1. Maasai Mara:
This very modest national reserve draws thousands of tourists to the furthest corners of East Africa each year because it is home to what is arguably the most well-known safari park in the whole world (sorry, Kruger).
It shares a border with Tanzania’s renowned Serengeti National Park to the south and is immediately adjacent to it. It exhibits the classic East African Rift backcountry: undulating savannah plains dotted with galloping zebra herds; swaying grasslands punctuated by the lanky stalks of giraffes; meadows of topi; and waterholes dotted with cape buffalo.
Of course, safari is the main attraction, drawing many tourists to witness The Great Migration and the renown Big Five of African wildlife.
2. Lamu Island:
Little Lamu Island, located on the eastern tip of Kenya and surrounded by sandbanks, bobbing dhows, mangrove swamps, and the lapping waves of the Indian Ocean, is still home to one of the country’s most historically significant settlements.
Lamu Old Town, a historically significant harbour with whitewashed exteriors and homes made of tropical timber, has been designated by UNESCO as a showcase for traditional Swahili construction techniques.
The settlements of Shela and Matondoni, which are located farther up the coast of Lamu, also have a number of intriguing mosques and ports from earlier times, and the traditional Mawlid celebrations are a must-see for any culture vultures. But that’s not all!
3. Amboseli National Park:
With its prime location beneath the towering silhouette of none other than Mount Kilimanjaro, Amboseli plays up to its reputation as one of the top East African safari parks. This protected reserve sprawls out in a patchwork of dry plains and savannahs, fields of unusual sulphur spouts, and riparian marshes all trampled by some of the largest elephant herds in the country. It lies in the shadow of that snow-topped peak, which is the tallest on the continent.
Today, wildlife enthusiasts come here for safaris to observe the enormous galloping animals among cheetahs, wildebeest, giraffes, zebras, and other animals.
Of all the African cities, sprawling, steel-clad Nairobi isn’t the most attractive at first appearance.
But there is undeniable beauty and life in this nearly four million-person city in Kenya’s southern centre.
Starting with the Nairobi National Park, where giraffes and cheetahs meet against the meanders of the Mbagathi River, the city is renowned as the only major city with a true safari park right in the middle of the municipal boundaries.
Together with one of Kenya’s greatest nightlife scenes and a number of fantastic central marketplaces brimming with East African hotpots and delicacies, you have a town that is well worth the layover.
5. Hell’s Gate National Park:
In the middle of southern Kenya, at a modest 68 square kilometres, Hell’s Gate is situated halfway between the metropolis of Nairobi and the outlying town of Nakuru.
It is characterised by astonishing and memorable rock formations that emerge like splinters from the scrub-covered ground, making it a really beautiful site in the world.
The region boasts steep escarpments and deep valleys cut through its landscape, each having unusual names like Fischer’s Tower and the huge Embarta. It is widely believed that this was the place that served as the idea for the Disney film The Lion King.
You may expect to encounter wildebeest, vultures, African buffalo, Thomson’s gazelle, and groups of lions among the gorges and canyons.
6. Tsavo East National Park:
The vast areas of Tsavo East, one of the oldest and largest national parks in all of East Africa, frequently place near the top of lists of the world’s best safari locations.
They are a patchwork of waving savannah grasses and red-hued boulders that rise like escarpments from the dry, desert soils, and they may be seen tumbling down from the sun-baked highlands of the Chyulu Hills that span the border with Tanzania to the south.
The Athi River’s course, which gives way to the massive stones of Yatta, one of the world’s biggest lava channels, marks the park’s eastern boundary.
Then there are the creatures, which include everything from cheetahs to ground pangolins and white-tailed mongooses to cape buffalo!
Mombasa is a mysterious and lovely destination to explore, with undertones as exotic as the neighbouring Zanzibar and a history as rich as any of East Africa’s capitals.
Even after the influence of the former Portuguese and Arabic rulers constructed colonial structures and magnificent mosques between the streets, Swahili origins and customs endure.
Spend some time exploring the Old Town, which has a distinct European flavour, tasting the fiery curries with an Indian influence, and soaking up the vibrancy of Mombasa port.
The beaches are waiting, from the sparkling white lengths of Bamburi to the palm tree groves of Shanzu, so don’t stay for too long.
Ah Malindi: a town of tin-shack homes and old mosque towers from centuries gone by, where the sea has never been so warm and the sand has never been so white! Yep, this humble little trading town on Kenya’s Indian Ocean coast has risen and risen in recent decades to become the favourite choice of European and American visitors looking to taste the sun and salt water of East Africa.
Monuments to the great Portuguese explore Vasco da Gama Pillar still mark the center of the place – a testimony to its long past – while strips of palm-backed beaches and resorts, pretty piazzas and even pizza restaurants bring in the biggest crowds.
9. Samburu National Reserve:
The Samburu National Reserve denotes the geographic centre of Kenya.
The meanders of the trickling Ewaso Ng’iro, which descends down this way from the ice-caked peak of Mount Kenya itself, provide the area with its lifeblood hundreds of kilometres from the coast and barely edging up to the towering highlands that characterise East Africa.
The wildlife includes lions and gazelles, Tanzanian cheetahs, waterbucks, crocodiles, and olive baboons, while the landscape is characterised by flat-topped acacia trees and sporadic riparian oasis of palms.
10. Lake Nakuru:
Currently, Lake Nakuru is located in the centre of its own national park.
This peculiar body of water rises above the Great Rift Valley from between the acacia forests and meadows that surround it. It is only a little dot of blue on the Kenyan map.
It is well-known for its wonderfully colourful variety of birdlife, which is distinguished by flamingos’ pinkish glow during the majority of the year.
For some stunning views of the region, climb up to Baboon Cliff’s high observation platforms. Then, take the twisting dirt trails that encircle the water’s edge to observe baboons, Eastern black rhinos, and a variety of migratory birds.
All predictions were wrong when the Laikipia District started to become o
ne of Kenya’s top ecotourism destinations.
The region enters the scene without any iconic national parks or wildlife reserves, relying only on the draws of its undeveloped backcountry.
The sweeping green slopes and hills that rise and fall here are naturally beautiful, and once the tour companies realised this, the rest is history.
Numerous safari enthusiasts now travel to places like the Sosian Game Ranch, the Ol Ari Nyiro Conservancy, and others to experience off-the-beaten-path wildlife viewing, where they may see animals like Grevy’s zebras, wild dogs, and the extremely uncommon black rhinos.
12. Lake Naivasha:
This mirror-like body of water is one of the true gems of the Kenyan Rift, much like Nakuru, Lake Naivasha’s little brother, which is nearby to the north-west.
The area is well known for its abundant wildlife and shines in sky-blue tones behind the red granite ridges of the aforementioned Hell’s Gate park.
There are ospreys, hawks, and eagles to see, as well as the extremely uncommon bearded vultures.
It’s simple to understand why Naivasha is now regarded as such an interesting site to visit when you consider the neighbouring geological phenomena and geothermal power facilities!
It’s hardly unexpected that Kisumu got its start in the commercial trade given that it has one foot in Lake Victoria and the other on the major highways that travel east to Nairobi, Mombasa, and the port cities of the Indian Ocean.
But during the past two decades, things have fluctuated a lot, with the number of steamboats and other transportation declining for a while.
Kisumu has recovered respect for its ancient customs and natural charms, however revival is now in the works.
So instead of focusing on the massive freights and oil pipes, consider Dunga Beach’s biodiversity or the unique design of the Kisumu Town Clock in the city’s centre.
The self-described entrance to Kenya’s Central Highlands is Nyeri.
At its core, the city is a dusty transportation centre, with rickshaws and scooters squeaking through the low-rise markets and through the square-cut blocks.
But its prime location at the very edge of the Aberdare Mountains, close to Mount Suswa and the South-Western Mau Reserve, and home to the leopard, African wild dog, gigantic forest hog, cape buffalo, and rhino, among other animals, makes it a genuine magnet for outdoor enthusiasts!
This relatively unexplored hamlet is a haven for eco-tourists and conservationists, rising in a jumble of shabby tin dwellings and lean-to timber shacks from the middle of the immense Kenyan deserts in the north.
A lot of humanitarian missions are presently focusing on it in an effort to give local tribal tribes things like education and access to clean water.
The hamlet is remote—more it’s than 422 kilometres from Nairobi—but that offers a genuine glimpse into Kenyan culture and the opportunity to travel to a less-traveled, more arid, and wilder part of this well-known East African nation.