Kenya

Kenya is the undisputed king of tourism in Africa. Characterised by extravagant savannahs, lush, vast grasslands, imposing snow-peaked mountains, the most extensive array of wildlife on the continent, and remarkable people, the real surprise would have been if it didn’t hold this honor.

Home to the African big five (and almost every other animal you can think of), and some of the most distinguished tribes in Africa, Kenya has a way of making the spectacular look commonplace. The locals have a deep love for their country, and after spending a few weeks in it, don’t be surprised when that love begins to rub off on you.

Whether you’re looking forward to some beach time on the coast or heading inside to bustling Nairobi or the fantastic Masai Mara, prepare to be absolutely bewitched by some of the most extraordinary sights and sounds you’ve ever experienced. 

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Why Visit Kenya For Wildlife Photography?

Kenya is one of only 12 countries in Africa where you can find all of Africa’s big five animals. Scattered all over the country, including in the capital Nairobi, are hundreds and hundreds of different species of animals and birds. Being in the country feels like being in a picture book; there are just so many exotic animals to admire and marvel at.

Witness one of the most outstanding sights in nature in Masai Mara when millions of wildebeest stampede across the fields on their annual migration, joined by herds of giraffes, zebras, and elephants. Watch big cats such as lions, cheetahs, and leopards laze around under the trees. Then, head into the forest and catch sight of over 330 bird species and 400 butterfly species add sound and color to the already impressive picture. While you watch these majestic sights unfold, you probably should be aware that seven different primate species are also watching you.

Wildlife Species To Photograph In Kenya

One of the most exciting aspects of any trip to Kenya is the chance to get up close with the exotic wildlife. You wouldn’t even need to fork out huge sums for a safari. In short, there’s something for every budget in Kenya.

The big cats are very popular, especially the lions. Lions spend the most significant part of every day asleep, so you can get good shots of them. Elephants are relatively tolerant of human presence, so you can get within touching distance. There are also zebras, wildebeest, and temperamental cape buffalos. The critically endangered white rhinoceros is another big draw. There are only about 400 of them left in the world. If you head into the jungle, don’t be surprised to hear monkeys and baboons providing a running commentary throughout your stay.

There’s also something for birdwatching enthusiasts in the country, with more than 300 species to keep an eye on.

The Best Time Of Year To Visit Kenya

Kenya enjoys a lot of sun throughout the year. The weather is usually hot around the coastal areas, arid in the north, and temperate inland. Temperatures cool down after sunset, though, so evenings and mornings are typically cool. 

The rainy season takes place between April and June and October to September. Rainfall is usually heavy within these periods, frequently falling in the afternoons and evenings. The months of February and March are the hottest, while July and August are the coldest. It may be best to schedule your trip away from either of these months to get the best value out of your journey.

Where to stay in Kenya

Nairobi

Nairobi will likely be your first port of call, and it’s a great idea to spend a few days exploring the charms of this riverine city. Explore the city’s markets, enjoy local delicacy or splurge on international-standard buffets, or stroll down to the arts center. There’s even a national park, several animals shelter, and a river. Rent is reasonable, and it’s easy to fall into a comfortable routine here, but if you’re like me, you’ll soon be itching to explore other places in the country.

Tsavo National Park

Not only is Tsavo the largest national park in Kenya, but it also has a fascinating history. During the construction of the railway that divides the parks, two lions went on a rampage, killing more than 130 workers and slowing down the project considerably until a British colonel later killed them. Does this story sound familiar? You’ve probably seen the 1997 movie The Ghost and The Darkness.

The park is a lot more sedate these days, with herds of elephants, rhinos, and other wildlife milling peacefully around. Moderately priced lodges are available in the area. 

Masai Mara National Reserve

The Masai Mara is renowned for the Great Migration, an annual event that occurs every July and August and attracts millions of spectators. The park also accommodates an extraordinary number of lions, leopards, cheetahs, and other fascinating animals.

Apart from the animals, the Maasai people are friendly, and it was a rare treat to learn a bit about their culture. If you want to spend a few days here, there are several affordable lodges and camps as well. 

Amboseli National Park

The background view of the Kilimanjaro was a nice bonus, but the big attention grabber was the elephants. Seen up close, they are truly magnificent, and a few even allowed me to touch them.

Lions and cheetahs also live in the park, although they were just a little less accommodating than the elephants. There are also several mid-budget lodges in the area if you want to spend some time there.

How To Get Around Kenya

There are different ways to get around in the country. Hop on a plane if you want to get to another state and want to avoid the hassles of road travel. Planes are the most expensive means of transportation in the country.

The most popular transportation means in the country are small minibuses that can carry between 14 to 30 passengers, know as matatus. Some matatus have very well-decorated interiors, and trips in them are usually fun. However, their drivers are addicted to taking risks, and the vehicles are usually in bad shape.

You can also board the Kenya-Uganda train or rent a jeep or car to take you to your destination.

For my itinerary below I’d recommend you book a private driver from a reputable tour operator.

Is It Safe To Travel To Kenya?

Apart from a period in 2008 when violence erupted in the country, Kenya has always been safe. That said, you need to take common protective measures. Nairobi is rough, and robbers and muggers are active there. However, by being vigilant, you should be safe.

Mosquitoes in Kenya carry many diseases, so you’ll need to take steps to protect yourself from them. Wear protective clothing, and use repellants.

What To Pack For A Photography Trip in Kenya

It’s important to know exactly what to pack before you make the trip so you don’t leave out the essentials or take unnecessary items along that’ll just overburden and weigh you down. The things you need are:

  • A Backpack: You’ll be doing a lot of hiking, so you should ideally choose a backpack that’s solid enough to not fall apart during the trip and also easy on your back.
  • Outer Shell Jacket: Depending on which part of Kenya you intend to visit or when you plan to visit, an insulated jacket may be one of the most essential things to carry along with you.
  • Breathable Shirts: The weather in the northern part of Kenya is particularly hot. The whole of Kenya gets a lot of sun, so you should pack many light summer clothes. 
  • Hiking Shoes: If you’re planning to go see the big five, you’ll need hiking shoes. Any other type of footwear will be inadequate.
  • Water Bottle: It’s crucial. The mix of heat and steep terrain may dehydrate you, so drink plenty of water. Because the water in Kenya is unsafe to drink, you’ll need to bring your water with you wherever you go. 
  • Camera: There’ll be several unforgettable experiences and sights, and you’ll want to capture every single one of them. So, don’t forget to pack a camera. 
  • Universal Adapter: You’ll need it to plug in your device and recharge them when they run out of juice in the country. 
  • Swim Suit: Don’t forget to pack swimsuits! Kenya has lots of beaches and lakes just waiting for you to dive in.

Passport and Visa Information

Kenya is a tourist destination, so it offers visa-free entry to citizens of lots of countries, most of them African.

No matter where you’re from, you can get a visa on arrival into the country.

Other Places To Visit In Kenya

There are more than 40 National Parks in Kenya, plus several pristine beaches, majestic mountains, volcanoes, world-class restaurants, and the Grand Rift Valley. There’s so much to see and do in Kenya.

If hiking is your thing, you probably should make your way to Mt Kenya, the second-highest mountain in Africa. Take the opportunity to learn the culture (and a little bit of the language) of the historic Kikuyu people. Explore the Kakamega Forest, the home of colorful birds and beautiful butterflies, and admire the magnetic beauty of Lake Turkana. 

Kenya will leave you spellbound wherever you go.

My Suggested Itinerary for a Wildlife Photography Holiday in Kenya

Columbo City

1-2 Days

Sri Lanka is a montage of breathtaking sights and historic places and there’s just so much to take in. 

But it’s real beauty can not be seen from the city. Yes, Columbo is beautiful and it’s temples are well worth a visit but more  than a day or two and you’re just wasting value time with nature.

However, you can’t be in Columbo without visiting Viharamahadevi Park (formally Victoria park) and witnessing the Grey-headed flying fox bats which take up residency in the park in their hundreds.

Staying at the XYZ, you can grab a tuk-tuk for a around £1, to the parks entrance. Walk to the furthest point of the park and you’ll soon see these beautiful flying mammals up in the treetops. Dusk is the perfect time.

Wasgamuwa National Park

5 Days

Sri Lanka is a montage of breathtaking sights and historic places and there’s just so much to take in. 

But it’s real beauty can not be seen from the city. Yes, Columbo is beautiful and it’s temples are well worth a visit but more  than a day or two and you’re just wasting value time with nature.

However, you can’t be in Columbo without visiting Viharamahadevi Park (formally Victoria park) and witnessing the Grey-headed flying fox bats which take up residency in the park in their hundreds.

Staying at the XYZ, you can grab a tuk-tuk for a around £1, to the parks entrance. Walk to the furthest point of the park and you’ll soon see these beautiful flying mammals up in the treetops. Dusk is the perfect time.

Kandy Beach Resort

2-3 Days

Sri Lanka is a montage of breathtaking sights and historic places and there’s just so much to take in. 

But it’s real beauty can not be seen from the city. Yes, Columbo is beautiful and it’s temples are well worth a visit but more  than a day or two and you’re just wasting value time with nature.

However, you can’t be in Columbo without visiting Viharamahadevi Park (formally Victoria park) and witnessing the Grey-headed flying fox bats which take up residency in the park in their hundreds.

Staying at the XYZ, you can grab a tuk-tuk for a around £1, to the parks entrance. Walk to the furthest point of the park and you’ll soon see these beautiful flying mammals up in the treetops. Dusk is the perfect time.

Yala National Park

5 Days

Sri Lanka is a montage of breathtaking sights and historic places and there’s just so much to take in. 

But it’s real beauty can not be seen from the city. Yes, Columbo is beautiful and it’s temples are well worth a visit but more  than a day or two and you’re just wasting value time with nature.

However, you can’t be in Columbo without visiting Viharamahadevi Park (formally Victoria park) and witnessing the Grey-headed flying fox bats which take up residency in the park in their hundreds.

Staying at the XYZ, you can grab a tuk-tuk for a around £1, to the parks entrance. Walk to the furthest point of the park and you’ll soon see these beautiful flying mammals up in the treetops. Dusk is the perfect time.

Helpful Resources

Now that we have all the information we need, it’s time to plan your wildlife photography holiday to Sri Lanka!

Here are some helpful resources to help you get your trip started:

Flights: Skyscanner and Expedia are the best places to start looking for cheap flights and great deals from your home country.

Accommodation: Skyscanner and Expedia are the best places to start looking for cheap flights and great deals from your home country.

Home Stays: Skyscanner and Expedia are the best places to start looking for cheap flights and great deals from your home country.

Travel: Skyscanner and Expedia are the best places to start looking for cheap flights and great deals from your home country.

Travel Insurance: Skyscanner and Expedia are the best places to start looking for cheap flights and great deals from your home country.

Day Trips & Tours: Skyscanner and Expedia are the best places to start looking for cheap flights and great deals from your home country.
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