15 Cool Things To Do in Kenya
If you are wondering whether it is safe to travel to Kenya, then know that it is one of the countries that has not been hit by the Coronavirus epidemic. No cases of COVID-19 are detected in Kenya till this date. The authorities in Kenya are taking all the steps to not let COVID-19 spread in the country and it is recommended to take precautionary measures while visiting Kenya. Also, we suggest that you check flight operations to and from Kenya as they might be affected amidst the virus outbreak.
Note: The Coronavirus statistics mentioned in this article are based on the updated reports available on March 3, 2020. These figures will be updated depending on how the outbreak unfolds.
Think Africa and you think of the Big Five. Well, Kenya is home to all of these mighty beasts and so much more. Officially called the Republic of Kenya, its savannah-dominated landscape, coup d'œil views of Africa’s tallest mountain, and a coast lined with the best of the best in luxurious resorts, Kenya definitely has upped its game in recent times.
It’s easy to get in and out of Kenya. The country’s flagship carrier, Kenya Airways, connects most major cities to its capital city, Nairobi.
Apart from the premier wildlife sightings that draw most tourists to the country, here are some of the top things to do in Kenya on your next trip.
FYI – The Big Five include the African elephant, lion, leopard, Cape buffalo, and rhinoceros.
1. Enjoy the views of Mt. Kilimanjaro from the Amboseli National Park
Best known for its large herds of wild elephants and a glimpse of Africa’s tallest mountain, the Amboseli National Park is located in southern Kenya. Also known as one of the top national parks in Kenya, Amboseli is a photographer's paradise. Apart from the guaranteed elephant sightings - the park’s signature attraction, you can see lions, cheetahs, rhinos, buffalo, and more such wild beasts against the backdrop of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The park is also home to more than 600 bird species!
2. Look for Africa’s Big Five at Maasai Mara National Reserve
Every year, thousands of tourists visit Kenya in search of the African Big Five. A large game reserve in Narok County of Kenya, together with Serengeti National Park of Tanzania, these two make for one of the biggest playgrounds for wild animals. As one of the most popular game reserves in Africa, Maasai Mara is home to the Big Five, as well as cheetah, crocodile, hippo, hyena, and more than 500 distinct species of birds. There are many attractive accommodation choices available inside the park if you wish to hang around a little bit longer.
3. Spend a weekend at Diani Beach
On the coast of the Indian Ocean, the Diani Beach is only an hour’s flight away from Nairobi. Its white beaches, rare sea safaris and a luxurious hotel scene have made this a favorite vacation spot of the international tourists. There are many things to do in Diani Beach – you can dine at the subterranean Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant, check out the Diani Beach Art Gallery, dive into the ocean for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to swim with whale sharks, or just relax and sip on some cocktails at the celeb-fav Alfajiri Villas.
4. Stun in a traditional African Maasai dress
On your next trip to Kenya, dress local. While the traditional attires were made of animal skin, the wear today is made of red cotton, also known as shuka. What adds to the look is beaded jewelry around neck and arms. And for the ladies, well they wear many colorful earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and pendants. To top it off, the faces are decorated with white limestone chalk drawings. There are many shops in the towns of Nairobi and Mombasa where you can rent a traditional Maasai dress.
5. Hike up Mount Kenya
Mount Kenya is the highest mountain in Kenya and only next to Mt Kilimanjaro, making this the second-highest in Africa. A popular trekking and hiking spot in Kenya, trekkers from around the world come here to scale its height. There are many popular routes that one can follow - trekking peak of Point Lenana (4985 meters), Mount Kenya traverse, Mount Kenya summit circuit, Sirimon Route, Naro Moru Route, or Chogoria Route.
6. Witness the 2-million strong animals take part in the Great African Migration
One of the greatest wildlife events in the world, The Great Kenya Migration sees herds of wildebeest and zebra travel from Tanzania into Kenya's Maasai Mara National Park and back. The animal herds cross borders in search of seasonal grass that sprouts up in Kenya. The sheer magnitude of this event is overwhelming, so much so that visitors apply for a visa one year out. The best time to view the Great Migration is from late June to October.
7. Sign up for an ‘all-you-can-eat meat’ buffet at the Carnivore Restaurant
The Carnivore Restaurant was once known for the game meat they served until the country imposed strict hunting rules. While some meat is off the menu today, patrons have to be content with beef, pork, lamb, chicken, camel, ostrich and crocodile meat offerings. As long as the paper flag on your table keeps flying, you keep eating, making this one of the top experiences in Kenya! Their kickass wine list and cocktail menu will help you wash down all that meat. Once recognized as one of the 50 best restaurants in the world, Carnivore has been an icon for the tourists in Kenya.
8. Discover the colorful and odd Marafa Depression
Also called Hell's Kitchen, Marafa Depression is a sandstone canyon only a few miles from the country’s tropical coastline. Locally called Nyari, locals believe that this place was ‘broken by itself’. Once a sandstone ridge, this area underwent a lot of wear-and-tear to be what it is today – a jungle of white & red rock and cliffs, giving it a very Mars-like look. One of the best things to do in Kenya, a visit to the Marafa Depression is highly recommended.
9. Snap the Flamingos on Lake Naivasha
The highest of the Rift Valley Lakes, Lake Naivasha is a freshwater lake that is surrounded by many unique geological features, thanks to the area’s volcanic past. This has resulted in the area being nutrient-rich and has facilitated the creation of an ecosystem that favors the presence of diverse avian species, so much so that more than 450 distinct bird species have been identified here. Red-billed firefinches, grey-capped warbler, jacanas, and kingfishers are just a few of the many more surprises that Lake Naivasha holds. A popular activity at this lake is spotting the flamingos. Millions of flamingos come to this lake to feed on its algae.
10. Take a cultural trip to the Island of Lamu
Lamu Island is a part of the Lamu Archipelago and is linked to the mainland by boat. This island’s unique culture is influenced by the Arabs and Portuguese and that is evident from its forts, ruins, and medieval towns. There are many interesting things to do on Lamu Island – you can take a long, lazy walk along its beaches, stroll through the narrow streets of Lamu Town, sail a dhow, explore the Shela Village, head to the Manda Island, feast on some Swahili food, and so much more.
11. Explore Nairobi
As one of the most cosmopolitan cities, Nairobi has much to offer. Every year, thousands of tourists come to Nairobi to experience the wonderful scenery that Kenya has to offer. Since everyone first comes to Nairobi, it only makes sense that you explore this beautiful city. Here you can see many interesting animals at the Nairobi Safari Walk, sip on some Kenyan coffee, chill at the Whistling Thorns, shop for local stuff at the Maasai Market, visit the Elephant Orphanage in Lang'ata, and sample locally brewed beer at Brew Bistro.
12. Eat Nyama Choma in Naivasha
Eating Nyama Choma is one of the best things you can do in Kenya. Culture in its own, Nyama Choma literally means “roasted meat.” In Narobi, this is the main dish and is mostly made of goat meat. Though you can also ask for beef (ng’ombe) and chicken (kuku). While most people prefer to eat this with just some salt and pepper seasoning, you can also combine Nyama Choma with some kachumbari. Head to Java House in the Buffalo Mall in Naivasha for a good portion of Nyama Choma.
13. Board the Nairobi-Mombasa Train
The start of the Nairobi-Mombasa Train has reduced the travel time between two cities from 15 hours to 4.5 hours. One of the best ways to explore Kenya is to travel along its countryside. The scenery is spectacular, and the range of services onboard will keep you entertained all throughout.
14. Scuba dive in the Indian Ocean
One of the most sought-after experiences in Kenya is scuba diving into the warm waters of India Ocean. Kenya has many diving sites which makes it possible for all levels of divers to try out the waters. Its range of marine life includes sharks, turtles, rays, whales, dolphins and more. The Kenyan waters also make it possible for you to encounter giants like manta rays and whale sharks!
15. Enjoy a hearty brekkie with giraffes
The Giraffe Manor in Kenya is one of the best places to have breakfast with the giraffes. Head to this exclusive boutique hotel for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Set inside an indigenous forest, the windows of this manor are wide enough for the giraffes to join you. Don’t worry, they are not going to take a seat at the table, but rather just pop their heads in.
Kenya is a perfect destination for those looking for a mix of open savannah, chaotic towns, and great food! Make sure you cover the above mentioned to make the most of your time in Kenya.