Of all the animals of Africa, the lion is the most iconic. One of the so called Big 5, Lions are the only big cats that live in social groups made up of mostly females with a resident dominant male. The largest of the big cats in Africa, your best chance at catching a glimpse of one of these beautiful animals is at the Maasai Mara game reserve where you are almost guaranteed a sighting.
Another member of the Big 5 is the leopard which is much more elusive and hard to spot. Hunting primarily at night, they spend much of the day sleeping in trees so make sure you keep your eyes up in the trees as well as scoping out the plains before you. Leopards are discernable from cheetahs by the rosettes on their fur, their stockier build and larger head and jaw.
Cheetahs are the fastest animal on land and are instantly recognisable by their long limbs, tufted tail and dark tear like markings on their face. Females are solitary apart from when they have cubs whereas males will generally travel in small family groups. Their intense bursts of speed and sharp turning abilities make watching a hunt truly amazing. They can be found in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve and Amboseli National Park.
There are two types of rhino found in Kenya, the white Rhino and the black Rhino. The white has a broad mouth ideal for grazing and is most often spotted at Lake Nakuru. The black however has a specially formed pointed upper lip ideal for browsing and feeds on scrub and dry bush. The best place to spot a black rhino is the Maasai Mara Game Reserve.
Another iconic African animal is the giraffe which can be found all over Kenya, however, if you are looking for a specific type of giraffe you may need to look a little harder. The Maasai giraffe is the most widespread, has irregular patches and can be found in Amboseli, Tsavo and the Maasai Mara. The reticulated giraffe can only be found in Samburu National Park and has a much more regular pattern with bold white lines separating blocks of colour. The Rothschild has no spots below its knees but otherwise looks similar to Maasai giraffe and live in Lake Nakuru.
So make sure your Kenya safari holiday includes your must-see animals and enjoy the magic of this stunning country.