Kenya is the second most visited country in Africa. South Africa leads the pack due to better development. However, Kenya doesn’t lack modernization but keeps much of its rustic beauty.
Kenya is not just visited for wildlife viewing. It offers much more that include adventure travel destinations, waterfalls, lakes, mountains, snowy peaks, and beaches.
In addition, as a tourist from any other country, you will be deeply interested to know about how the native Africans still live and take a peep into their alien culture.
Meeting and interacting with the native African ethnic groups is one of the most interesting things to do in Kenya. You get abundant opportunities for meeting the African tribes, and pick up a few words in Swahili language.
Overview of Kenya:
Kenya is an East African nation sharing borders with several countries that include:
The Indian Ocean also shares a few hundred kilometers of its coastline with Kenya.
Nairobi is its capital city. Mombasa is also another big city in Kenya. It was the country’s former capita.
Nairobi being one of the major cities in Africa, it is well connected with international cities by flights. So, naturally, it receives flights from all the African countries.
25 Best Things to Do in Kenya
Among the places to see in Kenya, Masai Mara is placed at the top of the list. It is the biggest wildlife viewing park in Kenya. Masai Mara is located near the border of Uganda. The vast Masai Mara is spread across the neighboring country Tanzania.
Masai Mara’s sprawling wilderness is a habitat to the famous African lions, the African elephants, leopard, Cheetah, Zebra, Wildebeest, and the most vulnerable Gazelle and Springbok.
Some part of Masai Mara hosts the grand migration of Wildebeest. The great migration is rated as one of the 7 natural wonders of Africa.
Do you know the number of migrating animals in the Great Migration?
Nearly 1.75 million Wildebeests and nearly 3,00,000 zebras walk across a vast expanse of Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, and Masai Mara in Kenya.
Watching such a staggering number of African animals is a very rare opportunity. I am sure the sound will be deafening.
Meet the Masai
Masai people are the original inhabitants of Masai Mara region in Kenya. Meeting the Masai is one of the best things to do in Kenya.
Their eating habits might shock the majority of us. The Maasai (Masai) people eat the meat of the animals they hunt as raw. They extract the blood from the animals and drink. Cooking is not their culture. What a relief it will be for the women of their tribe.
It is interesting to know that Masai people make medicines from trees, and shrubs,
Don’t miss the opportunity. You can never get to view the famous African animals from a hot air balloon, drifting high up.
Watch the animals tentatively approaching the rivers to drink water.
The balloon safari lasts for an hour. Masai Mara will wear a different face when watched aerially.
If Masai Mara has appealed to you the most, go there between July to October when you see no rain but still can feel some cool breeze.
It is recommended to stay for a couple of nights inside the Masai Mara National Reserve. The experience in staying in such a wilderness gives you an unforgettable time.
Mount Kenya is definitely one of the highly visited places to see in Kenya. Its peak stands at an altitude of over 17,000 feet! After Kilimanjaro, this is the tallest mountain in entire Africa.
Similar to Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya is a volcano but it stopped erupting long, long ago. Setting afoot on this mountain should give you thrill as it is one of the earliest form mountains in the earth.
Fitness buffs are always seen walking through the hiking trails.
This is the real, lifetime opportunity and only a remote chance that you will come here again.
The imaginary equator passes through Kenya. You can literally walk across the equator line.
Nanyuki is the name of a small town through which, the equator is passing through. Nanyuki is 200 km north of Nairobi city.
The Equator Point is one of the most important places to see in Kenya. You can really brag about it.
There are serious geographical variations between either sides of the equator. A shop at the exact point will demonstrate the difference, for a fee. He will also give you a certificate for standing over the Equator!
This is an aerial view of Lake Nauku, among the important places to see in Kenya. It is located in the Rift Valley, a major geographical landmark in Kenya and also in Africa.
It is an alpine lake situated at over 5700 feet! Surprisingly, it is an alkaline lake and also classified as a Ramsar Site. It implies the lake is a wetland-a vital eco system and acts as a habitat for numerous insects, reptiles, and birds that prey on them.
Among the birds, the attractive pink flamingoes are found in large numbers that feed on the wetland vegetation. Can you visualize seeing nearly 2 million flamingoes at one time and at one place? Lake Nakuru is that fantastic place on Kenya.
Watch this video clip showing a large number of flamingoes, feeding in Lake Naruku.
They are really graceful when they walk or run-aren’t they?
Two other great birds namely the Cormorants, and the pelicans can also be seen here. They usually co-exist with the flamingoes.
Avocet is a beautiful black and white aquatic bird that you can spot when you visit Lake Nakuru.
These Waders possess enviably beautiful long legs. Not too long like Flamingoes but just the right length.
Around the lake, baboons live happily along with white rhinoceroses. All these wildlife led to the formation of Nakuru National Park.
Naironi is 150 km south of Nakuru town.
The Great Rift Valley
Rift Valley is a geographical phenomenon in Kenya. It runs through Kenya, from north to south. It extends into Tanzania also and originates from Ethiopia, north of Kenya.
There are organized tours to the Great Rift Valley. Too many natural wonders are observed in the Rift Valley that includes volcanoes, natural hot springs, mountains, wilderness, deserts, and game parks.
The total length of the Great Rift Valley in Kenya alone measures up to 4300 km!
Amboseli National Park
The mountain that you see as a backdrop is the most popular Mount Kilimanjaro.
Ardent birders don’t fail to visit Amboseli National Park, one of the top places to see in Kenya. As many as 400 species of birds were spotted and recorded here.
Most of the African animals such as lion, cheetah, impala, and zebra can be seen in large numbers in Amboseli NP.
It is located 215 km south of Nairobi.
Hell’s Gate National Park
Hell’s Gate NP is located close to the Nakuru Lake. The major advantage of this NP is the presence of a Masai Cultural Center that gives you wonderful information about the Masai people.
Africa is not only for viewing wildlife. It is essential to know and meet the natives who still lead a hunter’s life in the forests.
The park is home to the so-called Big Five of Africa. A rare species of vulture lives here. It is commonly known as “Bearded Vulture”.
This is a huge bird!
It’s alternative name is “Ossfrage”.
The sighting of this vulture indicates the presence of buzzards, eagles, and hawks.
Among the mammals, the Hartebeest stands out.
In Africa, the deer species are numerous, chief among them are the Impala and the Springbok.
Like many NPs in Africa, the Hell’s Gate NP also provides campgrounds. It will be exciting to spend a night in these camps where you lay vulnerable because wild animals roam freely near you.
Hot springs and natural geysers are several here and that’s why 5 Geo Thermal power plants are built here.
Naivasha Lake is one of Great Rift Valley Lakes. You must visit a few of the Rift Valley Lakes. They are among the popular, naturally beautiful places to see in Kenya.
When you are touring African nations, don’t expect entertainments like you experience in South East Asian countries.
Here, the life is raw, rustic and very close to the nature. Luxuries are never part of Africa.
Similar to the other lakes in Rift Valley, Lake Naivasha is also an alpine lake, situated at an elevation of just over 6000 feet!
It’s a freshwater lake and receives water from two rivers namely Gilgil and Malewa.
Visiting the high-altitude lakes is one the things to do in Kenya.
Cherang’any Hill Range
Cherang’any Hills, is a range of highlands in western Kenya, abutting the Mau Escarpment. The hills’ slopes and the surrounding areas are covered with dense rainforest, attracting copious rain.
These trees provide abundant food to an exotic species of monkey known as “De Brazza’s Monkey”
If you are able to spot at least one of them, your trip to Cheang’any Hills would become worthy.
The summit of Nakugen claims a high elevation point measuring 11,500 feet! There is a trail that you can walk through to conquer the peak.
Slightly lower peaks are also accessible. There are four such peaks where you can come across a native community called “Sengwer” whose survival depends purely on hunting wildlife.
The mountain you see in the image is a volcano. This is again is part of the Great Rift Valley. It seems, you have to pick a central location in the Rift Valley, pitch up your camp to see some of the exciting attractions to see in Kenya. I guess, you may need 4 days to see at least a few of them.
If you want to look into the crater situated at 9000 feet, you can trek. You need to cover a distance of 3 km trekking up.
Adventure travel and trekking enthusiasts can quickly reach the base of the volcano from Nairobi as the distance is only 60 km.
On your way up to the crater, you can spot quite a handful of wildlife, nibbling at the trees and small bushes.
Prominent animals that live on the slopes of Mount Logonot include giraffe, zebra, and Thomson’s gazelle.
It is one more volcanic mountain in the Great Rift Valley that is worth visiting, if you are keen on spotting snakes that you have not seen before.
For me, all snakes look the same. The presence of snakes that live on the volcano’s crater implies, there are mongooses also that eat the snakes.
A few caves in the crater are home to baboons, a species of monkey. Trekking up to the 7700 feet crater is one of the enjoyable things to do in Kenya.
Volcano Suswa (dormant volcano) is 125 km west of Nairobi.
For the information of volcano buffs, there are 23 volcanoes in Kenya.
Samburu National Reserve
Two game parks named as Samburu national Reserve and Buffalo Springs National Reserve are located on either side of River Ewaso Ng’iro. There is an impressive and picturesque mountain inside the Samburu National Reserve and it is called “Ololokwe”.
The Ewaso Ng’iro River is the major water body for the forest animals to depend on.
Lions roam freely and happily in this game park. Elephants also co-exit, free of worries.
A rare species of deer in Samburu National Reserve:
This is known as “Girafe Gazelle” or Gerunuk. It is a very rare species of gazelle. It is very difficult to spot the Gerunuks as they are very timid and get easily scared.
More members of deer that live here:
- Grant’s Gazelle
- Kirk’s Dik Dik
For a change, Samburu Game Park is also famous for a great range of bird species numbering about 350. Below are a few very beautiful birds that you can spot easily and quickly:
- Secretary Bird
- Superb Starling
- Northern Red-billed Hornbill
- Lilac-breasted Roller
What a beauty!
- Yellow-billed Hornbill
- Palm-nut Vulture
Samburu National Reserve is certainly one of the top places to see in Kenya. It is too far away from Nairobi to convert it into a day trip.
It is another one of those Rift Valley Lakes, situated at about 3200 feet! The lake’s surroundings are habitat to a staggering 400 species of birds.
Birders take the trouble of visiting the Lake Baringo, just to spot a large species of Heron known as “Golian Heron”.
The Golian Herons are known for infinite patience. They stare at the water for long and bend down quickly when they spot a large fish. They are least interested in small fishes.
Goliath Heron, hunting.
What a graceful walk! It hunts like a cheetah!
We have seen the last two places to see in Kenya as excellent for bird watching. Amazing Africa!
Escarpments in Kenya
Have you seen an Escarpment? It is an incredible geographical formation in a long mountain. When you see the mountain’s slope that descends only to rise again and continue the length of the clif you have come to an escarpment.
In Kenya, you can visit several escarpments in the Great Rift Valley region. Below are the names of the some of the escarpments in Kenya.
- Nguruman Escarpment
- Losiolo Escarpment
- Mau Escarpment
- Elgeyo Escarment
Do you know that these gentle giants are found only in East Africa, where abundant grasslands are available on which the Giraffes feed?
It is one of the closest game parks to Nairobi. It is just on the outskirts of the city of Nairobi. Here, you can feed the Giraffes who are accustomed to food fed by humans. In fact, they love it.
White Water Rafting
For a refreshing and cool change, we get off the hot savannah, and dry game parks and get into the cool waters of River Tana.
If wildlife viewing is one of the most predominant activities in Kenya, river rafting is the second most important adventure action.
River Tana is a major river in Kenya and it flows for 1000 km. Its rapids would even challenge highly skilled and experienced rafters in the world.
In its peak, the river is really furious.
During its course, River Tana branches of into several tributaries.
The river’s high current is harnessed at several places to create hydro-electric power.
In order to join like-minded adventurers to form a team and go for rafting in River Tana, you need to contact Kenya Adventure Tour operators. I think they promise you 4 hours of thrill.
Things to Do in Mombasa:
Mombasa is the second biggest city in Kenya. It is facing the Indian Ocean and is located almost at the tip of South East Kenya.
Let us browse the list of places to see and things to do in Mombasa.
Now, this is an ultimate experience of your life. Riding on the back of an Ostrich might bring up your stomach in your mouth. If you dare the adventure, you can get it in the Ostrich Farm in Nairobi.
It is just a small island measuring 5 km by 3 km in length and breadth respectively. The small island is only an extension of Mombasa city and is home to several Governmental offices and elite apartments.
Mombasa Island is connected to the Mombasa mainland by a road bridge. The length of the Nyali Bridge is 450 meters only.
Just for fun, you can walk over the Indian Ocean and set afoot on the Mombasa Island.
It is a public park in Mombasa and is listed among the places to see in Kenya. You can do a relaxing stroll through the park. While doing so, you can see several wildlife of Kenta.
Nyali Beach is an odd man out among the African beaches. It wears white sand, a rarity in East Africa.
The beauty of this beach started attracting visitors in large numbers. It is a perennial beach destination. This paved way for rapid developments such as resorts, hotels, and even housing complexes.
Other Popular Beaches in Mombasa
Nyali Beach is facing tough competition from the following beaches:
- Diani Beach
- Lamu Beach
- Bamburi Beach
- Tiwi Beach
The Indian Ocean is biased in this part of Africa. It has amazing marine lives in its depth, off Mombasa coast.
Throughout the year, scuba divers converge here and stay for a weekend to indulge in scuba diving. During the two-day break, they hit the ocean several times to go deep.
Other Water Sports in Mombasa
Those who are scared to enter the water, stay above it and enjoy jet skiing and kite surfing, the two ideal over-the-water adventures for hydrophobic persons.
Kenya is gem of a holiday destination for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. Do you fit in there?