Museums & Culture
Track down the Big Five against an unlikely backdrop of not-so-distant skyscrapers in Nairobi National Park. With an orphanage for elephants and a nearby giraffe-breeding centre, Nairobi ranks among Kenya’s most surprising wildlife-watching experiences.
Past & Present
Kenya’s National Museum is one of Africa's best, an august colonial-era institution that tells Kenya's story exceptionally well, while the Karen Blixen Museum returns you to the realm of Out of Africa nostalgia. For something completely different, tour Kibera, Nairobi's pulsating heart.
Nairobi’s culinary variety far surpasses anything you’ll find elsewhere in the country. Here there’s everything from fast and furious local places to upmarket options that evoke Nairobi’s colonial past. And then there’s Carnivore, one of Africa’s most celebrated restaurants.
Landscape & Culture
From the elephant-and-Kili views of Amboseli to the vast, rugged beauty of the Tsavo parks with their history of man-eating lions and rescued rhino, southeastern Kenya is the scene of some of Kenya’s most soulful wildlife experiences.
The Maasai Heartland
The Maasai presence here lends personality to a thinly populated landscape of sweeping savannah plains, volcanic cinder cones and jagged peaks. The ranches around Amboseli and the western foothills of the Chyulu Hills in particular are where the two come together most memorably.
Caves & Climbing
Spelunkers will relish the prospect of the world’s longest lava tube in the Chyulu Hills National Park. Climbing is also possible in Tsavo West, as is hiking along the western fringe of the Chyulu Hills.
The Rift Fracture
The drama of Kenya’s Rift Valley is one of natural Africa’s grand epics, with astonishing rock formations and expansive lakes that are the aesthetic antidote to the horizonless world of the Masai Mara savannah.
Flamingo & Rhino
The Rift Valley lakes are rare natural phenomena that draw strange bedfellows to cohabit here. Delicate flamingos (when the mood takes them) and prehistoric rhinos are the headline acts among many, with fantastic birdlife (over one-third of Kenya’s species) guaranteed.
Hike the Rift
While Mts Kenya and Kilimanjaro get all the attention, discerning hikers look to the relatively untrampled summits of Mt Longonot and Mt Susua. And there’s nothing like a foot safari through Hell’s Gate National Park for heightening the senses.
Western Kenya’s Masai Mara, together with Tanzania’s Serengeti, is home to the greatest wildlife show on earth. The great predators – lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas and crocs – share the plains with vast congregations of zebras and wildebeest, while elephants and giraffes look on.
Africa in Microcosm
The vast savannah plains of the Masai Mara may grab the headlines, but Western Kenya also boasts Lake Victoria, one of Kenya’s most underrated natural wonders, as well as soaring mountains and Kakamega Forest that evokes the endless stands of green in Central Africa.
From graceful secretary birds on the plains of the Mara, to bumbling bright turacos in the jungles of Kakamega, the west flutters with birdlife. Other top spots include Saiwa Swamp and the islands of Lake Victoria.
Beyond the Parks
With not a national park to be seen, Laikipia is nonetheless one of the best places in Kenya to see wildlife, from lions and African wild dogs to black and white rhinos. The focus for all this abundance are the cattle-ranches-turned-conservancies that are home to much cutting-edge conservation.
Stairway to Heaven
Walk or climb Mt Kenya, Africa's second-highest peak and you'll never forget the incongruity of snows this close to the equator or the sweeping views that extend out across the continent.
Africa’s highest-dwelling elephant herd and all manner of weird and wonderful plants and animals inhabit this forested realm that’s utterly unlike the Africa of popular imagination.
The Road Less Travelled
These remote frontier lands where Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Somalia collide are only just starting to register with foreign tourists, thus giving wannabe explorers a genuine opportunity to go where few have trodden before. You're almost guaranteed, too, to stumble upon large mammals outside of protected areas.
Deserts where the horizons never seem to end and one of Africa's most beautiful lakes, Lake Turkana, more than compensate for the long days in the saddle on rough tracks needed to get here.
A Tribal Heartland
From butterfly-bright Samburu warriors, to the dramatically pierced Turkana women and the elegant Gabbra peoples who wander the burning deserts with their camels, northern Kenya is arguably the tribal heartland of Kenya.
The South Coast
Sun, Sand & Sea
Despite the occasional rash of package-tourism development, some of East Africa's finest beaches are found on Kenya’s south coast. Away from sands that sparkle like crystals, there are islands galore and world-class diving.
Beach & Safari
From elephants, buffaloes and giraffes in the inland reserves to whale sharks and dolphins by the dozen in the oceans, there’s a lot of wildlife to be tracked down around here, but it’s the profusion of birds that really stands out.
City & Coastal Vibes
Choose from the big-city attractions of Mombasa, with its ancient fort, twisting streets and bubbling contemporary character, or the quiet life found in fishing villages up and down the coast – getting wrapped up in the coast’s Swahili culture couldn’t be easier.
The North Coast
Beach & Islands
If the security situation allows, pack a bucket and spade and struggle to choose between the lively beach at Malindi, the mellow vibes of Watamu or, maybe best of all, an island-hopping trip by dhow around the sublime sands of the Lamu archipelago.
Birds, Butterflies & Elephant Shrews
For most wildlife watchers the north coast is all about the birds. Everywhere you go around here you’ll be accompanied by the singsong notes of hundreds of different birds, but look a bit harder and you’ll find elephant shrews, thousands of butterflies and fish in a plethora of colours.
Live Like a Swahili
Put simply, Lamu is the ultimate immersion in all things Swahili. This gorgeous town of narrow streets and bui-bui-clad women is the oldest in Kenya and the most complete Swahili settlement in existence.