Why and where to go on safari?
Safari is a word from which the tropical winds and exotic countries waer. And by pronouncing it, we conjure up the image of the African continent, from where it came to us in the lexicon. In Swahili, “safari” means “journey,” and Europeans have brought in it an additional meaning – hunting for wild animals.
Fortunately, now the hunt has slowed down, leaving rare species and our grandchildren the chance to see each other. With the advent of available digital cameras and zoom lenses in fashion came photo-hunting, and masters worldwide go to Africa for rare trophies.
But why Africa? After all, there are places where the species diversity of local fauna is not only inferior but even superior to the African. Absolutely, yes. But we are not biologists (most of us) and do not go on long expeditions to look for rare lizards. We want to see large animals that will not hide from us and do not have to all day, like a ball chasing the beast with his “photo weapon.”
Elephants, rhinos, hippos, buffaloes, giraffes, zebras, and a variety of big cats – that’s what people want to get on an African safari.
Yes, you will say, but in India, too, there are large wild animals so. Only ironically, both elephants and tigers prefer jungles where they are hard to find and see. At the same time, representatives of sizeable African fauna live in savannahs, where they are easy to find and photograph.
And then we move on to the choice of the region. If it is very much easier to simplify the geography of the continent, the north of it is occupied by a desert; the west is an evergreen rainforest covering countries with unstable political systems and alarming epidemiological conditions and animals that are difficult to track down in the forest.
It remains the south and east of the mainland. And it just so happened that the Russians to fly to the eastern countries of Africa closer. Therefore, if you have not yet been on safari, I recommend starting with the closer region.
Once upon a time, the earth’s crust cracked and began to disperse. The crack stretched from Syria to Mozambique, spawning a fantastic edge of savannah and lakes called the Great Valley of the Fault or Great Rift (from the English word rift). That’s where I’d start getting to know Africa. And, choosing the country among the most likely candidates for the trip would consider Kenya.
First, it is the closest of the countries where the savannahs begin after the Sahara. The country is Christian, a former British colony, and many here speak English.
Kenya’s landscapes are very diverse, and the richness of the animal world will satisfy the needs of even the most discerning wildlife lovers and sophisticated photographers.
If you don’t have a good idea of what Kenya looks like, think of the cartoon “The Lion King.” After all, its action takes place there, and you will now understand why.
The best safari parks.
I’ll start, perhaps, with Amboseli Park to explain why the cartoon is happening in Kenya.
Remember the beginning when the beasts go to look at the newly born Simba? There is a beautiful panorama of animals marching on the savannah against the backdrop of the majestic Kilimanjaro. This picture can be obtained in the park Amboseli. Even though the extinct volcano is located in Tanzania, the savannah overlooking it is located in Kenya. If you want to enjoy this textbook view during your trip, it is worth including Amboseli Park in the program.
It is also famous for its high population of African elephants (more than a thousand heads). Here you can meet lions and cheetahs, numerous zebras and wildebeests, as well as a Masai giraffe (one of the three species of giraffes in Kenya).
The largest park in the country – Tsavo, divided into the Western and Eastern parts of the eponymous river, also deserves attention as a bastion of species diversity. Its impressive territory, which is mainly a dry savannah, is home to many rare animals, of which it is primarily worth highlighting rare black rhinos. Tourists prefer West Tsavo because of the more diverse terrain – there are hills, springs, and reservoirs that attract various birds and animals.
Suppose in Kenya you want not only to see the savannah but also to enjoy other scenery. In that case, it is worth including in the plan of the trip Aberder National Park, which is located on the slopes of the eponymous ridge. The mountain height exceeds the mark of 4,000 meters above sea level. River valleys, misty forests, and bamboo groves are all Aberder. And in the woods, there are many monkeys – for example, Gveres and blue monkeys.
Fans of the mountains advise Mount Kenya National Park, where, as you can guess from the name, the eponymous mountain, the second-highest in Africa (5,199 meters). There are eight species of natural landscapes and many endemic species found only in this region.
Lake Nakuru is Kenya’s third most visited park. Even though it is relatively small, every year, Nakuru receives a considerable number of tourists. Their goal is to see the second-largest land animal after the elephants – white rhinos. Alas, not so many of these giants left, and Nakuru is probably the best place in East Africa to watch. Another wonder that attracts connoisseurs of rare species to the park is the Rothschild giraffes. The cherry on the cake is the salt lake itself. In its waters, there are small rackhs, so beloved by pink flamingos. Several hundred thousand birds are fed here during the season.
Before visiting Kenya’s most famous park, you should first reach Lake Naivasha, nearby. It is insipid, and it is home to many fish, which attracts a vast number of aquatic and near-water birds. By the way, many birds come here for the winter from Russia. Among the native species, it is worth mentioning the eagle-cryuna and the sacred ibis, so revered by the ancient Egyptians.
The country’s most famous park is the Masai Mara, occupying the northern part of the vast plains to the very borders with Tanzania. On its side to the Maasai Mara adjoins the equally famous Park Serengeti, they form a vast ecosystem, known primarily as the Great Migration phenomenon. Millions of wildebeests and zebras move in circles following the rains and grass growing after them. The culmination of this process is the crossing of the Mara River, so popular among photographers-animals: from a high precipitous shore animals jump into the water, where they are already waiting for crocodiles.
There are two types of accommodation in national parks: camps – large comfortable tents with beds, shower and toilet – and loggis – houses, which are rooms. Camps are usually cheaper. Safaris are not held during the day, as the animals hide from the heat—travel times: from dawn to 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The exact hours of the safari depend on the length of daylight and the time of year. In the dark, it is forbidden to move around the reserves. And electricity in camps is often clocked and served by a generator, so it is better to have a tee with you to charge all the devices quickly.
And in conclusion. It just so happens that Kenya is not famous for its historical landmarks or modern architecture. But it has gorgeous beaches on the ocean and incredible nature, for which it is worth flying there. I have never met a man this country would leave indifferent.