Where to go in Kenya
Where to go in Kenya
Our guide on where to visit in Kenya
Kenya has so many different destinations, featuring varying landscapes, wildlife and ultimately, experience. The most popular national parks and reserves for safaris are located in the central and southern parts of Kenya. These include the Masai Mara National Reserve which is regarded one of the best safari destinations in all of Africa.
For those who are focused on purely a safari experience, then combining parks like Amboseli, Samburu or Tsavo National Park are a good idea. Although you can combine these parks via road transfers, we would always advise taking a small light aircraft between them. It will save you a considerable amount of time and in itself, offers a unique scenic view from above. Flying over Kenya’s Rift Valley is truly special.
For returning travelers to Kenya, or for those looking to visit somewhere a little more unique and off the beaten track, have a look at destinations like the Laikipia Plateau. This is an expansive area in central Kenya, offering a diverse safari experience. Whilst there is wildlife to be seen (especially wild dog and elephant), it is much less dense than other safari areas like the Masai Mara. That said, you can enjoy walking safaris, horse rides, camel rides, fly camping and much more.
Kenya is also a fantastic destination to combine bush and beach. Twin-center holidays are becoming increasingly popular and with the southern coast of Kenya offering some of the most idyllic white-sand beaches on the continent, it is simply a must-do!
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Best places to go in Kenya
Kenya has more than 20 national parks, each offering incredible game viewing, guiding and an overall safari experience. Most of the national parks are in central or southern Kenya and we’ve included a handful of our most recommended destinations in Kenya.
Masai Mara National Reserve
Located in southern Kenya, the Masai Mara is one of the most iconic safari parks in all of Africa. The endless plains and vast savannahs entice thousands of tourists every year, and rightly so! The Masai Mara has some of the best game viewing opportunities on the continent, with abundant elephant, buffalo, giraffe, and antelope. Big cat populations are thriving so lion prides, cheetahs and leopards are regularly sighted. During the months of July to November, the wildebeest herds can be seen inside the reserve and outer conservancies which is an incredible spectacle.
Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park is often referred to as the the ‘Land of the Giants’ because of its huge elephant populations. This park is also home to some of the largest tusker elephants left on the continent. Along with good elephant sightings, there is an abundance of giraffe, zebra, lion, leopard and over 600 species of bird. The park has an incredible backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania – in fact, this is one of the best viewpoints of Africa’s largest mountain. A safari here can be a stand-alone destination or in an itinerary combining the Masai Mara or Tsavo National Park.
Samburu National Reserve
Located in the Kenyan Rift Valley, Samburu National Reserve is a park offering great safari experiences and opportunities to see rarer species. Samburu is famous for the Samburu Five which include rare northern specialist species – the Grevy Zebra, Somali Ostrich, Reticulated Giraffe, Gerenuk and the Beisa Oryx. Along with these rarer animals, travelers can expect to see elephant, lion, leopard, antelope, and sometimes wild dog. Samburu is a dry park with high temperatures so most of the game congregates around the Ewaso Nyiro River.
The Laikipia Plateau
The Laikipia Plateau is an an expansive area of conservancies, ranches and rolling farmlands in central Kenya. The three main airstrips are Lewa, Nanyuki and Loisaba, so the park can easily be combined in a flying itinerary. Although the wildlife is not prolific or dense, especially compared to the plains of the Masai Mara, the Laikipia Plateau is all about expansive space, unique experiences and remote game-viewing. It is a great destination for active travelers or families traveling with children as the camps and lodges offer activities like tubing on the river Ewaso Nyiro, quad biking, night drives, camel riding and more. Arguably, the Laikipia Plateau has the most breathtaking views in all of Kenya, like this view from Loisaba Tented Camp.
The Kenyan Coast
Kenya is fortunate to home some beautiful white-sand beaches and azure waters. Mombasa is the quintessential tropical port of the country, located on the eastern coastline. To the north and sound of Mombasa are stunning beaches – one of the most iconic is Diani Beach. With glistening sands hugged by lush forests, Diani Beach is somewhere for everyone – families, honeymooners and water-sports enthusiasts to name a few. It is very straight forward to combine a Kenya safari with the coast, involving a short flight from the bush airstrip to Mombasa. This is the perfect R&R after your exhilarating safari.
The capital of Kenya, Nairobi, is where a safari itinerary will inevitably start or finish. That said, there is more to do than just check in and out of a hotel. The hustle-and-bustle can be intriguing to many travelers and some activities are not to be missed. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust operates the most successful orphan elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world, and is a must-do. Other places to visit include the Giraffe Center, and the Karen Blixen museum. For those looking for a ‘wow-factor’ to start your trip with, we would recommend staying in Giraffe Manor which was has been titled as one of the most incredible hotels in the world. Although it is very popular (you need to book 9-12 months in advance), it is such a memorable experience as you get to have breakfast with the giraffes.
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