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There is no doubt that Kenya is amagical country. Bearing a functionalveneer of Westernisation, it isbustling and colourful, and packed withvariety: a melting pot of everything African.Despite pressure from tourism and agrowing population, this country remainsthe naturalist's first choice in Africa ... andperhaps the world. The reasons are clear.Game in the reserves is abundant; both itand the birdlife-a staggering thousandspecies, unrivalled by any other Africanarea of similar size-are exceptionallycolourful, approachable, and easilyphotographed. From arid deserts toverdant rainforests, from rolling grasslandsto snow-capped equatorial peaks, fromlush green hills and cultivated plains to theindividual lakes and spectacularescarpments of the Great Rift Valley,Kenya has a variety of scenery andhabitats unrivalled in Africa. All this isserviced by a good network of roads, andby standards of accommodation andcuisine as high as any on this greatcontinent. Few visitors may complain!We begin our holiday with a very scenicdrive north to Samburu, perhaps the mostattractive of Kenyan game reserves.Situated in the 'arid north', Samburu's mixof crocodile-filled rivers, dry grasslands and acacia woodlands, together with itsbeautiful Dom Palms and Baobab Trees,provide us with a great range of birds andsome unusual mammals that includeReticulated Giraffe, Grevy's Zebra, BeisaOryx and Gerenuk.Next we move south once more for a 2-night stay at Mountain Lodge, situated atan elevation of 2,190 metres on theforested slopes of Mount Kenya. Here, onguided walks, we should see a wonderfulvariety of montane and forest birds,including such species as Red-frontedParrot, Hartlaub's Turaco, White-starredForest Robin and Montane Oriole. Mostexciting of all, though, is the anticipation atdusk, dawn and during the night as suchelusive mammals as Bush Pig, GiantForest Hog, Large-spotted Genet andperhaps even a Black Rhinoceros mayemerge from the forest to drink at thewaterhole beside the lodge.Leaving Mount Kenya we visit three verydifferent Rift Valley lakes. The birdlife ateach is outstanding. At Nakuru we explorethe salty mudflats and hilly woodlandaround this flamingo-laden soda lake. Thisbeautiful park is home to a large numberof White Rhino and Leopard. At LakeBogoria we search for Greater Kudu andvisit hot springs, and at Lake Baringo wehave plenty of time to explore a beautifullyunspoilt freshwater lake, set amidst arugged dry land of cliffs, plateaux andboulder-strewn acacia woodland, whereVerreaux's Eagles and Hemprich'sHornbills are amongst many other unusualbirds to be seen.Weconcludeourholiday in the MasaiMara, travelling over the Rift Valley andviewing the spectacular Longonot volcanoas we cross the cultivated plains of thevalley towards the rolling grasslands of'the Mara', where we spend three nights.This is the finest of Kenya's reserves, andteems with animals, especialIy in July,August and September when huge herdsof Blue Wildebeest, pursued by theirpredators, are migrating into the Marafrom the adjacent Serengeti in search offresh pastures. Topi, Hartebeest, gazelles,Burchell's Zebra, Giraffe, Elephant andAfrican Buffalo feed with them on theplains, and attendant Lions, Cheetahs,jackals and Spotted Hyenas. The birdlifemay take second place, but is nonethelessabundant. Vultures, Martial Eagles,Secretary Birds, Ostriches, GroundHornbills, and colourful barbets, weaversand finches litter the grasslands andacacias.For those wishing for a more completeoverview of Kenya's highlights, we shouldbe delighted to offer a tailormadeextension to Amboseli, Tsavo and thecoast (or to any other country in eastAfrica). These areas, sitting beneathsnow-capped Kilimanjaro, present finephotographic opportunities, and a habitatof dry, rolling grassland where yet morebird and mammal species may be found.Finally, at Turtle Bay, in the heart ofKenya's Marine National Park, you maychoose to snorkel on the coral reef,explore the bird-rich coastal forest ofSokoke, and the mudflats and mangrovesof Mida Creek.Kenya HighlightsA 14-day birdwatching and wildlife safari to the Masai Mara, Rift Valley Lakes, Mount Kenya and Samburu, plus an optional extension to Amboseli, Tsavo and the coast.Thursday 7th February - Wednesday 20th February Cost: £4,195*Thursday 5th September - Wednesday 18th September Cost: £4,295(*This tour can be combined with our 'Tanzania Highlights' holiday outlined on Page 175)Book direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking InformationETHIOPIA SUDAN UGANDA TANZANIA SOMALIA LAKE TURKANA LAKE BARINGO LAKE BOGORIA SAMBURU GAME RESERVE Mt. KENYA LAKE NAKURU LAKE NAIVASHA MASAI MARA GAME RESERVE LAKE VICTORIA NAIROBI AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK TSAVO WEST MOMBASA TURTLE BAY TSAVO EAST INDIAN OCEAN KENYA Outline itineraryDay 1 Depart London. Day 2/3Samburu.Day 4/5Mountain Lodge, MountKenya.Day 6/7 Lake Baringo. Day 8/9Lake Nakuru. Day 10/12Masai Mara. Day 13 Depart Nairobi. Day 14 Arrive London.AccommodationComfortable lodges with privatefacilities.FoodAll included in the price.GradingGrade A. Gentle walks, except in theMasai Mara and Samburu where allgame-viewing and birdwatchingmust be done from the vehicle.FocusBirds and mammals.LeaderAndy Smith (February) and ZulBhatia (September), plus localguide(s).Single room supplementFrom £695. Web quick search: KEN03163Wildebeest migration, Masai MaraGrey Crowned CranesGerenuk

The necklace of national parks that liesalong Kenya's southern border ishome to an unrivalled abundance anddiversity of wildlife. From the vast herds ofWildebeest and Zebra that crowd theMasai Mara, to the Elephants that wanderTsavo's brick-red lands, this beautifulregion of East Africa still protects some ofthe largest herds left on the continent andgives a rare glimpse into the Africa of old.Kenya is also predator country; theabundance of prey supports Lions,Cheetahs, Leopards and Wild Dogs, plusnumerous eagles and other birds thatmove south into the country to escape thenorthern winter. This abundance of life isbacked by an equally spectacularlandscape, the vast flat lands of the Maracontrasting with the rolling dry hills ofTsavo and the acacia woodlands ofAmboseli, the latter watched over by thetowering snow-capped peak of MountKilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa! Our tour begins with a flight into Nairobi,Kenya's bustling capital city. From here wedrive to Tsavo West National Park for a 2-night stay. Tsavo West, when combinedwith neighbouring Tsavo East NationalPark, jointly protects over 20,800 squarekilometres and forms one of Africa'slargest conservation areas. Tsavo is aplace of wide horizons and undulating,acacia-covered plains dotted with gracefulparties of Giraffes and herds of Elephantand Zebra. Only two permanent riversbring water to this vast area, and so it hasa more arid feel to it than the otherreserves we will be visiting on this holiday.Nevertheless, it is a wonderful area formammals, birds and other wildlife, and wecan expect to see our first herds of gameincluding Masai Giraffe, Thompson'sGazelle, Impala and Buffalo and perhapseven our first Lion or Cheetah. Indeed, theLions of Tsavo are descendants of thelegendary 'Man-eaters of Tsavo' whichbrought the building of the Nairobi toMombasa railroad to a standstill at thebeginning of the last century. Tsavo is alsowell known for its 'red Elephants' andherds of these red-earth-dusted giants willbe a familiar sight as we explore the parkon morning and afternoon game drives.During our stay in Tsavo we will also visitthe crystal clear waters of Mzima Springs.Here underground spring water hasformed a series of forest-fringedfreshwater pools into which an underwaterglass observation tank has been built.From this uniquely aquatic viewpoint wecan watch Hippos swimming underwateralong with crocodiles and various fish. Next we will spend two nights in AmboseliNational Park, which sits beneath thetowering cone of Mount Kilimanjaro and isone of the country's most scenic reserves.Amboseli's acacia-dotted plains and dryrolling grasslands support Elephant, MasaiGiraffe, Burchell's Zebra, Buffalo,Waterbuck, Thompson's Gazelle andnumerous birds including Bateleur, KoriBustard, Martial Eagle, Tacazze Sunbirdand White-fronted Bee-eater. Then, movingnorth-westwards, we spend two nights atLake Naivasha, a beautiful freshwater laketeeming with birdlife, before transferring tothe nearby soda lake of Nakuru. Thespectacular Lake Nakuru National Park ishome to huge flocks of Greater and LesserFlamingoes which crowd the fringes of thishighly caustic lake. This is undoubtedly oneof the world's great wildlife spectacles anda wonderful back-drop to the park's otherwildlife which includes both Black andWhite Rhino, Leopard and the rareRothchild's Giraffe. Finally, we cross the Rift Valley anddescend into the rolling grasslands of theMasai Mara for a 3-night stay in one ofAfrica's finest wildlife sanctuaries. TheMara holds some of the largestconcentrations of animals in the world,including vast herds of Blue Wildebeestand Burchell's Zebra, plus Topi,Hartebeest, Masai Giraffe, Elephant,Buffalo and various gazelles. These arestalked by all three big cats - Lion,Cheetah and Leopard - as well as by avariety of scavengers such as SpottedHyena and jackals. The birdlife may takesecond place, but is nonethelessabundant and includes huge GroundHornbills and elegant Secretary Birdswhich stride across the grasslands alongwith Kori Bustards, Grey Crowned Cranesand smaller species such as Temminck'sCourser, Wattled Lapwing, Rosy-breastedLongclaw, Yellow-shouldered Widowbirdand Capped Wheatear. Lone bushes ordead trees provide lookout perches for avariety of bee-eaters and rollers, includingthe beautiful Carmine Bee-eater, whilstabove them soar Martial Eagles andLappet-faced, African White-backed,Hooded and Rüppell's Vultures. Our time in the Masai Mara will be anundoubted highlight of our stay in Kenya,but from here we must leave the wilds ofAfrica and return to Nairobi to catch ourlong flight home.Kenya's Wildlife A 14-day safari to Kenya's southern national parks visiting Tsavo West, Amboseli, Lake Naivasha, Lake Nakuru and the Masai Mara National Parks. Saturday 27th October - Friday 9th November 2012 Cost: £4,195Saturday 26th October - Friday 8th November 2013 Cost: £4,195*(*This tour can be combined with our 'Tanzania Highlights' holiday outlined on Page 175)Outline itineraryDay 1Fly Nairobi andovernight.Day 2/3Tsavo West.Day 4/5Amboseli. Day 6/7Lake Naivasha.Day 8/9Lake Nakuru.Day 10/12Masai Mara.Day 13Depart Nairobi.Day 14Arrive London.AccommodationComfortable safari lodges, allrooms with private facilities.Food All included in the price except forevening meals in Nairobi. Grading Grade A. A traditional safari-styleholiday with wildlife-viewing byvehicle and on foot. FocusMammals, birds and other wildlife. LeaderRob Mileto.Single room supplement£595.Web quick search: KEN04164Call now or visit www.naturetrek.co.ukfor your free Trip ItineraryETHIOPIA SUDAN UGANDA TANZANIA SOMALIA LAKE TURKANA LAKE BARINGO SAMBURU GAME RESERVE LAKE Mt. KENYA NAKURU LAKENAIVASHAMASAI MARA GAME RESERVE LAKE VICTORIA NAIROBIAMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK TSAVO WEST MOMBASA TURTLE BAY TSAVO EAST INDIAN OCEAN KENYA Lesser Flamingoes, Lake NakuruLilac-breastedRollerMount Kilimanjaro