Safari from your holiday house when staying at the Coast
Introduction to safaris in Kenya
A trip to Kenya is not a trip at all without going on Safari to marvel at the wildlife the country has to offer. Kenya has numerous game parks, conservancies, hotels and lodges to choose from. The main game parks that one can visit easily from the coast are Tsavo East and Tsavo West and Shimba Hills, which is on the South Coast near Diani.
Tsavo National Park was established in 1948 with an area of about 21,800 Km2.. It is the largest Park in Kenya. Tsavo is divided into two, East and West, the boundary is the Nairobi Mombasa Road. Tsavo is generally very hot and dry, which makes for good game viewing. Both parks are made up of savannah bush and scrub, acacia woodlands; rocky ridges and more extensive ranges and isolated hills. The best times to go to watch the animals are in the early morning or in the evenings when it is cooler as they tend to hide under bushes in the mid-day heat. Seeing Elephant is almost guaranteed in Tsavo as are spotting plains game such as impala, gerenuk, zebra, giraffe, etc. There are Big Cats, Leopard, Lion and Cheetah, in Tsavo East and Tsavo West and seeing lion is fairly common but they are extremely well camouflaged in the sandy coloured grass so they can be difficult to spot.
Tsavo West National park borders with the Southern Tanzania plains and so are the views of Mt Kilimanjaro. There is probably more to do in Tsavo West and Mzima Springs is recommended, particularly if you have children as they can view hippos in the crystal clear spring water from underwater viewing hides. Again accommodation is plentiful and ranges from camping options right up to five star hotels. There are numerous hills and ridges, which make for interesting views including the Chyulu Hills. The Shetani lava flow indicates volcanic activity many years ago.
Taita Hills and The Lumo Community Wildlife Sanctury
There are two hotels based in the Taita Hills Area which is West of Voi. For something a little different try Lions Bluff, a small lodge that sleeps no more than 24, which is situated at the top of a hill overlooking a vast expanse of Africa and with uninterrupted views of Mt Kilimanjaro and the Pare Mountains. At certain times of the year, the area literally swarms with game and buffalo and elephants can be seen in their hundreds. Being located in a private, community based, sanctuary visitors to Lions Bluff can take bush-walks, bush-breakfasts and night-game drives and numerous other activities, including a visit to a WW1 battle ground, all of which are generally not available in a National Park. Donations are made from the proceeds of the lodge to assist the local community to construct boreholes and water troughs for their livestock as well as helping to improve livelihoods through access to health services and education. www.lionsblufflodge.com for more information.
A perfect overnight trip would be to go from Vipingo to Shimba Hills National Park, which is approximately 30 km South of Mombasa. There are a few accommodation options, including the KWS self-catering bandas, which are fairly basic but command lovely views or at the more comfortable Shimba Hills Lodge, which is a wooden construction that can take 60 guests. A fenced elephant corridor connects the Shimba Hills with Mwaluganje Forest Reserve to the North and one can stay in the tented camp here.
Shimba Hills rise above the coastal plain and are forested and cool, which is a welcome relief after the heat and humidity of the beach. The reserve is home to Sable antelopes buffalo, elephant as well many other species. The Sheldrick Falls are worth a visit but and whilst the walk down to the bottom of the falls is fairly easy the walk back up again is hard work! Remember to take lots of water with you.
Following your trip to Shimba Hills National Park a trip to Diani Beach for lunch would round off the trip perfectly. Diani Beach really is a world-class white powder-soft sandy beach. There are numerous restaurants such as, 40 Thieves Beach Bar and Nomad as well as hotels to choose from along the beach front.