Besides these, are the Safaris one can take to game parks which are just 6-7 hours drive from Nairobi. Amongst them the most popular is of course the Masai Mara Natural reserve. This is in the beautiful Savannah Grasslands area of Kenya and has a huge number of large animals. The Masai community has been allowed to graze there and very often can be spotted in their traditional attire asking you to photograph them at a price.
Just at a two hour drive from Nairobi is the Mt Kenya National Park. This has a very rich flora and fauna. The extinct volcano Mt Kenya is found in this park as are the hutments of tribals who revere the mountain. There are lovely thick forests and a lot of animals. Trekking through some interesting trails is also popular here.
3-4 hours away is the Amboseli National Park, known as the park of giants. It has herds of huge elephants and the backdrop of the Kilimanjaro. There are perennial springs in the park and it has some incredible views. In fact some of the world’s best photographs have been taken here at dusk or dawn.
Again, just about a couple of hours drive brings the traveler to white water rafting camps to enjoy a wild adventurous white water rafting trip.
Besides these there are several short wildlife viewing adventures that can be made in 3-4 days overland, including Tsavo, Amboseli, the Chyulu Hills and the Maasai Mara –
particularly for the great migration every July and August.
All levels of accommodation are offered by these parks; from five-star tented camps and luxury lodges to self-service chalets and campsites, The larger hotel groups can also arrange overland or flying itineraries that take in two or more parks.
Lake Naivasha, a stunning freshwater lake in the Great Rift Valley is just over an hour’s drive northwest of Nairobi. An idyllic weekend can be spent relaxing on its shores. Here again there are all types of accommodation and activities, from the stylish surrounds of Olerai House (890596) to the peaceful charm of Crater Lake (05020-20613), and stunning views with horse rides, pampered care and delectable cuisine at Malu (05020-21200),
Malewa River Lodge (05020-30312) or the Great Rift Valley Lodge (4446651), which also boasts one of Africa’s most spectacular 18-hole golf courses.
South of Nairobi is Lake Magadi where a stunning variety of wild birds make even the toughest of the tourists gasp in awe and wonder. The high soda content of the waters of the lake attracts water birds to this picturesque locale. Visitors can make the journey on to Shompole (884135), one of Kenya’s most beautiful and innovative lodges, which is co-owned by the local Maasai.
Another big draw is the fascinating prehistoric site of Olorgesaille, made famous by Louis and Mary Leakey family who found thousands of Stone Age tools, which are now preserved in a series of ‘living museums’.