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Kenya

Where it all started - the original safari destination.  Kenya has fulfilled millions of adventurers’ dreams to explore the wilds of Africa for well over a century.  Nairobi was established as a rail depot on the Uganda Railway by the colonial authorities in British East Africa in 1899.  The Railway Museum in the capital, celebrates this rich history with a collection of steam locomotives and memorabilia on display and a carriage with a rather novel story attached.  The city remains a hive of activity and is now one of the most prominent in Africa for business and culture; colonial buildings like Fairmont The Norfolk Hotel rub shoulders with a financial hub of glistening skyscrapers.  A special ‘green’ attribute within the city boundaries is the Nairobi National Park, Kenya’s first national park, so tourists don’t have to travel far from the centre (7 km) to get up close to the animals.  The reserve contains many you would expect to see including giraffes, lions, several hundred bird species, and is renowned as a sanctuary for black rhinoceros - Nairobi Safari Walk is a popular attraction that offers a rare on-foot experience for visitors.  The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the most successful orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation programme in the world, provides a haven where you can touch and be touched by baby elephants and rhinos too.  At the foot of the Ngong Hills, the Karen Blixen Museum is another one of Nairobi’s top attractions where visitors can tour the former home of the famous Out of Africa author.  There are several trails criss-crossing this ridge overlooking the Great Rift Valley and for fans of the book, the grave of Denys Finch Hatton, lover of the author, can be found on the eastern slopes.  For connoisseurs, Kenyan coffee is one of the best and Nairobi is surrounded by coffee and tea plantations.  Many of these estates have turned fabulous mansions into heritage hotels - tours are plentiful and easily organised. 

The coastline of Kenya, on the Indian Ocean offers beaches at Mombasa.  Quieter Lamu Island with no roads, therefore few motorised vehicles and one of the oldest and best preserved Swahili settlements in East Africa.  Malindi with a marine national park protecting fine beaches and coral reefs, is the perfect place to pitch up for snorkelling and deep-sea fishing. 

If it is the classic wildlife safari that draws you to this captivating country, there are over 50 parks and game reserves to discover.  Some of the more well-known and most visited include: the Maasai Mara Reserve, where thousands of tourists throng each year to watch the annual migration of wildebeest, zebra, Thomson’s gazelle and eland from the Serengeti in Tanzania - an exceptional natural spectacle known as the “Great Migration”.  Amboseli National Park has spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro the highest free-standing mountain in the world, purports to be the best place in Africa to get close to free-ranging elephants and offers the opportunity to meet the Maasai people.  Hell’s Gate is a small park with dramatic scenery named after a narrow break in the cliffs, once a tributary of a prehistoric lake that fed early humans in the Rift Valley - large carnivores are rare so it is safe to walk, cycle and even camp here alongside grazing impala and buffalo.  The vast plains of Tsavo provide peace and solitude, being the biggest national park in Kenya, indeed, one of the largest in the world.  Ewaso Nyiro River runs through the Samburu National Reserve in northern Kenya, supporting volumes of wildlife: cheetah, leopard, baboon, hippo as well as a large number of Nile crocodile.  For one of the greatest bird shows on earth, tourists flock to Lake Nakuru in central Kenya to witness the masses of flamingos, often more than a million at a time, that are attracted to the lake’s abundance of algae. 

Where heavenly skies meet the salt of the Earth, the lifeblood of survival fans the flames of creation.  Open your eyes to Kenya and expand your horizons - absorb the vista by balloon, climb Mount Kenya, marvel at the wonders of the animal world, or simply wake up and smell the coffee!

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