Kenya's reputation as one of the best destinations for an African safari is well deserved. Every year, thousands of tourists travel here to witness one of nature's greatest sights — the annual wildebeest migration from the Masai Mara to the Serengeti. The country's high altitudes combined with its equatorial location results in climatic conditions, flora, and fauna unique to the area. Between the glacial peaks of Mount Kenya in the heartland of Africa, and the white strip of coastline on the Indian Ocean, Kenya's 33 national parks and reserves are a haven for bird watchers, filmmakers, photographers, and wildlife enthusiasts alike.
The country's well-developed tourist infrastructure makes it easy to get going on a hike to Mount Kenya's summit, dip your toes into the calm waters of Lake Victoria, or follow in the footsteps of 12th century traders to Mombasa. For a glimpse of a few of the numerous tribes that make up Kenya's multi-ethnic population, head north and discover clans that still follow ancient customs and traditions in their everyday lives. If you must pass through Nairobi, heed the warning signs and keep one hand on your wallet at all times.
Meat dishes are a mainstay in Kenyan cuisine — try the nyama choma with ugali for a cautious introduction to the country's specialties. For something more familiar, beer is widely available, although Tanzanian and Kenyan brands will be much cheaper than Western ones.
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Direct flights from Canada to Kenya are few and far between, and likely to be quite expensive. Airlines such as Delta, KLM, Air Canada, American, Alitalia, Emirates, and British Airways have flights to Nairobi (NBO) via Amsterdam, London, Dubai, and Rome. Smaller airports at Eldoret (EDL) and Mombasa (MBA) serve domestic traffic, charter flights, and flights to Zanzibar (ZNZ.) If you are travelling specifically to watch the wildebeest migration, book well in advance as cheap flights are hard to come by the closer it gets to the August-September peak season.
Tourist seasons in Kenya are dictated by the wildlife migration schedule and the rains. The peak seasons are from August to September for those heading to the national parks, and February to March which are the driest months. January and February are also busy periods for birdwatchers in Kenya. July and August are quite cool, but still attract tourists from North America and Europe where it is the summer holidays.
The country has milder weather as compared to elsewhere in Africa. It is hot and humid on the coast and progressively cooler towards the interior and as the altitude increases. Over 75% of Kenya is classified as semi-arid and most of the rain is focused on the coastal areas. The rainfall periods differ vastly from one area to the other but generally speaking, the two main rainy seasons are from March to May and again from October to December.