Kenya and Tanzania are home to some of the most legendary wildlife reserves in Africa. The vast plains of the Masai Mara and Serengeti are the natural habitat of a myriad of species, and the spectacle of the annual Great Migration of wildebeest is a memorable sight if you’re in the right place at the right time. Add to that the fascinating traditional tribes of the Maasai and the Samburu, and you have an African destination second to none.
The Great Wildebeest Migration
Every year over 1.5 million animals, including wildebeest, zebra and gazelle, follow their instincts and move through the endless plains of East Africa on their 1000 kilometer journey between the fresh grazing of the Masai Mara and Serengeti National Park. The mass herds of migrating animals attract the attention of Africa’s most renowned predators, with big cats, hyena and crocodiles in tow.
Kilimanjaro National Park
Home to Africa’s highest peak, this stunning national park is host to leopard, buffalo, elephant, monkeys and eland. The dormant volcano of Mount Kilimanjaro towers over the park at a height of 4,900 metres from its base (5,895 metres above sea level). As one of Tanzania’s most frequented attractions, people from all over the world journey here to climb the summit or simply stand in front of its awe-inspiring wonder.
As the largest intact ancient caldera in the world, the Ngorongoro Crater clocks in at nearly three million years old. Because of its permanent supply of water, thousands of animals wander the crater’s floor, including elephant, rhino, buffalo, gazelle, wildebeest and zebra. Flocks of flamingos can also be spotted in the conservation area near Lake Migadi.
Amboseli National Park
Spread across the Kenyan border near Tanzania, Amboseli National Park is famous for its close encounters with large herds of free-ranging elephants. Lion, hyena and wildebeest also frequent the area, along with over 370 bird species. Mount Kilimanjaro provides a spectacular backdrop and travellers can also visit the local Maasai community nearby.
Maasai Mara National Reserve
Although the Maasai Mara is a year round destination, in July through October, the reserve is host to one of the best shows on earth – The Great Migration. This time of year sees thousands of wildebeest, gazelle and zebra travelling to and from the Serengeti. Lion, cheetah and leopard can also be spotted in large numbers within the reserve, with hippo and crocodiles flocking the rivers.
Lake Nakuru National Park
Famous for its mass flocks of pink flamingos that congregate on the lake, this national park is home to an abundance of wildlife. Over 450 species of bird have been recorded in the area and lion, leopard, warthog, waterbuck, pythons and white rhino populate its landscape. The national park is also home to the largest protected euphorbia candelabrum forest in Africa.