One of the most sought-after destinations in Africa, Kenya has just about everything you desire in a place to visit. From pristine beaches to rugged terrains that are perfect for mountain and rock climbing. From incredible safaris to wildlife, including the Big Five, to thrilling nightlife in the city, Kenya will cater to the taste of everyone. The tropical weather makes it ideal to visit at just about any time of the year.
Kenya is a melting pot of cultures, ethnicities, and nationalities. It has 44 tribes 43 indigenous African and 1 Indian. Most Kenyans speak three languages: Vernacular, the language of one of the 44 tribes; Kiswahili, the main communication language in formal and informal settings; and English, the official language.
Kenyans are warm, welcoming, and very helpful, eager to share their culture and teach you a thing or two. Let me share a secret with you, try saying your greetings in Swahili. It will endear you more. Kenyans love that a tourist puts effort into learning their language. So when you visit say “sasa”, “Hujambo”, “Habari yako” as greetings. The other essential phrase you might want to learn is “thank you” which is “Asante” or “Asante Sana” to truly show you are grateful.
Best Time to Visit
As you plan your trip here, you don’t have to worry about the dress code, except for perhaps packing light if it’s the warm season. The best time to visit is from July to September when the country is experiencing the dry season. October to December are also ideal but quite popular so expect lots of fellow tourists. Now if you want to visit at a time when there aren’t as many people, try January to March. The hotels are not as packed and neither are the tourist spots. It’s also a hot season so you don’t have to worry about rains which begin in late March to early June.
What To Do In Kenya
What is your preferred activity when on vacation? Is it chilling by the beach and soaking in the sun? Or would you rather partake in some adrenaline rush? Maybe you prefer long drives with beautiful scenery along the way. Kenya will entertain you on your own terms. Here are the best activities to do while in Kenya;
Go on Safari
Kenya is one of the most popular safari destinations. There are several national parks and reserves where you can explore and spot wild animals. Kenya is home to the Big Five (Elephant, Lion, Buffalo, Leopard and Rhino). The most popular national parks are Maasai Mara, Tsavo, Amboselli and Nairobi.
Witness the Great Wildebeest Migration
This has been termed as the 8th wonder of the world. Over 1.5 million wildebeests cross dangerous rivers between Maasai Mara National Park in Kenya to Serengeti in Tanzania. The herds are usually in search of greener pastures. The best time to watch is Mid-June to December.
Hike Mount Kenya
Hike Kenya’s tallest mountain with some incredibly stunning sights. It takes about 4 days to reach the summit. You can spend 6 days on the mountain if you are interested. If you are a hiking enthusiast, make sure to include this on your itinerary.
Breakfast at Giraffe Manor
Giraffe Manor is an exclusive boutique hotel that is located in Nairobi. The 12 acres private manor is home to the herd of Rothschild giraffes who visit throughout the day. They pop their heads in politely asking for treats. It’s an experience of a lifetime.
Foster Orphaned Elephant
Ever wanted to be an elephant parent? Well, David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage will make that wish come true. This orphanage takes care of orphaned baby elephants before releasing them to the wild when they are grown. Visit the orphanage and meet the baby elephants in person. They are sweet with unique personalities that make you love them more.
Places To Visit in Kenya
There are so many places to explore in Kenya. Here are the must-visit places you absolutely must not miss.
Maasai Mara/ Tsavo/Nairobi or Amboseli National Parks
These are the four of the main national parks in Kenya. All these parks are vast savannah with tons of wild animals to see. The scenery, rivers, and communities in these areas make them tourist hotspots. You can visit one or even two if you can. Each of them has a varying unique experience but you can be assured that it will be phenomenal.
Away from the wilderness and miles upon miles of savannah grassland, Kenya is well known for its beautiful beaches. These are found in the coastal parts of the country. The famous destinations are Mombada, Diani, Malindi, and Watamu. Lamu island is a gem that you need to visit. Unlike the popular coastal area aforementioned, the island is not as disturbed by people. The waters are clear blue and the air is even cleaner. Lamu is made of several small islands all of which have very low populations.
The Great Lakes in Great Rift Valley
The Great Rift Valley in Kenya is home to some of the most beautiful and dramatic scenery in the world. The Rift which is part of the East African Rift has eight lakes; Turkana, Logipi, Baringo, Bogoria, Nakuru, Elementaita, Naivasha and Magadi. These lakes are incredibly beautiful and host all sorts of wildlife including pink flamingos.
The capital of Kenya, Nairobi is never short of sights, places, and activities to do. The city is where Kenya’s mix of cultures will be displayed. It is also the only city in the world to have a national park. Here you will find great restaurants, tours you can take, and museums among others.
Located on the shores of Lake Victoria, Kiboko Bay is the perfect place to go for a weekend getaway. The resort has breathtaking scenes, amazing charms, and so many natural attractions. As per its name “Kiboko” which means hippo in Swahili, you will spot several of them while residing here.
Where To Stay in Kenya
Whether you are on a luxury trip or a budget trip, Kenya has accommodations to cater to your plans. There are hostels, hotels, resorts and Airbnb to choose from. Here are the most popular places to stay in Kenya.
It’s located in the Westlands district of Nairobi and has great reviews from its guests. Termed one of the best places to stay while in Nairobi, Ibis Styles offers its guests a great terrace and beautiful views of the city. The services are impeccable and food is fresh and delicious.
It’s found in Mombasa and is one of the most infamous hotels in Kenya. Sitting right on the beach, it offers breathtaking views of the ocean. Aside from the spacious stylish rooms, the cuisine is unmatched with the seafood taking the lead.
Located in Amboseli Park, Ol Donyo Lodge is one of the highly-rated safari lodges. Wake up to the snow-capped peak of Mount Kilimanjaro. The lions will be roaring in the distance as you enjoy your breakfast here. Indulge in Maasai culture of the locals and watch how community conservation comes to life.
This Airbnb is located in Kajiado county in Kenya. Here you will reconnect with nature and wake up to stunning views of the Great Rift Valley and Lake Natron. It’s perfect for a couple’s romantic getaway. It is situated on a cliffside with floor-to-ceiling windows.
Nestled in Diani Beach, this hostel grants its guests the experience of a lifetime. The hostel offers a rustic tree house experience to backpackers. Here you can enjoy a magical time in a paradise of trees.
Where To Eat in Kenya
Explore Kenyan dishes with varied cuisine of several ethnic groups. Kenyan cuisine is similar yet varied per region. You will find some common dishes but also some very specific to a region. Visit these restaurants for some delicious Kenyan food.
This is the perfect place for breakfast and brunch. It is located at the Karen Hub in Nairobi. It serves several delicious dishes but make sure to try its avocado toast with poached eggs. It’s incredibly delicious.
Built-in and around a massive Fig Tree that is considered sacred, Trout Tree Restaurant prides itself on their trout. It is a tranquil and serene location perfect for lunch and dinner. The service is really good and the food even better. It’s found in Nanyuki town, several miles from Nairobi.
It’s located in Nairobi and is dubbed a paradise. The restaurant is hailed for its great service and delicious food. The location is unique with a gorgeous atmosphere.
Have you ever fancied cave dining? At Ali Barbours Cave Restaurant, you will experience the magical beauty of caves. The restaurant is located in the over 120,000 years old cave in Diani, Kenya. It’s best for dinner when you will see the cave light up to a golden hue. The food is also quite delicious.
Lamu is a foodie destination in Kenya. There is the annual food festival where you can enjoy Swahili cuisine which is the most delicious thing on the planet. Of all the great restaurants in Lamu, Seafront Cafe takes the cake. Its simple setting might fool you but go in and order. The food is out of this world. Simple yet elegant, Seafront Cafe offers your palette only the best of Lamu while you enjoy stunning views of the ocean.
Kenya also allows for e-visa which makes visits from Europe and USA easier. As you plan your trip, you can prepare the places to visit beforehand. Or you could also clear your itinerary and wing it. Either way, your visit to this East Africa will be worth it all.