17 Things you have to see and do in Kenya

discoverafrica 06 May 2019
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Witness large herds of wildebeest thundering across the savanna during the Great Migration in the Masai Mara. Come eye to eye with elephants in the Amboseli National Park or Lake Nakuru flecked with thousands of flamingos.

Beyond the world-famous safari parks lies a trove of coastal treasures. Visitors can snorkel and dive in fish-rich coral reefs, relax on pearly beaches, experience the melting pot of cultures and cuisines in Mombasa and Malindi as well as explore tropical islands steeped in Swahili history. To the east of this sweeping valley – visitors can climb the snow-cloaked equatorial peaks of Mount Kenya. Hell’s Gate National Park harbors obsidian caves and hisses with natural geysers as well as hot springs.

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Witness the Great Migration at the Masai Mara National Park

Governors il moran camp masai mara kenya safari wildebeest migration

Credit: Governors Il Moran Camp

The park is famous for the Great Migration when thousands of wildebeest, zebra, and Thomson’s gazelle travel to and from the Serengeti, from July through to October. In the Mara River, throngs of hippos and crocodiles lurk. The park is also known for providing excellent predator sightings thanks to its relatively large populations of lion, cheetah, and leopard – especially in the dry months from June through to September. Plan your Kenya safari holiday and encounter the adventure.

 

Visit Nairobi

Kenya’s capital and largest city – Nairobi is legendary for its colorful colonial history. The Nairobi National Museum is a great one-stop to see exhibits on Kenya’s history, nature, culture and contemporary art.

To see the wildlife without venturing far from the city centre – visit Nairobi National Park, home to Black rhino, lion, leopard, buffalo, zebra, wildebeest and cheetah. Within the park’s borders, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust offers close-up encounters with elephant orphans. And no visit to Nairobi would be complete without popping into the Giraffe Centre near the famous Manor – where these long-necked beauties eat out of visitors' hands.  

Eat breakfast with Giraffes  

giraffe manor kenya safari feeding the giraffes

Giraffe Manor offers experience incomparable to any other. The building dates back to the 1930s and is modelled on a Scottish hunting lodge – creating a charming, yet luxurious place where animals lovers will enjoy every moment of interacting with giraffes and exploring the forest. You’ll find the friendly giraffes in the most unsuspecting places – like the breakfast table or your room window, vying for your attention and checking out what’s on your plate.

Explore Amboseli National Reserve

The sight of elephants grazing in silhouette against Africa's most famous mountains is hard to beat. The park is best known and best loved for the herd of elephants that roam within its boundaries. The park’s desert-like terrain offers unobstructed views of over 80 other types of mammals – including zebra, giraffe, cape buffalo and lions. In addition to the elephants, the Amboseli is known as one of the best bird-watching destinations in the world, with more than 400 separate species of birds including nearly 50 types of raptor. Get the opportunity to visit the authentic Masai villages.

Eat Nyama Choma

Everyone that can afford meat in Kenya enjoys a good dose of nyama choma every now and then. Nyama Choma is Kenya’s version of roasted meat on the grill – most authentically prepared at the roadside butcheries. The normal procedures is to walk into the butchery, have the butcher slice a hunk of meat right off the carcass and let it roast as you wait sipping on a Kenyan Tusker. However, the most popular meat is goat as well as beef and chicken are usually also available.

Climb Mount Kenya

the summit by rishil mount kenya safari

Credit: Rishil

Not nearly as popular as neighboring giant Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya remains Africa’s second tallest peak and is often considered a more challenging climb. The breathtaking scenery is marked by the incredible views of Kenya and even great glimpses of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

Eat in a Cave at Barbour’s Cave Restaurant

barbour's cave restaurant kenya

Credit: Asilia Africa

Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant is set in a natural coral cave with a series of interlinked chambers. The main part of the restaurant has an open rooftop and on a clear night, you can enjoy the beauty of South Coast’s starry night. The setting is unique, mysterious and romantic. However, the restaurant specializes in Seafood with options ranging from fresh to scrumptious crustaceans and fresh catches of the day. The restaurant also serves an impressive meat menu covering Poultry, Venison and Beef dishes and not to leave out their delicious vegetarian menu.

See the wildlife at Tsavo National Park

The sighting of dust-red elephant wallowing, rolling and spraying each other with the midnight blue waters of palm-shaded Galana River is one of the most evocative images in Africa. Tsavo National Park forms the largest protected area in Kenya and ais home to most of the larger mammals, vast herds of dust-red elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion, leopard, hippo, crocodile, waterbucks, lesser kudu, gerenuk and the prolific bird life feature 500 recorded species.

Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba National Reserve

The colourful Samburu tribe dominate the area around Samburu, Buffalo and Shaba Springs National Reserve – and many visitors travel to experience this arid desert which nevertheless contains considerable animal life. Camels are the perfect beast of burden in this desiccated scrubland but wildlife thrives in the reserves that are watered by the Uaso Nyiro River or “River of Brown Water”.

samburu people cultural dance kenya safari

Grevy’s zebras are endemic to this area and resemble asses with long ears and wide stripes that don’t quite go well under the belly. Reticulated giraffe are also uniquely patterned with the most perfect square patterns of all giraffe species. However, animals have become fairly used to safari vehicles – which makes photography a pleasure and the “golden light” just before sundown is a photographer’s delight.

Visit the Bird Watchers Paradise of Lake Nakuru National Park

On the floor of the Great Rift Valley, surrounded by wooded and bushy grassland - lies the beautiful Lake Nakuru National Park. Enjoy the wide ecological diversity and varied habitats that range from Lake Nakuru itself to the surrounding escarpment and picturesque ridges. However, the park is ideal for bird watching, hiking picnic and game drives.

Cultural travel on the Island of Lamu

Over the course of hundreds of previous years, the island has been shaped by local Bantu African tribes, Arab traders and Portuguese explorers. This mix of culture has created a fascinating history and a unique Swahili people and culture. Enjoy exploring the old city, learn more about Lamu at one of the cultural attractions, relax at Shela Beach, sail around the Lamu archipelago by Dhow and visit one of the amazing Lamu festivals.

Lake Naivasha

Governors loldia house lake naivasha kenya safari game lake elementeita pelican

Lake Naivasha is located on the north-west of Nairobi with the town of Naivasha on its northeastern shore. The rich vegetation around Lake Naivasha supports a variety of animals including buffalo, antelope, giraffe, warthog and monkey.

You will almost certainly catch sight of hippos lazily watching proceeding from the cooling water. The highest and purest of the Great Rift Valley’s lakes - Naivasha host a variety of birdlife,  where more than 400 species have been recorded here. However, many can be spotted along the shoreline - from pelicans and fish eagles to weavers and warblers.

Hang out at Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria is famous as the world’s largest tropical lake and the world’s second largest freshwater lake. Covering a total of 69,000 square kilometres – it lies in the Rift Valley of East Africa. Fishing is the lake is exciting and both Nile Perch and Tilapia can be caught. Bird watching is spectacular, spot over 350 different birds around Lake Victoria and enjoy cultural walks.

River Raft the Tana River

Tana river red colobus monkey

Red colobus monkey

Whitewater rafting and kayaking on the Tana River in Kenya are becoming popular activities in the country. Not only are there adventurous river rapids - but also an opportunity to view Kenya’s nature from the river. The ecosystem and bird viewing while rafting through the valley are spectacular.

Hike the Hell’s Gate National Park

Hell’s Gate National Park is home to a variety of wildlife, flora and over 100 species of birds. The breathtaking scenery, complete with towering cliffs, gorges, rock towers, volcanoes and belching plumes of geothermal steam - make it one of the most atmospheric parks in Africa. This is an ideal venue for a day trip from Nairobi where in addition to the biodiversity that includes raptors. However, visitors can enjoy mountain biking, rock climbing and a natural spa too. 

Relax on the Coastal Belt

The Kenya coastal belt is one of the best places in the world to take it easy and enjoy a beach holiday.

diania beach kenya holiday

Diani Beach

Along with pristine stretches of white sand and swaying palms - the laid back attitude and friendly Kenyans along the coast add to the serenity. To check out the Kenyan coast, you might visit areas around Mombasa beach, Diani, Malindi and Kilifi.

Enjoy Mombasa Night Dhow Cruise

As the sun sets, you set sail into the harbor and past Fort Jesus. As you glide past, you're treated to a sound and light show that is absolutely spectacular.  Settle down to a delicious dinner that is served alfresco in the inner courtyard of the old Fort. When supper is done and you have had your fill, the nightlife begins.  


Our Recommended Itinerary

Kenya Bush and Beach Family Safari Itinerary (12 days)

day 1 to 2

Welcome to Kenya
  • Kenya Bush and Beach Family Safari Itinerary (12 days)
  • Kenya Bush and Beach Family Safari Itinerary (12 days)
  • Kenya Bush and Beach Family Safari Itinerary (12 days)
  • Kenya Bush and Beach Family Safari Itinerary (12 days)

day 3 to 4

Drive to Lake Nakuru National Park
  • Kenya Bush and Beach Family Safari Itinerary (12 days)
  • Kenya Bush and Beach Family Safari Itinerary (12 days)
  • Kenya Bush and Beach Family Safari Itinerary (12 days)
  • Kenya Bush and Beach Family Safari Itinerary (12 days)

day 5 to 7

Spot large prides of lion
  • Kenya Bush and Beach Family Safari Itinerary (12 days)
  • Kenya Bush and Beach Family Safari Itinerary (12 days)
  • Kenya Bush and Beach Family Safari Itinerary (12 days)
  • Kenya Bush and Beach Family Safari Itinerary (12 days)
  • Kenya Bush and Beach Family Safari Itinerary (12 days)
  • Kenya Bush and Beach Family Safari Itinerary (12 days)

day 8 to 11

Explore the deep blue sea
  • Kenya Bush and Beach Family Safari Itinerary (12 days)
  • Kenya Bush and Beach Family Safari Itinerary (12 days)
  • Kenya Bush and Beach Family Safari Itinerary (12 days)
  • Kenya Bush and Beach Family Safari Itinerary (12 days)
  • Kenya Bush and Beach Family Safari Itinerary (12 days)

day 12

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