour operators only provide private safaris, however, I’ve listed the best group options on Safari Bookings below.

Click the links below to request quotes for the group safari options on the safari bookings website.

7-Day Kenya Budget Group Safari to Maasai Mara, Naivasha, Nakuru, & Amboseli

5-Day Budget Group Safari to Masai Mara and Great Lakes

6-Day Budget Group Safari to Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru and Amboseli NP

Mid-Range Kenya Safari Costs

Mid-range safaris are the most popular type of safari in Kenya, giving you an incredible experience with very comfortable accommodation.

Mid-range safaris are the best value in my option as they are only around 30% more in price compared to budget safaris, but give you a much higher standard of accommodation, such as tented camps in the national parks with traditional beds and private western bathrooms.

Since you are spending quite a bit of money anyway on park fees and your safari vehicle etc. you might as well spend an extra $75 – $100 per person per day to have fantastic accommodation, a more comfortable and spacious 4×4 Toyota Land Cruiser and a more experienced guide.

Mid-range tented camp located in the national park with a private bathroom.

What’s the difference with a mid-range safari

The two main differences with a mid-range safari in Kenya is the accommodation and your safari vehicle.

You will have very comfortable accommodation in mid-range tented camps and lodges with private western bathrooms. Your safari will usually include accommodation inside the national parks.

You’ll usually have an upgraded safari vehicle such as a 4×4 Toyota Land Cruiser with a pop-up roof for game viewing.

You’ll visit the very best parks such as the Masai Mara and spend more time on those parks compared to a budget safari.

Mid-range safaris may include an internal flight to avoid any particularly long drives such as at the start or end of the safari.

Compared to a budget safari, you will often be allocated a more experienced guide to provide optimal game viewing.

Toyota Land Cruiser Safari vehicle

What’s the same with a mid-range safari: You’ll typically go to many of the same parks as a budget safari but may spend more time in the more expensive parks.

Mid-range safari prices in Tanzania

Notes on mid-range safari costs

  • The self drive option is cheaper than the private local tour operator because you’re saving on the driver/guide. However, since you’re paying a lot of money anyway you might as well pay a little bit extra for a driver guide to make sure you have the best sightings as well as a more relaxing experience. See my section on DIY safari for more on this topic and why I wouldn’t self drive in Kenya.
  • The international travel agent / safari company price is higher than the local safari company because you’re paying for their overheads and profit on top of the local company who does the safari.

Recommended Booking Options For Mid-Range Kenya Safaris

M id-range prices start from $400 per person per day .

Luxury Kenya Safari Costs

Kenya does luxury safaris very well with a wide range of incredible safari accommodation available to suit any luxury budget. I always like to include some luxury accommodation in my safaris.

Luxury safaris booked with a local operator typically cost from $600 per adult per day through to $1,500. Luxury + safaris start from $1,500 per person per day and can go up to $5,000 and beyond.

Charter flights replace longer internal drives with internal flights which land on runways inside the parks.

Outside of a luxury tented camp in Kenya

What’s the difference with a Luxury safari

The main difference between a mid-range and luxury safari in Kenya is the level of accommodation and the number of internal flights.

You will be staying in the very best luxury accommodation in Kenya which will often be located inside the national parks and reserves.

Types of accommodation include lodges and tented camps with luxury features including infinity swimming pools, spas, plunge pools and incredible views. The suites will be larger and food will often be cooked to order instead of buffets.

You will usually spend all of your time in the very best national parks such as the Masai Mara.

You will benefit from the most experienced guides to ensure unrivalled game viewing as well as the highest specification Toyota land Cruiser 4×4 safari vehicles including special photography trucks where required.

Luxury safaris may include some internal flights to avoid longer drives. These flights can add around $350 per flight, per person one way.

Luxury safari photography vehicle in the Masai Mara Kenya

What’s the same with a Luxury safari

Your safari truck will be similar to mid-range but usually a higher specification.

Recommended Booking Options for Luxury Kenya Safaris

Luxury prices start from $600 per person per day .

When you receive a number of safari quotes, you might end up wondering why one quote is coming out higher than another quote and which is actually the best value. I’ll attempt to answer that question below.

Below are the factors in order of which will have the biggest impact on your safari cost.

Whilst this order is correct for most cases, one notable exception is for solo travellers on private safaris. For solo travellers, group size will move up to position 2 in terms of factors affecting your safari cost for budget safaris or position 3 for mid-range because you’re shouldering all of the fixed costs (vehicle, guide etc).

Quick links

  • Type of Safari Company
  • Safari Accommodation
  • Time of Year
  • How You Travel Between Parks
  • Kenya Safari Park Fees Costs

1. Type of Safari Company

There are four different ways you can organise a Kenya safari Itinerary : self drive (DIY), hotel provided safaris, local safari company and international safari company (located in US, UK etc). 

I’ll go into each of these options below and their effect on costs.

Local safari tour operator

Self Drive (DIY) Costs

Self drive safaris seem to attract those who like the added sense of adventure which comes from being self-reliant and doing it all yourself as you navigate through foreign lands.

Some people on the other hand opt for self drive in an attempt to reduce safari costs.

I’m no stranger to self drive and In 2017, I embarked on a  self-drive adventure across Namibia and had an incredible experience. However, I would not recommend self driving in Kenya for three reasons:

  • Whilst Kenya is marginally better for self-drive safaris than Tanzania due to the slightly more flexible park vehicle entry requirements, it’s still not really geared up for self-drivers. Most people use a safari company in Kenya and this is how the country is geared up.
  • There are more hazards in my experience for self-drivers in Kenya vs Namibia – whether that’s going through a flooded path only to find yourself stuck in a large hidden pothole under the water to being stuck in a remote road with a flat tyre caused by the bumpy roads. The experienced driver guides know how to handle these situations but as a self-driver, you can quickly find yourself out of your depth and wasting valuable safari time and unnecessary stress.
  • Last but probably the most important reason is that experienced guides have an invaluable knowledge of the parks and access to phone and radio communication with other guides. This leads to incredible once in a lifetime sightings. When in Namibia, safari was only a tiny part of my trip but in Kenya, safari was my main focus so having a good guide was essential. For me it’s a no-brainer to spend a small amount more for a safari company with experienced guides to get the most from my safari and have a more relaxing time.

Self driving can quickly become hazardous

The way I see it is, after paying for flights, accommodation, park fees etc, why would I want to miss out on all the amazing wildlife sightings a good guide can offer, just to save a few dollars by driving myself?

The below chart gives you a rough idea of where your money goes when you opt for DIY self-drive Kenya safari.

Self drive safari cost breakdown for Tanzania and Kenya

Ways you can arrange DIY self-drive Kenya safari

  • Safari comparison websites such as Safaris By Ella which match you with approved safari companies. In the notes section of the quote request, stipulate you’d like to self-drive. Whilst not every safari company is happy to let you self-drive, there are some who will accommodate this, whereby they will organise the whole safari including accommodation and provide you with the vehicle to drive yourself.
  • Research and book all elements of the trip yourself using Google and online travel agents.

A female lion sighting prey in Amboseli, Kenya

Local Kenya Safari Company Costs

I’ve found that the best value-for-money safaris are achieved by using a good local safari company . The right safari company will be invaluable in saving you time and money through their local knowledge and on-the-ground networks.

For example, the best local safari companies will have inside knowledge of the wildlife viewing in each of the national parks at any given time, the current position of the great migration and work with you to plan an itinerary to put you in the right place at the right time to view the sightings which matter to you.

I’ve found that not all local safari companies are created equally and the sweet spot has been finding the up-and-coming companies, run by locals who are committed to making sure every safari runs perfectly.

Some of the older and larger local companies start to rest on their laurels and standards start to slip. My on-the-ground research highlighted that some of these companies have over-expanded and started to hire inexperienced guides and use older trucks which then break down.

Conversely, I’ve found some companies are just a little too small to the point where they can quickly get over-stretched which can lead to standards dropping.

This is why I always look for companies which are small enough to care about every single client but big enough to deliver a consistent high service level. In Kenya I always try to use companies run by locals to make sure I’m supporting the local communities as much as possible.

Cheetah in Masai Mara, Kenya

Due to their low overheads, many small local tour operators only include a small 10-15% margin in their quotes which goes towards their wages and limited business overheads leaving them with 3-5% profit.

With accommodation, most local tour operators have special arrangements with the hotels whereby they receive lower rates than it would be possible for you or I to achieve when booking directly. This means that even after they safari company adds their small profit margin, the price of the hotel is similar and in some cases less than booking direct.

I’ve noticed that in the case of some activities such as hot air balloon safaris which are already quite expensive, local tour operators don’t actually make any profit on these and simply arrange them for guests as a gesture of goodwill.

Ella Mckendrick with Simon, an experienced driver guide at a local Kenya safari company

The below chart gives you a rough idea of where your money goes when you book your safari with a local safari company

Local safari company cost breakdown for Tanzania and Kenya

You’ll notice that accommodation and park fees are the two biggest costs, making up over 50% of total safari costs. Park fees go towards the upkeep of the parks and conservation – they are important as it’s very expensive to protect the wildlife from human threats such as poaching.

According to my calculations and insider information, only approx 3% of the total safari costs goes to the safari company as profit after deducting their overheads. Although this seems very low, you have to remember that the cost of living is lower in Kenya vs the West and safaris tend to be quite high value (to which the 3% relates), so this is how they are able to operate on such thin margins. However, the plus side as a buyer is that, unlike with International operators, you’re not having to fund expensive offices and high staff costs etc.

The chart above is calculated based on a mid-range safari. For budget safaris, accommodation costs will make up a slightly lower percentage of costs and with luxury safaris, the accommodation costs will often be in excess of 50% of total costs.

Ways you can book local Kenyan safari companies

  • Comparison sites which provide multiple quotes from verified suppliers such as Safaris By Ella

A pair of hippos in Amboseli, Kenya. It's rare to see them out of the water.

International travel agent / safari company (US, UK etc.)

After doing some research and chatting to local tour operators, I soon discovered that international travel agents and safari companies from the US, UK etc. subcontract their safaris out to local safari companies. The logo stickers on the safari trucks are switched out for those of the international company for the period of the safari.

Whilst there is absolutely nothing wrong with this practice, it does mean you are paying more when booking through a safari company based in your own country. The reason being that you are paying for the overheads (offices, staff, marketing etc.) and profits for the company in your local country as well as the overheads and profits of the local safari company who conducts the safari.

The extra amount you pay on a like-for-like basis when booking through an International operator ranges greatly from 20% to a massive 300% more with some high-end luxury safaris.

Aside from the cost difference, there are a few other pros and cons when booking this way. Aside from the extra cost, the other common complaint is communication issues. Special requests often get lost in communication between your sales rep and the driver / guide who will actually be delivering your safari. Likewise on-the-ground updates and local knowledge are not always passed up accurately from the local safari company through to the International company and through to you at the point of planning your itinerary.

On the positive side, international safari companies in the US / UK etc. do provide a number of key benefits. Unlike many local companies, they can book international flights for you, they may offer a greater level of deposit protection and they are experienced with high-end requests such as chartering private jets.

Ella Mckendrick on safari in the Masai Mara, Kenya

It’s been my experience that overseas travel agents who focus on safaris tend to cater for luxury and luxury plus safaris. You typically need to be spending at least $15,000 USD to receive a reasonable level of service from them and budgets of $50,000+ are required to receive their full attention and service levels. Costs can reach in excess of $100,000.

As I mentioned earlier, a key benefit for booking though an international tour company can be the level of purchase protection they offer should things go wrong or if they go bust before your trip.

I’ll cover some protections for companies in the UK and US. However, other countries have their own versions of these protections too.

In the UK you will typically be covered by the Package Travel Regulations , a set of rules that those selling and booking package holidays and linked travel arrangements must follow. In theory this provides you with protection should the company go bust after you’ve paid them money but before your trip.

As far as I understand it, compliance with the funds protection part of these regulations by the company is either achieved by the company posting a bond with their bank (effectively cash reserved to one side) or using a third party company to hold the cash only for use in booking your trip. I’ve been told by insiders that when COVID hit, the bonds method didn’t actually work (some companies which went bust didn’t have enough money in their bond to cover the all trips) due to the scale of the event but I think outside of extreme once in a lifetime events, it’s a good things and does generally work as intended.

Also in the UK, if the travel agent books international flights as part of your package, you will be covered by the ATOL scheme . ATOL stands for Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (ATOL) is a United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) scheme. Unlike the Package Travel Regulations, the ATOL scheme has a central fund held by the scheme itself, which pays out when required. As far as I’m aware the ATOL scheme passed the COVID stress test and paid out as it should.

In America there are schemes such as the Airline Passenger Protection Act and the Federal Aviation Administration’s consumer protection rules which apply when booking through a local travel agent in the US.

It’s worth noting that, In my experience, it’s possible to achieve a satisfactory level of protection yourself when booking directly with local tour operators. Here are my top tips:

Use your credit card when paying the deposit payment as credit cards typically offer purchase protection. In the UK it’s called Section 75 and you can read how this applies to specific cards such as Visa UK . Check your home country’s credit cards protection terms and conditions for your specific situation. Secondly, purchasing good comprehensive travel insurance with travel interruption cover or similar can provide peace of mind.

The below chart gives you a rough idea of where your money goes when you opt to book your safari with an international US / UK etc. safari company.

Travel agent cost breakdown for Tanzania and Kenya

Compared to the local tour operator costs breakdown, you will notice additional costs on the international travel agent / safari company breakdown above. I’ve explained these extra safari costs below:

Safari company overheads and profits – this is the overheads and and profits of the local safari company to whom the international travel agent / safari company who you booked with will then outsource the actual the safari to.

Travel agent overheads & profit – This is the overheads and profit of the International travel agent/ safari company who sold you the safari and which they will add to the safari costs. I’ve added 25% as this is the typical starting markup used, but with high-end international safari companies, this can be as much as 300%.

Ways you can book safari through International travel agents / safari companies

  • Google search

A baby giraffe strolling through the plains in the Masai Mara

Hotel Provides Safaris Costs

Some of the luxury + hotels in Kenya which are located within the national parks offer safaris to guests using their own safari trucks and guides. Usually these will be shared safaris with other guests.

Whilst these safaris tend to be very expensive as the hotels charge a premium price for them, they might suit you if you are planning to spend most of your time in the hotel with only the occasional safari and you don’t mind sharing with other guests.

Typically for this option you would fly directly to and from the hotel using a small propeller plane.

Ways you can book hotel provided safaris

  • My recommended tour operators on Safaris By Ella can arrange hotels and air or road transport to and from the hotels. If you opt for the more cost-effective road transport, since they have driven you to the hotel, you might find it cheaper to use the safari company for safaris rather than using the hotel-provided safaris.
  • Check with your chosen accommodation whether they provide this service and the booking requirements.

Cheetah hunting in the Massai Mara, Kenya

2. Safari Accommodation Costs

Accommodation typically makes up around 30% of your total safari cost when working with a local safari company, which equates to around 1/3rd of the total safari cost.

The level of accommodation is the main factor which accounts for the differences in cost between a budget, mid-range and luxury safari.

Kenya safari lodges and tented camps usually charge on a full board basis, per person rather than per room. However, two people sharing a room will be a lower cost than having a room to yourself.

You will often eat breakfast in the form of a buffet before your safari. Your guide will arrange either a cold lunchbox or hot meal from the accommodation which you will normally eat on your safari, although you can come back to the accommodation for lunch if you wish. I tend to eat on safari as some parks such as the Masai Mara charge for each entry so it makes sense to eat in the park. Finally, you’ll have a hot dinner at the accommodation – depending on the accommodation this might be a buffet or cooked to order from a menu.

Accommodation located in the national parks are more expensive due to the inclusion of overnight park fees in the costs as well as higher rent and running costs.

I have found that there are good accommodation options right on the edge of the Masai Mara. They benefit from fantastic views over the national park from the lodge and only a 5 minute drive to the gates for your safari, whist being a lower cost vs the accommodation inside the park.

Kenya lodge located on the banks of the Talek River with views to the Masai Mara

Table showing typical prices per person per night on a full board basis in peak season

Below I’ll provide guidance on what to expect for each level of accommodation. You can jump to the each of the sections using the links below:

Budget Accommodation

Mid-Range Accommodation

Luxury and Luxury+ Accommodation

Mid-range tented camp restaurant

Budget Kenya Accommodation Costs

($30-$100 per person per night)

Budget accommodation includes tents (camping), tented camps, lodges and hotels and spans quite a wide range.

In some cases you might find private bathrooms and in others shared communal bathrooms. Bathrooms will usually be western style.

Budget accommodation is typically located outside of the national parks with the exception of some campsites. In Kenya, most of the wildlife viewing areas in the parks are quite accessible from the entrance gates so this doesn’t really pose a problem. By contrast, in the Serengeti in Tanzania, you really need to stay inside the park due to the scale of the park as it can take hours just to get to the closest wildlife viewing areas.

Budget safari accommodation

Food will generally be in the form of a buffet and whilst I’ve generally not had any issues with getting an upset stomach at safari accommodation, it’s worth noting the food will usually be higher quality in mid-range and luxury accommodation. The one time I did get a funny tummy was at a budget accommodation buffet. If you have a very sensitive stomach either be selective in your food choices, selecting low risk and freshly cooked food, or opt for a higher accommodation level.

Budget Tanzania accommodation with communal washrooms

Although I have stayed at some great (and some not-so great) budget accommodations in the past, I tend to pay a little bit extra for mid-range or higher these days. I’m already paying quite a bit for the safari, so I figure I might as well spend a little bit more to have comfortable accommodation. Safaris can be quite physically demanding when I choose to get up at 6am and safari for the whole day so I find it quite important to come back to a comfortable base to eat and rest before another full-on day.

safari camping tent

Mid-Range Kenya Accommodation Costs

($50-$400 per person per night)

Mid-range accommodation is the most popular type of accommodation for Kenya safaris as it provides great comfort whilst offering good value for money compared to luxury which can get expensive.

Mid-range accommodation usually always comes with a private bathroom.

There are three key types of mid-range accommodation: tented camps, lodges and hotels. Whilst hotels are common in the cities, you’ll usually find tented camps and lodges nearer the national parks. Inside the parks, tented camps are the most common type of mid-range accommodation.

Tented camps are very different from budget camping and are usually large permanent tents with normal beds, western private bathrooms and may include sofas and other luxuries. The benefit of a tented camp vs a lodge is that it gives you more of a connection with nature as you can hear the sounds of the animals in the night which is quite an exciting experience. The camps are very safe with guards who patrol the camps during the night.

Mid-range safari accommodation

This particular camp used to have bucket showers, where they load up your shower with water from outside when you want a shower, but had recently upgraded to hot and cold running water.

Luxury and Luxury+ Kenya Accommodation Costs

($100 – $3,000 or more per person per night )

One of the quintessential luxury experiences in Africa is embarking on a safari so it’s no surprise that there is a huge range of luxury accommodation to choose from if you’ve got the cash to splash.

Luxury accommodation spans a huge range of costs from $100 per person per night in Nairobi up to $3,000 or more in some of the most luxurious safari camps in Kenya. Typically full board luxury accommodation comes in around $300 – $500 per person per night in my experience.

Luxury safari tented camp with plunge pool and great hi-pressure shower

Luxury safari accommodation can be in the form of tented camps, lodges or hotels in the cities. Outside the cities luxury accommodation will often but not always be located inside the national parks or bordering conservancies.

With luxury accommodation you can expect large rooms, incredible views and spas, plunge pools and infinity pools.

One of the hallmarks of luxury accommodation is incredible food. The camp pictured above didn’t disappoint. They grew a lot of their own food in their own on-site organic vegetable garden. Food will usually be cooked to order instead of a buffet.

Fire-pit at luxury tented camp

It’s always a very enjoyable experience staying at luxury safari accommodation and I always try to incorporate some luxury accommodation into my trips as a treat. However, it’s worth noting that if, like me, you want to pack in as much time on safari as possible, waking up at 6am and coming back around 6pm, you don’t always get much time to make the most of luxury accommodation.

For longer trips such as a 2 week Tanzania and Kenya itinerary , I’d recommend taking a day or even a morning or afternoon off from safari in order to make the most of your luxury accommodation. Its great to just sit around and relax and rejuvenate with incredible food, drink, views and sounds.

African TV at luxury Masai Mara, Kenya camp

3. Time of Year

The time of year you visit Kenya will affect the cost of your safari. The three seasons in Kenya are dictated by the rains and are the same as those in neighbouring Tanzania.

The low season is March, April and May – this is the lowest cost time to visit. However, you will have to contend at times with heavy downpours and possible flooded roads. The landscape is green and lush which, although very beautiful, can make wildlife spotting a little harder.

The shoulder season covers January & February and also November & December – These months represent a great value time to visit Kenya – whilst there is still some rain it’s more manageable than the low season. January and February are a great time to see baby animals and if you incorporate Tanzania too you can see the wildebeest calving, part of the Great Migration in the Ndutu region on the edge of the Serengeti.

When I visited Kenya in November 2023 it was incredible to see the baby animals as well as the lush, green landscapes. However, I did have a few issues with roads being closed due to flooding from the rains. I’m told it’s not normally such an issue with flooding at the time of year but that El Nino meant the rains were unusually heavy when I visited.

It is worth noting that The January and February shoulder season is quite a bit cheaper than the November and December shoulder season as park fees are higher in the second half of the year. The main cost saving is with accommodation.

Baby Cheetahs in the Masai Mara. Photo taken during the short rains in October

The peak season runs from July to September or October – This is also long as the long dry season and is the most popular and also the most expensive time for a Kenya safari. The lack of water at this time of year means there is little vegetation and animals congregate around water holes making for excellent wildlife viewing. August and September are the two months of the year when you can see the Great Migration in Kenya. During these months you can see the highlight of the Great Migration – the wildebeest Mara River crossing.

For me September is probably the best time to visit Kenya for safari due to the Mara River crossing and optimal wildlife viewing conditions. However, the shoulder season was also incredible as I saw fluffy baby cheetahs frolicking around. I’ve yet to visit Kenya in low season but I’m excited to give that a try soon and I’ll update this article with my low season experience.

The main saving in the shoulder and low seasons is the accommodation costs. Kenya parks fees are also now reduced in the shoulder and low seasons.

Savings are typically 20-30% in low season and 12-15% in shoulder season on a full safari package, with most of the savings coming from accommodation and park fees.

Wildebeests crossing the Mara River as part of the Great Migration

4. How You Travel Between Parks

Your mode of transport between the parks and lodges, such as whether you choose road or air, will affect the cost of your Kenyan safari.

Matatu Minibuses

There are 2-wheel-drive minibus taxis known as Matatus which are a cheap mode of public transport outside of the parks. These are usually overloaded and commonly involved in crashes so best avoided. For airport transfers you are better with a private minibus, luxury taxi or safari truck.

Minibus Safari Truck

The second type of minibus in Kenya is the safari minibuses which are usually 4×4 and used by safari companies to move you between parks as well as inside the parks for game viewing. Whilst not as sturdy as the Toyota Land Cruiser safari vehicles, they are a great option for budget safaris.

The roofs pop up for game viewing.

Safari truck with pop-up roof in Tanzania

Toyota Land Cruiser Safari Truck

Toyota Land Cruisers are typically used for mid-range and luxury safaris. They are very robust and heavy duty 4×4 vehicles. They are comfortable and kitted out with luxury features such as plug sockets, fridges and sometimes wifi.

They don’t typically have air con as you’ll spend most of your time with the windows open when game viewing so it wouldn’t be particularly useful. They are industrial-grade and get so knocked about on the bumpy roads that they like to keep them as simple as possible so there’s not too much to break.

You can request photography trucks which have bigger openings to give more options for lower level shots.

Scheduled & Chartered Propeller Planes

Higher-end luxury safaris may opt for propeller planes to avoid longer driving distances. When flying in and out of camps using planes, the safaris are often called ‘fly in safaris’.

Air transport doesn’t come cheap and prices are typically around $300 per person each way per flight for scheduled flights. You can view Air Kenya’s current flight schedule here .

Private charted flights which can include helicopters as well as planes will provide more flexibility but increase the cost.

Plane in the Masai Mara

Private Jet

Private jets are popular with VIPs as a method to move around the country but with prices often reaching $100,000 and beyond it’s not for everyone! Depending on the size of the jet, prices range from $2,000-$11,000 per billable hour. Due to the relatively high emissions per passenger of private jets, they are arguably not the most environmentally-friendly way to go on safari.

5. Kenya Safari Park Fees Costs

Based on my breakdown of a typical safari with a local safari company, we can see that park fees make up around 30% of the total safari cost.

Below I’ve provided a list of the current Kenya park fees for a range of popular parks to give you a feel for how the different park rates compare.

Popular Kenya National Parks and Reserves from 1st July 2024 onwards.

Latest prices (excluding Masai Mara) can normally be found on the Kenya Wildlife Service website . However, currently they are only displaying outdated 2023 prices on the website so you would need to access the 2024 prices PDF directly .

Leopard with kill in Masai Mara, Kenya

6. Group Size

Safaris for solo travellers are significantly more expensive per person compared to parties of 2 adults sharing a room. Starting prices per adult per day for a private budget safari for a solo traveller is $500 compared to $300 for two people.

The main reason for this difference is that the solo traveller is having to cover all of the fixed costs for the safari vehicle and driver/ guide which can be around $250 – 350 per day, whereas the party of two people only pays 50% of the fixed costs each.

Although hotels usually charge on a per person per night basis due to rates being on a full board basis, there are savings when you are sharing a room vs having a room all to yourself.

For this reason solo travellers with budgets below $500 per day might want to consider a group safari which runs to a fixed schedule and you are sharing the truck with other people.

Although increasing the party size for a private safari up to a maximum of 7 people will continue to decrease the average cost per person, after 2 or 3 people the additional cost savings are fairly nominal.

There are a few other fixed costs which will be reduced by bigger group sizes. These include:

  • Any accommodation changing on a per room basis but this is rare as most accommodation charges per person
  • Some cultural tours have a fixed fee regardless of group size

Per person costs which will not be reduced by bigger groups include:

  • Most accommodation (beyond 2 people) which is charged on a per person basis
  • Activity costs (night drives, horse riding safaris, and experiences such as visiting the Giraffe Centre in Nairobi are all priced per person)

Two zebras fighting in the Masai Mara, Kenya

Kenya is very culturally diverse with at least 42 different tribes (ethnic groups) calling the country home.

For safaris of 5 days or greater, I would recommend incorporating at least one cultural activity into your safari – when done right, they can be one of the highlights of your trip. I had an incredible time visiting and talking at great length to a Maasai tribe near the Masai Mara.

However, it’s important to note that some cultural activities have become a little commercialised and it’s important to tell your safari company you want an authentic experience. Typically the best safari companies will ensure that anyway but there is no harm in specifying it. I’ve found that the tribes which are located slightly outside of the typical tourist routes and are not as frequently visited will provide the most authentic and immersive experience.

Maasai women in traditional outfit - near the Masai Mara, Kenya

Cost for Visiting the Maasai in Kenya

The Maasai tribe are one of the most famous tribes in the world, boasting their distinctive dress and jumping dance. I was recently told that the name means the ‘Maa’ speaking ‘Sai’ people.

The Maasai are fearless warriors and I’m told that part of the reason for the lack of historical poaching in Amboseli is that the poachers feared them.

The cost to visit the Maasai tribe in Kenya varies from $30 – $80 per person depending on the specific village.

When you visit the Maasai, you will usually be greeted by their famous jumping dance. The men of the village show their strength by jumping as high as they can and this is also how they win female attention. You might even be given the chance to join in on the dance yourself!

You will also see their houses which are made from mud and sticks and learn about their culture and way of life.

At the end of the visit you will usually be given the chance to purchase their handmade jewellery. There is no obligation to purchase anything as you or your safari company have already paid for the visit, however I always like to support them in this way. See my souvenirs section for guide prices.

Two Kenyan Maasai warriors

Cost for Visiting the Samburu Tribe in Kenya

Like the Maasai, the Samburu are semi-nomadic pastoralists who herd mainly cattle but also keep sheep, goats and camels. They live in nomadic villages of round window-less huts made from sticks, mud and cow dung, called manyatta and dress in vibrant tribal costumes.

The tribe are located around the Samburu National Reserve in north-central Kenya. You may also hear them referred to as Lokop or Loikop as this is the name they use themselves.

The cost to visit the Samburu tribe on the edge of the Samburu National Reserve is usually around $30 – $50 per person.

Special interest safaris such as birding, photography and hot air balloons often require specialist equipment such as a customised photography safari vehicle as well as specialist guides such as a bird spotting expert.

These extra requirements can make specialist safaris more expensive than standard safaris. However, with a 14 day birding safari for example, if much of the time is spent in more remote and lower cost parks which are nonetheless great for birding, this will bring down the average cost per day compared to a 5 day standard safari with spends 3 days in the Masai Mara with it’s high park fees.

Tawny eagle in the Masai Mara

Birding Safari in Kenya Cost

With an incredible 1158 confirmed species of birds in Kenya, the country is very popular with bird watchers who can see as many as 400 species of birds during a 2-week birding safari.

Kenya’s bird diversity is only rivalled in Africa by Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania.

Highlights include Kakamega Forest, which is famous as one of Africa’s top birding locations, and Amboseli and the Masai Mara. Other great birding locations in Kenya include The Rift Valley lakes; Lake Naivasha, Lake Nakuru, Lake Baringo and Lake Bogoria.

Birding safaris typically cost an extra $50 – $100 per person per day on top of the usual safari costs and tend to span 10 – 20 days or more.

African golden weaver in Amboseli, Kenya

Photography Safari in Kenya Cost

Photography safaris are safaris which are focused on helping you achieve the best possible wildlife photographs.

Photography safaris may have a guide who is experienced with helping photographers get the best wildlife shots. At the higher-end, the safari may include a professional photographer who will direct the driver in finding the best photography opportunities as well as providing photography guidance to the guests.

Often photo safaris will use a specialist photography safari vehicle with large open windows along the sides to allow for lower level shots in addition to the usual popup roof.

Ella McKendrick on safari in the Masai Mara in photography truck

A typical photography safari will typically cost an extra $50-150 per person day on top of the usual safari prices. If the trip involves being joined by a well known photographer then prices could exceed this.

Hyena on a kill in the Masai Mara, Kenya

Hiking and Walking Safari in Kenya Cost

Hiking and walking safaris are great ways to get closer to nature and experience the environment in a more immersive way.

Although growing in popularity, walking safaris are reasonably new to Kenya and currently only driving safaris are permitted in most of Kenya’s national parks and reserves, such as the Masai Mara Reserve, Samburu and Tsavo.

Walking safaris aka bush walks are however often possible in private ranches and the wildlife conservancies which often sit on the edges of the national parks. Your guide will usually carry a firearm for your safety.

Due to the increased risk of a walking safari, you may wish to use an experienced guide.

The KPSGA (Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association) is an example of a guide certification programme.

Walking safari usually costs around $150 – $200 per person per day.

Balloon Safari in Kenya Cost

Balloon safaris provide a birds-eye view of the landscape as well as the wildlife.

Typically setting off just before sunrise, hot air ballon safaris usually last around an hour.

For safety reasons you will only be allowed to take off in calm conditions, so please remember that balloon safaris are subject to weather on the day and are not guaranteed. You will of course be refunded if take off isn’t possible. I’ve heard of tourists demanding the balloons take off, against the operators guidance, even in bad conditions – this is not wise as the high safety record of hot air balloons is significantly compromised in bad conditions so it’s not worth the risk.

Balloon Safaris in Kenya, often over the Masai Mara, are a great experience if you have the budget and typically cost $550-650 per person.

Zebras grazing in the Masai Mara at sunrise with hot air balloons in the background

Two hours north of Nairobi, Mount Kenya is the second highest peak in Africa.

Whilst it’s possible to summit and descend in three days this isn’t recommended as you ideally want to allow time to acclimatise to the altitude. At least four to six days is recommended depending on the route chosen.

Technically Mount Kenya can be climbed all year round. However, between June and October is best for routes on the north side and December to February for routes on the south side.

Hiking Mount Kenya typically costs around $200 per person per day. However, this can vary based on group size, time of year, the route taken and total trip length.

Hyenas and a black backed jackals on a kill in the Masai Mara, Kenya

Rates quoted by safari companies usually don’t include the costs below, as well as excluding international flights.

Tips / Gratuities

Tipping is part of the culture in Kenya. It’s preferred to tip in USD but you can also tip in Kenyan Shillings, Euros and GBP.

I would normally tip my driver guide $20 per day, for a party size of two i.e. $10 per person in the party. If they have been exceptional, I may go slightly higher. Some safari companies have their own recommended tipping rates which may help them attract the most experienced guides.

It’s recommended to give your guide their tip at the conclusion of your safari.

Tipping in accommodation is at your discretion. If you wish to leave a tip, you can do so by leaving the tip in the tipping box at the end of your stay. Guideline tips are $5 per adult per night depending on the level of service.

You’re not typically expected to tip the Maasai or other tribes if you visit them. Instead you can buy some souvenirs from their shops to show your support and appreciation. See my souvenir price guides later in this guide for how much to pay.

You no longer need a visa to visit Kenya. You now need to apply instead for Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

An eTA costs $30 USD per person.

Check latest guidance on your Gov website e.g. US / UK .

You can apply for your eTA here .

Bartering is part of the culture and it’s not uncommon to have the starting prices over 50% higher than the target price.

I find that setting my price slightly lower than I’m prepared to pay and just sticking to it and walking away if necessary does the trick of getting a compromise at my target price.

I probably end up paying a little over the odds but I’m happy to support the local tribes whilst at the same time I don’t like to get fleeced.

The lowest prices are usually achieved in Nairobi.

Guide prices based on my recent experiences:

Hand-made metal bracelet: I’ve paid between $5 – 15 USD with asking prices around $30

Hand-calved animal in ebony 15x30cm: I paid $20 USD (asking price was $40)

You may well already have some suitably coloured clothing for your safari, in which case the clothing won’t cost you anything.

The weather in Kenya can fluctuate in the day from very cold to very hot. Therefore you’ll want to bring lots of layers.

I like to wear a vest-top (tank-top) beneath a linen shirt and then a nice snuggly jumper on top. I gradually take layers off as the day gets warmer.

In terms of trousers / pants, I either wear long trousers or shorts depending on if the day will be warm or not.

Bring a waterproof coat in all seasons.

Lodges don’t require formal wear for the evenings so you can save some space and weight by wearing casual attire.

The colour of the clothing you bring is very important and even more so if you’re going on walking safaris. Neutral colours are best to bring. Beiges, browns, muted greens and greys are my favourite colours to wear for safari.

You’ll want to avoid blacks, dark blues, bright colours or white as these can disturb animals and attract the pesky tsetse fly.

Vaccines & Medication

The cost of travel vaccinations at a travel clinic for patients without health insurance typically includes:

An initial consultation fee of $15 to $100.

A shot administration fee of $10 to $20 per shot.

The cost of the vaccines, which can range from less than $10 per dose to $150 or more per dose.

You can find information about recommended vaccinations below:

US citizens Guide to Kenya vaccines

UK citizens Guide to Kenya vaccines

Anti-malarial tablets are also recommended for Kenya and these cost around $2 per day. You would typically take the tablets for a few days before your trips and some time after. Please check instructions for your specific Anti-malarial tablets.

You can pay for most costs on your card. I found it easy enough to draw out money on my Visa Cards but Mastercard only seemed to work infrequently. Both cards worked fine for paying for costs on chip and pin machines.

Remember to tell your bank that you’re travelling through their App or over the phone to ensure they don’t auto-flag your overseas transactions as potentially fraudulent and block your transactions by mistake.

Currencies which are windy accepted are Kenyan Shillings and USD.

The things which I used cash for were:

Tips: Budget around 20-30 USD per person per day in total for tips for your driver, porters, other guides etc.

Buying Souvenirs and small purchases at markets: Around $35 for a handmade necklace etc. You might wish to take $200 for souvenirs.

Kenya is a fantastic choice for your safari. Housing some of the best national parks and reserves in the world, you’re pretty much guaranteed to see plenty of wildlife here. In order to see the best of Kenya, I’d highly recommend a 7-10 day itinerary although a 5 day itinerary would still allow you to see the best safari locations in Kenya.

With prices for a private safari starting at around $300 per person per day, I’d class Kenya as a mid-range safari destination. It’s similar in price to Tanzania but is nowhere near as expensive as a safari in Botswana or gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda. Direct flights to Nairobi from several European countries also make Kenya extremely accessible and not an expensive destination to fly to.

Read More Kenya Guides

Kenya Safari Costs – Everything you Need to Know.

Perfect 7-10-Day Kenya Safari Itinerary

Perfect 5-Day Kenya Safari Itinerary

Perfect 3 Day Kenya Safari Itinerary & Costs

Ultimate 2-Week Kenya & Tanzania Safari Itinerary

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kenya safari january 2024

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Where to Go on an African Safari in January

January is generally a great month to go on safari in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda as these countries experience relatively dry weather in that month. Tanzania’s Northern circuit is a good option too. Animals are less spread out during the dry months and spotting them tends to be easier. The wildebeest calving in Tanzania and the zebra migration in Botswana are special events in January worth planning a trip around.

Best Time per Country

Flag of zimbabwe zimbabwe in january.

  • Beautiful landscapes and many newborn animals
  • Great birding with migratory birds present
  • Peak of the Wet season, some roads get washed out
  • Animals spread out and spotting is harder than in the Dry season
  • Victoria Falls has little flow
  • It is very hot in the low-lying parks

Flag of Zambia Zambia in January

  • Lush scenery and great birding with migratory birds present
  • Some camps in South Luangwa National Park stay open and offer low-season rates
  • Many parks and camps shut down for the off season
  • Peak of the Wet season, roads get washed out
  • Wildlife viewing is difficult as animals spread out
  • Victoria Falls has little water

Flag of South Africa South Africa in January

  • Fresh scenery and dust-free skies
  • Great birding with many migrants present
  • Lots of newborn animals
  • Wildlife viewing in the main parks is not as good as in the Dry season
  • It can be very hot

Flag of Uganda Uganda in January

  • Low rainfall and lots of sunny days
  • Excellent time for gorilla and chimp trekking
  • Good wildlife viewing in the savannah reserves as animals gather around water sources
  • There are many baby animals around
  • It is high season and gorilla permits need to be booked long in advance

Flag of Tanzania Tanzania in January

  • Opportunity to witness the wildebeest calving in Southern Serengeti
  • Good wildlife viewing in the Northern circuit parks
  • Beautiful scenery after the rains
  • There are many sunny days and little rain
  • Wildlife viewing isn’t very good in the Southern and Western circuit parks

Flag of Rwanda Rwanda in January

  • Good wildlife viewing and lush scenery in Akagera National Park
  • There are many newborn animals
  • There is a dry spell in the Wet season
  • It still rains regularly in January; June to September is more reliably dry

Flag of Namibia Namibia in January

  • Beautiful scenery and little dust in the sky
  • Fantastic birding with migratory birds present
  • It is low season with few visitors around
  • Wildlife viewing is not as good as in the Dry season, especially in Etosha National Park
  • It is very hot

Flag of Kenya Kenya in January

  • Great wildlife viewing in all parks
  • Many newborn animals around
  • Excellent birding and migratory birds are present
  • It is high season and some parks can get very busy

Flag of Botswana Botswana in January

  • Lush scenery, great birding and many newborn animals
  • Excellent time to see the annual zebra migration in Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
  • Low-season rates may apply
  • Wildlife viewing in most parks is not as good as in the Dry season
  • Peak of the Wet season, some parks and lodges close down

Visiting month

Best safari parks to visit in january.

See below for an overview of the best parks to visit in Africa by country. Please note that the listings focus on the most popular parks only and are not comprehensive.

Flag of Botswana Botswana

Best parks & reserves in january.

Central Kalahari GR

Central Kalahari GR Excellent

Nxai Pan NP

Nxai Pan NP Excellent

Chobe NP

Chobe NP Good

Makgadikgadi Pans NP

Makgadikgadi Pans NP Good

Flag of Kenya Kenya

Amboseli NP

Amboseli NP Excellent

Lake Nakuru NP

Lake Nakuru NP Excellent

Samburu NR

Samburu NR Excellent

Masai Mara NR

Masai Mara NR Good

Flag of Namibia Namibia

Skeleton Coast NP

Skeleton Coast NP Excellent

Namib-Naukluft NP

Namib-Naukluft NP Good

Flag of Rwanda Rwanda

Akagera NP

Akagera NP Excellent

Flag of South Africa South Africa

No Best Parks & Reserves in January

South Africa does not have parks that are best visited in January. When to visit South Africa?

Flag of Tanzania Tanzania

Ngorongoro Crater

Ngorongoro Crater Excellent

Lake Manyara NP

Lake Manyara NP Good

Serengeti NP

Serengeti NP Excellent

Flag of Uganda Uganda

Bwindi NP

Bwindi NP Excellent

Kibale NP

Kibale NP Excellent

Murchison Falls NP

Murchison Falls NP Excellent

Queen Elizabeth NP

Queen Elizabeth NP Excellent

Flag of Zambia Zambia

Zambia does not have parks that are best visited in January. When to visit Zambia?

Flag of Zimbabwe Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe does not have parks that are best visited in January. When to visit Zimbabwe?

All Parks & Reserves

Safari highlights in january.

Nature doesn’t follow a script. Every day on safari is filled with special moments and unexpected sightings. However, some travel highlights are tied to the seasons. Read on if you want some inspiration on where to go on safari in January.

Wildebeest Calving Season in the Serengeti, Tanzania

During January and February more than a million wildebeest take a break from their perpetual migration to have their young. They settle in the Ndutu area of the Southern Serengeti to calve and nurture their newborns until they are strong enough to start their journey north. Within a three-week period about half a million wildebeest are born. Thousands of zebras and gazelles follow the same script, and the abundance of babies attracts an all-time high of predators to the area.

The Okavango–Makgadikgadi Zebra Migration in Botswana

Much less known than the wildebeest migration in East Africa is the annual zebra migration between the Okavango Delta and Makgadikgadi Pans NP in Botswana. Triggered by rain, about 20,000 zebras travel the 500km return route to spend January to March at the pans. As most animal migrations in southern Africa have been eradicated due to fences and human habitation blocking the ancient routes, witnessing this great trek is extremely special.

Excellent Time for Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

January is a prime time for gorilla trekking in Uganda. Although Uganda has a very wet climate, January is one of the drier months. Gorilla trekking is offered throughout the year, but continuous rain in the Wet season can make forest paths very slippery and this can make the tracking more challenging. And, as you’ll get just one precious hour to spend with these gentle giants, the dry conditions in January are perfect to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience to the fullest.

Perfect Time to Climb Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania

You might see Mt Kilimanjaro on a clear day while on safari in Kenya or Tanzania. For most of us that it enough. However, if you want to climb Africa’s highest mountain (and the world’s tallest free-standing mountain) you might want to consider what is the best time to take on this great challenge. January is an ideal month as it is relatively dry, not too busy, and there is a good chance of plenty of snow on the summit.


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kenya safari january 2024

  • Kenya in January

Africa's best authentic tailor-made safaris

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By Matthys van Aswegen

Safari Travel Planner

January tends to fall in Kenya’s wet season in the broader sense of the term (November to May). It lies outside of the two notable ‘long’ and ‘short’ rain periods, which means that you can expect much less rain with stunning landscapes, albeit unpredictable at times. Potential showers are generally quite short and occur in the afternoon, so they won’t affect your safari.

Rain in Kenyas rainy season

Nairobi and the central highlands are hot by day, cool by night, and receive moderate rain. Mombasa and the coast are scorching by day, rather hot at night, and receive little rainfall.

The Rift Valley and western interior are hot by day, cool at night, and receive very little rainfall.

  • January is a good time for beach holidays on the Kenyan coast, though daytime temperatures can get very high. This is an excellent time to visit the Mara because January is when it experiences one of its driest spells, with only around five days of rain.
  • Game viewing in most Kenya safari destinations is good in January. Birdlife is boosted by a variety of intra-African and Palaearctic migrants.
  • For divers and snorkelers, January is probably the best month to see larger marine creatures such as whale sharks, manta rays, and various sharks, dolphins, and turtles.
  • Being relatively warm and dry, January is one of the best months for climbing Mount Kenya.

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With over 20 years of experience, our team will help you tailor your itinerary to your perfect adventure., 24/7 support, personalized, popular kenya safaris, these recommended tours for kenya can be tailor-made to match your budget..

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Free safari planning advice from destination experts

  • Kenya in February
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  • Amboseli National Park
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  • Samburu Springs and Mount Meru National Park
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kenya safari january 2024

Masai Mara Migration Safari July to October

Mara Migration Safari

Tour Information

Photo opportunities, price per person sharing: usd $4800, masai mara migration safari.

TOUR DEPARTS: Daily July to October 2024 (Accommodation depends on availability) PRICE PER PERSON SHARING: USD $4800


Day 1: Nairobi

Upon your arrival at Nairobi International airport, your driver/guide will be there to offer you a warm welcome onboard your Masai Mara Migration Safari. Our capable driver will be waiting to transport you to The Boma Hotel, where we have booked luxury accommodation for our first night’s stay. This grand hotel is equipped with all the amenities necessary for a comfortable and restful experience before our Masai Mara migration safari begins.

Since we understand that you may need to recuperate from your flight, we have not scheduled any activities for the first afternoon/evening. You can take advantage of the hotel’s numerous conveniences to unwind. You may choose to indulge in a massage at the spa, relax by the swimming pool, or have a drink at the bar. You can rest assured that you will have a pleasant and restful experience.

Dinner is not included in our plan; therefore, you will be responsible for paying for your dinner. There are numerous options available for dinner. You could choose to dine in the Boma’s in-house restaurant, Johari, or you could take a taxi or Uber to discover an excellent restaurant in Nairobi. Alternatively, you may opt to relax in your room and enjoy the 24-hour room service or even Uber Eats.

Accommodation: The Boma Hotel

Meal Plan: Meals not included.

Day 2: Nairobi – Nairobi National Park, Elephant Orphanage & Giraffe Centre

At 7:00 am, following a delightful buffet breakfast, our drivers will collect you from The Boma Hotel to embark on a morning game drive at Nairobi National Park. What sets this wildlife sanctuary apart is that it is the only national park in the world situated in a capital city. Despite being situated on the outskirts of Nairobi’s bustling city center; the park is home to a variety of animals.

While the park doesn’t host elephants, it is home to a substantial number of black and white rhinos, which are rare sightings in most African national parks. Additionally, there is an abundance of other animals to see such as Cape Buffalo, Zebra, Masai Giraffe, and Ostrich. Occasionally, lions can be seen prowling the plains, scouting for prey from atop stone blocks.

Nairobi National Park is also home to some rarer species such as leopards, serval cats, black-backed jackals, hippos, and on rare occasions, cheetahs and hyenas.

At 10:30 am, proceed to the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, where spending an hour observing and photographing rescued baby elephants during their morning feeding and playtime in mud pools. A handler will give a talk on the elephants and the story behind each calf’s rescue, as well as the history of the Elephant Orphanage.

At noon, take a brief drive to the Nairobi Giraffe Centre. Here, the opportunity to get up close and personal with the endangered Rothschild giraffes and even hand-feed them from either the platform or ground level. The center also features a teahouse where we can relax and enjoy a drink while watching the giraffes, as well as a vast souvenir shop. All proceeds from the Giraffe Centre go towards supporting charities focused on conservation and the underprivileged.

Return to your hotel for lunch and relax in the afternoon. If you wish, your driver can take you to a restaurant of your choice and take you any other place you wish to visit in Nairobi (price excluded)

Meal Plan: Breakfast only, Lunch and Dinner is excluded.

Day 3: Masai Mara National Park

Following breakfast, embark on a picturesque journey through the vast expanse of the Great Rift Valley to reach the renowned Masai Mara National Park – undoubtedly the most sought-after and emblematic destination for an African safari adventure. Widely recognized as one of the continent’s most prominent national parks, the Masai Mara has been the location for countless wildlife documentaries, cementing its place as the world’s most filmed wildlife reserve.

Arrive at lunchtime at an award-winning luxury lodge located close to the Masai Mara Park gates. Keekorock lodge is located close to the Talek river, filled with Nile crocodiles and hippopotamus and savannahs filled with wildlife.  The perfect destination for a Masai Mara migration safari.

Keekorock lodge is one of the few lodges in Kenya which is not fenced meaning wildlife can wonder through the camp. Don’t worry, there are armed guards to walk you to and from your room.

Between game drives you may wish to have a drink at the hippo bar, a beautiful little bar set up overlooking a large pond filled with hippopotamus and nile crocodiles. As well as views of the savannah.

After lunch we take an afternoon game drive exploring the Masai Mara rich in wildlife sightings. 

At 6.30 pm we return to Keekorock Lodge for a delicious dinner and relax after another amazing day on Safari.

 Accommodation: Keekorock Lodge

Meal Plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner included.

Day 4 & 5: Masai Mara National Park

  The Masai Mara is filled with wildlife which we search for over the next two days. Also, this particular area is great for seeing the great migration this time of year. Approximately 36 prides of lion the Masai Mara is arguably the best place to lions in the wild. It is highly likely you will see lions on ever Masai Mara safari. Cheetahs are also often seen in this area hunting on the open plains.

Being the peak of the Great Migration , more than two million wildebeest, zebra & gazelle will fill the plains of the Masai Mara on their annual journey from the Serengeti. Driving through these large herds is an amazing sight to see and if we are lucky, we may see the herds crossing the Mara or Talek River.

The Mara and Talek rivers have many pods if hippopotamus and are home to the largest nile crocodiles in Africa. All of Africa’s big 5 are found here as well as many zebras, wildebeest, topi, Thompsons gazelle, masai giraffe, hartebeest and much more. Over the next two days you can either take full day game drives which will take place from 8:00am – 4:00pm with a packed lunch or split the game drive up into a morning and afternoon game drive with all meals at Keekorock Lodge.

Accommodation:  Keekorock Lodge

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 6: Amboseli National Park

After breakfast we take a short game drive enroute to the Keekorock Airstrip saving 10 hours on the road by taking a one-hour flight to Amboseli National Park .

Arrive at Amboseli air strip and meet with your driver and transfer to your stunning accommodation for the next two nights ‘Kibo Safari Camp’ An amazing tented camp with breathtaking views of Mount Kilimanjaro, which is Africa’s tallest mountain.

At 16:00 hours, take a game drive in search of Amboseli’s popular residents.  This includes the well-known predators like lions, hyenas and cheetahs. Set against the stunning background of Kilimanjaro, Amboseli also hosts a large population of cape buffalo, giraffe, zebra and wildebeest. However the number one attraction at Amboseli is undoubtably the many large herds of elephants that call Amboseli National Park home, Amboseli is without doubt one of the best places to see elephants in Africa.

Accommodation: Kibo Safari Camp

Day 7: Amboseli National Park

Today take either two game drives from 8:00am to 11:30 am and 3:30pm to 6:30pm. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served at our lodge. Or take one game drive from 8:00am until 4:00pm with a packed picknick lunch.

Spend game drives enjoying watching some of the many large herds of elephants, cape buffalo, gazelles, zebra and wildebeest, with fantastic background views of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Many more beautiful animals are found here, such as lion, cheetah, hyena, giraffe, hippopotamus and a large variety of birds.

Amboseli National Park is mostly dry savannah, however there is a large swampland which is stays year-round no matter how dry the lands get. This swampland is created by the melting icecap that runs down Mount Kilimanjaro. This swampland often has elephant and cape buffalo in large herds as it is one of the few water sources in Amboseli.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Day 8: Nairobi/departure

Today is the last day on your Masai Mara Migration Safari. After breakfast at Kibo Safari Camp, return to Nairobi arriving around midday. Visit a restaurant for lunch and transfer to Nairobi airport for an afternoon departure. 

Meal Plan: Only breakfast is included.

What’s Included?

What’s included? 

  • All transport in a 4×4 safari land cruiser with a pop up roof
  • Arrival & Departure airport transfers complimentary to all our clients
  • Transportation as per itinerary
  • Accommodation per itinerary
  • One double deluxe room or Single deluxe room
  • Meals as per itinerary Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
  • Services of English-speaking drivers/guides
  • National park & game reserve entrance fees as per itinerary
  • Recommended Mineral Water while on safari

Things Excluded 

  • Visa and related costs, Personal Taxes Drinks, tips, laundry, telephone calls and other items of a personal nature
  • International flights
  • Optional excursions and activities not listed in the itinerary
  • Covid testing on departure

Frequently Asked Questions

Can i bring my children on an african safari.

You can bring children on your safari tour of Kenya, however I recommend my tours for children aged 12 and over, due to the long days and unfamiliar conditions.

What should I bring on the tour?

We recommend you bring the following on your tour: 

  • Strong, non-slip walking shoes
  • Hat (wide-brimmed is best)
  • Casual and comfortable clothing

How many people are on each tour?

We have a maximum of 9 people on the tour. You will travel in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle. Each vehicle will have a maximum of 5 people to give you more space while on safari.

Can I request special food requirements?

We are able to cater for one of the following special dietary requests upon request at time of booking: vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free or dairy-free. 

If you have a food allergy (e.g. peanuts), please advise at the time of booking and carry any necessary medication with you on tour.

How long will I be walking for?

The longest you can expect to walk for on this African safari tour is 2 hours per walk, at a relaxed pace.

What are the rules for drinks?

Meals are included but drinks and tips are not. You can pay for drinks with a credit card or cash in most locations.

How safe will I be in Kenya?

Your safety is a top priority. All parks are guarded at entry and exit points. In terms of being safe near animals, you will be reminded never to leave a vehicle while on game drives. All accommodation is protected with electric fences and very safe.


By booking a tour, you confirm you have read and accepted the terms and conditions and cancellation policy. 

Please click here for the full terms and conditions.

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Nairobi Safaris & Tours 2024

  • Start Date Select Month June 2024 July 2024 August 2024 September 2024 October 2024 November 2024 December 2024 January 2025 February 2025 March 2025 April 2025 May 2025 June 2025 July 2025 August 2025 September 2025 October 2025 November 2025 December 2025 January 2026 February 2026 March 2026 April 2026 May 2026 June 2026 OR, More specific start
  • Easy Active
  • Most Popular
  • Scheduled Group Tour
  • Solo Travel
  • Wildlife & Safari Exploration
  • Horseback Riding
  • Local Market Visits
  • Village Visits
  • Wilderness Lodge Exploration
  • Wildlife Viewing

East Africa Trails

  • Visit elephant sanctuary
  • Search for wildlife
  • Learn about the region

Kenya Trails

  • Safari in the Masai Mara
  • Explore Karen Suburbs
  • Stay in a tented camp
  • Visit elephant orphanage

Highlights of Kenya

  • Search for elephants
  • Search for Elephants
  • Visit Masai Mara
  • Learn about Masai

Elewana Fly-In Safari

  • Walk around the African bushes
  • Join Lion tracking in Loisaba
  • Witness wildebeest migration
  • Do stargazing under the sky
  • Enjoy safari activities

Kenya Family Safari

  • See the Big Five animals
  • Embark on a scenic boat ride
  • Join a game ride
  • Spot some zebras
  • Visit the rescued chimpanzees

Luxury Kenya Safari

  • See the big five
  • Explore Mara North Conservancy
  • Join game rides

Governors' Il Moran Camp Fly-In Safari

  • Spot the Big nine
  • Ride 4x4 Safari game drives
  • Stay at Governors' Camp
  • Mingle with Masai locals

Peak of Mt Kenya

  • Climb to the peak of Mount Kenya
  • Witness Mt. Kenya's panoramic view
  • Explore Mt Kenya's reserve
  • View wild animals

Great East Africa Migration

  • Witness the Great Migration
  • Visit the Olduvai Gorge
  • Search for the Big Five
  • Experience game-viewing

Classic Kenya Safari

  • Explore Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
  • Join game drives in Ol Lentille
  • Discover Laikipia conservancy
  • Experience a night game drive

Livingstone Safari

  • See Mount Kilimanjaro
  • Walk around Tsavo West river forest
  • Spot giraffes in Amboseli
  • Stay at the wilderness camp

A Walk in the Wild

  • See varied wildlife population
  • Enjoy variety of Safari scenery
  • Explore magnificent Loita Hills
  • Learn Maasai tribe culture.

East African Style

  • Explore private reserves
  • Stay in safari lodges
  • Search for the Big 5
  • Enjoy light aircraft flights

Top Nairobi Travel Destinations

Nairobi trips by departure date.

  • 2024 Nairobi trips (13)
  • 2025 Nairobi trips (9)
  • 2026 Nairobi trips (4)
  • June 2024 (13)
  • July 2024 (13)
  • August 2024 (13)
  • September 2024 (13)
  • October 2024 (13)
  • November 2024 (12)
  • December 2024 (13)
  • January 2025 (9)
  • December 2025 (6)

Top Experiences in Nairobi

  • Nairobi Land Tours (13)
  • Nairobi Wildlife & Safari Exploration (13)
  • Nairobi Solo Travel (6)
  • Nairobi Trekking (4)
  • Nairobi Cultural (3)

Nairobi Trips by Activity

  • Nairobi wildlife viewing (13)
  • Nairobi village visits (5)
  • Nairobi camping (3)
  • Nairobi wilderness lodge exploration (3)

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kenya safari january 2024

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Best Safari Destinations in Africa for 2024

The Big Five have never been more appealing. Here are our big five safari destinations Africa for 2024 and beyond

kenya safari january 2024

“There is something about safari life that makes you forget all your sorrows and feel as if you had drunk half a bottle of champagne—bubbling over with heartfelt gratitude for being alive.” Karen Blixen, of Out of Africa fame, waxed rhapsodic about the wonders of the mighty continent and the appeal of a safari. Most of us have only seen wild elephants and lions in documentaries, but there’s nothing more thrilling than seeing these mighty beasts in their natural habitat. An elephant calf playfully following the herd, an ochre-hued lion gazing intently at wildebeests, a giraffe slowly chewing the branches from an acacia tree. Witnessing these animals on a safari in Africa truly transforms you and your views on conservation and sustainability.

Africa boasts dozens of countries, each with their own cultures, languages and norms, but across this dynamic continent, from north to south, lie wilderness parks, savannahs and velds where the Big Five—lions, elephants, cape buffalos, rhinos and leopards—and other animals live peacefully under the watchful eye of park rangers and conservationists. Check out our top five best safari destinations in Africa for 2024. 

kenya safari january 2024

Botswana boasts so many natural wonders, it’s hard to pick a place to start when heading here for a safari adventure. The Okavango River Delta, the largest inland delta in the world, offers miles upon miles of myriad waterways, lagoons and grassy flood plains where one can admire mighty beasts from a safe vantage point in an overland truck. Get as close as you can get to African elephants as well as lions and leopards on a Botswana safari .

The Moremi Game Reserve, situated in the heart of the delta, is the perfect campsite for any driving safari as you’ll be rewarded with hippos, Cape buffalos, lions, leopards and the ever elusive Tawny Eagle. If you love elephants as much as we do, Chobe National Park on the border of Botswana and Zambia, boasts a herd population of around 50,000 elephants across the savannah. A Botswana safari is the perfect choice if you want to splurge on a private African safari tour as you get personal chefs and other amenities.

kenya safari january 2024

Kenya offers tantalizing glimpses of wildlife from any budget or luxury African safari tour. With more than 800 safari tours to choose from, travelers will find it hard to pick just one. Head to the Masai Mara for gaming drives that ensure you see at least one or two of the Big Five. Tsavo West National Park goes beyond the Big Five and offers rhinos, hippos, cheetahs and plant and bird species that you can’t find anywhere else. This rugged wilderness boasts verdant plains thanks to watering holes such as Mzima Springs. 

Mt. Kilimanjaro is the resident icon here and with its snow-capped peaks as a backdrop, you’ll find elephants migrating from one watering hole to another at Amboseli National Park. Lake Naivasha, a freshwater lake, is a great vantage point to admire birds as well as hippos among papyrus reeds and flat-topped acacias. After six days of trekking and hiking, relax in your air-conditioned hotel in Nairobi when you’re done.

South Africa

kenya safari january 2024

When one thinks of the Big Five, South Africa immediately comes to mind as it’s considered the place to see all of these animals in their natural habitat. A safari in South Africa means you’ll be guaranteed lions, leopards, rhinos, and other wildlife across a five- to eight-day African safari. 

From the verdant banks of Lake Saint Lucia in iSimangaliso Wetland Park to the grassy plains of Kruger National Park, South Africa teems with wildlife that is indigenous to the continent. Blyde River Canyon, the third largest of its kind in the world, boasts gorges and greenery like you’ve never seen anywhere else on earth. Expect views of the rivers and valleys laid out like a banquet feast for the senses. Meandering ribbons of blue traverse the landscape and waterfalls are carved into cliff sides, offering a pleasing respite from long days in an overland truck tour. 

kenya safari january 2024

For African safari tours, Tanzania is always at the top when one thinks of best safari destinations in Africa. With sites such as Ngorongoro Crater, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tarangire National Park, and Serengeti National Park it isn’t not hard to see why. A Tanzania safari is a one-of-a-kind experience thanks to the Great Migration. This annual event sees more than 2 million animals, mainly wildebeests, zebras and giraffes, traverse the golden plains of Serengeti National Park, from Tanzania to nearby Kenya. A safari in Tanzania is always appealing thanks to conservation efforts that preserve the Big Five and other wildlife as well as fertile soil and abundant watering holes.  

On any given Tanzania safari, expect iconic wildlife while on a game drive and close-but-not-too close interactions with animals (perfect for anyone looking for an African safari photography tour); it’s one of our favorites because of this personal interaction. Descend into Ngorongoro crater where you might be lucky enough to spot an endangered black rhino or visit a Maasai village to learn about their way of life. 

kenya safari january 2024

While most people head on an African safari to see the Big Five, there are other animals just as majestic and endangered as the mighty lion. Uganda boasts gorilla safaris so you can do your best Jane Goddall impression watching primates in their native habitat.

Before you get to the primates, travel to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary to admire rare white rhinos, which have been saved from the brink of extinction by park rangers here. Track chimpanzees, our closest animal relatives, in Kibale Forest National Park. Then it’s time to hike 4-6 hours to see mountain gorillas.

In Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park you’ll get to spend one hour admiring these majestic beats in the dense foliage. Grab your camera and quietly take photos of these sociable creatures who are often in family groups of more than a dozen, led by an alpha male. These mighty animals can look placid but can be quite intimidating when viewed up close so don’t use your video camera or flash. You’ll leave your Uganda gorilla safari with a new appreciation for primates of all sizes. 

See Also: Best Safari Destinations In the World

kenya safari january 2024

Shandana A. Durrani

Shandana A. Durrani is the Head of Content & Brand at TourRadar. A former Senior Editor at Cigar Aficionado and a former Dining Editor at Google, Durrani has written about travel for Condé Nast Traveler, Afar, Silverkris and Metro London and is the author of “Day Trips from New York City.”

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Africa holidays

A thrill-seeker's paradise and an amazing place of contrasts

Prices from  £952pp.

From road and flying safaris across East Africa's national parks or luxurious private game reserve stays in South Africa, to stylish city stays in Cape town or scenic flydrives along the famous Garden Route.

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South Africa

Holidays in South Africa

Hotels in africa, highlights of africa.

A land of dramatic scenery, unique ecosystems and a diverse population, a life-changing journey awaits in Africa. Here are its best attractions.

  • Stay at the luxurious  Royal Livingstone Hotel  in  Zambia , right on the banks of the Zambezi River and Victoria Falls, the world’s largest waterfall. 
  • Experience luxury tented accommodation at Governor’s Camp on the Mara River or Richard Branson’s  Mahali Mzuri . During your stay, enjoy champagne picnics and private dining.
  • Discover Arab architecture in the exotic Old Town of Mombasa.
  • Take a guided tour of a Kenyan village and learn about Maasai tribe traditions.
  • See the Dhow building industry, street bazaars and spice farms of  Zanzibar .
  • Take the family to  Kenya , a major safari destination for seeing the Big Five and spot pink flamingoes on Lake Nakaru. 
  • Go on spectacular game drives in  Tanzania  across the Serengeti plains.
  • See hyena, wild dogs, lions and herds of buffalo in  Botswana .
  • Sail in a mokoro along Botswana’s Okavango Delta, a river that never reaches the sea, and see 400+ species of bird and the endangered rhino in the Moremi Game Reserve.

Seeing as Africa is the world's second largest and second most-populous continent, I am sure you can imagine just how many beautiful places there are to see within it. Take a look at some of our most treasured locations that will be sure to offer you the holidays of a lifetime in Africa .

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20 of the coolest travel adventures for 2024

From a horseback safari in Kenya to river rafting in West Virginia, here’s our ranked list of the top travel experiences right now.

This page is a portal.   No, really, it is: Our annual Best of the World feature is a gateway to the streets of Paris , the snowy Caucasus Mountains of Georgia , the ancient rock art of Algeria . To help us engage with places more deeply and meaningfully, we drew on National Geographic’s global community of experts to create the following ranked list of 20 great adventures for 2024. Read on and you’ll discover that this page is also a celebration—of travel’s power to transform us and our connections with one another.

#1: Go on horseback safari in Kenya

Guide Hamprey Mweterwa, and riders Llewellyn, Eloise and Tatiana Rose Dyer, watch a herd of zebra from atop their horses in Borana Conservancy, Kenya

A safari in Africa usually conjures an image of mud-spattered 4x4 vehicles bouncing through the bush. But there’s another way to travel: on horseback .  

Although horse safaris originated in Kenya in the 1970s, they’re a perfect fit for today’s growing number of travelers looking for more engaging, sustainable wildlife encounters. At the 32,000-acre Borana Conservancy , two stables house thoroughbreds and ex-polo ponies for riders of all skill levels. Visitors can book half-day, full-day, or overnight rides. July through September is the prime time to go.

Since wildlife perceive equines as just another animal, exploring the landscape atop a horse makes for an intimate experience. “To journey on horseback is to break down the walls—meant to protect but also to separate—between oneself and the natural world,” says Nichole Sobecki , a photographer and equestrian who’s ridden in Borana. “Your horse is a translator, responding to the low growl of the lion, the soft scent of a herd of elephants.” A horse’s ears are an advance warning system, she says, helping knowledgeable guides navigate routes.

#2: Run an Olympic marathon in Paris

Silhouettes of runners pass in front of the Eiffel Tower during the 45th edition of the Paris Marathon

For the first time, members of the public will be able to run their own marathon during the 2024 Summer Olympics , in Paris, France , just one initiative aimed at creating a more inclusive Games.  

Slated to be held the evening of August 10, between the men’s and women’s official races, the Marathon for All will allow 20,024 qualifying lottery winners on the 26.2-mile route that links Paris and Versailles , a loop beginning at the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) and passing through nine arrondissements before finishing at Les Invalides on the banks of the Seine. Before or after the big event, learn the route to follow in their tracks.  

#3: Ski tour UNESCO sites in Georgia

Long a means of transportation, exploration, and hunting, skiing is still a way of life in the mountainous republic of Georgia. Now visitors can enjoy some of the nation’s best backcountry skiing in the Caucasus with the help of outfitters such as Svaneti Ski and Georgia Ski Touring . In Svaneti, excursions may lead skiers through panoramic Gvibari Pass or to medieval Ushguli villages, among the highest continuously inhabited in Europe. The best times to experience this are December to April.

#4: Bear watch in Katmai National Park

Brown bears (Ursus arctos) graze on sedge grass in Hallo Bay in Alaska's Katmai National Park

Alaska ’s Katmai National Park is home to one of the highest concentrations of brown bears in the world. Far from the crowded viewing platforms of the Brooks Camp Visitor Center, a guided trip along the Katmai coast with outfitters like AK Adventures reveals a different side of the park.

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Here, the bears feast on a diversity of foods: sedges, grasses, razor clams, salmon. “For me, seeing a single brown bear in the wild is meaningful because it is a sign that the landscape is healthy enough to support it,” says Alaska photographer Acacia Johnson , a frequent National Geographic contributor.

#5: Hear legendary live music in Kyoto

A singer on stage rocks out with a guitar

Guidebooks speak of Kyoto as frozen in time, with hushed temples and meditative gardens. But after hours, Japan ’s former imperial capital reveals a live music scene that can be loud and irreverent. At venues like Jittoku and Field , rock, swing, and even Irish music echo into the night. Whatever you’re into, from jazz to punk, there’s a community to share your jam. “This is what happens in Japan when the mask comes off,” says Kyoto guide Van Milton.

#6: Cruise an epic river in Colombia

A view down onto the Magdalena River

About 80 percent of Colombia ’s population lives in the river basin of the Magdalena, which flows for nearly a thousand miles from the Andes to the Caribbean. AmaWaterways’ new cruises on the river—said to be the first by a major cruise operator—take seven-night trips from Cartagena via Mompós to Barranquilla. Stops at colonial towns, performances of vallenato   and cumbia music, and visits to a stilt-house village highlight the region’s culture along this mighty waterway.

#7:   Road trip Route 66 in New Mexico

A ballon festival in Albuquerque at dusk

For nearly a century, Route 66 has beckoned to travelers. A trip along the Mother Road through New Mexico hits timeless landmarks , such as quirky motels and curio shops in and around Tucumcari and symbolic etchings in Petroglyph National Monument . In Gallup—mentioned as one of the places to “get your kicks” in Nat King Cole’s 1946 hit song “Route 66”—you can take in performances featuring Zuni, Lakota, and Diné (Navajo) dancers.  

Some 18 miles of the highway traverse Albuquerque , the longest urban interlude of the route in the United States. And it’s getting a half-million-dollar glow-up with the ongoing restoration of vintage neon signs along Central Avenue.  

While cruising down the brightened strip, stop at the new West Central Route 66 Visitor Center , with its museum and outdoor amphitheater. The center will host events like lowrider car shows, drive-in movies, and artisan markets.

#8: Explore ancient art in Algeria

A guide, wearing the traditional robes and shesh headscarf of the nomadic Tuareg tribe, stands on an outcrop at Adrit.

Algeria is home to Africa’s largest national park, which holds one of the world’s greatest concentrations of ancient rock art. Tassili n’Ajjer National Park is a geologic wonderland of sandstone towers, arches, and sculpted outcrops. But these rock forests are only half the story.  

Neolithic herders and hunter-gatherers carved 15,000 petroglyphs here, including images of elephants, giraffes, and rhinos. These animals are more commonly associated with sub-Saharan Africa—a hint that this arid wilderness was once a grassland crisscrossed by waterways. Five- to seven-day guided tours with Fancy Yellow take in the most spectacular works of Tassili’s art, like the “Crying Cows,” engraved at the base of a stone pinnacle 7,000 years ago.  

Travelers with more time might want to combine a trip to Tassili with a visit to the Algerian Sahara’s other great geologic marvel: the extraordinary mountain range of Ahaggar National Park .

#9: Dive with sharks in Western Australia

kenya safari january 2024

Stretching almost 700 miles along the Indian Ocean north of Perth, Western Australia’ s Coral Coast is studded with natural wonders. But Ningaloo Reef is the star. Here, you can dive with giants: Some 300 to 500 whale sharks ,   one of the largest congregations on Earth, gather along the reef each year between March and July. Ethical outfitters ensure divers give the sharks space and avoid feeding them or using flash photography.  

Even more megafauna abound from July to October, when about 40,000 humpback whales migrate along the Coral Coast. You can also commune with more than 10,000 dugongs in Shark Bay or swim with manta rays at Coral Bay.  

#10: Hike a volcano in Panama

A sustainability leader, Panama recently launched its “1,000 Kilometers of Trails” project , which seeks to bring outdoor recreation and green tourism to rural communities and protected areas.

First out of the gate is the Ruta de la Caldera , a system of five trails around the extinct Valle de Antón volcano . The treks take in waterfall-speckled landscapes, according to photographer Rose Marie Cromwell , who hiked sections of the Ruta de la Caldera over five days.

“There were some spectacular views on top of the volcanic crater—interesting land formations covered in so much green,” she says.

#11: Catch the eclipse at Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls, a boat of tourists, and a rainbow as seen from Niagara Falls, Ontario

Directly in the path of totality, Niagara Falls will offer views of a total solar eclipse, which won’t occur again in the contiguous U.S. until 2044. For about three and a half minutes, beginning at approximately 3:18 p.m. on April 8, the sky will darken over the thunderous cataract as the moon crosses between Earth and the sun.  

On the U.S. side of the falls , Terrapin Point, Prospect Point, and the Observation Tower will be prime viewing areas (if clouds stay away). From the Canadian side, an excellent vantage point is Table Rock. A side bonus: The sunny-day rainbow that hovers above the falls will become pink.  

#12: Trek a glacier in Chile

In Chilean Patagonia‘s Laguna San Rafael National Park , visitors can trek to glaciers, taking in a panorama of pale blue ice massifs and glacial waterways. Some 17,300 glaciers still cover the whole of Patagonia’s ice fields, but rising temperatures are rapidly melting them. Climate scientists say sustainable tourism , such as hikes with Chilean outfitters like Turismo Valle Leones , supports local communities and inspires travelers to learn more about how to protect glaciers.

#13: Step back in time on Menorca

the archeological site of Naveta des Taudons lit up by a sky of stars

Spain ’s Balearic Islands are best known for the jet-set beach destinations of Ibiza and Mallorca . But quiet, less developed Menorca has a unique mother lode: The archipelago’s greatest repository of ancient architecture.

In an area of just 270 square miles, Menorca has a total of 1,574 inventoried archaeological sites , ranging from the foundation blocks of small dwellings to well-preserved village centers that existed long before the Roman Empire. Most striking are the navetas,   megalithic tombs dating back to 1600 B.C.; talayots, watchtowers built from mortarless blocks of limestone; and   taulas,   shrines exclusive to Menorca that evoke Stonehenge pillars. These remnants of the Talayotic Menorcan culture, the first civilization to inhabit the island, have now been inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List .  

The open-air monuments are easy to visit; the island’s Me-1 road passes by some of the best-preserved sites, including the settlements of Talatí de Dalt, Naveta des Tudons, and Taula de Torretrencada.

Reenter the 21st century at the new Hauser & Wirth gallery in the picturesque town of Mahón. Housed in repurposed 18th-century hospital buildings, the cultural venue presents contemporary art exhibits and has an outdoor sculpture trail with works by Louise Bourgeois and Joan Miró.

#14: Ride classic rails in Scotland

A view from inside the Royal Scotsman as it drives through the Highlands

Exploring Scotland ’s wild, scenic Highlands doesn’t have to mean roughing it. The Royal Scotsman train glides among the moody lochs and dramatic peaks in style. New suites debuting in May 2024 sport interiors that reflect the compelling landscapes through dark woods, wool tweeds , and richly patterned bespoke tartans crafted by Scottish brand Araminta Campbell . After a day spent hiking to waterfalls or playing rounds of golf (a sport inextricably tied to the nation), guests can wind down with a massage at the onboard spa.

Departing Edinburgh ’s Waverley Station, the two- to seven-night rail journeys cross the heart of the Highlands, from Perthshire to Inverness to the rugged west coast. During stops guests can tour castles, stargaze in Cairngorms National Park , sample whisky at revered distilleries, and even take a dip in a loch.

#15: Find authentic flavor in Thailand  

An overhead view of a plate of Northeastern style Thai cuisine

The Isaan region in northeastern Thailand is known for its distinctive cuisine that reflects influences from bordering Laos and Cambodia. “Isaan is a hidden gem of Thailand,” says Weerawat “Num” Triyasenawat, the chef at Samuay & Sons , a Michelin Guide -recommended restaurant in the Isaan city of Udon Thani.

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One key ingredient of the region’s delicious food is pla ra, a fermented-fish seasoning that boosts umami flavor. Local dishes include laab   (minced meat salad), traditionally served during celebrations.

#16: Wander tea trails in Sri Lanka

View over the tea plantations near Kotagala on stage 7 of the Pekoe Trail

Sri Lanka is virtually synonymous with tea. The island nation is one of the world’s top producers of tea leaves. British colonists introduced the first bushes about 200 years ago. Now visitors can trace the footsteps of historic planters on the new, nearly 200-mile Pekoe Trail , the country’s first long-distance walking route.  

Starting just outside Kandy, the trail follows the 19th-century tracks upon which workers and horse-drawn carts transported freshly plucked leaves. Hikers pass through hill towns and tea estates and can stop to take a cooking class or savor a cup of aromatic Ceylon tea.

#17: Gallery hop in São Paulo

Aerial view of the São Paulo Museum of Art (MAP) illuminated at night

São Paulo, Brazil ’s largest city, is an art lover’s paradise, home to numerous galleries, exhibitions, and street murals. The crowning jewel is the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP), which is expanding to showcase more of its 11,000-plus artworks, from pre-Renaissance paintings to contemporary sculptures. Departing from the usual model of exhibiting works on walls, MASP hangs some pieces against clear panels, allowing visitors to view the art from all angles.

#18: Raft the rapids in West Virginia  

An overhead view of people rafting the Gauley River in Gauley River National Recreation Area

Despite its name, West Virginia ’s New River is actually one of the oldest on Earth, perhaps as old as 360 million years. The river falls 750 feet in only 50 miles between sandstone cliffs. It eventually merges with the Gauley River.   Outfitters such as ACE Adventure Resort can arrange whitewater rafting trips here on Class III to V rapids through the longest and deepest river gorge in the Appalachians.  

#19: Go antiquing in Hudson Valley

Shoppers congregate inside the Basilica Hudson

The bucolic Hudson Valley is booming, thanks to an influx of New York City residents during the pandemic. But it’s long been a mecca for creatives: Its landscapes inspired America’s first artistic fraternity, the Hudson River School. Antique collectors will be drawn to the hundreds of stores, boutiques, craft shops, and flea markets that sell everything from colonial furniture and rare books to mid-century modern decor. For vintage finds, head to the Antique Warehouse in Hudson, Sister Salvage in Catskill, and Opera House Co. in Athens.

“There’s a common denominator here—the charming historic villages,” says Sarah Gray Miller, owner of Coxsackie antique store UnQuiet . From Stuyvesant to Saugerties, these towns “share a strong commitment to preservation.”

#20: Sleep on the water in British Columbia

The exterior of the Tofino Wilderness Resort reflected in the lake

The newly reopened Tofino Wilderness Resort , owned by the Ahousaht First Nation, is an idyllic base from which to explore the western coast of British Columbia ’s Vancouver Island. In the heart of Clayoquot Sound, the luxury floating lodge was renovated with lumber cut from timber which fell on-site. Through guided whale-watching trips or visits to the Freedom Cove artists’ sanctuary, the Ahousaht share with guests their philosophy, hishuk ish tsawalk (“everything is one”), celebrating the interconnectedness of people and nature in a land they’ve occupied for thousands of years.

Editor's note

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Animals Around The Globe (US)

Animals Around The Globe (US)

10 Best African Countries for Safari

Posted: April 30, 2024 | Last updated: April 30, 2024

kenya safari january 2024

Unleash the explorer within and embark on a journey that echoes with the rhythmic heartbeat of the wild! If you’re craving the ultimate safari adventure, look no further. We’ve meticulously curated the ultimate guide to unveil the 10 Best African Countries for Safari, designed especially for intrepid travelers yearning to witness nature’s grandeur up close.

Investigate the 10 Best African Countries for Safari below:

kenya safari january 2024

#1 Botswana

Recommended Tours:

Thus, poachers are seen as enemies of the people. As a result, Botswana has come into view as Africa's most sought-after ecotourism destination. Starting from the Chobe National Park to the Moremi Nature Reserve, you'll be able to witness numerous gems all around the country.

Back in 2014, Botswana widely banned the hunting of wild animals and implemented strict laws which are still in practice. The country resumes its zero-tolerance for poaching and their very own environmental minister, Tshekedi Khama, has even launched a shoot-to-kill policy for poachers.

Botswana, with its wildlife conservation and natural parks, is a haven for nature lovers. It is currently in the top 5, as its approach to the protection and conservation of wildlife is worth the praise. As a country, it is very forward-thinking, some may even call it aggressively forward-thinking when it comes to its preservation and anti-poaching laws.

<p><strong>Recommended Tours: </strong></p> <p>Not only do they have some of the best conservations, but Kenya is also home to 1100 different species of birds, 115 amphibians, 280 reptile species and not to mention 390 species of mammals. It is without any doubt, one of the best places to go for a Safari and witness wildlife.</p> <p>When it comes to parks and national reserves, Kenya houses 16 national reserves and 25 national parks. Along with that, the country also boasts numerous private conservations which are open for visitors.</p> <p>Kenya, as a country for Safari, is a force to reckon with. Its stunning wildlife environment is too phenomenal to put into words. Most of the African countries will not be able to even compete with their national parks and wildlife conservations. If you don't visit there at least once in your life, you're missing out on a huge chunk of excitement.</p>           Sharks, lions, tigers, as well as all about cats & dogs!           <a href=''>           Click here to get to the Animals Around The Globe profile page</a><b> and hit "Follow" to never miss out.</b>

Not only do they have some of the best conservations, but Kenya is also home to 1100 different species of birds, 115 amphibians, 280 reptile species and not to mention 390 species of mammals. It is without any doubt, one of the best places to go for a Safari and witness wildlife.

When it comes to parks and national reserves, Kenya houses 16 national reserves and 25 national parks. Along with that, the country also boasts numerous private conservations which are open for visitors.

Kenya, as a country for Safari, is a force to reckon with. Its stunning wildlife environment is too phenomenal to put into words. Most of the African countries will not be able to even compete with their national parks and wildlife conservations. If you don't visit there at least once in your life, you're missing out on a huge chunk of excitement.

<p><strong>Recommended Tours:</strong></p> <p>Its fertile land provides a safe and comforting home to around 200 mammal species. This includes elephants, hippos, monkeys and so much more. Along with 650 bird species and 5,500 plants. Even though the country is still underdeveloped and most of the population live in rural households, its national parks, and sight-seeing destinations are on the top 10 of our lists.</p> <p>Even though many would face some difficulties in locating Malawi on a map, given how tiny it is, the country is home to the world-renowned Lake Malawi National Park. This is practically one-third of the country and is the most biodiverse lake in the world.</p>           Sharks, lions, tigers, as well as all about cats & dogs!           <a href=''>           Click here to get to the Animals Around The Globe profile page</a><b> and hit "Follow" to never miss out.</b>

Its fertile land provides a safe and comforting home to around 200 mammal species. This includes elephants, hippos, monkeys and so much more. Along with 650 bird species and 5,500 plants. Even though the country is still underdeveloped and most of the population live in rural households, its national parks, and sight-seeing destinations are on the top 10 of our lists.

Even though many would face some difficulties in locating Malawi on a map, given how tiny it is, the country is home to the world-renowned Lake Malawi National Park. This is practically one-third of the country and is the most biodiverse lake in the world.

kenya safari january 2024

Most of the land in Namibia is occupied by the Kalahari and Namib Deserts. Along with that, the country also has 12 national parks and many other areas which are protected. So, if you go there for a safari, you'll have many rich areas to see and explore.

When it comes to countries with the least amount of population, Namibia is one of them. Which proves to be a good thing for nature. This is because most of the land in Namibia is still unspoiled by human filth or any sort of development, giving nature a chance to breathe.

kenya safari january 2024

In the country's Volcanoes National Park, you'll find 10 habituated gorilla families. Groups of 8 trekkers can visit them for one hour per day. But that's enough to get the best African safari experience. And as a nature lover, you'll enjoy the experience to the max.

If you've been around for some time, you'll be familiar with Rwanda's mountain gorillas. They were famously broadcasted and their fight for survival was shown on  National Geographic . This was all thanks to the late  Dian Fossey  back in the 1970s who advocated for the rights of these mountain gorillas throughout her life.

Considering the tragic history surrounding the mass genocide of the people of Rwanda back in 1994, it's truly a blessing what the country has achieved in the past 25 years. There have been countless investments in infrastructure. This has resulted in the country being a very fast-growing destination for ecotourism.

kenya safari january 2024

#6 South Africa

But given all the advantages, it's safe to conclude that South Africa also suffers from over-tourism. I mean, if you have so many great attractions, people will flock towards it. Chances are that you'll find yourself in the middle of dozens of unruly visitors who are not too keen on obeying the rules. This occurs mostly during the peak seasons.

Annually, the country has one million visitors. Its biggest attraction is the Kruger National Park with its enrichment in biodiversity. Visitors there also have the liberty to self-drive, thus, getting a first-person private but superb experience. 

For some time now, South Africa has been climbing the charts to become one of the most popular destinations for African safaris. Given its location, South Africa is a very convenient and cheap destination for people from the United States. Besides that, the country also boasts a well-developed infrastructure which makes it perfect for luxury travelers as well.

kenya safari january 2024

#7 Tanzania

One of the most popular locations would be the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The country is also a haven for 1100 different bird species. It's no wonder that Tanzania gets this much rep. Especially when the country boasts so many wonders.

We talked about Kenya being the top destination for Safari. Now Tanzania here takes second place in being the continent's most popular safari destination. And why shouldn't it? The country has 16 national parks and an extraordinary amount of wealth and wildlife wonders for the people to witness.

kenya safari january 2024

Some of its natural attractions include housing the highest mountain range in Africa. It also has the world's largest free-standing volcano and the second-largest freshwater lake. With its 30 national parks and other wildlife reserves, Uganda boasts many more sanctuaries which are worth the visit. Especially if you're a lover of nature and wildlife.

Often called "The Pearl of Africa", Uganda is certainly a great pick for an African safari. Its reputation as being one of the best ecotourism destinations comes from the country's natural attractions and wildlife.

<p><strong>Recommended Tours:</strong></p> <p>Out of its 20 national parks, the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park is home to many wildlife animals such as African elephants, Angolan giraffes, Cape buffalo, etc. Other than that, there are many private ownerships of National parks, notably the Kasanka National Park which is near the basin of Lake Bangweulu. It's a safe place where visitors can see 400 different avian species.</p> <p>Zambia may be a bit far down the list of popular destinations for your African safari, but many consider it to be a destination for diversified and immersive safari experiences, and making a notable feature on our 10 Best African Countries for Safari guide. The country is steadily focusing on conservation as their president has shown a keen interest and is working on building the nation's economy as well as the infrastructure.</p>

Out of its 20 national parks, the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park is home to many wildlife animals such as African elephants, Angolan giraffes, Cape buffalo, etc. Other than that, there are many private ownerships of National parks, notably the Kasanka National Park which is near the basin of Lake Bangweulu. It's a safe place where visitors can see 400 different avian species.

Zambia may be a bit far down the list of popular destinations for your African safari, but many consider it to be a destination for diversified and immersive safari experiences, and making a notable feature on our 10 Best African Countries for Safari guide. The country is steadily focusing on conservation as their president has shown a keen interest and is working on building the nation's economy as well as the infrastructure.

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Notes on a Last-Minute Safari

By David Sedaris

Hand holding a serving plate with a yellow zebra on it.

Listen to this article.

It was a good year for Christmas parties. At one, I met a number of authors I had always admired. This can be tricky, but they were all lovely. The food was lovely, too, though I dropped a miniature barbecue sandwich on the new white shirt I was wearing, and will likely never get the grease stain out.

At another party, the following week, I was introduced to a curator from the Metropolitan Museum. We talked about people who throw soup and oil on beloved paintings, hoping to draw attention to climate change or poor nutrition or whatever their cause is, and then I learned that he would soon be leaving on an African safari, the sort where you carry a camera rather than a gun.

“Have you been planning it for months?” I asked.

“Actually, it all came together over the past few weeks,” he told me.

On the subway home, I said to Hugh in the faux-pouty voice that I use to challenge extreme injustice—other couples taking a vacation when it should be us, for example—“Why can’t we go on a safari?”

A month later, we were in an open-sided four-by-four vehicle surrounded by seven lions, none of which seemed to care about us. All of them were female, and I wondered if, when writing about this afterward—for surely I would—I might be taken to task for using the term “lionesses.”

“Is it like referring to someone as a ‘waitress’ or a ‘stewardess’?” I whispered to Hugh, who was seated beside me, sketching. “Will people say, ‘Why did you have to mention their gender in the first place? Why can’t you just say “lions” and leave it at that?’ ”

To my mind, the gender mattered, since the females do the majority of the hunting, and are therefore scarier when they’re eight feet away and can surely smell you.

I looked the subject up later, when we got back to camp, and learned that there’s some debate about whether or not to refer to lionesses as “she-lions.” Of course, none of that debate is coming from the big-cat family. What surprised me about these animals was their playfulness, the way one would sidle up to another and gently swat her, or roll over on her back with her paws in the air. We’d been stationary for ten minutes or so when one of the seven walked in front of our four-by-four, hunched over, and defecated. I thought that, like a cat in a flower bed, she’d then cover it up, but no. The moment she rejoined the others, a jackal darted out of the tall grass, snatched the turd in his mouth, and was about to make off with it when a hyena intervened, and a struggle ensued.

“Over a turd ?” Hugh whispered.

We might have stayed there for hours, happily observing, but then another four-by-four pulled up. Its passengers went nuts: “Seven lionesses!” Hugh and I looked at the new arrivals with an expression that read, Um, they’re sort of ours. As if we personally had gathered them there. Then another four-by-four pulled up, and another after that.

I don’t know how many vehicles were roaming the Maasai Mara that afternoon. It’s a five-hundred-and-eighty-three-square-mile nature reserve, so had there been a thousand other four-by-fours we likely wouldn’t have seen more than a handful of them. June to October is the busiest season in Kenya, safari-wise, and this was early February. It was hot but not humid, and there were three of us in the vehicle: me, Hugh, and our twenty-six-year-old guide, Dalton, a Maasai tribesman who had on a moss-green shirt with the name of the place where we were staying embroidered on its right breast pocket. His pants were khaki and knee-length, worn with ankle-high suède boots.

Dalton’s hair was cut short. His head was almost perfectly round, and he was missing several of his bottom teeth. “What is it you would like to see?” he’d asked upon collecting us that first bright morning at the airstrip.

“A panda,” I told him.

On the ninety-minute drive to our camp, we saw every animal that was in “ The Lion King ” and then some. They were just there , like ants at a picnic, except that they were elephants and giraffes. We saw zebras and leopards and wildebeests and warthogs, all grazing or resting or fleeing on this grass-covered, seemingly limitless plain.

“Have you seen a kill?” people in the other four-by-fours—couples with camera lenses the size of the Hubble telescope—would ask. It didn’t take long to realize that seven lionesses weren’t enough. They had to have blood dripping from their jaws.

“On our first day, we saw a lion eating a wildebeest,” I’d tell them.

That was like saying you’d seen one eating a sandwich. The prize was to watch one pounce on her prey, and rip its throat out. “Just last month, a little after midnight, two lions took down a zebra right there next to your tent,” the woman who checked us into our camp told us, pointing over the railing to a shaded ravine. The camp was built on the banks of the Talek River, which was swollen from recent rains but still flowed lazily. There was no fence around the property. Wild animals came and went at their leisure, though during the day all we saw were crocodiles and mongooses. It was after dark that the action took place, so at night we had to be escorted from our tent to the common area by Maasai tribesmen carrying spears. The most dangerous animal—what Dalton called “the most killingest”—was the hippo. I had learned this years earlier from a nature documentary and was surprised, as they always look so happy to me, almost like they’re smiling.

We saw countless hippos in Kenya. “All they want is to get into our swimming pool,” the property manager, a man named Steven, told us. “And if that happens we will never get them out.”

He was giving us a tour, and was leading us from the hydroponic vegetable garden—the “ shamba of goodness,” it was called—to the recreation area. I looked at the man whose job it was to guard the pool we were passing. “What do hippos smell like?” I asked.

Steven thought for a moment. “Cows.”

There were nine tents in all. “Are there many other guests at the moment?” I’d asked the woman who checked us in.

“We have no guests here,” she told me, smiling so broadly I could see her gums. “Only family.”

Oh, no, I thought, for doesn’t a person go on safari to escape that kind of talk? Ditto “ shamba of goodness.”

If I know I have to get up early, I generally have a devil of a time falling asleep. The place where Hugh and I slept was a tent in the same way that a Shake Shack is an actual shack. The pitched ceiling was, at its highest point, twelve feet, and, not including our deck, which overlooked the river, we had a good nine hundred square feet of floor space—with a real floor. There was electricity and Wi-Fi. Potable water. A tub, a shower, and a toilet. Complimentary laundry service. Outstanding food. Our outings took place early in the morning and late in the afternoon, so I’d go to bed and, knowing that we needed to meet Dalton at 6 A.M. , lie awake while Hugh snored beside me. The book I’d brought along for the trip was “ The Andy Warhol Diaries ,” which didn’t at all fit the location. Nor did it make sense to watch, say, past seasons of “Project Runway.” We were in Kenya, after all, and could hear all sorts of creatures on the other side of our canvas walls, roaring and moaning and carrying on.

On the first night, I reached for my iPad and watched a documentary on baboons. It wasn’t the kind of program that gives the animals names and talks about them in a whisper (“. . . but Denice wasn’t about to give up that easily”). Still, it was less interesting than I wanted it to be. The best part was when the heir to the colony, a four-month-old male, was killed by an intruder and his mother carried his carcass around until it was just a rag of fur.

The following afternoon, we came upon a troop of baboons resting beside the river. There were at least thirty of them, many with babies on their backs. “Get out your camera,” Dalton said as he turned off the four-by-four’s engine. I’d told him from the get-go that photography was not my thing.

“I will not be taking a single picture,” I’d promised.

“Not even if we come upon a rhino?” he asked.

“Not even if we see one fighting a mother grizzly,” I told him.

Dalton kept thinking I’d buckle, but I never did, at least not in Kenya. Later, in Tanzania, I would pull out my phone, but not for an animal. Rather, it was for a sign painted on the wall of a gas station. “No Smorking,” it read.

Evan, one of the guards at our camp, also noticed that I wasn’t taking any photos. He was slight and handsome and was wearing a traditional Maasai outfit that consisted of two rectangles of plaid fabric, each a different color. On his feet were sandals made of old tires. He looked outstanding, as if he’d been dressed by Comme des Garçons. When I complimented him on his clothing, he removed the upper piece of fabric, which was worn almost like a shawl. “Here, try it on,” he said.

I wanted to explain that in America this would be called cultural appropriation.

“What’s that?” I could imagine him asking.

To be honest, I’ve never understood it myself. “I think it’s when you make a taco with, like, blue cheese on it” was the best I would have been able to come up with.

“Everyone else is photographing all the time,” Evan said, taking back the piece of fabric and sounding, if not hurt, then at least a little underappreciated. “So why not you?”

“I jot things down instead,” I told him, pulling my notebook from my pocket and showing it to him. “For instance, earlier today I wrote . . .” I looked at a page and groaned. It was as if a person with only two fingers—one on each hand—had written it. While in a bumper car.

I never saw a paved road in the Maasai Mara. A few were wide enough for two vehicles, but were still as rocky and hard to navigate as the barely discernible, often flooded paths we frequently found ourselves on. My big fear before going on safari was that I wouldn’t be able to exercise. We weren’t allowed to venture on foot beyond the confines of our camp, so I worried that in order to meet my daily Apple Watch minimum of ten thousand steps —roughly four and a half miles—I’d have to walk back and forth across our deck for hours on end. I had two and a half miles under my belt the morning that Dalton met us at the airstrip, and, by the time we reached our camp, I’d miraculously logged twice that many. It seemed my watch mistook the bumpiness of the road, and the jostling it gave rise to, for walking. This was great for my step count but awful for writing.

It was only when we stopped that I could record anything legible. That said, my notes weren’t always as illuminating as I’d expected them to be. “What does ‘Alt’ mean?” I asked Hugh over dinner one night.

He looked down at the page. “It’s not ‘Alt,’ ” he said. “It’s ‘A.L.T.’ ”

Then I remembered. We’d been out early that morning, observing a short parade of ostriches. It was misty, and I pointed to a vague shape on the horizon. “What’s that?” I asked Dalton.

He followed my finger and told me it was likely an A.L.T. “Animal-looking thing,” he explained.

Another of my notes simply read “Wow!,” but I knew right off what it referred to—the highlight of our trip. We had driven up alongside a herd of eight elephants, three of them babies. Their size was impressive, but that I was prepared for. What surprised me, and was so magnificent, was the sound of the tall grass they were eating being torn from the ground with their trunks. Dalton had turned the engine off, so that was all we could hear. “Close your eyes,” I said to Hugh as I closed my own as well. If I were to manufacture a perfume, it would smell the way that grass being ripped from the ground by elephants sounds—simultaneously soothing and astonishing—and simply everyone would have to have it. The problem is that it wouldn’t go with any of the perfume names I’ve come up with over the years, the best being Obsequious.

The eight elephants were on our last day in Kenya. The following morning, we flew to Tanzania, not for more safari but to stay in a resort on the island of Zanzibar. The only animals I saw during our time there were lizards—some nearly a foot long—and snails the size of Hugh’s fist. The beach was pretty—sand as white as sugar, palm trees. The property was guarded by men with clubs tucked into their belts, and the moment you left it, walking, say, the twenty feet from your lounge chair to the water’s edge, you were set upon by people trying to sell you things: a hard-boiled egg from a bucket, a seashell, cashews, a ride on a boat, a painting of a leopard, a T-shirt with “ Hakuna Matata ” printed on it. “My friend!” someone would call, extending a closed fist and wanting you to tap it with one of your own, even while you were in the sea.

This is why I have never been to Bali or Mauritius or any of those other places people go to get some sun in the winter. The water in Zanzibar was warm and such an arresting shade of turquoise that it seemed to have been dyed. But the income gap between the people who stayed at the resort and the people who actually lived on the island was so wide you couldn’t really see anything else. Plus, the hotel staff said “Hakuna matata,” which means “No worries” in Swahili, incessantly.

“Could I maybe have more coffee?”

“Hakuna matata.”

“I’m not feeling terribly well.”

“God, that’s a big snail.”

It got to the point where you didn’t dare say anything just because you didn’t want to hear “Hakuna matata” again.

There were no price tags on anything. If you were to ask how much a sack of peppercorns was and the answer started with “For you, I am going to offer a special deal,” you knew you’d be overpaying. Everyone we came across was seemingly on the make, and who could blame them, really?

“How much for a ride to Stone Town and back?” Hugh and I asked a taxi-driver one swampy afternoon. He quoted us a price, but when we got there he claimed, “I didn’t say a hundred and fifty thousand shillings”—the equivalent of nearly sixty dollars—“I said two hundred thousand,” which simply wasn’t true. In the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t an enormous amount—a difference of twenty dollars, which I was going to give him anyway as a tip—but when you capped it off with “Hakuna matata” I felt like crying.

We could have ended our vacation in Kenya. It was me who wanted to add Tanzania, and mainly so that I could put it on my list of countries I have travelled to. The only thing I knew before arriving was that it’s not safe to be an albino there. Many people consider them to be evil, yet place great value on their organs and other body parts: their hands and hearts, entire legs. It’s easier to harvest them from children, so kids are at higher risk of being abducted and dismembered. Their parts are sold to witch doctors, who use them to create amulets and potions one might employ while searching for precious metals, say, or to improve one’s luck in regard to fishing. It sounds absolutely insane. How could anyone possibly be so gullible? you wonder. Then you think of all the Americans—some may be your neighbors, your co-workers, your wife or your uncle—who genuinely believe that J.F.K., Jr., did not die in a plane crash, but is alive and well and working in cahoots with Donald Trump to stop the Clintons from drinking the blood of babies. And you’re, like, The leg of a butchered child might help me find gold? O.K. I guess I’ve heard crazier things.

The world can be a savage place, but that’s not the lesson you want to carry home with you. Yes, we humans are cruel and often dangerous, but there’s still nature, and before it’s too late we need to appreciate it. Of course, not everyone can hang out with elephants, but look at that bird perched on your feeder, and at that squirrel chasing the bird away from said feeder. Look at the rats scuttering before you on a New York street, at the spider that somehow got trapped in your elevator. We’re all on a safari of one kind or another—it’s just that some of us aren’t returning with two brilliant rectangles of Maasai plaid fabric and a bacterial infection. ♦

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  1. 15 Best Kenya Safari Tours 2024/2025

    Find the best Kenya Safari tours in 2024/2025 with TourRadar. Choose from 807 safaris with 1274 tour reviews. Book now and save up to 49% with!

  2. The Best/Worst Times to Visit Kenya 2024/2025 for Safari

    The best times to visit Kenya for a safari are from July to September or January to February during the country's dry seasons, however, these are also the most crowded travel times.

  3. 13 Best Kenya Safaris & Tours in 2024

    Build your ideal Kenya trip. Call 1.406.541.2677. Start Planning My Trip. Join us on a journey through Kenya 's breathtaking landscapes and rich wildlife on our 13 distinctive tours planned for 2024. Kenya, a land where the savannah meets the sky, offers an unparalleled safari experience, inviting you to discover the "Big Five" in their natural ...

  4. Kenya Safari Holidays 2024/2025

    Kenya Safari Holidays from Trailfinders, the Travel Experts. Start planning your private or group safari holiday in Kenya with our award-winning consultants.

  5. 11 day Ol Pejeta & Masai Mara African Safari tour January 2024

    African Safari tour 11 day Ol Pejeta & Masai Mara African Safari tour February 2024. Book your Kenyan safari tour today.

  6. 2024 Kenya Safari

    Set out on a journey across African plains, encounter elephants, lions, cheetah and more on your 2024 Kenya safari.

  7. Kenya Safaris 2024/2025

    Kenya Safaris 2024/2025 . Kenya is one of East Africa's most exceptional safari destinations. Incredible wildlife populations, diverse landscapes, and beautiful tented camps and lodges - Kenya is the safari destination of your imagination. ... Book before 20th June 2024 and get 5% off your trip, an average saving of $976. I'm Interested ...

  8. Discover Kenya 2024: Unforgettable Safari Experiences

    The park offers exceptional snorkeling and diving experiences, showcasing a rich marine life including corals, fish, turtles, and even whale sharks. Kenya in 2024 is a land of endless safari possibilities. From the classic wildlife safaris in the savannah to unique cultural and marine explorations, there's something for every kind of traveler.

  9. 2024/25 Kenya Safari Packages

    Your 2024/25 Holiday. Planning your safari to Kenya? Talk to Us and We Will Help You Plan Your Perfect Escape as we are a Local Kenyan DMC based in Nairobi, Karen, Kenya. We create Mid Budget, Mid Luxury, Luxury Tailor - Made Kenya Safaris to match your preference.

  10. Reservation and Booking Page

    20th of January 2024 - Reservation and Booking Page - This 7 Day Kenya Adventurer Safari Tour allows you to enjoy a safari holiday in Kenya - feel the beat of the African bush while camping

  11. Kenya Safari Holidays 2024/25

    Experience a Tailor Made Kenya Safari holiday. Call our travel experts today to book your luxury Kenya holiday of a lifetime! ATOL Protected.

  12. 10 Best Kenya Tours in January 2025

    What people love about Kenya Tours in January. 1 Jan, 2024. Kenya Wildlife Safari. 13 Mar, 2024. My 6 day safari with Bon Voyage Safaris to Maasai Mara and Serengeti was a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. The professionalism, expertise, and passion displayed by the staff, coupled with the breathtaking landscapes and abundant wildlife, made it an ...

  13. A Wildlife Safari Adventure in Kenya 2024

    A Wildlife Safari Adventure in Kenya 2024-Pamoja Tours and Travel The Safari Dream Unveiled. Kenya, known as the cradle of African safaris, has long held a special place in the hearts of travelers seeking to connect with the untamed beauty of the natural world. The year 2024 offers a unique opportunity for wildlife enthusiasts to immerse ...

  14. Best Time To Visit Kenya (Month by Month)

    Month by month description of the best time to visit Kenya. Including the best months, pros/cons, high/low seasons and the best/worst weather!

  15. Kenya Safari Cost 2024

    Let's start by digging in to the park fee increase and what effect this will have on your total Kenya safari cost. Starting January 2024, park fees in Kenya are increasing across the board by around 100% with the increase fully implemented on 1st July 2024. For example, the Masai Mara used to cost $80 + 18% tax ($94.40) per adult per entry ...

  16. Where To Go on an African Safari in January

    African Safari in January. January is generally a great month to go on safari in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda as these countries experience relatively dry weather in that month. Tanzania's Northern circuit is a good option too. Animals are less spread out during the dry months and spotting them tends to be easier. The wildebeest calving in ...

  17. Kenya in January

    January is a good time for beach holidays on the Kenyan coast, though daytime temperatures can get very high. This is an excellent time to visit the Mara because January is when it experiences one of its driest spells, with only around five days of rain. Game viewing in most Kenya safari destinations is good in January.

  18. Kenya Tours 2024 / 2025

    Our Kenya escorted tours help you to make unforgettable memories and local guides will help you to experience everything that Kenya has to offer. Find out more.

  19. Masai Mara Migration Safari 2024

    Masai Mara migration safari. Enjoy the wildebeest migration and many sightings of Africa's apex predators such as lions, hyena & cheetah

  20. Kenya Safari Holidays 2024/2025

    Experience the magic of a Kenyan safari with Newmarket Holidays. Spot incredible wildlife and enjoy stunning landscapes on our Kenya safari holidays.

  21. Kenya in January: Travel Tips, Weather, and More

    Due to the dry weather, January is considered high season in Kenya—a great time to spot spectacular wildlife in Maasai Mara or soak up stunning views of Mount Kilimanjaro in Amboseli National Park. The temperatures in Nairobi typically hover in the high 70s to mid-80s while coastal towns around Mombasa average about 90°F. It's a fantastic time for hiking, exploring, and safari-going, the ...

  22. 14 Best Safaris from Nairobi, Kenya for 2024

    Join us on a journey to Nairobi, Kenya's pulsating heart, with our 14 expertly curated tours for 2024.Here, the urban beat of a thriving city meets the timeless rhythm of Africa's wildlife. Our tours offer an intimate glimpse into the soul of East Africa, from the bustling streets of Nairobi to the sweeping savannas where the Big Five roam. Over the course of 5 to 14 days, you will engage in ...

  23. Best Safari Destinations in Africa for 2024

    Discover the best safari destinations in Africa for 2024 and beyond, including Botswana, Tanzania and more. ... from Tanzania to nearby Kenya. A safari in Tanzania is always appealing thanks to conservation efforts that preserve the Big Five and other wildlife as well as fertile soil and abundant watering holes.

  24. African Holidays 2024/2025

    A thrill-seeker's paradise, discover the wonders of Africa with our range of African holidays and safaris. Book your African holiday with Virgin Atlantic Holidays today. ... Our seasonal service will recommence on the 29th October 2024, with flights operating on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays ... Take the family to Kenya, a major safari ...

  25. 20 of the coolest travel adventures for 2024

    20 of the coolest travel adventures for 2024. From a horseback safari in Kenya to river rafting in West Virginia, here's our ranked list of the top travel experiences right now.

  26. 1st Safari 2025

    14 helpful votes. 2. Re: 1st Safari 2025. Jun 14, 2024, 2:42 PM. The Asila camps are nicer than the Porini camps. The Porini camps are OK but the Asila camps are a class above. My personal experience at Porini was not good; multiple cases of sub-standard guiding and I will not use Porini again. For me that eliminates itinerary 4.

  27. 10 Best African Countries for Safari

    If you're craving the ultimate safari adventure, look no further. We've meticulously curated the ultimate guide to unveil the 10 Best African Countries for Safari, designed especially for ...

  28. Notes on a Last-Minute Safari

    David Sedaris, the author of the books "Me Talk Pretty One Day" and "Happy-Go-Lucky," writes about going on safari in Kenya and visiting the island of Zanzibar, in Tanzania.

  29. Six Flags Is Opening a Luxury Safari Lodge—in New Jersey

    The company hopes to lure higher-spending travelers to its theme parks with bucket-list experiences more commonly found in Kenya or Botswana.

  30. 2024 World Rally Championship

    The 2024 FIA World Rally Championship is a motorsport championship that is the fifty-second occurrence of the World Rally Championship, ... The championship began in January 2024 with the Monte Carlo Rally and would conclude in November 2024 with the Rally ... Safari Rally Kenya: Nairobi, Nakuru County, Kenya Gravel 19 355.92 km 4 18 April 21 ...