When you think of Kenya, the first thing that comes to mind is safari. Famed for its classic savannah safaris, Kenya as a country has enough dramatic and colourful wildlife for your next adventure.
You can witness throngs of wildebeest thundering across the savannah during the Great Migration while ballooning over the Maasai Mara, snorkel in Malindi on the Indian Ocean coast, marvel at Lake Nakuru, flecked with thousands of flamingos, or trek Mount Kenya.
Here are seven must-see places when you visit Kenya.
Hell’s Gate National Park
It is a hot spot for climbers and in this park that is named after a narrow break in the cliffs, you are allowed to walk or cycle without a tour guide. The park boasts of dramatic scenery, with steep cliffs, gorges and basalt columns as well as a wide variety of wildlife. T
he park also boasts of extinct volcanoes; the red cliffs of Hell’s Gate Gorge; Obsidian Caves; and the pointed column of
rock is known as Fischer’s Tower, a former volcanic plug.
Maasai Mara National Reserve
Bordering Tanzania, the Mara is the northern extension of the Serengeti and forms a wildlife corridor between the two countries. It’s named after the statuesque, red-cloaked Maasai people who live in the park. Arguably, Kenya’s most popular game park, tourists can come here to watch the exceptional population of game and the annual migration of zebra and wildebeest dubbed The “Great Migration”. The migration takes place every year from July to October when millions of wildebeest and zebra migrate from the Serengeti in Tanzania.
North of Mombasa on the Kenyan coast, Malindi provides a very nice introduction to the coastal tourist attractions in Kenya with its extensive coral reefs and beautiful beaches. There are surfing, snorkeling, deep-sea fishing and other water sports and thanks to its rich trading history, it is a melting pot of culture and cuisines. At Maindi, you 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. Malindi also boats of the Falconry of Kenya, a rehabilitation center for sick and injured birds.
Mount Kenya is the highest mountain in Kenya and the second-highest in Africa. 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. Mount Kenya is actually comprised of three glacier-cloaked peaks. The highest is Batian, although Nelion, the next highest, is a tougher climb. The lowest peak, Lenana, is considered the easiest climb, although unpredictable weather can pose challenges. Nestled in the foothills, the famous Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club is a luxury retreat with trout fishing, golf, and tennis.
Tsavo National Park
Kenya’s largest park and one of the largest in the world, Tsavo Park was divided into Tsavo West and Tsavo East due to its size. Tsavo East is famous for photo-worthy sightings of large elephant herds rolling and bathing in red dust. Other highlights here include the Yatta Plateau, the world’s longest lava flow; Mudanda Rock; and the Lugard Falls, which spill into rapids and crocodile-filled pools. Highlights in Tsavo West include Mzima Springs, a series of natural springs with large populations of hippos and crocodiles; Chaimu Crater, a great spot for seeing birds of prey; and Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary. 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.
The park was established in 1961, and more than 450 species of birds have been recorded here, as well as a rich diversity of other wildlife. Often called the greatest bird spectacle on earth, the flamingos are one of Kenya’s top attractions. The lake’s abundance of algae attracts vast quantities of lesser flamingos, some times more than one million at once. The park also protects the largest euphorbia candelabrum forest in Africa.
Mombasa is Kenya’s second-largest city and biggest port, Coral reefs fringe the coast for 480 kilometers 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.
For lovers of history, they will enjoy exploring the 16th-century Fort Jesus and Old Town with its narrow streets, ancient Swahili dwellings, markets, and souvenir shops. As for beach lovers, the fact that Mombasa is a coastal hub means they will have enough worthy strands nearby.