Top ten must visit destinations in Kenya

Top ten must visit destinations in Kenya

It is no secret that Kenya is a traveler’s paradise; it is one of the world's leading safari destinations and is home to Africa's leading beach destination! There is so much to see and experience in this beautiful and vibrant country; from exciting game reserves to the beautiful natural scenery, breathtaking white sandy beaches and the treasured cultural diversity and history. There is something for everyone in Kenya! Since there is so much to see but so little time, we have narrowed down the top ten must visit areas in Kenya.

1. Maasai Mara Game Reserve

We cannot talk about the top ten Kenyan destinations without starting with the Maasai Mara Game Reserve! This is a must-see destination not only because of the wildlife and breathtaking scenery but also the great wildebeest migration! It is one of the 8 natural wonders of the world and you would have to see it up close to understand why. The migration occurs around the months of July to October making the rates a bit on the high end but definitely worth it. If you are on a budget, the months of April (excluding Easter) to June are recommended. However, it is important to note that this is a rainy season and may not be suitable to families with small children. Since there are smaller migrations during the year, November to mid-December is also a great period to visit.

2. Amboseli National Park and the Chyulu hills

Amboseli is one of Kenya’s most popular parks; it is known for its large elephant herds and beautiful view of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak. Just like an oasis in the dry savannah, with its emerald –green, perennial swamps beneath towering Kilimanjaro, the first impression of Amboseli National park might mislead you. At the airstrip, you’re welcomed with a bleak dust bowl which later opens up to a home of huge herds of elephants grazing, drinking and splashing water on the swamps and lakes in the park. Plenty of wildlife and also features 600 species of birds.

The Chyulu Hills are a geologically recent lava ridge with plenty of game in the woodland savannah including: Eland, wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, elephant and buffalo. Deep in the lava fields there are also a few wild black rhinos, closely guarded by rangers. It’s no doubt a perfect safari destination to experience with family and enjoy nature’s greatest treasures.

3. Kenyan Coast

Kenya boasts of some of the most beautiful white sandy beaches. Diani beach has won The World Travel Awards for “Africa’s Leading Beach destination” three times in a row. Diani is wide, silvery, palm shaded and reef fringed, with some sandbars in the lagoon that are exposed at low tide for excursions from the world-class hotels in dugouts or glass-bottomed boats. The Kenyan coast has numerous water-sport activities along the coastline such as snorkeling, jet-skiing, kayaking, scuba-diving and so much more. If you want to just relax; kick back in one of our luxury resorts overlooking the beautiful blue of the Indian Ocean and feel the sweet warmth of the sun on your skin.
If you would like a trip down the cultural and historic side of the Kenyan coast, then you must visit the Lamu archipelago. Although small, Lamu town with its origins in the fourteenth century, is alongside Zanzibar, a major stronghold of Swahili culture. The town still preserves its ancient layout, characteristically tall and narrow Swahili architecture and winding alleys. Apart from the odd motorcycle, there are virtually no vehicles on the islands – people get around on foot, by donkey or by lateen-rigged dhow. Culturally, Lamu displays a distinctive blend of African and Arab influences, its traditions are strong and the daily cycles of prayer calls and tides still dominate life.

4. Lake Naivasha

You cannot go anywhere near Lake Naivasha without visiting the popular Hell's Gate National Park, named for the intense geothermal activity within its boundaries. It has spectacular scenery including: the towering cliffs, water-gouged gorges, stark rock towers, scrub clad volcanoes and belching plumes of geothermal steam making it one of the most atmospheric Parks in Africa. Hell’s Gate is an ideal venue for a day trip from Nairobi, where, in addition to the bio-diversity that includes raptors, you can enjoy mountain biking, rock climbing and a natural spa.
Lake Naivasha is also popular for boat rides around the lake to Crescent Island Game Park, another of nature’s best with a variety of wildlife and birds.

5. Lake Nakuru National Park

Found on the floor of the Great Rift Valley, surrounded by wooded and bushy grassland is Lake Nakuru National park. Here, you can enjoy the wide ecological diversity and varied habitats that range from Lake Nakuru itself to the surrounding escarpment and picturesque ridges. Lake Nakuru National Park is ideal for bird watching, hiking, picnic and game drives. The park has amazing view-points such as Baboon’s cliff, Lion hill and Out of Africa that give you a stunning view of the Park and all the natural beauty surrounding the Lake.

6. Laikipia

To the north-east of the Great Rift Valley, and north-west of snow-capped Mount Kenya, the high plains of Laikipia are increasingly recognized as one of Kenya’s best safari regions. The county is home to the famous Thomson Falls and several wildlife conservancies. Formerly a patchwork of huge ranches, and still an important livestock district, Laikipia is now where some of Kenya’s most encouraging conservation success stories are unfolding. The environment here is managed to protect the wildlife; the animals, especially the rarer species, tend to be closely managed. The county harbors a wealth of endangered species, including roughly half of Kenya’s 600-odd black rhinos. Also on the increase are wild dogs, with several packs here and good chances of seeing them: Laikipia is now their second most important range in Africa. Spotting Grevy’s zebras is almost a certainty, as a quarter of Africa’s remaining population lives here. You can also find most of Kenya’s more common wildlife here too, as well as more than 2,000 elephants, which migrate between the slopes of Mount Kenya, the Laikipia safari conservancies and the Samburu region. Laikipia is undoubtedly a key travel destination in Kenya!

7. Samburu Game Reserve

On the banks of the Ewaso Ng'iro river, Samburu Game Reserve is home to a variety of wildlife and birds. On the other side of the river lies Buffalo Springs National Reserve named after an oasis of clear water at its western end. Samburu Game Reserve also borders Shaba National Reserve, which has dramatic scenery including river-side forests, scattered woodlands and dry grasslands dominated by the Shaba Hill volcano. Game drives here will often follow the winding, sandy tracks close to the meandering river where a herd of elephants, pride of lions and flight of impalas among others will keep appearing. Shaba is home to the endangered Grevy's zebra and the rare Williams's lark. Samburu is a three in one park visit and definitely worth the trip. It is a place you will definitely fall in love with!

8. Mt. Kenya

If you are seeking adventure, then a hike up Mount Kenya might just be the thing for you. At 5,199 m, Mount Kenya is the second highest peak in Africa and is an ancient extinct volcano. The scenery surrounding this designated World Heritage Site is breath-taking: pristine wilderness with lakes, tarns, glaciers, dense forest, mineral springs and a selection of rare and endangered species of animals. You can enjoy mountain climbing, camping and caving with the mountain’s rugged glacier-clad peaks providing a perfect backdrop. Here you can also enjoy a safari since there are several parks in the area.

9. Meru National Park

Brilliant on a magnificent scale, the Meru park feature luxuriant jungle, coursing rivers, verdant swamp, khaki grasslands and gaunt termite cathedrals all under the sky’s great blue bowl. Rarely visited and utterly unspoilt, few places are comparable to the remote and rugged atmosphere found here. You can see Grevy's zebras, elephants, Bohor reedbucks, hartebeests, pythons, puff adders, cobras, buffalos and more than 427 recorded species of birds.

10. Tsavo National Park

Tsavo West popularly known as the Land of Lava, Springs & Man-Eaters is a site to behold. From the sight of fifty million gallons of crystal clear water gushing out from the under parched lava rock that is the Mzima Springs to the Shetani lava flows, Tsavo West is a beautiful, rugged wilderness.
Tsavo Eastis home to most of the larger mammals such as the vast herds of dust –red elephant, Rhino, buffalo, lion, leopard, pods of hippo, crocodile, waterbucks, Lesser Kudu, Gerenuk and Hirola and the prolific bird life which features 500 recorded species. The sight 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 memorable sight in Africa. This, along with the 300-kilometer-long Yatta Plateau; the longest lava flow in the world, make for an adventure unlike any other.

Kenya has so much more to offer and explore but to avoid writing a whole book, we narrowed down to the top ten destinations we recommend to all our clients. If you would like to know more about other exciting destinations in Kenya and beyond, let us know in the comment section below. To book your trips to the above destinations, get in touch with us and we will create custom made packages just for you.

Some content and references on parks and game reserves are borrowed from the Kenya Wildlife Service.

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