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KENYA, AFRICA TRAVEL, ACCOMMODATION & SAFARI GUIDE

Elephant, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Masai Mara National Park, Kenya
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Traditional Dhow Sailing Past Town, Lamu, Coast, Kenya
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AFRICA TRAVEL GUIDE:
The Republic of Kenya is a country in Eastern Africa. It is bordered by Ethiopia to the north, Somalia to the northeast, Tanzania to the south, Uganda to the west, and Sudan to the northwest, with the Indian Ocean running along the southeast border.
Kenya has considerable land area of wildlife habitat, including maasai mara, where blue wildebeest and other bovids participate in a large scale annual migration. Up to 250,000 blue wildebeest perish each year in the long and arduous movement to find forage in the dry season. The "Big Five" animals of Africa can also be found in Kenya: the lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino and elephant. A significant population of other wild animals, reptiles and birds can be found in the national parks and game reserves in the country. The environment of Kenya is threatened by high population growth and its side-effects.
Travel Reading on Kenya:

Kenya Beach Vacation - fun things to do on the eastern Africa coast
Kenya Mt Climb Guide, Information and Facts - Climbing Kenya Mountain
Mombasa Travel Guide
Mt Kenya Climbing - Kenya trekking, Kenya Mount Organized Treks
Preparing Yourself for a Wildlife Photography in Kenya

Maasai Girl, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
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Maasai Warrior's Plaited Hair, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
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Preparing Yourself for a Wildlife Photography in Kenya   by Lucy Maruhi

When I first thought about doing wildlife photography in Kenya I was a bit stuck for inspiration. I was in the middle of the city with no wildlife in sight, unless you counted the people milling all around me, and I wasn't due up for another long vacation in Kenya for at least a few months yet. So obviously wildlife photography in Kenya, in the wild was out, but someone very helpfully pointed me in the direction that I'm about to point you in now. There is more or less all the wildlife varieties that I could want in Kenya, you just need to be where the action is.

Its the thought of capturing on film the big cats like the lions, the cheatah and the Leopards or maybe the elephants that brings me to Kenya. What about hippos, or zebras or even rhinos? You could even go for the birds at the Kakamega Game Reserve Deep in the indegenous rain forest with beautiful bird species that you could only marvel at.

Giraffe, Maasai Mara, Kenya
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And if you don't like the idea of going big, then do you like the idea of going small? Have you thought about monkeys, squirrels, butterflies and insects? What about the much maligned rodent varieties? As you can see there are many different types of wildlife photography in Kenya options available to you and you just have to reach out and take it.

In the wild, is where you get all the action, all the heart pounding terror of being in the wild along with the animals, knowing that you're in their home court and that your advantage depends entirely on the guide who's leading you around. This then is what many of the greatest photographers interested in wildlife photography in Kenya yearn to do and where they end up anyway. Whether the reality meets their expectation of the dream is another matter entirely.

They're there, in the wild, with the ability to get up close and personal with their wildlife subjects. Nothing at all like the zoo back home, but then again what did you expect right? However, it's also true that wildlife photography in Kenya shots, are natural, and don't have to be shots of the big game animals. wildlife photography in Kenya shots can be of anything that is considered wild. Take the wildebeest crossing the Mara river for instance. I consider the shots that I took of this phenomenon to be God sent. The sight of the Lions bouncing and bounding around like nobody's business and defending their territory with deep menacing growls is a sight to capture when doing wildlife photography in Kenya. The fact that they wouldn't hurt human beings is another matter entirely.

Elephant, Somburu, Kenya, Africa
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So although in-the-wild wildlife photography in Kenya is great and looks amazing, its not an easy job for the amateur photographer, at least in the beginning. The Kenya wild is preferably where you might like to take your wildlife photographs, but sometimes you just don't have the choice or the ability to do that. In that case I would recommend that you start your sojourn into wildlife photography at your local zoo. I am not Kidding! Going to the Masai Mara, Samburu, or the Tsavo National Parks will offer you the opportunity to catch some of the fiercest wildlife, in their habitats, then at their best and their worst. It's a bit like catching a movie star in their baggy sweat pants with absolutely no makeup on them! It's fascinating and you will absolutely get the chance for candid shots if you were in their natural habitat.

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Featured Tour and Safari Options:
Full list of Tours and Safaris in Kenya
The allure of Mombasa - Kenya's all round tourist resort

Mombasa is a major sea gateway for the whole of eastern Africa.  It is Kenya's oldest town and the second largest metropolis, after the capital city, Nairobi.  It is also the air gateway for those coming to enjoy the beaches along the Kenyan Coast. From Mombasa, you can enjoy Kenya's magical wildlife safaris.

Mombasa has a long history dating back to 200 AD. There is an old harbor that is still visited by trading dhows bringing frankincense, Myrrh and marvelous Persian and Bokhara carpets for the Mombasa bazaars. A walk around the old town is a fascinating maze of narrow streets, overhanging balconies and mysterious doorways leading to dark interiors.  History and culture of Mombasa A melting pot of diverse culture, once conquered by the Portuguese, Mombasa has seen many rulers and conquerors - the Arabs used Mombasa for the slave trade and the British used the town as a naval and trading post.
 
Fort Jesus, overlooking the entrance of the old port of Mombasa, was built by the Portuguese in 1593 to protect their trade route to India. An Italian architect, Jao Batisto Cairato, designed it; it was the 'crown jewel' of his career.  Fort Jesus is today hailed as one of the best examples of 16th century military architecture. In 1962, the Fort opened its doors to the public as a museum and has since remained a popular attraction for foreign and local tourists, researchers and students.

Alongside Lamu town, Mombasa is the epitome of Swahili. Many buildings in residential areas, and part of the old town are still built in the original Swahili architectural form, with a blend of modern plans. Swahili houses are large and spacious, with intricate carvings in wood and plaster and lavish doorframes.

Nests of Spectacled Weaver Hanging from Acacia Trees, Buffalo Springs National Reserve, Kenya
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Beach Activities in Mombasa

Besides swimming and simple sunbathing, you can undertake a wide variety of water sports and water activities while on vacation in Mombasa. These include scuba diving, snorkeling, dhow trips,  deep-sea fishing and many others. The waters below teem with abundant marine life. In Mombasa, the sun shines all year round. The diversity of activity is simply unequaled.

Night life in Mombasa

Nightlife in Mombasa is limited mainly to eating out while many of the nearby beach hotels feature discos, casinos and nightclubs.   North and south of Mombasa Island are the most developed beach resorts with a wide choice of hotels that have nightlife activities.

National parks for wildlife viewing from Mombasa

Because of Mombasa's proximity to wildlife national parks and game reserves, visitors to Mombasa are able to enjoy safaris to so of Kenya's wildlife areas.  Day excursions to the parks and even short overnight safaris can be easily arranged from Mombasa.

Towards the south of Mombasa, there is The Shimba Hills national reserve and the adjoining Mwalugange Elephant sanctuary represent an environment of extraordinary diversity.  Both are no more than 250 square kilometers and 36 square km respectively and yet together they form one East Africa's most diverse plant and animal havens.  It takes less than 1 hour to drive from any of the hotels in the north coast of Mombasa to Shimba Hills Lodge.

Apart from Shimba hills, and to the interior of the country, you find the Tsavo National park. This park is split into two sectors of East and West covering a total area of over 20,000 sq km. Tsavo was once famous for herds of over 60,000 elephants. Although these herds have since been depleted through drought and poaching, it is still possible to see large herds on the east side.

Over the west are the Mzima springs where Hippo and Crocodile can be seen from an underwater hide. Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary   is a small, private game sanctuary adjoining Tsavo and has a high concentration of wild animals. Driving from Mombasa to Tsavo East gate will take 2 hours at most.

Further inland from Mombasa, you find a little gem of a park - Amboseli - situated right at the foot of Mt Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain. Elephants abound in the lower forest and swamp areas. Cheetahs are found on the salt flats, Giraffe wander through the Doum palms while herds of Zebra and Wildebeest feed on the open plains. The snow-capped dome of the mountain provides the perfect backdrop to the peaceful grazing game, making this park a photographer's paradise.

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Kenya Beach Vacation - fun things to do on the eastern Africa coast

The beaches of Kenya are some of the world's most alluring playgrounds. Besides the beauty and tranquility, they offer plenty of opportunities for water sports and other beach vacation activities. Or simply sun-bathing. One is not surprised then, that more than 50% of Kenya's international standard hotels are based along the coast.

Some of the fun things to do while on your beach vacation on the Kenya coast are:

Dolphin-Watching
Since dolphins are frequent visitors off the Kenyan coastline, dolphin-spotting dhow trips are organized to the Kisite Marine Park. This is a full day trip with traditional lunch served either onboard or on Wasini Island. Snorkeling equipment is provided so that you can build up an appetite while exploring the coral gardens.
 
Wildebeest Migration, Masai Mara, Kenya
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Dhow Trips
A dhow is a traditional sailing ship with over 1000 years history of plying the waters of the East Africa Coast. Built entirely from wood, they were traditionally used to transport spices, carpets, and other goods between Africa and India. Sightseeing, lunch or dinner is available with on-board entertainment in form of fire-eaters, limbo dancers, acrobats and more.

Dhows usually have wooden eyes carved into the front sides. It was believed that these eyes would protect the dhow from being marooned on reefs, and from the evil eye that could be placed by the enemies. Today, the tradition lives on, even though the superstitions have died out.

Visit to the Marine Parks
The beach towns of Mombasa, Malindi and Watamu all have marine parks and reserves are simply amazing in terms of diversity and beauty of the marine life they host. They pars and reserves are also very accessible. The Kiunga Marine National reserve provides a refuge for rare sea turtles and dugongs - mermaids. Trips from the hotels can be arranged to the animals and appreciate the conservation efforts being undertaken to save them from extinction.

Deep-sea fishing
Some of the best fishing off the African continent is found off the Kenyan coast, where many all-Africa records have been set. Kenyan waters are home to millions of billfish and contain the top sporting game-fish. Malindi is probably the best place in Africa for sailfish, while the Pemba channel is known for striped marlin, large yellow-fin tuna and sharks. All along the coast from Lamu in the north to Shimoni in the south, boats and equipment are available for hire.

Scuba Safari
The Kenyan coral reef is home to some of the world's most diverse marine life. Swim along the coral gardens and visit the marine life underwater. For wreck divers, MV Diana lies in around 35 meters of water just off Bamburi Beach in the north coast beach of Mombasa.

Various activities are also available along the entire coast, including windsurfing, water skiing, snorkeling and scuba diving. Surfing can be found off Lamu at Sheila beach, but beware of sharks, as there is no coral reef.

Most hotels will have an information desk where you can access information on how to book and get your waters ports and activities organized.

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Solomon Okila is the Editor and Senior Safari Consultant at  African Voyages Tours and Travel.   This is a tour operator and Safari Outfitter that specializes on African Travel and holidays. The website has guided thousands of travelers to achieve their dream holiday. 

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