From November 2013 onwards, there will be an upgrade to the Kenya Safari and Beach Holiday vehicle used for travelling around on the first week. It will now be a 4×4 landcruiser which will give a much better safari experience. They are more comfortable than minibuses especially off road. Here is a picture:

kenya_safari_landcruiser

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There are 4 things to consider when choosing when to travel to Kenya. 1) Weather 2) Wildlife 3) Cost 4) Will it be busy?

1) Weather – the long rains start towards the end of March and continue until the end of May / early June. You can get many days of drizzle, and apart from the wet weather spoiling your holiday, the wildlife will be harder to spot. This is because the grass is longer with the rains, and because there is so much water about that they don;t have to congregate around well known water holes.

There are also short rains mid to late November for a few weeks.

On our Kenya safari and beach holidays, the hotel we feature in Mombasa is actually closed for the rainy season in May, and uses the time to make improvements.

2) Wildlife – apart from being easier to spot after a period of dry weather, the main thing to note is the migration of zebra and wildebeest that takes place every year between the Masai Mara in Kenya and the Serengeti in Tanzania. They cross the Mara River into Kenya around June, July, and into August, and remain until November when they head back to the Serengeti. If you are staying in the Masai Mara (which you should be!) then if you’re lucky, you’see the herds of wildebeest crossing the Mara River, trying to avoid the crocodiles waiting patiently for them.

3) – Like most holidays, UK school holidays plays a bit part in pricing. The cheapest time to travel is end of May / early June (as it is for many detainations), but a two week holiday can be £1000 more during the peak of July and August. Come late August though, and prices drop again.

4) The busiest season aprt from Christmas is the school summer holidays of July and August when availability is extremely tight. You have to book several months in advance to get what you want at the best price. Its the best weather, the wildife viewing is excellent, familes are arriving and its also a big honeymoon destination so there are lots of couples.

So, in conclusion, if I was to pick the absolute ideal time to travel on a Kenya safari and beach holiday, it would be mid to late September. The weather is superb, and has been dry for months making wildlife easy to spot. The Masai Mara will be full with the migrating herds of zebra and wildebeest. The prices have dropped from the high of August and September, and it will be less crowded too!

If you look at any Kenya safari itinerary, there will probably be several game parks that you visit, but which is the best, and what if you only wanted to visit just one?

For example, our Kenya safari and beach holidays include 6 game parks, but not everyone wants to do so much travelling. A popular alternative to this sort of trip is to have a few days in a game park, then fly down to the beach for the rest of your holiday.

In my view, the number one game park by far is the Masai Mara. It is teeming with wildlife all year round, you’ll see the big 5, and there are many places to stay within the park.

The big 5 are lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino. But besides these, there are many giraffe, zebra, and wildebeest. The last two migrate to Tanzania from November to June, but are back in the Mara from July to October.

If you are coming to kenya primarily as a beach holiday, but would like 2-3 days on safari sometime in the middle, then Tsavo National Park is close to Mombasa and makes the best sense. Some safaris also include a night in Amboseli which is teeming with elephants and has the famous backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro. But in general, don’t expect the same variety or numbers of wildlife that you’ll get in the Mara.

The reason the safaris include other parks in the itinerary is for the variety in animals and terrain. For example most will include a night at Aberdares and /or Mount Kenya – very scenic, there are often waterholes at the lodge which elephants frequently visit, and you get to stand on the equator.

But if its just a case of seeing as many animals as possible in a couple of days, then the Masai Mara is best.

One thing to note – it is a long and bumpy road to get there and back – say 6 hours to/from Nairobi. If you only have a few days, it makes sense to travel by light aircraft to/from Nairobi. Its not cheap, but is a fantastic experience.