Who doesn’t dream of watching African Elephants and Lions freely roaming the savannahs? With over 40 national parks and wildlife reserves tossed between the Indian Ocean and Lake Victoria, Kenya is the most favorite Safari destination in East Africa. From giraffes to lesser kudu, Kenya has a wide variety of species when it comes to wildlife. Plains, savannahs, beaches, lakes, mountains, and what else? Kenya also offers a perfect assortment of landscapes. Here’s a sneak peek into some of the selected places to visit in Kenya.
Wildlife safaris being the heart and soul of Kenya’s tourism, the national parks and safari regions in Kenya are considered safe. Kenya’s wildlife safaris have conditioned itself over the time with world class infrastructure. As a traveler looking for African Safaris in Kenya, you will find vans, jeeps, buses, and aircraft connecting the major cities with these popular safari destinations. The national parks and wildlife reserves here offer a wide range of accommodation including tented camps, jungle lodges, cottages, and others. While some of these are simple and economic others are luxurious and palatial. Masai Mara is the highlight of most travels to Kenya, yet there are wildlife safari options even in Nairobi, which makes the capital city one of the best places to visit in Kenya. African safari is an exciting experience of watching animals enjoying a free life in their natural habitat.
Kenya is not just about the wildlife, there are also cultural attractions in the country to feast your travel desires. Having over 40 different tribal groups Kenya showcases more than 40 independent lifestyles. Masai tribe and their nomadic lifestyle have always inspired travelers to interact with them and capture them in their bright-colored attire. Masai tribe is one among the several reasons that tourists keep Masai Mara in their list of attractive places to visit in Kenya. However, visiting any tribal village in Kenya can give you bountiful insights.
When on one side the tourism attractions project Kenya as one of the most favorite wildlife destinations in Africa, the recent political turbulence during elections and a chain of militant attacks in the capital city – Nairobi, have caused a lot of worries. While these unfavorable incidents have created a significant depletion in Kenya’s tourism, travelers still flood to the lively Masai Mara and the adventurous mount Kenya.
10 Best Places to Visit in Kenya
Masai Mara National Reserve
Probably the most visited wildlife destinations in East Africa, Masai Mara is connected to Serengeti of Tanzania and makes a beautiful passage between the two countries. The park that hosts very many different species of fauna and flora is famous for the Great Migration. The sight of flocking animals, thousands of wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle, from Masai Mara to Serengeti and back is something that one should enjoy in these parks. The Mara is also the home to Masai tribe, where they live and graze their animals. Not to forget that Masai Mara is one among the best wildlife destinations to sight the big five, boosting the national reserve to the top place on a list of selected places to visit in Kenya.
Tsavo National Park
African Elephants in a troupe marching along the palm fringed Galana River and spraying the reddish-muddy water at each other is one of the galvanizing images of Tsavo National Park. Composed of the West Tsavo and the East Tsavo, the national park is the largest in Kenya with an area of 11,747 km2. The vast savannahs of Tsavo East and the tropical forests of Tsavo West jointly offers home to most larger mammals including the gigantic African elephants, stunning rhinos, charging buffaloes, royal lions, swift leopards, pods of hippos, crocodiles, various bird species, and many more. More than all, the longest lava flow in the world through the 300 kilometers long Yatta Plateau makes Tsavo a choice for adventure lovers too.
Amboseli National Reserve
One of the most popular national parks in Kenya is Amboseli with Mount Kilimanjaro on its backdrop. Amboseli is among the best parks to sight large herds of African elephants. The Masai people aptly named the park Amboseli, which means the salty dust, due to its arid conditions. The commonly sighted wildlife in the park includes lion, cheetah, giraffe, impala, eland, and others. Lake Amboseli and wetlands with sulfur springs bring variation to the otherwise woodlands and savannahs of the park. The diversity and the rich fauna makes Amboseli among the selected places to visit in Kenya.
Lake Nakuru National Park
The lake that blossoms with the pink shades of flamingos is located in the Central Kenya. One of the rift valley soda lakes, Nakuru, makes almost a third of the park’s total area. The park that hosts over 450 species of birds and several species of animals is also home to the largest euphorbia candelabrum forest in Africa. Visiting this park gives a traveler an opportunity to encounter lions, leopards, warthogs, white rhinos and many more.
Ewaso Nyiro River
Samburu, Buffalo Springs, and Shaba Reserves lie on the banks of palm-fringed Ewaso Nyiro River in an arid region in the far north of Kenya. The life in all the three reserves depend mostly on the waters of Ewaso Nyiro River while some of the wildlife species are well-adapted to the sun-beaked weather conditions of these national parks. In addition to the wildlife and the landscape, Samburu national Reserve is famous for Sarara Singing Wells. These are the local waterholes where you can sight the local warriors haul water for their cattle while singing traditional songs.
Second largest city in the country after Nairobi and the biggest port, Mombasa is a vibrant tourist destination on the shores of Indian Ocean. The coastlines with a blend of European, Asian, and African Architecture has a lifestyle with a mixed taste of Kenyan, British, Portuguese, Arab, Indian, and Chinese cultures. Mombasa is in fact an island connected by the bridges and ferries to the Kenyan mainland. Dolphin spotting trips, scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing and many other water sports make Mombasa a beguiling tourist spot. The tranquil sea beaches and the lively markets of Mombasa keep this coastal destination prominent on our list of selected places to visit in Kenya.
The largest city, and of course the capital of Kenya, Nairobi is famous for its legendary colonial past. Most travels in the country starts from Nairobi, and it cannot be avoided from our list of vibrant places to visit in Kenya. Today, travelers surf the city for tracking the history of British East Africa’s capital. For experiencing the exhibits on Kenya’s culture, art forms, nature, and history, people visit the Nairobi National Museum and the Karen Blixen Museum.
If you are still hunting for the sites that offer wildlife encounters but not willing to travel too far, try Nairobi National Park. The park is also a Rhino Sanctuary where the wildlife lovers can also sight lions, leopards, cheetahs, wildebeests, zebras, buffaloes, and more. Not yet pleased? Then go for a breakfast with giraffes at Giraffe manor where these friendly tall animals feed from your hand.
Almost like a sea by its vast extends, the grassy shores of Lake Naivasha is home to many different species of animals and birds. The emerald blue waters, captivating landscape, and the wildlife sighting opportunities of Naivasha is a major reason for many to consider it among their choice of places to visit in Kenya. The second largest freshwater lake of Kenya, Naivasha can be reached by a 2 hours drive from Nairobi. On your 100 kilometers drive from Nairobi till Naivasha, you can also stop by a viewpoint to take pleasure in sighting the Great Rift Valley Escarpment.
One of the oldest inhabited settlements in Kenya, Lamu is a small island located northeast of Mombasa. Nestled in the villages that are believed to have existed since 12th century, this island destination of Kenya has labyrinthine streets and story telling architectures from the past. Visiting this UNESCO World Heritage Site is like walking back in history.
Strolling through the old streets of Lamu along men and women dressed in traditional attire, and exploring the culture and history of this small island is among the entertaining things to do in Kenya.
Mount Kenya National Park
The highest mountain in Kenya, Mount Kenya, touching the clear yet colorful sky of Africa is a spectacular view that any traveler wouldn’t enjoy missing out. The snow crowned peaks of Mount Kenya are famous among the mountain climbers who travel to Africa for adventure tours. The highest peak of Mount Kenya is Batian but the toughest to climb is Nelion, which is also the second highest. If you are looking for moderate to easy climbing option, think of Lenana, the lowest peak.
The national park that supports a wide variety of flora and fauna has a diverse scenery including springs, lakes, glaciers, alpine forests and even dense bamboo thickets. While hiking or climbing here, you have a chance to spot wildlife including leopard, hyena, elephant, buffalo, tree hyrax, monkey, and others.
Though not mentioned in our 10 selected places to visit in Kenya, the country has many more attractions which are worth visiting and exploring. Places like Hell’s Gate National Park truly deserve a mention. Kenya is altogether a wonderland that offers the best for its visitors.
Author: E Jey
Just a passionate traveler who loves scribbling his expeditions @ www.jauntmonkey.com, www.outonroads.com, and www.blogthatall.com