If I were to write down a list of reasons why tourists love to visit Kenya, you would be convinced to make your next vacation destination be Kenya even before you finish the list.
However, instead of telling you about African elephants, lions, rhinos, buffalo, leopards, cheetahs, ostriches, zebras, giraffes, flamingos, and hippos among others, I will inform you about some of the most unusual animals you can see in Kenya.
Below are a few unusual animals you can find in Kenya and where to see them.
1. Serval Cat
The serval cat is a medium-sized wild cat with spots like a leopard and stripes like a tiger. The serval cats feed on rodents, insects, reptiles and other smaller animals and if you wish you see one of them then the best place to visit would be Selenkay Conservancy.
The caracal looks like the serval cat but without patterned fur. It has tufted ears that makes it look like an African version of lynx. There are claims the caracals use their tuffs to communicate with each other. They are known to be ferocious when attacking their prey and can jump up to 3 meters, roughly 10 feet.
3. Honey Badger
Considered the most fearless animal in the world, the honey badger is a black and white furry wild animal that can seem cute and cuddly but in reality attacks aggressively. They are known to chase even the lions from their kills and take it for themselves.
And if you thought no animal scares or even kill a cobra snake then you’re mistaken. The honey badger doesn’t care about the fact that the cobra is one of the most venomous and deadly snakes because it’s immune to their poison.
The gerenuk has the body and size of a gazelle but a longer neck like a giraffe. Gerenuk’s longer neck enables it to access branches that are too high from the ground, an advantage the likes of antelopes and gazelles do not enjoy. You can see the gerenuks at Selenkay Conservancy.
5. African Wild Dog
The African Wild Dog has blotted patches across its body and looks closely related to a wolf. Just like the wolves, African Wild Dogs live in packs and hunt their prey in teams. One other feature that make them different from jackals, wolves and domestic dogs is the lack of dew claws, a vestigial form of a toe on the hind feet.
Some of the places you can see the African Wild Dog include Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Selenkay Conservancy, as well as in Ol Kinyei, Naboisho and Olare Motorogi conservancies in the Mara.
The galagos are some of the adorable safari animals. They are small in size but have large eyes as well as loud voices. They are nocturnal and belong to the primate family. They often make loud calls at nights while hanging on trees or poles.
The hirola are among the world’s most endangered antelopes and can been seen in the north-east part of Kenya. It slender with sandy-colored coat and have elongated face, long legs and a short neck. They also have a white line, or chevron, that passes from one eye to the other across the forehead.
8. Mountain Bongo
Mountain bongos are some of the most fascinating and uniquely colorful wild animals on the planet. They have a striking reddish-chestnut coat with black markings, white stripes and long spiralling horns. Apart from being predominantly found in West and Central Africa, the mountain bongos are also found forests of central Kenya.
9. The Tana River Mangabey
The Tana River Mangabey is one of the most endangered species and is characterized by a long tail and a yellowish brown coat. It has a crest on its crown and white eyelids that stand out against its black face. They are found along the lower Tana River in the coastal part of Kenya.
Tana River Mangabeys are highly dependent on forest for survival, and currently they are ranked among the top 25 most threatened primates. The latest estimations indicate there are around 1,000 to 11,200 mangabeys remaining in the coastal habitat.
The sitatunga live in swampy areas and sometimes referred to as the marshbuck. Sitatungas are semi aquatic in nature, meaning they are comfortable both on land and in water. If you wish to see sitatungas then you need to visit Saiwa Swamp National Park found a few miles from Kitale town. The park has even earned the nickname “Home of the Sitatunga”
11. Vervet Monkeys
Most vervet monkeys are found in the southern African countries. It has a black face and grey fur with a few parts of the body having white fur. Most of these monkeys can be found in the National Parks, including Ol Donyo Sabuk, Shimba Hills and Lake Nakuru among others.
The aardwolf is said to have originated from South African countries and is quite related to stripped hyenas and other subspecies found in Kenya. They feed on insects and burrows underground for shelter.
13. Striped Hyenas
As opposed to spotted hyenas that have spots on their fur, striped hyenas hey have dark stripes on its grey or brown body fur. They live in dry, rocky and bushy areas and the sub species found in Kenya is said to be the Sudanese Striped Hyena. You can find them at Sibiloi National Park and Nairobi Animal Orphanage.
14. White Giraffe
At the beginning of this post I said I wouldn’t talk about the likes of giraffes and zebras, but I think we can make a few exceptions. The rare white giraffe can be seen in Kenya, but only on a specific location; Ishaqbini Hirola Conservancy in Garissa county.
Maybe you’re wondering why the giraffes are white instead of being stripped like the rest. They suffer from a genetic condition called leucism, which inhibits pigmentation in skin cells.
15. Grevy’s Zebra
Grevy’s Zebra got its name from Jules Grevy, who was the President of France after Menelik II, Emperor of Abbyssinia (now Ethiopia) gave him as a present in 1882 thinking that the zebra was regal. They are taller, have narrow stripes, a white belly, black dorsal stripe, large rounded ears and a brown muzzle.