| The unrest that hit Kenya early this year was triggered by a conflict
between the ruling politicians and the opposition, following the elections. The
violence cost many lives, but ceased when the politicians had settled their disagreements.
The violence was never aimed at tourists, but was rather factions and tribes
fighting each other. The Kenyan safari industry was brought close to a halt, though,
but began catching up again once the violence ceased. Now, more than six months
later, the business is almost back to normal, and there are no signs of, or traces
from, unrest in the safari regions.
When visiting Kenya in November, there
was not much talk about those events in January and February. Instead, the Kenyans
were first awaiting, then celebrating, the outcome of the presidential election
in the United States. A national holiday was proclaimed after Barack Obama's victory.
Game viewing is harder, and less rewarding, if the windows and roof hatches
of your vehicle have to be kept closed because of rain. And rain may make bush
roads impassable, preventing game viewing or access to areas or lodges.
| 'The short rains' in November |
November is a month when some rain
can be expected in the Kenyan safari regions it's the season of 'the short
rains'. This doesn't mean constant raining, as most rain comes during afternoons
and at night, and as days of good weather can be expected, too.
weather is unstable, and you can expect overcast days, spells of rain, and temperatures
lower than otherwise. For safari holidays, these are not ideal conditions. Many
of us prefer nice weather during a holiday.
Safari guide Henrik Hult
on Kenya in November 2008
latter is not a problem only when visiting remote or rarely visited parks. Masai
Mara National Reserve, which is Kenya's number one prime park, is supported
by surprisingly poor roads. Much of the main road to the Mara is really bad (if
you for some reason want to avoid bumpy roads, I recommend you to visit by air
instead), and so are some roads connecting the different parts and lodges within
the park, making very long detours necessary during rains. For this reason, I
suggest that you stay in lodges in the eastern or north-eastern parts of Masai
Mara if you go there during the short rains, as these parts have the best roads.
The migration left early
This year the migration,
i.e. the huge migrating herds of wildebeest and zebras, left Masai Mara for Serengeti
in Tanzania a month earlier than usual, in the middle of October, cutting the
peak season in the Mara short. The safari-goers visiting Serengeti got an unexpected
bonus, though, as large herds were already moving through Seronera Valley in central
Serengeti towards the end of October.
Apart from this, the safari business
in Kenya is back to normal. A good thing is road construction work that has started
to improve the A2 north from Isiolo. This means that the last bit of poor bush
road on the route to Samburu, Shaba and Buffalo Springs
national reserves will soon be replaced by good tarmac. Construction is also going
on along the main road to Masai Mara, but so it has for years. Overall, that road
is still really bad and ambitions don't seem to be very high, despite the amount
of tourism and money the park generates.