The 10 best safari in Kenya and Tanzania. Discovering the tourist formula that mixes comfort and adventurous spirit in a very skilful way.
«I know the sound of Africa, of the giraffe and of the African new moon lying down its back. Of the ploughmen and of the coffee harvesters’ sweaty faces…But does Africa know my deep, inner sound?». These few words from the best seller “Out of Africa” by Karen Blixen clearly define – just like in a movie still image – the perception of Africa which western culture has developed and that got stronger throughout the last centuries. We are actually talking about a metaphysical, exotic and mainly inaccessible ‘unconscious’ that safari, both in the past and nowadays, contributes to show and to increase.
Winning formula even in the mass tourism era, not only safari is immediately linked to Kenya and Tanzania, but it can be experienced both trough conventional and alternative paths.
Our virtual travel is going to start with Kenya, which has – accordingly to Tripadvisor and other very well-known tour operators – an undisputed record for safari, followed right away by Tanzania.
Kenya and safari. A winning pair awarded by the main international tour operators
Despite its size and the clear difference between eastern and western part, we higly recommend exploring Kenya during the “dry season” (from May to October), whereas is better avoiding it from March to July, during the “rainy season”, because of its torrential speed. That said, our list of the best Kenyan safari can finally start!
Tsavo National Park East. Where the most genuine safari matches the white Kenyan beaches
Thanks to its strong defence of biodiversity and lower expenses (if compared to Masai Mara Reserve), Tsavo East ensures the sighting of the “big five” within the African savannah: lion, leopard, buffalo, red elephant and rhinos. This “safari mood” is surely for those who’d like to combine traditional safari paths with a seaside experience along amazing Kenyan beaches. One for all, the “Fisherman beach”.
Masai Mara. The ultimate paradigm of the African safari
With its 1510 square kilometres, Masai Mara is highly recommended for the sighting of thousands and thousands migrant antelopes before the “rainy season”. It seems like being in the middle of a hurricane that endlessly shakes the dried ground and picks the dust up. For 550$ you can also enjoy an unusual and panoramic way of exploring this natural reserve: The Balloon Safari. Due to its bird-eye view from the inside of a big, colourful balloon, your eyes are allowed to embrace the full, breathtaking scenery of a limitless horizon. Such a unique experience takes about one hour and ends with a sumptuous breakfast which saturates both sight and palate.
Amboseli. An unbelievable model of biodiversity softened up by Kilimanjaro snow
The never-ending dryness of this natural reserve – whose name, not by chance, means “The Land of the Dust”– and the resulting thin flora, allow an excellent monitoring of lions, leopards, buffalos and red elephants (especially during the “dry season”). As we approach to the Kilimanjaro slopes with its sumptuous white peak, the arid and cracked ground is replaced by underground sources and by the white snow of the big giant, so much beloved by Hemingway. These same sources feed lakes, rivers, marshes with a huge amount of papyrus and acacia forests.
Rift Valley. Where biodiversity meets geology and archaeology: welcome to the “cradle of humanity”
If it’s true that naturalistic interests are the first engines for planning a safari in this area, we cannot forget the importance of the Rift Valley in relation to its paleoanthropological findings. The discovery of the famous australopithecus Lucy and of many other hominids, dating even from 10 million years ago, makes this place one of the most special outdoor anthropological museum of the world, protected by many soil depressions and by volcanic sediments. The compelling and fascinating name “cradle of humanity” could not be more appropriate for this big portion of Kenya. Less touristic
Crescent Island Game Park. A snall naturalistic jewel surrounded by the volcanic lake Naivasha
The park is a small and lush island surrounded by the volcanic lake Naivasha; in addition to this “island status” it’s necessary to stress out another, even more attractive characteristic, especially for the “bravest spirits”. It’s the walking safari, which takes about one hour, side by side with the savannah animals. It swarms with hippos and antelopes, and makes this atavistic place an authentic “locus amoenus” which has nothing to envy to the most famous and amazing paintings of Heaven made by artists throughout history.
Tanzania and its two souls: the northern part, consecrated to mass tourism, and the southern one, wild, lush and idyllic
Serengeti. Where the heart and the hoofs of the migrant animals beat
This is certainly the undisputed fulcrum – even more than Masai Mara – of the “great migration” of elephants, gnus, leopards, antelopes, jackals and zebras across the whole Africa. It represents a great observatory point also thanks to a clearing and low flora. With Ngorongoro Reserve and the National Park of Kilimanjaro – just to mention two of the most famous touristic destinations in the northern and western part of Tanzania -, it serves as counterpoint for the south, surely less renowned but equally worthy.
Selous. Discovering the eldest and biggest natural reserve of the whole Africa
With its desert scenery, Selous is the eldest and biggest natural reserve in Africa; the accessibility is limited to the northern part, while the southern one is literally covered by jungle and sporadic hunting grounds. The many navigable canals which cross this region as blood vessels of a singular, prehistoric creature, create striking contrasts with dried areas, and keep increasing the fascination for these biologic oxymorons.
Kilimangiaro. The white-haired roof of Africa
Its 5895 metres height and its three volcanic cones, Kibo, Mawenzi and Shina, make it the ideal habitat for trekking, climbing on rocks and ice lovers. Slopes and different elevations show the complete mapping of climates and ecosystems of the planet: it ain’t nothing more unique and inconceivable!
Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Where touristic accessibility meets the cold lava phenomenon
Chosen by animals for mating throughout the “rainy season”, the Ngorongoro Reserve is proud of including within its virtual boundaries both Ngorongoro Crater and Ol Doinyo Lengai. The first mentioned is the biggest caldera around the world, 20 kilometres wide and 610 meters deep; it’s placed in an antithetical position in respect to Ol Doinyo Volcano. The latter has a remarkable appeal due to the production of “cold lava”. Because of a very high sodium carbonate concentration, it shows an unusual white color and a very low temperature.
Ruaha National Park and Pemba Island (Zanzibar). The genuine appeal of southern Tanzania
Even though they do not belong to a developed touristic system, Ruaha and Pemba Island balance out this “emerging vocation” thanks to uncontaminated and heavenly landscapes. If Ruaha (central-south) provides the monitoring of many ornithological species (they are approximately 450), it’s only coming to Pemba Island that “the picture-perfect postcard of savannah” is gradually undermined by white beaches, lush flora and sea parks, responsible for the safeguard of sea turtles and other precious species.
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