Independent Schools Cultural Alliance - ISCA – Summer Programs in the UK

Kenya

Kenya is a country full of diverse landscapes and cultures, of endless plains full of wildlife, rolling hills, lush mountains, wildlife documentaries, The Great Migration and the most breathtaking coastline. If you’re looking for an authentic African experience, Kenya is the place for you. Safari njema (have a good trip!)

After flying into Nairobi, your first stop is The Safari Collection’s Giraffe Manor. Stay in this fantastic hotel and get up close and personal with the Rothschild’s Giraffe. Rothschild’s Giraffes are one of the most endangered subspecies of giraffe and one of the world’s most at-risk species. So while they are a tourist draw, the Nairobi Giraffe Centre and The Safari Collection’s Giraffe Manor are really there to help local giraffes. There are around 20 Rothschild’s Giraffes that wander around the space between the Giraffe Manor and the Nairobi Giraffe Centre. They are incredibly friendly and are very used to interacting with people – they will even help themselves to your breakfast if you aren’t careful!

From here, go to Ol Pejeta Conservancy. It once one of the largest cattle ranches in Kenya but is now a 365 sq km privately owned wildlife reserve and home to the largest population of the endangered black rhino in East Africa. There are plenty of organised activities to do including lion-tracking, cycling within sight of rhinos or simply walking into the wild. You can also go horse riding through the reserve, allowing you to get close to the animals without scaring them.

Next stop is Amboseli National Park. It’s signature attraction is the sight of hundreds of big-tusked elephants set against the backdrop of Africa’s most spectacular view of Mount Kilimanjaro. At Amboseli, you also have the opportunity to learn more about wildlife conservation – an important project which the whole of Africa is currently facing!

No matter how many David Attenborough documentaries you’ve watched, nothing quite prepares you for the thrill of seeing real animals in the Masai Mara National Reserve. Reliable rains and plentiful vegetation underpin this extraordinary ecosystem and the millions of herbivores it supports. Wildebeest, zebras, impalas, elephants, Masai giraffes and several species of gazelle all call the Mara home. This vast concentration of game accounts for high predator numbers, including cheetahs, leopards and the highest lion densities in the world. It is simply the perfect place to go on safari.

Whilst you’re here, visit a Maasai Village. Traditionally, Maasai people are semi-nomadic, moving their animals from pasture to pasture and living in the bush in mud and grass houses known as inkajijiks. As a visitor, there is no better way to learn about their ways of life than to interact with the locals. Go on a local-led tour of a Maasai boma to better understand how traditional Maasai communities live, sleep, hunt, eat and dress.

Next stop is Hell’s Gate National Park in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley. Hell’s Gate National Park is said to be to the inspiration for the Lion King due to its dramatic landscape and, with some of the country’s finest mountains, lakes and open plains, you can see why! The park is famous for its’ walking and bicycle safaris. With no predators in the park, you don’t need to worry about a lion mistaking you as prey.

From here, go to Lake Nakuru National Park. One of Kenya’s most compact and excellent parks, flanked by rocky escarpments, pockets of acacia forest and waterfalls, the park is gorgeous year-round and is home to both black and white rhinos, tree-climbing lions, leopards, hippos and the endangered Rothschild’s giraffe.

Kisite-Mpunguti Marine National Park is a wonderful complement to Kenya’s wildlife destinations. There is plenty to do and see here including spotting crocodiles along the banks of mangrove-lined rivers, watching dolphins crashing in the surf and snorkelling along the pristine coral reefs amongst the colourful fish and turtles! 

Our final stop is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lamu Island. It is possibly the best place in the world to experience the traditional Swahili culture. Enjoy the laidback way of life, get lost in the alleyways, relax on the beaches, take a trip on a dhow boat, visit the markets and enjoy the blissful, rustic, car-free island! It’s the perfect way to end your Kenyan adventure.