Kenya — Overview
The place to go for a safari, Kenya is known for the “big five”– elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos, and buffalo. Big game hunting has largely given way to the more eco-friendly wildlife safaris that have helped Kenya become one of Africa’s most popular tourist destinations. The national parks offer visitors the opportunity to undertake a number of leisure activities from hiking or scuba diving to beaching or spa hopping.
Mount Kenya and the Maasai Mara are two of Kenya’s most famous landscapes and the ones most sought after by travelers. The former is an impressive range of snow-capped peaks which forms the highest mountain chain in the country while the latter comprises a vast savannah, home to the Maasai warrior people and the annual wildebeest migration, one of the world’s great natural spectacles.
Kenya is not just about animals and its long human history dates back to prehistoric times. The World Heritage listed Jesus Fort and the Old Town of Lamu Island are two of the most popular attractions that offer insight into the country’s European colonial and Arab trader periods.
Accommodations can vary wildly - from very cheap and basic to five-star resorts with full facilities and high prices. Eco-lodges are an emerging Kenyan specialty, often taking the form of luxury tents or huts made from local materials using traditional techniques while maintaining a focus on safety and comfort. Advance booking is recommended simply for ease of travel, while the best way to find delicious dining is to ask the hotel or look for where the locals go. African food is largely wholesome and simple, with barbequed meat being a delicious staple.
Most travelers get to Kenya through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) at Nairobi, then after a day or two in the capital head to one of the game reserves. Getting around can be a bit challenging as the roads are often in poor condition. Seeing the country by tour bus or hired jeep can be a rewarding and enriching experience.
- Track the “big five” at Maasai Mara National Park
- Swim with whale sharks at Watamu
- Sail around Lamu Island at sunset in a dhow
- Step back in time at the World Heritage listed Fort Jesus
- Learn about the past through Lake Turkana’s fossils
- Hear about local culture on a guided sacred Mijikenda forest tour
- Hike up spectacular Mount Kenya