Sights and Sounds – The Call of the Wildebeest

Going on a safari in Kenya is the best way to witness the breathtaking landscape and its magnificent wildlife. A typical 3 or 5 day safari routine includes drives to watch wildlife in reserves such as the Maasai Mara and Lake Nakuru National Park.

One of the most spectacular and dramatic wildlife phenomena is the Great Maasai Mara Migration- an annual uncoordinated mass movement of over two million wildebeests, antelopes, zebras on a 3500km route from the Serengeti plains in Tanzania, across the Mara River into Kenya’s Maasai Mara Game Reserve. These animals, in search of food and water, give birth to the young and fall prey to predators as they travel across the plains, reenacting nature’s cycle of life and death.

Doing it affordably

Although a safari holiday in Africa is not cheap, it can be done affordably for the whole family.

For a start, consider staying in government accommodation or in tents at National Parks- these could be cheaper by 2-3 times than those in private game reserves and lodges. Also consider a self-driving safari but take along a qualified guide to provide advice on the best places to visit.

Going during the low season helps. Alternatively, choose a less-famous reserve – there are good but less well-known game reserves in Kenya which are priced affordably.

One-day safaris are more affordable as they come without the cost of accommodation. However, these quickies do not do justice to the majesty of the wildlife and landscape that is, after all, the reason for embarking on a safari.

A 3-day safari package that includes game drives in the reserves, tent accommodation, meals, guide and transport could be had for USD340 per person.

Game for Food, anyone?

Nairobi has its fair share of cosmopolitan cuisine offerings. However, for local food, try Kenya’s unofficial national dish nyama choma, comprising barbecued meat served with vegetables and greens. Or have a go at the ugali – a thick, starchy food made from the porridge of boiled maize.

The Carnivore restaurant used to serve game like zebra and crocodile, but has stopped doing so due to government restrictions. It now serves beef, chicken and lamb roasted on traditional Maasai sword-like skewers over a huge roasting charcoal pit.

Getting there

There are numerous international flights to Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. From there, transfer to Nairobi Wilson Airport by car, where most travelers are picked up for their safari holiday.