Kenya is a gorgeous land located on the east of Africa, between the Indian Ocean and Tanzania.There are countless reasons why Kenya is a famous tourist destination spot, not to mention a romantic getaway. For those who are looking for some time alone as a couple, you would be coming to the perfect spot. Did I mention Kenya hold a special place in the hearts of all those who come to visit, including Royals! Prince William actually proposed to Princess Kate in a little cabin on the outskirts of Kenya, and since then they have been back a couple of times for private vacations.
You do not even have to go deep into the essence of the nation to realize that the land of Kenya receives visitors with open arms. From the warm hospitality of the Kenyan people to the community culture, the absolute delicious cuisine full of flavour, the beauty, diversity, and peaceful serenity of this nation it is no wonder tourists come in droves to visit Kenya. The country has seaside beaches, lakes, mountains, hills, wildlife, and coral islands how could you afford not to fall in love? The secret is in knowing where to look.
Places you need to Visit
1. African Safari in the Maasai Mara
The African Safari is the most popular tourist attraction of all the things you can do in Kenya. The most popular things to see on Safari include The Big 5 (Rhino, Elephant, Leopard, Lion, and Buffalo) and the great migration of tens of thousands of wildebeest. The wildebeest migrate between Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. The best time to see the migration is in July and August (best in mid-July or after). Maasai Mara is one of the world’s most magnificent game reserves! 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 December through February. Thanks to the park’s altitude, the weather here is mild and gentle year round.
2. Tsavo National Park
Tsavo is the largest national park in Kenya and one of the largest in the world. Due to its size , he park was divided into Tsavo West and Tsavo East. The Tsavo West has spectacular scenery with a rolling volcanic landscape while Tsavo East has more open savannah than its western sibling. Tsavo National Park is the ideal destination in Kenya for people who seek solitude and privacy as well as the chance to explore the wilderness.
3. Hell’s Gate National Park
Hell’s Gate is actually one of my favourites. For those who love hiking, but not necessarily the uphill climb of hiking a mountain, this would be the perfect trekking spot for you. It is a tiny park named after a narrow break in the cliffs, once a tributary of a prehistoric lake that fed early humans in the Rift Valley. It is unique among Kenya’s wildlife parks, as you are allowed to walk or cycle without a guide, when walking you get to jump from rock to rock, avoiding the slimy moss while getting a view of the little waterfall that pop up every once in a while. You get to create your own little adventure. There is even dramatic scenery to add to the mix, with steep cliffs, gorges and basalt columns. The national park is home to a wide variety of wildlife, though many are few in number. Examples of little seen wildlife include lions, leopards, and cheetahs.
4. Lake Nakuru
Lake Nakuru is a very shallow, but beautiful lake in central Kenya. The lake’s abundance of algae attracts vast quantities of lesser flamingos, sometimes more than one million at once. Often called the greatest bird spectacle on earth, the flamingos are one of Kenya’s top attractions. Sadly, in recent years the number of flamingos at Lake Nakuru has been decreasing, due to environmental degradation and pollution but it is slowly recovering from that.Other than the 1 million flamingos and many more species of birds, the Lake Nakuru park is also home to white rhino, warthog, giraffe, hippo, ostrich, and lion. Lake Nakuru is definitely a place you would not want to miss, just to get a snapshot of the pool filled with pink birds would be worth it. Here are some of the attractions in Nakuru.
5. The Coast
Speaking of water as you head to the coast take note of Kenya’s second largest city and biggest port, Mombasa is a multicultural tourist magnet. British, Portuguese, Arab, Indian, and Asian immigrants add to the rich cultural mix and their influence is evident in the architecture as well as the many different types of cuisine. Mombasa is actually an island connected to its mushrooming development on the mainland by a causeway, bridges, and ferries. Coral reefs fringe the coast for 480 km providing fantastic snorkeling and diving opportunities, especially at Mombasa Marine National Park and around Wasini Island. Dolphin watching and deep-sea fishing are also popular. If you have children check out Mombasa: 6 fun places to take your children.
History buffs will enjoy exploring the 16th-century Fort Jesus and Old Town with its narrow streets, ancient Swahili dwellings, markets, and souvenir shops. The north shore of Mombasa is crammed with attractions including Mombasa Go-Kart, cinemas, sports, and a cornucopia of restaurants. This being a coastal hub, beach lovers will find some worthy strands nearby. North of the city, Nyali and Bamburi Beaches are favourites, while the white strands of Shelly, Tiwi, and Diani Beaches are popular spots south of Mombasa.
North of Mombasa on the Kenyan coast, Malindi is a beach resort popular with European visitors. Thanks to its rich trading history, it too is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines, and also sports a split personality. The Malindi Marine National Park is protected, has fine beaches, clear water, and very colourful fish. Part historic old town, part modern tourist hub, Malindi is where travellers come to sun on the white sands of Watamu Beach, dive the coral reefs of the Malindi and Watamu Marine National Parks, and soak up a dose of Swahili history in the historic town, dating from the 12th century.
Here tourists can visit the Jami Mosque, two pillar tombs from the 14th century, and the Church of St Francis Xavier, one of East Africa’s oldest churches. On the promontory, the Vasco De Gama Cross is one of the oldest standing monuments in Africa. In the former home of an Indian trader, the Malindi Museum has displays on Vasco de Gama and also doubles as an information centre.
Another popular tourist attraction is the Falconry of Kenya, a rehabilitation centre for sick and injured birds. About 30 km northeast of Malindi, the Marafa Depression, also called Hell’s Kitchen or Nyari, is a set of sandstone gorges sculpted by the wind and rain.
7. Lamu Island
Lamu Island is a part of Kenya’s Lamu Archipelago, and has managed to stay unspoiled and untouched by the mass tourism that has hit much of Kenya’s coastline. As the oldest living town in Kenya, Lamu Town has retained all the charm and character built up over centuries. There are no roads on Lamu Island, just alleyways and footpaths, and therefore, there are few motorized vehicles on the island. Residents move about on foot or by boat, and donkeys are used to transport goods and materials. Travel: The Lamu Cultural Festival Brings Out The Magic Of The Kenyan Coastal Islands
Exploring the labyrinth in the streets, visitors will see the island’s rich trading history reflected in the buildings. Architectural features from the Arab world, Europe, and India are evident, yet with a discernible Swahili technique. Intricately carved wooden doors, coral stone buildings, hidden courtyards, verandas, and rooftop patios are common features. Visiting here is like stepping back in time.
8. Samburu, Buffalo Springs, and Shaba National Reserves
On the banks of the palm-lined Ewaso Nyiro River, Samburu, Buffalo Springs, and Shaba Reserves lie in an arid region in the remote north of Kenya. Shaba National Reserve is one of two areas where George and Joy Adamson raised Elsa the lioness, made famous in the film “Born Free”. The wildlife in all three reserves depends on the waters of the river to survive, and many species are specially adapted to the parched conditions such as Grevy’s zebras, Somali ostriches, and gerenuks, the long-necked antelope that stand on two rear legs to reach the fresh shoots on upper tree limbs.
A top attraction in Samburu National Reserve is the Sarara Singing Wells, local watering holes where Samburu warriors sing traditional songs while hauling water for their cattle to drink. Tourists here may also be rewarded with sightings of big cats and wild dogs.
9. Mount Kenya
Finally, one of the nation’s pride and joys, Mount Kenya has the right to claims of being the highest mountain in Kenya and the second-highest in Africa, after Kilimanjaro. The mountain offers a beautiful sight. Its series of peaks are crowned with snow (although this is has melted), and its slopes are covered with forest. The 5199 meter (17,057 ft) high summit is a difficult technical climb, several lowers peaks, however, are an easy destination for any fit trekker. The scenery here varies from glaciers, lakes, and mineral springs to alpine forest and dense pockets of bamboo. The diversity of flora and fauna provides rewarding opportunities for safaris. Among the wildlife here visitors may spot black and white colobus monkeys, buffalo, elephant, tree hyrax, leopard, and hyena. Nestled in the foothills, the famous Mount Kenya Safari Club is a luxury retreat with trout fishing, golf, and tennis.
There are other fantastic places you should visit in Kenya. Also check out Kisumu, Nyeri, Western Kenya, Nairobi National Park, Meru, Turkana, Baringo and Nairobi. There are also great places to eat in Nairobi. Some are included here.
These attractions are part of the adventure you can experience in Kenya. Make it a couple’s adventure or a family road trip or go backpack with a couple of your friends. Sometimes even us, who live in the midst of this setting, take it for granted. Make it a priority to explore our nation, and even if seen with worn eyes look again with a tourist’s fascination. Then maybe you will be able to capture the jaw-dropping awe and wonder of this land.