Kenya’s landscape is blessed with diversity. Starting with savannah planes filled with big game, rolling into equatorial forests and majestic mountains. The flat warm deserts become cool Highlands and towards the coast you reach pristine beaches and coral reef. This awesome setting becomes your outdoor classroom, filled with adventure and life-enriching moments. Also when you meet the people of Kenya you will find a world largely untouched by globalisation, with various authentic East African cultures – ideal for cultural immersion experiences.
In Kenya you are bound to find the perfect African adventure, although it first and foremostly has a reputation of being the classic African Safari destination. While this is of course true, it is by no means the only reason to visit this remarkable country. The combination of diverse environments and rich cultures will give you a whole list of must-do activities during your journey through Kenya.
As befitting a classic safari destination, Kenya has some of the greatest to offer in terms of National Parks, wildlife and Africa’s Big 5. The world famous Masai Mara is one of the main National Parks, and one of the best spots to witness the Great Migration of the Wildebeest in East Africa. What’s more, in Amboseli National Park you have a chance see the majestic giants – elephants – walking around freely with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background.
Lake Nakuru is a magical lake with a pink tint of the flamingoes that call it their home, and while you are here you may be lucky enough to see the almost extinct white and black Rhinos.
In a completely different setting, the Ol Peita Conservancy is East Africa’s largest home for Black Rhino and Chimpanzees. This is a massive Conservancy, with over 350 square kilometers. Covered in grass plains and acacia woodland – a green paradise and the only place in Kenya where you can see Chimpanzees. And for the more adventurous it has some of the highest predator densities in Kenya!
The Kenyan Coast
Kenya is more than an adventurous African bush with wildlife and changing landscapes. What may come as a surprise to those not familiar with East Africa, Kenya has some spectacular tropical beaches. Powder white sandy beaches, pristine coral reefs and palm trees everywhere. Bamburi and Diani are great beaches for exploring the coral reefs. Galu and Watamu are quieter beaches where the columbus monkeys are frequent visitors. And then there is Lamu – a heritage rich coastal town where there are NO cars. This creates a historical setting that will give you a glimpse into the influences and events that shaped Lamu and surrounds.
Kenya is ‘right up there’ with the best of travel destinations, but it is also up there in terms of altitude. And its high altitude ensures it caters for everyone. From leisurely walks through areas with rich birdlife to more intense hikes into montane forests and volcanic mountains. Of course the main feature is Mount Kenya, the largest mountain in Kenya and even though it is not as big as Klimanjaro, it offers a very challenging climb!
So regardless what you would like to learn about nature and wildlife, Kenya has enough of everything to make it a more than worthwhile learning experience.
The Great Rift Valley
This is seriously one of the highlights of Kenya. A World Wonder, the Great Rift Valley stretches all the way from the Middle East and down through Africa. It runs all the way through Kenya and ends in Mozambique, creating dramatic landscapes. All along its path the deep crevice are lakes, some fresh some saline. And of course where there is water, there is life – especially large flocks of pink flamingoes that feed off the saline lakes.
Lake Victoria is famous for a reason – it is the second largest fresh water lake in the world. The mass of water is surrounded by wetlands and wildlife. It is an awesome place for birdwatchers, and you can witness the fish eagle in flight, swooping down to clutch up its prey out of the water.
Nairobi is a vibrant city with the unique selling point of being the world’s only city where you can view game with skyscrapers in the background! After your game drive, you can immerse into the city vibe through markets and bazaars where you can buy local handcrafts and souvenirs to remember this beautiful place and its people.
In Kenya you would use Kenya Shillings as currency. It is important to make sure which Visa your group would need, as most nationalities are required to have one. To organise a Visa you can head to the nearest Kenyan Embassy, High Commission or Consulate or even arrange for this when you arrive at Nairobi’s airport.
You are welcome to bring along US Dollars if you, but make sure they were printed after 2000. Tipping is part of custom here and a 10% is a good and acceptable service fee.
In terms vaccinations, it is always a good idea to visit your local General
Practitioner to make sure what the latest requirements are – but Yellow Fever is a must. Also make sure to find out about Malaria precaution medicine. You will find that English will get you far, as it is a spoken language in most destinations.
As in most areas in Africa, it is a good idea to bring sunscreen and a hat – especially with Kenya’s high altitude (high UV index).
Kenya is located right on the equator, so you have mostly warm and enjoyable temperatures through out the year. Locals normally talk about rainy season and dry season, rather than the usual four seasons of winter, spring, summer and autumn.
If you had to pinpoint the best time of year it would probably be based on the phenomenon of the Great Wildebeest Migration. This usually happens between July and October. If your group can’t make it this time of year, October to April (winter months) are great for birders. During these months you can witness another great migration, as it is when the birds arrive from Europe to skip the cold winter months. For groups who want to trek Mount Kenya, January to February or July to October are the preferable months.