Bucket-List Kenya Guide

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Advisor - Aparna Rathod
Curated By

Aparna Rathod

  • Kenya

  • Active Travel

  • Adventure Travel

  • Beaches

  • Birthdays

  • City Travel

  • Couples Travel

  • Digital Nomad Travel

  • Family Travel

  • Outdoors

  • Wildlife

  • National Park

zebras roam in a safari with a tree
Curator’s statement

Jambo! Kenya is one of the most sought-after travel destinations, and with good reason! The country offers a diverse range of attractions and experiences. As a tourist to Kenya, there’s always so much to do, yet so little time. With that in mind, here’s a bucket list of what you do not want to miss when in Kenya: I was born in Nairobi, Kenya and lived there until I was 9 years old. It is a place I hold very dear to my heart, and plan to spend a lot more time there in the years to come. I visited Nairobi after twenty - one years, and had a very nostalgic experience visiting family and friends, and revisiting my childhood memories. I can't wait to return for another captivating safari or a cup of kahawa with family! Until then, let me guide you on your bucket -list journey through Kenya! With amazing weather, people, culture and a diverse, growing economy, what's not to love about this beautiful and extraordinary country?

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Things to do in Kenya

Zebras in the Safari
  • Safari: A visit to Kenya isn’t complete without the iconic safari to one of the famous national parks. The Maasai Mara National Reserve is one of the best places to go on a safari, and you can see the Big Five (lions, elephants, leopards, buffalo, and rhinos). The annual Maasai Mara wildebeest migration, at the end of the rainy season (usually May or June) is recognized as one of the “Seven wonders of the Natural World.”

    Fun fact: Over 1 million wildebeests and more than hundred thousand zebras cross the mara River at this time!

  • Visit the Giraffe Centre: The Giraffe Centre in the capital of Nairobi is a conservation center for endangered giraffe subspecies. You can feed and interact with these gentle giants and learn about their conservation.

    Fun fact: The Rothschild’s of the Giraffe center, the most endangered of the nine giraffe
    subspecies, have a total global population of 1500.

  • Climb Mount Kenya: Mount Kenya is the second-highest peak in Africa after Mount Kilimanjaro. Climbing the mountain is a challenging but rewarding experience that offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

    Fun fact: Mount Kenya is an extinct volcano which originally rose an estimated 3 million years ago and last erupted an estimated 2.6 million years ago. Mount Kenya National Park was formed in 1949 and in 1978 the site became a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve before finally being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.

  • Visit Lake Nakuru National Park: Lake Nakuru National Park is home to thousands of flamingos. It is also a sanctuary for several endangered species of birds, black and white rhinos, and lions.

    Fun fact: The lake is world-famous as the location of the greatest bird spectacle on earth – more than a million or even two million fuchsia pink flamingos!

  • Explore the Great Rift Valley: The Great Rift Valley is a geological wonder that stretches all the way from Syria to Mozambique! Visit stunning landscape of cliffs, gorges, and hot springs at the Hell’s gate national park.

    Fun fact: The Great Rift Valley runs for 4000 miles and reaches 300 miles at its widest section in the Danakil Desert in Northeastern Africa.

  • Go to Lamu Island: Off the coastline, Lamu Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a charming old town with narrow streets, markets, and mosques. Don’t miss out on the charming dhow cruise on which you can see turtles and dolphins.

    Fun fact: Lamu island is home to one of the oldest continuously inhabited Swahili towns – an ethnic group who have lived here for more than 700 years!

  • Visit the Masai Mara villages: Travel to another country is not complete without immersing yourself in local culture! The Maasai people are a semi-nomadic tribe that live in Kenya and Tanzania. You can visit their villages and learn about their culture, traditions, and way of life.

    Fun fact: Its nearly impossible to beat Maasai in a jumping contest! The Adamu is a jumping dance by men and functions as a show of strength for young Maasai warriors. Dare yourself to a jumping challenge.

  • Relax on the beaches of Diani: Diani Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on the coastline of Mombasa, with turquoise waters and white sand. You can swim, snorkel, or just relax and enjoy the view. Visit the Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant, perhaps the most unique romantic restaurant in Kenya. The coral cave is believed to be 120,000 to 180,000 years old and glows in muted lighting of candles for the perfect romantic night.

    Fun fact: Diani reserve is one of the largest coastal forests in East Africa and home to many elephants. It is also the only place in Kenya where you can find the critically endangered Sable Antelope.

  • Explore Nairobi National Park: Nairobi National Park is the only national park in the world
    located within a capital city, and is called the “world’s wildlife capital”. You can see lions,
    leopards, cheetahs, and other animals while still in the city.
    Fun fact: It was at Nairobi National Park that the historic burning of ivory took place. In 1989, 12 tons of illegal ivory were burnt as a way of putting an end to the ivory trade in Kenya to save the elephants and rhinos from poachers.

  • Go on a hot air balloon safari: A hot air balloon safari over the Maasai Mara is a once-in-a lifetime experience. You can see the wildlife from above and enjoy a champagne breakfast in the savannah.

    Fun Fact: Each massive hot air balloon above the Mara can carry 16 guests at a time!

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Nicole London's guide, The Green City in the Sun: Complete Guide to Nairobi, Kenya.

Advisor - Aparna Rathod

Travel Advisor

Aparna Rathod

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Kenya.