Fantastic Places To Visit In Kenya
When visiting a country as diverse in delights as Kenya, it can be difficult to decide which attractions that you really must see. Beyond the many wonders of Mount Kenya, the Maasai Mara and the Great Migration, there’s so much still to explore. To help you discover the truly unmissable, we asked Stefan Bollier from Kenyan safari experts Africa Point to share his five favourite places to visit in Kenya.
Every journey to Kenya provokes a unique memory of its own. I’ve visited this great country many times – chief among my many memories are the incredible animals and wonders I’ve been lucky enough to witness. From the first place I saw a leopard taking a nap in the afternoon sun just metres from me, to fighting through the mud of a powerful rainstorm, one visit is enough for the sights and sounds of Kenya to stay with you forever. Ready to explore?
Mount Elgon National Park
Stretching across the western border of Kenya into neighbouring Uganda, Mount Elgon National Park is a unique environment for improving your understanding of the African wild in all its glory.
The mountain itself, a ‘shield volcano’, sits in Uganda, but the varied landscape on both sides of the border is excellent hiking country for all abilities. Many of the more challenging routes are perfect training if you’re considering tackling Kilimanjaro or Mount Kenya in the future. Koitoboss is the highest peak on the Kenyan side of the border – take on the two-hour climb, perfectly suitable for eager amateurs, to reach stunning views across the rocky plains and sweeping grasslands of this remarkable region.
For some of the most beautiful waters in East Africa, head to Watamu and its many striking bays and beaches. This protected Marine National Park is a unique habitat of global significance, famed for its amazing offshore coral formations. Snorkelling and diving are hugely popular in the area – the waters are known for their crystal clear quality and abundant wildlife. Watamu village is home to a number of luxury hotels that offer almost immediate access to miles of heavenly white sands. Sit back, relax and soak up the sun in this little-known oasis of peace.
Aberdare National Park
This sprawling protectorate of forest, moorland and mountains is home to some of Kenya’s most iconic creatures, from leopards and elephants to many mischievous monkeys. The landscape is unforgettable – perfect for hiking or camping, it demands to be explored. Make sure to visit and stay at The Ark or Treetop, canopy-level lodges offering ever-changing views across the dense forests and nearby watering holes. Want to get closer to nature? Visit one of the many picnic spots and campsites scattered across the park to get up close and personal with this eclectic ecosystem! However you choose to explore Aberdare, remember – treasure every moment!
Believed to have once been a thriving trading island from the 9th to 13th centuries, Manda was abandoned due to lack of water in the early 19th century and was only re-settled in the 1960s. Explore the ruins of this ancient port community – from which many treasures from across Asia have been discovered, demonstrating the scale of the trade that thrived between continents across the Indian Ocean. Today, you can combine this unique insight into a little-known corner of history, with the luxury of incredible beaches and beautiful beachside lodges.
Tourism is a big draw to Manda, but this doesn’t mean that visiting is entirely risk-free – before travelling, it’s always important to check out latest advice on security in the region.
Samburu National Reserve
Situated in the rugged North of Kenya, this unlikely oasis of nature sustains an overwhelming variety of wildlife across its vast expanse. It was historically regarded as ‘big game country’, and it still attracts animals of all kinds due to its rich grasslands and the river that flows through the centre of the reserve. Samburu retains a truly wild atmosphere – over 350 species of bird call it home and it’s particularly perfect if you want to meet one of Africa’s most gentle natural giants – the Elephant. Spend a day tracking a herd of these charming creatures, observing their behaviour and taking loads of great photos to share with your family and friends. Game rangers and the local community collaborate closely to protect all the animals in the Reserve and monitor their populations; a testament to the truly special nature of Samburu.
What are your favourite places to visit in Kenya – or beyond? Share your best images of Africa with us – enter our African safari photo contest, #IncredibleAfrica15, today!
Stefan Bollier is a partner at Africa Point, the leading online travel agent and tour operator for Kenya Safaris and other key locations. Based in Nairobi, its consultants provide expert travel advice right from the heart of Africa.