For a country of its size, Kenya sure packs a lot in: mountains and deserts, colourful tribal culture, beaches and coral reefs, and some of Africa’s best wildlife attractions. In fact, to say Kenya is Africa in microcosm would not be stretching the point. There are a million different reasons to come here, and picking just one is nigh impossible. Stunning landscapes set the scene, from Kakamega’s rainforests to Indian Ocean beaches by way of Mt Kenya National Park; the rolling grasslands of the Masai Mara to searing deserts on the shores of the Jade Sea; with The Rift Valley, home to Hell's Gate National Park, cleaving a massive gash through it all.
Wildlife safaris have been the mainstay of Kenya’s tourism for decades, and several Kenyan parks, like Tsavo National Park, are among the best places in Africa to see lions, elephants, leopards and the famous wildebeest migration. Kenya rates as one of the top five bird-watching destinations in the world; other activities for outdoor enthusiasts include trekking the glacial ridges of Mt Kenya, ballooning over the Masai Mara, snorkelling at the Marine National Park in Malindi on the Indian Ocean coast, and much more besides. Kenya's biggest city, Nairobi, with the baddest of reputations, is sidestepped by many visitors, but, in fairness, has an interesting urban appeal with its cafes and nightlife.
The people, too, represent a wide cross-section of everything that is contemporary Africa, and everyday life brings together traditional tribes and urban families; ancient customs and modern sensibilities. Swapping the latest political gossip with the switched-on locals is just one more small pleasure that comes with the culture.
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These tours & activities make it easy:
Lake Nakuru National Park
Lake Nakuru National Park (051-2217151; adult/child US$30/10, smartcard required) rivals Amboseli as Kenya’s second-most-visited park. This is one of the best places in Kenya to see leopards, and white rhinos are commonly seen at the lake’s southern end, but the park’s most famous attraction is the flamingos that ring the lake in thousands.