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TRAVEL INFORMATION KENYA TANZANIA:

Tourist information for Kenya

AREAS OF ATTRACTION IN KENYA

AMBOSELI
Lying at an altitude of about 1 200 metres - 1 400 metres, Amboseli is Kenya's international biosphere reserve. The National Park lies at the foot of Africa's highest mountain - Mount Kilimanjaro. Amboseli National Park lies 249 kilometers south-east of Nairobi and is very closely situated to the Tanzanian border. Amboseli in Masai language means "place of water". The park has an endless supply of water which is filtered through thousands of metres of volcanic rock from Mount Kilimanjaro. Gazetted in 1974, Amboseli National Park only covers 392 square kilometers - but despite its small size and fragile ecosystem it supports a wide range of mammals (well over 50 of the larger species) and over 400 species of birds. Vast herds of elephant, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, impala and leopards are a main attraction.
Birdlife includes pelican, bee-eater, king fisher, African fish eagle, Martial eagle and Pygma falcon. Amboseli is one of the most popular parks and offers excellent accommodation facilities. Ol Tukai self help bandas, were built as the film set for the "Snows of Kilimanjaro" film. Today a new luxury lodge by the same name stands on this site. Kilimanjaro forms the backdrop of this game sanctuary and it is a sight to
see and marvel at. The salient which thrusts a dense forest through rich farmland, is where both Treetops and the Ark are situated. The salient's origin lies in an elephant migration between the two mountains, now sadly no longer.

GREAT RIFT VALLEY LAKES
The Rift Valley (visible from a spacecraft) forms a 50 to 90 kilometre wide trench down the length of Africa. A total of 5 lakes occur in Kenya's central Rift Valley. Lake Nakuru and Bogoria are world famous as birdwatcher's paradises and are home to some four
million lesser flamingoes. Lake Naivasha that is situated northwest of Nairobi is the highest and the most beautiful of the Rift Valley lakes and is rich in birdlife. Lake Bogoria is the most dramatic of the central lakes and in the surrounding national reserve one can see the greater kudu.
Lake Nakuru National Park was established in 1967 and was the first of such conservation areas in Africa that was specifically set aside for the preservation of birdlife. The park covers 188 square kilometres and at certain times of the year Lesser flamingoes numbering up to 1.5 million can be found on the lakeshore. Apart from this (often called the 'greatest ornithological spectacle on earth') one can find
leopard (best park in Kenya for seeing leopard), rhino, giraffe, hippo and antelope in the park. Speciality mammals like the Bohor reedbuck and Defassa waterbuck can also be found here. Apart from the Lesser Flamingoes that are attracted by the blue-green spirulina algai and diatoms in the warm alkaline water one can also find the greater flamingo (less common) that feeds on crustaceans and invertebrates that live in the mud on the lake bottom. With the introduction of Tilapia fish in the 1960s, large numbers of pelicans, cormorants and other water birds were attracted. In the southern section of the park one finds yellow-barked acacias which are frequented by the black-and-white colobus monkeys and crowned eagles. The park is also a rhino sanctuary.

Lake Elementaita, to the east of Nakuru is the smallest of the central Rift's Lakes and is surrounded mostly by private land while Lake Baringo is the largest of the central lakes and is now a major tourist resort.

MASAI MARA
The Masai Mara Game Reserve is arguably Kenya's most popular and famous game reserve because of the greatest wildlife spectacle that is enacted here each year. Beginning in June or July this event is sparked by the arrival of about 40 000 zebra from the Serengeti Plains (Tanzania), closely followed by 800 000 wildebeest and the accompanying predators. In normal times the Mara sustains about half a million
animals but at the height of the migration this figure reaches 1.4 million. In 1985, when the migration was at a peak, the reserve held almost 2.5 million large herbivores together with smaller species: 1.4 million wildebeest, 550 000 gazelle, 200 000 zebra, 62 000
buffalo, 64 000 impala, 61 200 topi, 7 500 hartebeest, 7 100 giraffe, 3 000 eland, plus uncounted antelope such as dik-dik, grey duiker, klipsringer, steenbok, hippo, rhino, warthog, bushpig and giant forest hog. Predators like lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, wild dog
and jackal also enjoy this time of plenty. Furthermore almost 500 species of birds have been recorded in the reserve including 57 species of birds of prey. The migration lasts for three to four months and reduces the Mara's plains grasses to the height of a well mowed lawn. The herds then make their way south heading the hundreds of kilometers back to the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro plains which have since been replenished by rains. It is here where the young are dropped in time to grow sufficiently strong to undertake the long march north six months later.

The Masai Mara is an extension of Tanzania's Serengeti National Park and covers an area of approximately 1 510 square kilometers (being reduced from 1 672 square kilometers in 1984). It is situated 270 kilometers from Nairobi and takes about 5 hours by road.
The word 'Mara' comes from the Masai people's language and means 'spotted' or 'dappled' and refers to the acacia-dotted savanna of this area.

 

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