Kenya (6)

On a recent Kenya Safari we woke up before the sun rose and crept out of our tents and headed straight for the safari vehicle, tiptoeing so as not to awake everyone.  Just as we departed the first light of day could be seen peeking over the horizon of the Indian Ocean in Watamu.  The early morning was cool and it was good to be travelling at this time of the day, escaping the searing heat.  The chorus of birds could just be heard as we arrived at the entrance of the Arabuko Sokoke National Park along the north coast of Kenya. 

We entered into the Kenya Wildlife Service office and paid our entrance fees and collected our guide for the morning.  For the first part of the tour we set off on foot to the wooded area close to the park entrance.  Here we had a good look at a Golden-Rumped Elephant Shrew which is indigenous to this park.  Although the shrew was very shy and quickly disappeared once it sensed us we still managed to get a really good view.

Did you know that a coconut tree has many uses; there is not one part of this tree that is discarded!

 - Firstly, it produces coconuts; the milk and flesh are edible and used to flavour many dishes throughout the world. Dried coconut meat, called copra, is made from the mature coconut.  The copra is pressed in a mill to make coconut oil and coconut meal, used in animal feeds. The edible oil is used in hair and skin care products, soap and sunscreen.

- The leaves themselves have many uses, they are woven to produce baskets, hats, mats and fish traps. Leaves are also prepared into a roof tile and used to thatch an entire house, an excellent and watertight creation.

 - The coconut husk has long fibres which are used to make rope, nets and doormats. Pieces of husk can be used as scrubbers to clean floors and cooking pots or for kindling for the fire.

Visit Kaya Kinondo Sacred Forest with Safari Joe.  Located near to Diani Beach along the Indian Ocean, south coast of Kenya.

A 'Kaya' is a pocket of sacred forest that owes its existence directly to the cultural beliefs and history of the nine Coastal Mijikenda ethnic groups or tribes.

Kaya Kinondo is the senior most Kaya (home) for the Digo people located in Kwale District, Coast Province. It is just a few metres from the pristine Indian Ocean shoreline and close to the world famous Diani Beach, an internationally recognised tourist destination.

Kaya Kinondo is well represented in biodiversity and still bears the marks of prolonged human settlement in the distant past within the forest, that adds credibility to the rich folklore associated with the site.

Kaya Kinondo was the first Mijikenda sacred forest to open up for controlled ecotourism. When you visit this site it is important to show respect for the forest and people, upon arrival you will be given a short brief on how to behave on the visit.

The stunning Shimba Hills National Reserve is an ideal day trip for those staying in Mombasa or the South Coast of Kenya, as it is less than an hour drive away.  The reserve contains one of the largest coastal forests in East Africa and is where a great diversity of Kenya’s plant species are found, many of which are endangered, explore this and more on a One Day Shimba Hills Safari.

Lake Nakuru is one of Kenya's premier National Parks and world renowned. It is perfectly situated within a couple of hours drive from Kenya’s thriving capital city, Nairobi.

A relatively small national park with a lot to offer, Lake Nakuru has the largest concentration of both Black Rhino and White Rhino in the country. As soon as you enter the park you are immediately treated to breathtaking views and an abundance of wildlife.

Gigantic yellow barked acacia trees surround the lake and pockets of euphorbia trees are scattered within the park.

The soda lake in the middle attracts at times hundreds of thousands of flamingos, giving the lake the appearance of a pink fringe. Once spooked the flamingos all take off together and a huge cloud of pink swarms the lake until they settle down again.  It is possible to drive down to the water’s edge and sit and watch this spectacular bird show.

The park has a high density population of Leopards and although rare it is often possible to spot one, resting in a tree to avoid the heat of the day; the tell-tale sign of their tale hanging down from the branches, alerts you to their presence.

The World Famous Masai Mara is an Award Winning National Reserve in the heart of Kenya, famed for its abundance of wildlife and rich culture.

No trip to Kenya is complete without a visit to the Masai Mara.  It is perhaps one of the most well known places in the world associated with the word 'Safari!'

The Masai Mara is a National Reserve as the Masai people live alongside the wildlife and are permitted to graze their livestock within the reserve.  An unforgettable sight is the Masai dressed in their red 'shuka' or blanket, trailing behind huge herds of cattle, the dust lingering in the air as they turn and head off into the sunset.

The Masai Mara is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating destinations in the world, endless grass plains teeming with wildlife, encircled by towering mountains and rock kopjes all make for some very exciting game drives.  This park is adjoined in the south to the Serengeti in neighbouring Tanzania and together they make up part of a very diverse ecosystem.