A Low Season Safari in Kenya

With WOW!

A Low Season Safari in Kenya - with WOW

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Two weeks travelling all around Kenya? I was never going to turn that opportunity down, although trying to explain to family and friends that it was NOT a holiday can be hard. 11 flights, 31 properties visited, and hundreds of miles later, I can confirm I was definitely working hard. But I also learnt a lot more about the weather in this stunning and diverse country.

Safaris in Kenya during the rainy season

Everyone has heard of the Great Migration, where thousands upon thousands of wildebeest and zebra move annually in a great, lazy circle in search of fresh grass between Kenya and neighbouring Tanzania. The migration usually arrives in the Masai Mara on the Kenyan side around July then will head back south across the border around October time.

This also coincides with warm sunny days and clear blue skies, making it the peak time to travel. But my visit was travelling in May, the low season, with the risk of the “long rains”. I went expecting to get wet, but also curious as to what the game viewing would be like away from the crowds.

As it turned out, my waterproofs only put in 2 appearances in the whole time (once down in Amboseli National Park and once at the coast). But witnessing 5 cheetah taking cover from a spectacular storm, before the clouds lifted to reveal the imperious beauty of Mount Kilimanjaro in the background, felt like a privileged peek into their genuine lives and struggles.

Spectacular Safaris for Photographers

Spending 5 days in the Masai Mara and my game drives were totally unaffected, although you could sometimes see rains coming in the distance at sundowner stops.

 For photographers, this time of year can make for some spectacular shots. The game viewing was superb, plentiful and varied – so gratifying to know that the Masai Mara still delivers even away from migration time, with stories unfolding everywhere you look.

There truly is something for everyone in the Masai Mara, and whether you stay in one area or a combination of camps the action never stops.

Here are 3 of my favourite options in different parts of this wildlife wonderland:

Which Safari Camps cut it in the Masai Mara?

Endless Views at Angama Mara

Set high on an escarpment overlooking the game rich Masai Mara triangle, the high design tents at Angama Mara are all glass and class. I went in wondering if it could really live up to the hype, yet unbelievably it over-delivered. But it is not just the seemingly endless views, even if I could have spent hours just watching the game on the plains below from my deck.

Everything at Angama Mara is made to feel effortlessly easy, and you can tell the staff are genuinely happy and wanting you to feel totally at home. A private access road down the slopes will have you in the heart of the action in minutes, but there are a multitude of other activities too – you can even challenge yourself to run with the Angama running club if you fancy channelling your inner distance runner!

A Personalised Experience for the discerning traveller at Mara Plains

A jewel in the glittering crown of Great Plains Conservation, and a leader in sustainable tourism, the exclusive camp Mara Plains evokes a vintage era of safari but with all the modern touches required for the discerning traveller.

With numbers on a game drive limited to just 4 per vehicle, you are already assured of a personalised experience. Add to this that they have unlimited access to not just the National Park but all the surrounding conservancies, and nobody is better placed to put you in the right place at the right time, no matter the season. Once you’ve finished with your complimentary Swarovski binoculars for the day, why not try out the star telescope and marvel at the wonder of an African night sky?

Enhancing the experiences of seasoned safari goers at Mara Bushtops

Mara Bushtops is a legend in its own right, but always pushing the boundaries to enhance the experiences of even the most seasoned safari goer. Being situated on a conservancy allows you to do activities not allowed in the National Park, with walking routes ranging from 30 minutes to 6 hours, and the option of night time game drives.

And I’m not talking squinting into the bushes with a torch here, these top-of-the-range game vehicles are equipped with night vision cameras allowing you to witness the action in a whole new way. The tension as we sat in the dark, “watching” the infra-red shape of lions hunting just metres away from us in the inky night, was incredible. And if you can’t wait to get those images onto social, these vehicles even have wi-fi on board too! Day time drives into the main park mean you get the best of both worlds, and don’t forget to check out the star lit pool when you get back.

Where to chill for multi-generational families or groups?

Once the safari scratch has been itched, there are airstrips aplenty to make the short hop to the coast. This is of course better for sun-worshippers away from the April-May time, but the coastal breezes make it a great time for kite and wind surfing enthusiasts to get out on the water.

Diani Beach is world famous, and in less than 15 minutes from nearby Ukunda airstrip I was feeling the safari dust slip away as I checked into Alfajiri Villas. These 3 villas come in various configurations to suit extended families or groups of friends travelling together. Dine when and how you want, all brilliantly co-ordinated by your own personal butler who will help organise as much or as little as you want. To say I was sad to leave the next morning would be a huge understatement!

Low season it may be, but Kenya has a piece of my heart, and what is not to love about escaping the crowds yet still leaving with a feeling of WOW?

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