KENYA What to See and Do – Guide 2024

Things to see in Kenya , offer incredible places to visit and things to do in this wonderful country of East Africa . Overlooking the Indian Ocean, it is popular for its wonderful wildlife and parks in natural reserves, such as the Maasai Mara , where you can participate in safaris and witness the incredible annual migration . But this country is much more… So let’s discover in our guide the best things to do and see in the country, discovering it during a wonderful trip to Kenya!

Kenya, Why Visit It?

Visiting Kenya also means taking a journey through its history , culture and wonderful landscapes. The Republic of Kenya is located in East Africa, bordering Ethiopia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Somalia and the Indian Ocean. Its capital and largest city is Nairobi . During its history, from the 12th century AD, numerous cities along the coast were founded by the Arabs who began numerous trades with the indigenous peoples here, thus creating the Swahili culture : a union between Islam and the Kiswahili language. Initially the main cities were along the coast and the Masai , today live mainly in the south of the country. Among the things to see and do in Kenya, safaris cannot be missed , being a country rich in fauna, flora and natural reserves where you can admire it.

Renowned destination to admire the Big Five , among the Great Lakes of the Great Rift Valley , which are also home to a large number of birds, such as flamingos. Among the things to see in Kenya, you cannot miss the Masai Mara National Reserve , where the Great Migration of wildebeest takes place and is home to the big cats. Furthermore, among the things to do in Kenya, there is no lack of relaxation on its wonderful beaches . Finally, it is a country rich in history and with a vast cultural heritage, where you can discover the past of humanity and the traditions of its people.

Between culture, landscapes and history, let’s discover what to see and do in Kenya!

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Read also: How to organize a safari in Kenya

What to See in Kenya – 10 Things to See

After the introductions, let’s go and see together the guide Kenya what to visit for our trip. This wonderful country of Africa , in fact, offers many things to see and do.

1. Nairobi

Among the first things to see and visit during our trip to Kenya, we find its capital : Nairobi. The main city of the country also includes the Nairobi National Park , one of the main wildlife reserves in Kenya where black rhinos are bred, a precious species now in danger of extinction. but we also find lions, zebras and giraffes. Near the park we find the Elephant Orphanage, of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. The capital is also the perfect starting point for a safari in other areas of the country and is a frenetic place, which offers numerous things to do in Kenya. Among the main cities also in sub-Saharan Africa, here are based organizations and NGOs that work on the continent.

It also hosts many places of interest, such as the National Museum of Kenya , where we can discover the history of the country through its exhibits, from prehistory to today. Among other main attractions, do not miss the Giraffe Center , in the Lang’ata area, which takes care of the Rothschild giraffes. To discover the culture of the country, visit the Bomas of Kenya cultural center , which celebrates the traditions, tribal songs, dances and local crafts, which you can also discover at the Masai market in the center of Nairobi. For art lovers, the National Museum of Art awaits you .

Nairobi

2. Masai Mara

Among the protected areas in the savannah, among the things to see in southern Kenya, on the border of Tanzania, do not miss the Masai Mara National Reserve . This place is home to many species, such as cheetahs, hippos, lions and zebras. This place is also the famous scene of the annual Great Migration of wildebeests. Its landscape is characterized by grassy plains, hills and the Talek and Mara rivers. In its surroundings, moreover, there are the Masai villages , the enkang . Considered the natural extension of the Serengeti , it is located in the Rift Valley at an altitude between 1,500-2,200 m above sea level. Most of the country’s safaris are held in this place and it is one of the most popular destinations for spotting the Big Five .

The park was founded in 1962 and extends over 1,510 km 2 . The best time to visit this place is from June to September , while the Great Migration takes place from July to October. Furthermore, among the things to see here in Kenya, within its rivers it is possible to spot Nile crocodiles , which can reach up to 6 m and live up to 100 years! Finally, among the most popular activities to do here, we find flying over the park in a hot air balloon , observing it from a magical perspective.

3. Amboseli

A protected natural area established in 1974 , Amboseli National Park, in southern Kenya, is located approximately 240 km from Nairobi. A place inhabited since the 17th century by the Masai, who called it a salty and dusty place , in 1906 the British established the Southern Maasai Game Reserve here , declaring it a protected natural area in 1948. A safari in this park is absolutely among the things to do in Kenya and offers numerous things to see, in addition to the wonderful fauna. In fact, it is home to over 400 species of birds and 40 species of birds of prey . Its undisputed protagonist, however, is Kilimanjaro : the majestic mountain that stands out in its panorama.

Among the things to see in Kenya, go to Observation hill , a volcanic hill and the highest point of the park to observe it from this perspective. The reserve also offers its visitors night safaris in the surrounding areas, to be able to observe its fauna at this time. To get closer to the local culture, instead, visit the villages of the Masai tribes , who still live following their most ancestral traditions, rejecting modernity. In the heart of the park, instead, we can visit the Amboseli Elephant Research Project : a site that studies and takes care of African elephants.

4. Samburu

Located in the north of Kenya and among the things to see during your trip, Samburu County offers many sites to visit. Known for camel racing , its attractions and culture, it is also home to the Samburu National Reserve , on the banks of the Ewaso Ng’iro River, on about 165 km 2 , 350 km from Nairobi. In the center of this Park, we can find palm groves and rainforest, which provides water to the many wild animals that populate the area. In this place, moreover, George and Joy Adamson raised the lioness Elsa , made famous by books and films. Among the Kenya things to see within this natural reserve, do not miss the Elephant Watch Camp . A peaceful place, which attracts many animals thanks to the presence of the river.

Its serenity is also due to its distance from the more industrialized areas, offering an incredible variety of landscapes and fauna. Here we can also observe the Samburu Special Five : the very rare Grevy’s zebra, the reticulated giraffe, the beisa oryx, the giraffe antelope and the Somali ostrich. In addition, many endangered species can be found, such as the pancake tortoise and the wild dog. Samburu is also considered the Cradle of Humanity . In fact, here during excavations in the 60s the remains of Homo Habilis and Erectus were found , along with numerous fossils and artefacts from the Stone Age . This is also the home of the Samburu, peaceful semi-nomadic pastoralists.

zebra on brown grass field during daytime

5. Lago Nakuru

Among the things to see in the south of the country, with an altitude of 1,754 m , Lake Nakuru National Park is one of the most incredible places to visit in Kenya during your trip. A famous and unmissable destination, it is also home to many species of animals, especially birds : we can see over 450 types ! Furthermore, it is a much-loved place for safaris immersed in the most pristine African nature. An ancient corner of the world where man can only be a silent spectator, it is located about 163 km from Nairobi. Covering 188 km2 , it was founded in 1961 around the lake of the same name to protect its incredible colony of flamingos that, in its waters, find algae and small crustaceans to feed on. Near the lake the terrain is marshy, drying up with distance and becoming a dry forest and a savannah.

To the west of the reserve we find the western part of the Rift Valley and, along the perimeter, there is an electric fence to protect the animals, being close to cities and cultivated areas. In addition, this lake is protected by the Ramsar Convention . To see here in Kenya, do not miss one of the kings of the park: the black rhino and the lively baboons . For an incredible panoramic view, however, even if not easy to reach, get to the Out of Africa Lookout and the Baboon Cliff . During the rainy season, however, the Makalia Falls in the park offer a unique spectacle.

rhinocerus near grass

6. Aberdare

Among the things to visit during your trip to Kenya, 100 km from Nairobi we find the magnificent Aberdare National Park. This place extends from 2,000 to 4,000 m above sea level . between valleys, waterfalls, rainforests, bamboo forests and savannahs. Founded in 1950, it extends over approximately 766 km 2 and includes the volcanic mountain range of the Aberdare mountains . These, according to the local Kikuyu tribe and their legends, are among the homes of God , called Ngai . This is also a popular place for safaris , as it hosts a large number of animals. Among black rhinos, servals, bongos, the African golden cat and antelopes. In addition, in the park it is also possible to organize picnics, walks along the river or camping.

Here the animals, including many species of birds, walk in the thick forest and not in the savannah, making everything much wilder ! Here too, as in other parks, it is important to respect the rules so as not to disturb the animals in their habitat and never go off-road. Among the things to see here in Kenya, moreover, do not miss the Karuru waterfalls and its three jumps, the Chania and other smaller waterfalls, in addition to its river valleys and the crests of the mountain range. Furthermore, despite being close to the equator, the altitude makes the climate cooler than in other areas, as well as rainier.

7. Mombasa

Kenya’s second city and a place to see during your trip, Mombasa is on an island , separated by two rivers from the continent. Here we can also find an airport and a port , and it is a must-see in Kenya for those looking for beach tourism . The name of the city has Arabic origins and means island of war , as the city was long disputed. An important tourist and economic hub, it is also known for its craftsmanship and woodworking. Also, do not miss the Gede Ruins , which is home to over 20,000 crocodiles and reptiles, such as the Mamba Village which is home to vipers, cobras and green mambas. Visit the Fort Jesus Museum , a UNESCO World Heritage fort, to buy spices at the typical market and discover sustainable tourism at the Bombollulo Workshops , supporting small local retailers.

Discover the Shree Cutch Satsang Swaminarayan Temple , the city’s Hindu temple, and the 14th-century Jumba La Mtwana site . The site includes a mosque on the seashore and nearby is the Mtwapa Creek. Its name means “ large slave house” and it is a site that includes tombs, dwellings and mosques, as well as houses such as the House of Many Pools. Mombasa is therefore a city full of things to see and do in Kenya, offering nature and cultural sites . Finally, stroll along the Mombasa Waterfront and relax at Shelly Beach , away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Mombasa

8. Tsavo East National Park

Among the most important natural reserves in Kenya and a must-see during your trip, go to Tsavo East National Park. With a surface area of ​​21,812 km² , it is the largest park in Kenya . The park has been open since 1948, and was later divided into Tsavo East National Park and Tsavo West National Park. These two areas are divided by the road that connects Nairobi to Mombasa , and the railway built in the 19th century by the English also passes through. Nearby, in the county of Taita-Taveta, we find the village of Voi and the Park is crossed by the Tsavo River , which gives it its name. To the south, it also joins the Tanzanian national park of Mkomazi , creating a huge protected area where the migrations of zebras and elephants are observed.

These two areas combined also represent one of the main and largest ecosystems in the world . Here, moreover, there are many types of habitats, where the plain and savannah prevail, then we find the Yatta plateau , the largest lava area in the world, the mountain area and the alluvial plain, and finally the lake. Inside the park we also find the Lugard Falls , rapids formed by the Galana River, and the Mzima springs . For all these reasons and its biodiversity, it is among the most important natural areas in the world and absolutely among the things to visit in Kenya. Furthermore, most of the park is closed to visitors and is reserved for researchers.

baby elephant

9. Sweets

North of Mombasa , we find the small coastal town of Watamu. Absolutely among the places to visit in Kenya during your trip, this location is known for the Watamu Marine National Park and Reserve. Inside we find the bays of Turtle, the Blue Lagoon and Watamu, with wonderful sandy beaches, coral gardens and is an oasis for sea birds and turtles . Here the wildest nature shows itself to the traveler with its amazing landscapes and heavenly beaches. In addition, it will also be possible to go on safari not far from this ancient fishing village. Its three main inlets are divided by promontories, you can go snorkeling , do water sports or simply stay and relax on the beach.

But the coral reef on the seabed of Watamu and in the Malindi Marine National Park will leave you speechless. Between Watamu and Malindi, moreover, we will find a wonderful uncontaminated coastal stretch , the Mayungu beach, which offers a kaleidoscope of colors. For its beauty this place is called Sardinia 2 and, here, sea turtles nest around March. But this place also offers incredible cultural and historical sites to visit in Kenya, such as one of the main archaeological sites of the country. Do not miss the remains of Gede , an ancient Arab city on the coast. Here we will find the remains of a mosque, palaces and houses, all immersed in the setting of the rainforest.

10. Lake Turkana

Also called The Jade Sea , until 1975 it was known as Lake Rudolph , and is a large lake in the Rift Valley, near Ethiopia. Let’s move away from the tropical coasts, resorts and national parks popular for safaris to reach the most desolate lands . Finally, among the things to absolutely see in Kenya, you can’t miss this semi-desert place that extends towards the north along a land scorched by the sun, where ancient nomadic peoples still live. An almost Martian landscape , between the Kaisut and Chalbi deserts, where the Marsabit National Park is located . A tropical mountain oasis with a rainy microclimate opens up in the center of a torrid place, creating a very important hub for the tribes that find pastures here.

Lake Turkana is surrounded by a unique landscape and is the largest alkaline lake in the world located in a desert area , which gives it its jade color, attracting many animal species and biodiversity. Inside there are three islands, included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites for their unique value for the study of human evolution . On the shores, however, we find a few forests and the prehistoric site Kobi Fora , where a skull of Homo habilis was found . From the nearby village of Loyangalani , come the El Molo fishermen . But the main place to see here in Kenya is the conical crater Nabuyatom . Flamingos and Nile crocodiles also find their home here.

What to do in Kenya, 5 experiences not to be missed

During your stay in Kenya, in addition to visiting the main attractions and places described previously in our guide, we also want to point out the activities to do in the country, thus making your trip unique. Between culture, adventure, tradition, history and adventure, an experience in Kenya will be able to unite the desires of all travelers.

So let’s not waste time and discover together the 5 experiences to do in Kenya !

1. Join a Safari

As we have seen among the things to see, among those to do in Kenya you absolutely cannot miss a safari among its wonderful parks and reserves. If you want to admire the wonderful landscapes of this country and its incredible and very rich fauna , the best way is in fact through a safari. In this way, we will be able to immerse ourselves completely and safely in the discovery of its biodiversity . Furthermore, we will also discover how the species present here are protected and thrive in a way that is unique in the world. Among the most important reserves in Kenya where you can go on a safari we undoubtedly find the Masai Mara, on the border with Tanzania and in the Rift Valley.

Among the main reserves of the country, it is renowned for its fauna and flora, including elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards and buffalo, and is therefore among the 7 natural wonders of Africa . One of the things you absolutely must see if you want to go to Kenya for a safari, however, is to witness the Great Migration . A breathtaking spectacle during which many animals move, following the rainy season. Also unmissable for safaris are Tsavo East and Amboseli , incredible places for the fauna present and their wonderful landscapes.

Safari to Masai Mara

2. Meet the Maasai culture

A complete trip to Kenya is not just about moving around its parks and going on safari, but also immersing yourself in the culture of the local people . The best way to discover the Maasai culture is definitely through a visit to the villages. Among the most famous tribes in Africa, they are an ancient people who live a simple life and follow traditions. Furthermore, the Maasai are the only ones who were not enslaved during the colonial period, always fighting and thus being idealized as unscrupulous warriors . Originally from the Nile Valley , they migrated to the plateau between Tanzania and Kenya in the 15th century.

A semi-nomadic people , who follow the flow of the rainy season together with their livestock, in search of green pastures. Today, however, they are mainly sedentary and breeders . Furthermore, based on how much livestock they own, they calculate their wealth. Their monotheistic religion believes in Enkai , the creator and they live in enkang with a patriarchal structure . Furthermore, the life of men is marked by three rites of passage : from childhood, to warrior to elder. For young women, unfortunately, infibulation is still practiced as a rite of passage. A fascinating tribe to get to know and full of contrasts, who lives following the rhythm of the sun.

Young Maasai

3. Relax on the Beach

Among the things to do in Kenya, after the numerous and tiring safaris, finally allow yourself a bit of relaxation by the sea on its heavenly beaches. Kenya, in fact, is becoming an increasingly popular destination for seaside tourism and, not being much advertised, it is still a peaceful location. Dream beaches immersed in uncontaminated nature, among the most popular and wonderful destinations we find Chale Island : a small island with incredible seabeds that can be reached in a few minutes of sailing. North of Diani , instead, we find the wonderful Maweni Beach with emerald waters and immersed in nature.

GaluKinodo is still a wild place, ideal for those who want absolute relaxation away from the frenzy, unlike Manda Bay , loved by those who practice diving and families. If you are looking for resorts, at Shanzu Beach you will find everything you are looking for, as in Lamu Island . Among the most touristic cities to see in Kenya, also famous for its beaches, we find Malindi . Finally, those who practice kitesurfing and other water sports will find everything they desire at Golden Beach , in Mambrui.

Diani Beach

4. Enjoy the local cuisine

For a complete immersion in the culture of Kenya, among the things to do here, you cannot miss an experience in the tastes of its typical cuisine. The typical recipes of Kenyan cuisine include the influences of various populations that have arrived here during its history. Arabs, Portuguese, Indians, British and, more recently, the influences of Western tastes. Historically, the Swahili diet was based on millet and sorghum, a grass. The Arabs brought spices, rice and fruits, while the Portuguese brought products that also arrived from Brazil, such as peppers, pineapples and bananas. These especially quickly entered the typical cuisine of Kenya. From China, in addition, the Portuguese also brought pigs, lemons and oranges.

With the colonialism of the United Kingdom, game and more luxurious foods, such as asparagus and coffee, were imported. During the construction of the railways, workers from India brought spices and many other Indian ingredients. Among the best ways to enjoy Kenyan cuisine today are its street food stalls , which serve excellent dishes at affordable prices. One of the typical cooking methods is an aluminum cauldron, the sufuria , where beans and corn are prepared. Other typical dishes that are most loved are the nyama choma , a meat and curry based dish. Try the Irio , a soup of beans, spinach and potatoes, the typical stew, the polenta ugali and the banana puree called matoke .

Fried bananas

5. Visit the Elephant Orphanage

Finally, among the things to do in Kenya during your trip, if you are in Nairobi do not miss the Sheldrick Wildlife Elephant Orphanage. A unique place of its kind on the outskirts of the capital where volunteers take care of elephant calves saved from death , poachers and predators. The foundation is dedicated to the founder of Tsavo National Park , who dedicated his life to the protection of these animals and places. Today, the foundation is managed by Sheldrick’s grandchildren and children. In a base camp in Tsavo park, rhino and elephant calves are gathered and then transferred to the center. Their parents are killed by predators or poachers, due to the ruthless ivory hunt .

The cubs are still too young to be alone. In this center, in fact, they are taken care of before introducing them back into their habitat once they are independent . Up to 2 years of age, in fact, these cubs are not independent and risk dying if left alone. The volunteers feed them with large bottles and take them to bathe in the mud. In addition to saving the cubs of these gentle giants, the association also actively fights poaching , raising awareness among local populations.

Baby elephant

How to Visit Kenya?

Furthermore, considering the morphology and position of Kenya, before organizing a trip to the country it is important to also take into account its climate , organizing yourself based on the areas you want to visit and having the appropriate clothing. Kenya has a tropical climate, with a dry season from June to October, the ideal time to visit the country and also witness the Great Migration. But there is no period not recommended for visiting the country.

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Read also: What to see in Nairobi in 1 and 2 days

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