Home of the Safari
Kenya is often referred to as the “home of the safari.” Safaris in Kenya originated in the 14th century when Arabs traveled throughout East Africa to trade. The word “safari” is Swahili and stemmed from the Arabic word “safar.” Safar means “journey” or “travel.”
Tourists can go on a wide variety of safaris in Kenya and take in thrilling wildlife, such as lions, elephants, wildebeests and zebras, while enjoying the beautiful sweeping savannas. Kenya’s many national parks and game reserves offer a wide variety of animals and accommodations.
The most famous game park in Kenya is the Maasai Mara National Reserve, which is home to the “big five” animals, migrating wildebeests and over 400 species of birds. Visitors can also spot hippos, giraffes, crocodiles, cheetahs, antelopes, hyenas, jackals, and warthogs on occasion.
Every year, over one million wildebeest make their way across the Maasai Mara in Kenya in what has come to be a the 7th wonder of the modern world. Wildebeest migration to and back from the Serengeti into the Maasai Mara is the single most popular wildlife spectacle in Kenya. During each migration, over 250,000 of the wildebeest die from drowning, stampede, crocodiles and the predators every year. But even this annual carnage is not enough to reduce their numbers. The wildebeest deaths during migration are replenished by the over 400,000 births a year.
In addition to wildebeest migration, Kenya is a birdwatcher’s paradise. With over 60 important bird areas and about 1100 species of birds, Kenya is one of the richest bird areas in the world boasting more species than the whole of Europe. These range from Plovers, Herons and Hammerkops near water, to the Ground Hornbill in the Savannah Plains.
Lake Nakuru in Kenya’s Rift Valley offers one of the world’s most spectacular wildlife sights. When conditions are right, between one and two million lesser and greater flamingos feed around the shores of the shallow soda lake, together with tens of thousands of other birds. It is considered the international bird sanctuary of Africa.
Among the items found at the Gedi Ruins in Kenya include beads from Venice, coins and a Ming vase from China, an iron lamp from India, and scissors from Spain. The Ruins of Gedi are the remains of a Swahili town located in Gedi, a village near the coastal town of Malindi in Kenya. From 13th/14th to 17th centuries, Gedi was a thriving community along the jungle coast of East Africa. Although no written record exists of this town, excavations between 1948 and 1958 revealed that the Muslim inhabitants traded with people from all over the world. The population was estimated to exceed at least 2500 people. Gedi had a mosque, a palace, and large stone houses. These houses were complex for their time, with bathrooms with drains and overhead basins to flush toilets. The city’s streets were laid out at right angles and had drainage gutters. In the early 16th century, the village was abandoned. In 1948, the remains of Gedi were declared a Kenyan national park and the ruins continue to be a popular tourist destination today.