Looking for a trip that is fun, adventurous yet incredible all at once? The East African country of Kenya has it all. Known as a major safari hub, the country has incredible destinations to visit. Most people tend to visit South Africa or Egypt. While these countries are charming in their own way, Kenya offers a special experience. Kenya vacations are perfect for anyone, from couples to families and even solo travelers. With exciting itineraries, there are a lot of things to see and do in Kenya.
You might’ve seen the beauty of Kenya showcased in movies and nature documentaries. The classic African savannah, rich wildlife, greenery, and indigenous tribe are some of the best parts of the country. The landscapes of Kenya are exquisite, ranging from mountains, plateaus, savannahs, and forests. In these habitats reside an abundance of animals and birds.
During Kenya vacation, one can spot the African big five animals. Most of the parks, reserves and protected areas of Kenya are home to this group. Other big and smaller cat species are also seen. A number of plain animals like zebras, wildebeest, impalas, gazelles, and more thrive in the country. Some parts of the country are also home to endangered species. These include rhinos, Grevy’s zebra, and Rothschild giraffe. The wildlife action is heart-stirring, only experienced during the Kenya luxury safari.
Kenya is also a haven for birders as much as it is for wildlife enthusiasts. The country is a great birding destination. More than 1000 colorful birds are found here. Common bird species spotted are grey-crowned cranes, turaco, Sokoke owls, and many more.
Kenya vacations are not only limited to safaris and parks. To end your trip flawlessly, consider spending a day or two near the Kenyan coastlines. The beaches and islands found in this country are beautiful. Soft white sand beaches coupled with swaying palms and turquoise waters offer the picture-perfect tropical gateway. Water sports activities allow travelers to explore the rich Kenyan marine life as well. One can swim alongside marine turtles and whale sharks while being in awe of the colorful coral reefs.
Kenya vacations: Places to visit
It is difficult to pick from the many famous destinations found in Kenya. However, here is a short list of the places that you must visit to enjoy a fun Kenya travel experience.
Nairobi is the capital city of Kenya. It is called the ‘green city in the sun’ due to its beautiful city foliage and favorable weather. Nairobi is also popularly known as the ‘safari capital of the world’ as most of the safaris embark from the city.
Nairobi is a modern city where travelers can experience the best of Kenyan city life. Alongside modernity, lush landscapes and greenery are also observed. Museums like Karen Blixen and Nairobi gallery exhibit the interesting history of the city. The Maasai markets are the best places to shop for local jewelry, clothes, fabrics, paintings, and much more.
There are various sites in the city that houses wildlife. One of the most popular national parks is the Nairobi National Park. This park is home to some of the large African mammals including lions and elephants. They are spotted against the backdrop of skyscrapers instead of mountains. Another popular place is the giraffe center in the city. This center was established to protect vulnerable giraffes. Travelers can also have the opportunity to feed and interact with the resident giraffes.
Masai Mara National Reserve
Masai Mara is bound to take Kenya vacations to the next level. This national reserve is known to be the most famous safari site not only in Kenya but across the world. It is located in the Great Rift Valley Kenya and has some of the top dramatic landscapes. Equally gorgeous and diverse are its flora and fauna.
The mecca of wildlife, the Mara never fails with its quality game viewing. Here, the big five along with animals like wildebeest, ostrich, cheetahs, giraffes, hyenas, wild dogs, and more are spotted. The reserve is famous for hosting the biggest wildlife event called the wildebeest migration. This migration involves millions of wildebeest, zebras, and other hoofed animals. These animals travel together starting from Tanzania’s Serengeti before ending up in the Mara. The wildebeest migration takes place annually.
Travelers can pick Kenya tour packages that include migration. Along with this event, one can enjoy other adventurous activities in the Mara.
Lake Nakuru National Park
Sitting at the foothills of the Rift Valley is Lake Nakuru. This well-known Rift Valley Lake has an incredible ecosystem. The lake is surrounded by bushy grasslands and alkaline swamps. Lake Nakuru is a soda lake that is protected by the national park.
Lake Nakuru is a gorgeous place to enjoy a quick safari. Spotting flamingos in the lake is the top highlight of the park. Since Nakuru is an alkaline lake, millions of flamingos feed on its algae. An abundance of waterbirds like the great white pelican, greater blue-eyed sterling, blacksmith lapwing, and more are found. On the grasslands, one can see a mix of common and rare animal species. Rothschild giraffe, warthogs, and elands are some of them. Lake Nakuru also has a good population of unique tree-climbing lions and leopards. The endangered rhino species are also protected in the park.
Along with game drives, travelers can enjoy other activities like visiting viewpoints and historic sites and enjoying boat safaris.
Ol Pejeta is a private fenced conservancy located in Nanyuki, Central Kenya. This conservancy is home to various wildlife animals including those critically endangered. Ol Pejeta is among those conservancies that have relentlessly worked towards the conservation of animals.
Visiting Ol Pejeta during your Kenya vacation packages proves to be fruitful. Travelers can learn a lot about conservation and the efforts that run behind it. The conservancy is home to rare species as well as African predators. During safaris, the big five kenya safari like giraffes, hippos, buffalos, and many more are seen. The highlight of Ol Pejeta is the last two remaining northern white rhinos. Today, they can only be seen in OL Pejeta. This conservancy is also a great place for birders as colorful avifauna is often spotted.
Ol Pejeta conservancy also has the Sweetwater Chimpanzee Sanctuary. The conservancy team rescues orphaned chimpanzees and provides them with a home in the sanctuary. Travelers can visit the sanctuary and learn more about this species. An exciting activity offered by Ol Pejeta is lion tracking. Travelers can learn to track this majestic animal safely accompanied by rangers and guides.
In the northwest of Nairobi lies Lake Naivasha. Yet another rift valley lake, Naivasha is safeguarded by a national park. It is one of the few freshwater lakes in Kenya. The scenic Naivasha is surrounded by fever trees and overlooks Mount Longonot.
Herds of wildebeest, giraffes, zebras, and plain animals live inside the park. One can also catch glimpses of predators like lions, cheetahs, and leopards. The birdlife found near the lake is incredible. The waters of Naivasha support ingenious avifauna including common, rare, and migratory species. Every year, flocks of flamingos are seen covering the lake, creating a stunning sight.
Travelers can enjoy boat safaris and game drives inside lake Naivasha national park. Hell’s Gate National Park and Mount Longonot situated beside the lake provide a perfect base for hikers and trekkers.
Want to cool down from all the safaris and bush adventures before heading back home? Include beaches and islands in your Kenya vacations. This country has some popular shorelines that are ideal for relaxing.
One of them is Diani beach, the most beautiful hotspot for beach lovers. It is a beach resort located in the south of Mombasa. Diani beach is famed for its white sands, azure waters, and amazing views of the Indian Ocean. Here, travelers enjoy watersports the most. These include scuba diving, snorkeling, and kite surfing. One can even enjoy rides in the water with glass-bottom boats.
There are endless restaurants lined at Diani, serving the most delicious cuisines. Here, the beachfront resorts offer the most luxurious stay. Diani beach sits close to major attractions. Some of them are the city of Mombasa, Arabuko-Sokoke National Forest, Gede ruins, and Kilifi.
Exciting activities to try out during Kenya vacations
Safaris on 4WDs or game drives are one of the classic ways to experience the African wilderness. It is best enjoyed in Kenya, where close encounters with a wide range of animals are guaranteed. Parks like Maasai Mara and Amboseli are the best places for game drives. Typically, vehicle safaris start early in the morning to see various animals, especially predators like cheetahs, lions, and leopards. In the private conservancies of the Mara, nighttime game drives are undertaken to spot nocturnal animals.
Guided safaris or bush walks are an adventurous form of safari taken on foot. It is ideal for those wanting to interact with Kenya’s wilderness intimately. Your Kenya vacations need not be fast-paced. Instead, activities like guided walks help one explore Kenya’s wilderness leisurely. During these walks, travelers are accompanied by expert guides and rangers. The walks are conducted safely.
To enhance your Kenya adventures, nothing is better than horseback safaris. Horseback rides or safaris run alongside herds of wildebeest and zebras. This is the perfect alternative to 4wd safaris. Although an unusual activity, horseback safaris remain unforgettable. Where safari vehicles don’t go, horses can easily navigate through. Once you embark on horseback rides, you can witness the animals up close like never before.
Visit Maasai villages
Culture plays a huge role in Kenya vacations. The indigenous people of Kenya called Maasai reside inside many parks and protected areas. The parks and reserves are home to many Maasai villages. During your Kenyan trip, travelers have the opportunity to interact with the Maasai. Travelers can learn about the Maasai lifestyle and even participate in traditional dances and songs. Interactions with the Maasai people are the highlight of the entire vacation.
Best time to plan your Kenya vacations
Kenya is an excellent year-round destination. Each season has something new to offer. However, January to February are the recommended months to visit Kenya. During these months, the weather remains favorable, perfect for game drives and other activities. Moreover, wildlife becomes easier to spot in these months and game viewing remains at its peak. March to April is the peak of the wet season where relentless rain is experienced. During these months, spotting wildlife and great migration may become harder. Due to the rains, many camps and lodges also shut down.
If you’d like to avoid high rates and tourist crowds, consider going between November to May. The landscape of the country becomes lush and filled with greenery. It is also the low season since rates drop. Travelers can also see newborn calves being born in these months. With the exception of March to May, other months receive short rain showers.
Kenya is also famous for wildebeest migration. The best months to see migration in Kenya are from June to October. The crossing at the Mara River begins around late July and can last till August. Around late October through early November, the Mara River crossing can be seen again.
For birders, the birdlife of Kenya flourishes from September to April. During these months, migratory birds arrive from Europe and other regions of Northern Africa. This period also showcases birds’ nesting and breeding. On Rift Valley lakes like Naivasha and Nakuru, millions of flamingos arrive in the rainy seasons, between November and May.
The best period to visit Kenyan beaches is from October to January. November is especially known for providing the perfect conditions for snorkeling and diving. You can swim with whale sharks on Kenya’s coast between January and March. Since mid-March to late May marks the rainy season, Kenyan coastlines become hot and humid. The weather also becomes the hottest, making these months unfavorable to visit.
Kenya vacations are undoubtedly exciting and unique to experience. However, they require a lot of planning. We recommend you get in touch with a travel company that specializes in Kenya travel packages and tours. This way, you can ensure a personalized trip planned according to your needs.