Kenya - the name is almost synonymous with the word "safari". Few other places on the planet conjure such a spirit of adventure and romance. The diversity of things to do in Kenya dazzles all who visit, and viewing the country's abundant wildlife tops the list.
See throngs of wildebeest thundering across the savanna during the Great Migration in the Maasai Mara; come eye-to-eye with elephants in Amboseli National Park; or marvel at Lake Nakuru, flecked with thousands of flamingos. In these sun-soaked lands, ancient tribes, such as the Maasai, Kikuyu, and Samburu, retain their traditional customs, living in relative harmony with the natural world.
Beyond the world-famous safari parks lies a trove of coastal treasures. You can snorkel and dive fish-rich coral reefs, relax on pearly beaches, experience the melting pot of cultures and cuisines in Mombasa and Malindi, and explore tropical islands steeped in Swahili history.
Kenya's capital is Nairobi, the largest and most populated city in the country.
Kenya’s geographic diversity means that it supports an extraordinary range of wildlife. The country’s premier national parks and reserves, all home to most or all of the Big Five: lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and Black rhino.
Masai Mara is one of the top five reserves in Africa for lion and cheetah sightings and it is also unusually reliable when it comes to leopards, along with other less glamorous carnivores such as spotted hyena, jackals and bat-eared fox. Amboseli is one of the top places anywhere in Africa for watching elephant interactions at close quarters.
After South Africa, Kenya is the second-best place to see both black and white rhino, with healthy and conspicuous populations.
Wildebeest are resident in Masai Mara and Amboseli N.P., but the first one is renowned for the migration of hundreds of thousands of these doleful looking antelope from neighbouring Tanzania between June and October.
Kenya is one of the world’s finest bird watching destinations. A national checklist of more than 1.000 species.
What to do
Camel Safaris and horse riding Safaris
Diving and Snorkeling
Masai Mara National Reserve
Masai Mara National Reserve is one of the most popular tourism destinations in Africa: it is known as one of the finest wildlife destinations in the world, with an excellent chance of seeing the big five, cheetah, serval, hyena, jackals, hippo, crocodile, baboons, warthog and many other animals.
Amboseli National Park
Large concentrations of wildlife occur here in the dry season, making the Amboseli National Park famous for its big game and its great scenic beauty: the landscape is dominated by the towering Mount Kilimanjaro. The Park embodies five main wildlife habitats (open plains, acacia woodland, rocky thorn bush country, swamps and marshland).
Lake Nakuru National Park
The Park has Kenya’s largest population of rhinos. The surface of the Lake occupies about a third of the park. It supports a dense bloom of the blue-green Cyanophyte Spirulina from which it derives its colour and is a food source for flamingos. During peak season millions of flamingos and pelicans congregate on the lake.
Chalbi Desert & Turkana
As beautiful as it is unknown Chalbi Desert is a "vast flat nothingness", occasionally transformed into a shallow seasonal lake. This small desert near the border with Etiopia, is a land of endless mirages and salt flats that somehow drops at its western rim to the base of the Rift Valley and the infinitely mysterious Lake Turkana, the world's largest desert lake.
Tsavo National Park
Tsavo is an enormous wilderness area that has been divided into Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks. Combined, Tsavo is Kenya's biggest park and one of the world's largest game sanctuaries. It is particularly well known for its large herds of elephants and captivating landscapes.
Samburu National Reserve
Samburu National Reserve is one of the lesser-known National Parks, but is nevertheless teeming with life. It is rich in wildlife with an abundance of rare northern species such as the Grevy’s zebra, Somali ostrich, reticulated giraffe, gerenuk and the beisa oryx (also referred to as the Samburu Special Five). It is also home to elephants and large predators such as the lion, leopard and cheetah.
Malindi and Watamu
The small town of Malindi is at the centre of a strip of idyllic tropical beaches. Further south, the village of Watamu is fronted by wide white beaches. Walk through the Forest, explore the mangroves by boat, dive on the reef or try your hand at big game fishing. At the North coast there are all these choices and more.
Gedi Ruins and Arabuko Sokoke Forest
The jungle-clad Gedi Ruins consist of the extensive remnants of one of the many medieval Swahili city-states which once studded the East African coast. The stuff of Lost City fantasies, the historical and archaeological sites of Gedi overhung with an aura of mystery that is amplified when you realise its existence went unrecorded in any contemporary document.
Beyond the plains game, this vast western forest close to the town of Kakamega is unconditionally recommended, offering great primate viewing and being arguably Kenya's most alluring destination for butterfly and bird enthusiasts, with some 320 bird species.
Despite its atmospheric accommodation, Kakamega remains almost wholly neglected by tourism.
Marsabit Mountain National Park
A remote paradise for nature lovers, located in the Eastern Province of Kenya, Marsabit is a densely forested mountain with three crater lakes provide a haven for a variety of birdlife, mammals (like the huge-tusked bull elephants) and reptiles. Hikes in the dense forest, wreathed in mist can be enjoyed along with camel rides, bird watching and visits to the singing wells.