Kenya


Kenya wins your heart the moment you land in Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The people here have a unique disposition which unites the 48 different ethnic groups as one; they have happiness and a zest for life written large all over their beaming faces. It is incredible how they these people, as one, have developed the uncanny knack of taking you back to the golden era of the ‘Raj’ without even giving you the slightest of hints that that’s where your journey will begin and culminate. Though it might sound derogatory and it probably is deprecating to think of someone treating you with the submissiveness found in a colonial world, for a service industry corrupted by commercialization the perfect experience for a guest is the utmost respect and love as shown in such an era of passivity, especially when it’s in the heart of the African bush. To the Westerner this might be offensive but to an Indian who respects tradition and culture being made to feel special is par for the course and that’s what makes Kenya so special for us. Be it at home or in the office, be it at a party or a rally, respect for each other is what differentiates us from the western world.

If the reception at the airport is warm it only gets better as your safari progresses. Add to this the incredible weather and awesome wildlife and you have the perfect safari.

Covering some 583,000 sq. km, bisected by the equator with a diverse and varied wildlife, this “land of spectacular contrast” is also the “Cradle of Mankind”. From the pre-historic splendor of the Rift Valley to the beautiful beaches of the Indian Ocean, from the cultural hub of Nairobi to the game parks of Tsavo, Samburu and the Masai Mara, this vast country is a Safari goers’ haven. In Hemingway’s words, “Unknowable, unimaginable, unbelievable. And completely unforgettable.”

The Great Rift Valley has carved out the earth to furnish to mankind spectacular natural wonders of the world.  Lakes Turkana, Naivasha, Nakuru and Bogoria feature wildlife, flamingoes, stunning landscapes, hot springs, the sight of fishermen in papyrus boats and even the rare Greater Kudu. The world famous Maasai Mara, offers the classic Kenya Safari. From July to September millions of wildebeest and zebra migrate north from the Serengeti and concentrate in the Mara making it the wild lifers dream come true. River crossings, lion, leopard, cheetah kills suddenly become daily occurrences.

The snow-capped Mt. Kenya, Africa’s second highest mountain, is a stunning and challenging destination for climbers and trekkers. Below the mountain’s alpine meadows roam elephants, black rhinos, cape buffalos and antelopes inhabit the Aberdares which boast of high alpine moorland and primeval aloe forest. The leopard and buffalo is common in this region.

The snows of Kilimanjaro melt, the runoff water sinks into the ground and the aquifers arrive at Amboseli like eternal springs creating swamps attracting elephants and other big game. Elephants silhouetted against the remarkable view of Mt. Kilimanjaro is the most haunting memory which lasts with you a lifetime if experienced even once. Hemmingway wrote of it as the essence of Africa. Elephants rummage in the lower forests, leopards prowl the salt flats, and antelopes graze in the open, all against Mt. Kilimanjaro’s majestic peak – a glimpse of the classic image of Africa.

The semi-arid northern Kenya is framed by volcanic mountain ranges and dotted with unique lakes. Throughout the region, rare animals abound; the Reticulated Giraffe, Beisa Oryx, Grevy’s Zebra, and the long-necked Gerenuk.

Tsavo East and Tsavo West national parks, situated halfway between Nairobi and Mombasa – making it ideal for those wanting to include both safari and beach tourism on their intinerary – are model parks in geographic, plant, and animal diversity. In the evening “Tsavo Sunsets” span the sky filling the horizon with incredible colour. Labour laws in the 1890’s were changed to accommodate Indian labour in constructing the railroad from Mombasa to Lake Victoria. During the construction of the Lunatic Express as the railway was called, man eating lions attacked and killed many Indians at the Tsavo bridge. This is a place worth visiting for every Indian to understand and appreciate just how much Indians have sacrificed to make the world a better place.

The colourful palm-fringed coral coast of Kenya is a playground for all. A variety of activities make it unique. Numerous water sports are available along the entire Coast. A spectacular coral reef, running almost uninterrupted for 480 km, teems with wonders of marine life, lagoons, creeks and overwhelming birdlife in mangroove forests or on overhanging cliffs. Africa with Saad offers the most amazing dhow safaris on the coast apart from other experiences.

 

Kenya – Geography & Climate

Kenya gets both the short and the long rains. Heavy downpours last from March to May followed by the short rainy season from October to December. The two intervening seasons are dry.

The coastal plains to the east are low and rise to an expansive inland wooded plateau between 3000 to 5000 feet with several mountain ranges and isolated peaks decorating the interiors. Mount Kenya, the abode of Engai, the Maasai God protects his people from the many volcanoes that litter the rift valley.

The inter-tropical belt of cloud and rain literally scrambles across the country between April and October and worse still the predominant seasonal winds, the north and the south monsoons tracking a course parallel to the coast pass over large tracts of land before reaching Kenya; they arrive dry. And even though Kenya transverses the equator the annual rainfall over most of the country remains surprisingly low. Kenya has the added benefit of altitude which accords favorable subtropical or temperate temperatures over much of the country.

The immense variety of relief and the range of altitude produce a considerable number of distinctive local climates and local weather. These are too numerous to be detailed here but need to be taken into account when we organize your safari.

Temperatures can be high, humidity low and generally the climate is dry and healthy. The desert neighboring Somalia and Ethiopia is typical hot desert like. Most of the region has very low annual rainfall for an equatorial region persists. Condensation is generally below 500 mm and in the far north is often below 250 mm.

The main groups of tribes are the Bantu who migrated from western Africa, the Nilotic people who originated from Sudan and the Hamitic group who were mainly pastoral tribes from Ethiopia and Somalia. The main tribes here being the Kikuyu (21%), Meru (5%), Kalenjin, Luyha, Luo (14%), Kisii, Kamba, Swahili, Masai and the Turkana.

The Kikuyu are Bantu and actually came into Kenya during the Bantu migration. They include some families from all the surrounding people and can be identified with the Kamba, the Meru, the Embu and the Chuka. Traditionally they are farmers with their homelands being in the foothills of Mount Kenya.

The Maasai ate found mainly in Southern Kenya. They believed that their rain God Ngai granted all cattle to them for safe keeping when the earth and sky split and since cattle was given to them and them alone, the  Massai believe it’s absolutely fine to steal from other tribes. No wonder that cattle because it is their main source of economic survival as opposed to education. The Massai have not strayed from the traditional basic ways of life where hunting is banned. That’s one of the reasons why the wilderness of Maasai lands has thrived. Poachers do not dare take on the Moran or the Maasai warrior who could kill the poacher little else than fun. The Massai prefer to remain nomadic herdsmen, moving as their needs necessitate. This is becoming more difficult in modern times as their open plain disappear. In the drier regions of the north, the Maasai subsists on a diet of cow’s blood and milk, which they mix together and drink.

The Samburu are related to the Maasai although they live just above the equator where the foothills of Mount Kenya merge into the northern desert. They are semi-nomadic pastoralists whose lives revolve around their cows, sheep, goats, and camels. Milk is their main stay; sometimes it is mixed with blood. Meat is only eaten on special occasions. Generally they make soups from roots and barks and eat vegetables if living in an area where they can be grown. Most dress in very traditional clothing of bright red material used like a skirt and multi-beaded necklaces, bracelets and earrings, especially when living away from the big cities.

The Turkana are the second largest group of nomadic pastoralists in Kenya who live in northern Kenya – numbering over 200,000 they occupy a rectangular area bordered by Lake Turkana in northern Kenya and Ethiopia on the east, Uganda on the west, Sudan on the north.

© Copyright Africa with Saad - Designed by Pexeto