Kenya - Fascinating African Wildlife
Travel pictures from Kenya
by Dr. Günther Eichhorn
In February 2009 I visited Kenya. I was on an East Africa safari trip, organized by Good Earth Tours, to visit Kenya, Tanzania, and Rwanda. Good Earth Tours is located in Tanzania, with an office in the USA. The local tour operator with which Good Earth Tours contracted in Kenya was Nature Expeditions. The organization of my whole trip by Good Earth Tours was impeccable. Everything worked out perfectly, I was very happy. The local organizer in Kenya worked out extremely well too. I was met as planned on my arrival in Nairobi, and later again for my second part in Kenya when I came from Rwanda. The guides were very knowledgeable, especially my first guide in Maasai Mara.
After arriving in Nairobi I stayed overnight in Nairobi in the Hotel Panafric. The next morning we left for the 5 hour drive to Maasai Mara National Reserve, where I stayed in the Mara Sopa Lodge, a very nice lodge with very comfortable duplex buildings. I stayed there for two days. I was on game drives twice per day during my stay there.
From Maasai Mara I drove to Tanzania for a week in the Serengeti, and then four days in Rwanda. From Rwanda I flew back to Nairobi for another two days in Kenya. I stayed in the Hotel Panafric in Nairobi for two days till my return flight to the USA.
On the first day in Nairobi I made a day trip to the Lake Nakuru National Park. It is about a two-hour drive from Nairobi. This was a very nice trip, I finally got to see Rhinos. One of the main attractions are the flamingos.
Maasai Mara is a National Reserve, Lake Nakuru is a National Park. The difference is that a National Reserve is open to use for native Maasai, while a National Park is restricted from use as pasture, etc by Maasai.
On the second day I just did a trip to the park area at Ngong Hills, near Nairobi, with no wildlife on the agenda, just relaxing before the return flight. My return flight was at 23:30, so I had a long wait at the airport.
Traffic in Nairobi can be very bad. On my second drive from the airport to the Panafric Hotel we got stuck in really bad traffic for 1 ½ hours. Outside Nairobi there is not much traffic. The roads are a mix of good and bad. Most roads that I was on were very good. There is a lot of road construction going on and it definitely is improving things. But some of the roads are pretty bad.
Like in Tanzania and Rwanda, there is lots of pedestrian traffic on the roads. Many people, it seems, can't afford public transportation.
All along the roads in the villages are vendors of every kind. From fruit and vegetables to clothes, you can find almost anything at roadside vendors.
In Maasai Mara, I visited a Maasai village. The Maasai there still live a pastoral life. They graze their livestock in the National Reserve. The village is protected against lions and leopards by a thorny fence. The huts are made of a stick frame caked with mud and cow patties. The livestock stays inside the village overnight.
Kenya has significant problems with tribal rivalries. There are over 40 tribes in Kenya. Politicians tend to favor their tribe and channel money and jobs to their tribe. This causes great tension between tribes, and culminated in the beginning of 2008 in riots that left hundreds dead. Currently things seem to be quiet, but I wouldn't be able to see such tensions as a tourist. This is in marked contrast to Tanzania, where there are no tribal tensions, due to their first president Julius Kambarage Nyerere, who was very adamant in building consensus, and treating all tribes equally to avoid animosities.
It was absolutely worth a visit. Seeing the African wildlife in Maasai Mara National Reserve and the Lake Nakuru National Park is fantastic. I especially enjoyed watching a lioness stalk a Hartebeest, and seeing the rhinos in Lake Nakuru National Park.