Why choose Kenya for a Wildlife Safari?

Back in 2010, visiting the Kruger National Park in South Africa was our first tryst with the bush. What an experience…we saw a pride of twelve lions feasting after a kill! We would have loved to share the pictures with you, but we have none. It was the first time that we had held a DSLR and over 75% of the pictures were out of focus. We would have possibly done a better job had we used our simple point and shoot camera. The desire to capture wildlife through the lens was strong…strong enough to plan another trip to Africa. Considering that we have been using our Canon 70D for over three years now, we were hopeful that we would not disappoint our photographers’ soul.

Time to go home... at Kruger National Park, South Africa

Time to go home… at Kruger National Park, South Africa

Ankur skipped this trip and I went with a friend. He had to be at work and earn money…that I would gladly spend on the safari! Also, he isn’t too fond of the four legged creatures…he comes along because he is my ‘captive travel companion’…a vow that he took when we got married! Hence, this post will read in first person, singular (mostly, unless I speak for my friend and myself).

Why did I visit Kenya?

Every country in Africa has wildlife reserves. Whether to go to Tanzania or Kenya …or revisit South Africa…it was a tough call to make. Here are the reasons that took me to Kenya:

Africa is a BIG continent...with so much to see!

Africa is a BIG continent… with so much to see!


There is a direct flight by Kenya Airways from Mumbai to Nairobi, which takes ~5.5 hours. Flight times are convenient. I left Mumbai late at night and landed in Nairobi at 6:30 am local time. This meant working in office for the day and departing at night… saving a day’s leave. Moreover, a 5.5 hours flight is pretty manageable… not too long to make you feel uncomfortable.


For Indian passport holders, Kenya allows visa on arrival. The visa costs USD 50 and is stamped on your passport at the Nairobi airport. You need to have the visa fees ready in USD and all your bookings in place. You also need to have proof that you can cover your costs while you are in Kenya. I carried about USD 1000 for this purpose, but was never asked to show it.

Plenty of National Parks/Wildlife Reserves

There are over 20 national parks in Kenya, many parks being within a driving distance of about 200 km from one another. Every park is rich in wildlife. Some parks are conservatories for a particular animal, like the Nakuru National Park, which has so many rhinos that you are almost certain to see one. I saw six of them, grazing lazily! In a four day long trip, you can visit 2-3 national parks. For the water babies, the country also has a couple of marine national parks!

Rhinos at Lake Nakuru National Park

Rhinos at Lake Nakuru National Park

I did a 4 day-3 night trip and visited Lake Nakuru National Park, which is famous for rhinos and flocks of flamingos, Lake Naivasha, which has a plethora of birdlife and off course, the Masai Mara National Park, which is famous for the African ‘Big Five’.

Birdlife at Lake Naivasha National Park

Birdlife at Lake Naivasha National Park


The safari packages in Kenya were cheaper than those in Tanzania. A 4-day trip in Kenya (Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivasha and Masai Mara) was turning out to be cheaper by at least 25% when compared to a similar trip in Tanzania (Lake Manyara, Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater), accommodation type and number of days being similar.

She will be as gorgeous... in Kenya and in Tanzania!

She will be as gorgeous… in Kenya and in Tanzania!

I decided to go with the less expensive destination and upgrade my accommodation from camps to comfortable, semi-luxury lodges. I got to see the animals in the wild and stay in comfort as well!

Outside the restaurant at the Mara Sopa Lodge in Masai Mara

Outside the restaurant at the Mara Sopa Lodge in Masai Mara

For those of you who want to do an initial survey and comparison of safari packages, I suggest using SafariBookings. I stumbled upon this site while searching for budget safaris on the internet. It has a huge list of service providers, many of them are not listed on TripAdvisor. I went with one such tour operator, Absolute Holiday Safaris and was extremely happy with the trip.

To all my buddies who have an Indian passport…

While the above reasons may excite you to book your tickets and pack your jungle pants for an African safari in Kenya, here is what you need to keep in mind well in advance as you plan a trip to Kenya…

Polio Vaccination

Since the last one year of so, it is compulsory to get the OPV (Oral Polio Vaccination) at least one month prior to your date of departure. This vaccination is valid for 12 months, after which you need to take it again if you intend to visit any of the polio endemic countries (Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia and Syria). Even if you have received this vaccination as a child, you need to get it again. Here is a list of the centres that will provide a certificate which is accepted by the immigration authorities.

It took me about half a day for the process. I needed to carry my passport in original and ticket copy. The vaccination was free…few drops of saline tasting solution. Suggest calling up the centre before showing up to understand the procedure, days on which the provide the vaccine, timings and documents to be carried.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

It is compulsory to take the yellow fever vaccination at least ten days prior to the date of departure. The cost of the vaccination, as on date, in India is INR 300 at the government authorised centres. The certificate is valid for ten years…so have it laminated and keep it safe. Here is the list of centres that provide yellow fever vaccination.

I went to the centre at Mumbai, near the international airport and would advise you to go here if you are in Mumbai (and not the one at the port). This process also took half a day. Remember to carry a copy of your passport, the original passport and a copy of your air ticket.

Do read up a little on the side effects of the yellow fever vaccinations before you get the shot. While it is a seemingly harmless shot, I developed an ugly rash on my ankles that took over two weeks to disappear. The vaccination site was a little sore for a week. That being said, you must take the shot for your own health and safety!

Don’t waste time approaching private doctors for these vaccinations..the immigration officials will not agree to any other certificate except that issued by the Government authorised bodies. You need to carry the original polio vaccination certificate and yellow fever vaccination certificate when you re-enter the country. The immigration officers may quarantine you if you do not have these documents…so keep them safely when you travel.

Planning an African safari and queries? Send me an e-mail and I would be glad to help!

Let the travellers’ tribe grow!

You may also like

What not to do on a Safari?
Pench Tiger Reserve: Costs and Budget
Planning a trip to Pench Tiger Reserve?
Lake Nakuru Lodge: Review

18 Responses

  1. Sonia, totally loved the travels with you. Your meticulous research to get the best out of the trip, within a budget, without compromising on comfort or itinerery, really made it so very enjoyable. Thanks again for putting this together and being the most awesome travel companion. I keep bragging to my friends – I traveled with a travel-blogger… like a privilege !

    Wildlife and photography – a heady combination, and I got ample doses of both on this trip. Highly recommend this travel to everyone – short trip, budget vacation, packed with outdoor trips in the wild yet relaxing, nature and photography. It has all the spice for life.

    1. Thanks Shweta! Super that we had a good time…except for cancellation of our flight, which was an adventure in itself!
      Ha ha…I am all flattered that you refer to me as a 'travel blogger'…I am the same girl who sat next to you for two years :-)!

  2. This is really amazing,the fact and reason are leaving me considering our country one of the great destination.Good stuff.we are happy you had great time with your host.Kenya is a great destination really blessed with wild life.That is our pride…………welcome more and more.

    1. It was great to see that the national parks are maintained so well…no litter…no plastics. It is nice to know that Kenyans value their wildlife so much….
      Look forward to trips to many more national parks in Kenya!

    2. Thank you so much,feel most welcomed and you have given another great remark about cleanness of our parks.Please i would appreciate if as well you can share the comparison between the countries you have visited and our country.You are a traveller and i am sure the people following you would wish to know what you think about the countries you have visited?The points of interest in this countries please.Just a kind request please….

  3. Awesome article thank you to the writer i am happy to see something positive about Kenya.Great thought,great facts i hope if Kenya gets 20 visitors like you who are really ready to share their thoughts like you it will great and awesome.I am a patriotic person and love article with great message.

    1. Its is a lovely country. We had really warm guide, who told us so much about the Kenyan and Masai traditions. I am sure Kenya will be able to attract many more wildlife lovers!

  4. Congrats Sonia that a great post and a remarkable on.I give you 95% keep it up……welcome again and again to Kenya as you say you can save a day off by traveling at Night…Make Kenya You Destination either you personally or your friends.

  5. Better late than never……,it was nice meeting with you Sonia and Shweta,first i thank you for choosing to be with us during your holiday.I had not asked myself many questions which are arising from this post.Its really clear that you had gone through many consideration for what you are really looking for……..the destination….Package cost……Availability of the flight…..Saving of a day off…….Availability of the visa….. and choosing the organization to be your ground handler as well as your caring partner while on holiday.

    I really like what i have read here and the Tough choice you made,as i can see some amazing photo shot i am convinced that your CANON 70D never let you down on your Kenya trip as it happen in your first trip in south Africa…,Hopeful you have created great memories and you have a lot to share with your friends? I hereby find your reasons to choose Kenya really amazing and great,this give me a cruel of something i have not known for quite so long.

    Thank you so much and wishing you all the best in your future planning to explore other destinations in the world.

  6. On behalf of the entire Absolute Holiday Safaris we are proud and happy to share this post and really happy to the Writer {Sonia Sahni} We are happy you choose to be with us during your holiday,you have explored part of Kenya Territory.Thank you for having have brought your friend along Ms.Shweta Singh.We hope your Husband Ankur or Your ….{'captive travel companion'}… was there too to enjoy with you….We thank him so much for giving you this opportunity to arrange your trip and as well as you have quote to remain to earn Money to finance your trip.WE WISH YOU GREAT HAPPINESS NOW AND IN FUTURE Mr.Ankur and Mrs Sonia..

    Putting to consideration you have shared above and the comments there above too we are convinced that Kenya deserves to receive a large number of Tourist more so from India…Our words are simple we aim to be the best in offering great and recommendable services to all those choose and will choose to be with us….We don't wish to be ranked first but to be ranked best in terms of services and hospitality offered.

    As per the view of the post we are sure that we managed to offer good services to you and we hope we now have new Ambassadors in India????The growth of any industry is determined by the services it offers and the number of clients who where satisfied with the services offered.We like referrals and we will be happy to meet your friends in Nairobi….

    on behalf of management.

  7. Kenya is an amazing destination for not only safaris, but also beach holidays. I would recommend Diani beach for a start. A safari and beach combination also works out quite well.

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