More than 40 National Parks and Game Reserves make Kenya a treasured wilderness destination in Africa. There are multiple unique attractions in Kenya worth exploring on family tour, group safaris, honeymoon holidays, beach vacation and more.
ATTRACTIONS IN KENYA
The word “Safari” is what comes first at the back every holidaymaker with plans to visit Kenya for a holiday. For decades, Kenya has been and still popular as a big game destination and essentially a must-visit spot to witness the wildebeest migration besides Tanzania.
Top Attractions in Kenya
Wildebeest migration is amazingly the top-notch experience that allures majority of Kenya safari travelers. Every year, thousands of nature lovers flock into Kenya to experience the wildebeest migration and the Maasai Mara National Reserve is the right place to make your dream come true.
The wildebeest migration is a unique attraction and experience of its own. Millions of wildebeest together with grazers such as gazelles, zebras and elands, etc can be watched dramatically cross the Mara River from Tanzania to the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.
June, July, August are the best months of the year to experience the wildebeest migration in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. Each year, different events occur each offering remarkable sightings of wildebeest. For tourists on Kenya safari and they are interested in seeing wildebeest give birth, the best time to be at Maasai Mara is from December to February.
Maasai Mara National Reserve extends to cover the surface area of about 1510sq.kms, an area boasting of its remarkable sceneries. The rolling plains, hills and woodland groves and Mara River are among unique things Masai Mara has to offer.
The big game is what made Kenya a popular “safari’ destination. All the big five game in Africa can be spotted in Kenya and they are many spots to visit purposely for this experience including Masai Mara National Reserve, Amboseli National Park, Tsavo National Park and Lewa Conservancy. The big five to keep an eye on any Kenya safari include elephants, buffaloes, lions, leopards and rhinos.
Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park is one of Kenya’s top destinations and distinct attraction of its own. Lying at the border near Tanzania, Amboseli National Park offers incredibly mesmerizing views of Mt. Kilimanjaro at the background. A visit to Amboseli is a lifetime opportunity to explore, experience its natural endowment- from the large herds of elephants, buffaloes, lions, zebras, Maasai giraffes, gazelles etc to birds such as long toed lapwing, saddle bill stork, grey heron, Egyptian goose and more.
Lake Nakuru National Park
Lying between Lake Naivasha and Baringo, Lake Nakuru National Park is a home to distinct attractions. Talk about great birding spots in Kenya and Lake Nakuru National Park will feature on top list. Over 400 bird species exist in this compact protected area and they include pelicans, flamingoes, red billed ducks, Maccoa ducks, cape teal, yellow billed duck, Northern shoveler, white faced whistling duck, sand grouse, grebes, horus swift, Nyanza swift, little swift, ruddy turnstone, temminck’s stint, painted snipes.
Other than birds, Lake Nakuru National Park is a rich home to mammals, large and small. They include steinbok, the Rothschild giraffes, chandler’s reedbuck, black and white colobus monkeys, dik-dik, elands, lions, impalas, cape buffalo, African lion and more.
While in Kenya, Africa’s great rift valley is clearly seen with breathtaking sceneries. The rift valley extends from the Arabian Peninsula to Southern Africa. Prior entering Kenya, the valley splits creating two breathtaking arms -the Western/Central African rift and Eastern rift.
Within the Great Rift Valley region, there are scenic Lakes and in Kenya, a number of them make up the Kenya rift valley lake system. They include 2 freshwater Lakes and others are alkaline Lakes. They often attract lots of flamingoes and they include Lake Bogoria, Lake Baringo, Lake Elmenteita, Lake Magadi, Lake Naivasha, lake Nakuru and others.
The rift valley region features basaltic cliffs and scenic East Africa landscape characterized by open savanna, volcanic outcrops, magical Lakes, open savannas and more. It is also a rich birding region alluring lots of flamingos, especially in the lakes such as Baringo and Naivasha. The rift valley region is also a significant part for game viewing regardless of less flocks of wildlife compared to leading destinations such as Maasai Mara and Amboseli National Park.
Kenya is a true adventure paradise- offering unforgettable mountaineering experiences to inexperienced and experienced climbers or hikers. The prominent areas of interest for mountaineering in Kenya include Mount Kenya- also known to be the second highest mountain in Africa, rising up to 5199m.
Mount Kenya comes second after Mount Kilimanjaro of Tanzania. Aberdare ranges (3999m) like Mt. Kenya are known for their unique afro-montane forest and afro-alpine moorland. They hold distinct attractions especially faunal diversity including the big five game, Harvey’s red duikers, giant forest hogs, Sykes monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, etc.
Mount Kenya in particular is an extinct stratovolcano believed to have had its last eruption about 3 million years back during the East Africa rift. Other mountains include Mount Satima, Mount Elgon, M. Kulal, Chepunyal Hills, Mount Ng’iro.
Laikipia Plateau & Conservancy
Laikipia Plateau is known as one of the places previously occupied by the livestock especially during the colonial era. Today, it is one of the top places offering exclusive wildlife viewing experiences. There are many wildlife sanctuaries in Kenya and it includes the Laikipia Plateau Conservancy, a home to important species like beisa oryx, lesser kudu, leopards, cheetahs, lions, reticulated giraffes, zebras, African wildlife, etc.
Many other exceptional sanctuaries and conservancies still exist within Laikipia Plateau including Ol Pejeta Conservancy, a home to black rhinos a huge number of these large mammals lives here. The Sweetwater Chimpanzee Sanctuary also exists in Laikipia Conservancy- where orphaned chimpanzees or those abandoned exist.
Located in the North-eastern side of Mombasa, there exist a tiny island- Lamu Island a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. The island features a distinct trading history of the Arab, Europe and India. The unique architectural features at the coast reflecting the European, Arab and Indian buildings all exist here. They have carved wooden doors, hidden courtyard, veranda and more. At Lamu, expect to visit Lamu Museum to explore about cultures, area’s history about Lamu Fort & Donkey sanctuary.
Kenya is famous not only for mesmerizing wildlife encounters but also its beautiful beaches. For beach lovers, Diani beach is one of most alluring beaches located along the Indian ocean in Kenya. The beach lies 30 miles South of Mombasa. Others include Diani, known for its coconut palms, coral reefs, white and extensive size. Chale Island, Kikambala, Watamu, Gazi, Nyali, and more.
Hell’s Gate National Park
Situated in Naivasha Kenya, Hell’s Gate National Park boasts for its diverse floral and faunal species. More than 100 bird species live in this park alone and its natural attractions include also gorges, cliffs, volcanoes, rock towers, geothermal steam. The park is ideal for the following activities -camping, walking safaris and more. It is a compact park with diversity of wildlife inclusive of cheetahs, lions, leopards, etc.
Historical sites & monuments
Kenya boasts of its countless monuments each offering incredible information. The key sites to consider visiting include Gedi Ruins in Malindi, Shimoni slave caves Kwale, Fort Jesus, Mombasa Old Town, Paradise Lost in Limuru, Lamu Old town, Koobi Fora and more.
Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park is one of the best areas for nature or wildlife lovers on Kenya safaris. This is the most accessible park you are setting off from Arusha- just 10 minutes is what you need to drive up to this park. It was established in 1949, covering an area of 117sq.kms.
The wildlife species at Nairobi National Park include hyenas, leopards, cheetahs, giraffes, 400 bird species with 20 seasonal European migratory birds.
When to visit Kenya
Safaris in Kenya can be done at any time of the year, but the dry season offers the most favorable conditions. This is from July to September and this also coincides with the Great wildebeest migration. They are the best months to consider visiting Kenya for game viewing, beach holidays and rainy months (March to May) are often avoided.
Top things to do in Kenya
The main highlights of Kenya safari holiday include the Great Migration in the Maasai Mara National Reserve (this is perfect from July to October), big five game drive (Tsavo East, Tsavo West, Maasai Mara, Amboseli National Park, Lake Nakuru National Park, etc); hot air balloon safaris, cultural safaris, city tours, beach vacation in Gallu beach, Diani, Tiwi beach, Msambweni and Malindi and more;
Bird watching (the best birding spots in Kenya include Nairobi National Park, Mount Kenya National Park, Lake Naivasha, Samburu and Buffalo Springs National Reserve, Kinangop Plateau, Lake Baringo (500 bird species with birds such as red fronted warblers, fan tailed raven, bristle crowned starlings, brown tailed rock chat, etc), Kakamega Forest with 450 bird species inclusive of Kakamega greenbul, African broadbill, Masai Mara National Reserve and Arabuko Sokoke Forest and others.