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Into the wild

9 reasons why Kenya should top your travel wish-list

Clive Wedderburn June 26, 2018

Astounding wildlife, spectacular landscapes and a welcoming melting pot of culture, there are many reasons why Kenya should top your travel wish-list. Here are nine inspiring reasons why Kenya should be your next African safari holiday.

1)       You’ll fall in love… with Kenya

Kenya has a humbling effect on those who travel there. To call a trip to this African country a mere holiday is to underestimate its effect on you. Visit ‘the cradle of civilisation’, as it is sometimes called, and you’ll experience a lasting, spiritual connection. For some it is love at first sight. From the Rift Valley and the shores of Lake Naivasha, to the cosmopolitan bustle of Nairobi and the white sand beaches that melt into the crystal Indian Ocean, Kenya is a world-traveller’s dream destination.    

2)       The Masai Mara

With many national parks and game reserves of incredible geological and bio-diversity, Kenya has one of the finest conservation programmes on the planet including one of the most famous wildlife reserves:  the Masai Mara. A luxury tented camp pitched here will, at certain times of year, witness the thundering hooves of millions of animals as they embark on the Great Annual Migration. If you haven’t beheld this spectacle of the animal kingdom you need to place the Masai Mara at the top of your travel wish-list.

3)       Contrast beautiful beaches with wild safaris

After embarking on game drives to see lions, antelope and elephants, visiting Masai villages and hot air ballooning across the savannah, spend time gazing across the sweeping beauty and sharp, blue waters of the Indian Ocean. Kenya has so much more to offer than wildlife encounters. It has stunning shorelines, crystal seas for marine adventures, and laidback beach resorts, such as the Voyager Beach Resort on Nyali Beach – one of Kenya’s most popular coastal destinations.  

4)      The National parks of Kenya

Kenya offers some of the finest scenery in East Africa, including Samburu National Park, the spectacular setting for the film Born Free; Amboseli National Park, 160 miles from Nairobi, offering iconic safaris and cultural encounters with local Masai tribespeople, in a region teeming with elephants, zebra, giraffe, plus pelicans, flamingoes and ostrich; you could spend days exploring the birdlife paradise of Meru National Park, or the mountain peaks and extinct volcanoes of Tsavo National Park. Then there is Malindi Marine National Park & Reserve, its lagoons, reefs and coral gardens inviting you to aquatic adventures to see turtles and dolphins.

5)       Discover Mombasa

Kenya’s coastal beach city – steeped in Arabic, Swahili, Asian and European culture – is the perfect hotspot to people-watch. Culture-vultures will adore the Swahili street food and wafts of nyama choma (grilled meats) floating from the barbeque accompanied by traditional Taarab music. Explore the architecture of the Old Town, before retreating to enjoy the powdery sands, snorkel or simply relax with a sundowner or two.  

6)       The people

If there’s one thing all visitors agree on, it’s that the Kenyans themselves are one of its greatest assets. There are over 40 different types of tribal people here, including the Kikuyu, Kamba, Somali, Meru, Mijikenda and Masai people to name but a few. English is widely spoken throughout Kenya, but the phrase you’ll hear constantly is ‘hakuna matata’ meaning ‘no worries.’ Swahili, by the way, means ‘coast’ and is a mix of Arabic and African Bantu. Bordered by Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and Sudan, the culture of Kenya is rarely referenced and yet it’s a memorable feature of any holiday here.

7)       Touring Kenya

Touring holidays in Kenya offer up a world of spectacular wildlife experiences. Imagine tracking rhinos in Samburu National Reserve, then having the opportunity to sip Champagne on a hot air balloon ride over the Masai Mara, before gazing in wonder as a herd of elephants stride past your luxury camp on a fly-in safari adventure. It’s quite mind-blowing how many life-changing experiences a person can have on one touring holiday.

8)       Luxury safari lodges

Never under estimate the enchantment of a luxury safari camp after the thrill and excitement of a dusty, hot game drive. Equipped with all the creature comforts awaiting you like a scene from a Hollywood movie, you’ll dine out – under the wide night sky – with the camp fire crackling and be transfixed by the sounds of the wildlife that surround you. Nestled on the banks of the Mara River, Governors Camp offers exceptional accommodation in a prime position for game viewing and witnessing the magnificent wildebeest migration.

9)       Mount Kenya

Standing magnificently at 17,057 feet high, Mount Kenya is the second highest peak in Africa. Although it was formed by volcanic activity, volcanologists will be disappointed to learn the last eruption was two million years ago.  The mountain bestrides the equator; every day the sun rises and sets at 5:30 – am and pm. Four different tribes live here and each community believes the mountain is God’s throne on Earth.

You’ll love Kenya for…

  • The beaches you never realised could be so beautiful
  • Its welcoming people, from a melting pot of cultures
  • How delicious the food is, from succulent fruits to delectable grills
  • Chilled Tusker beer after a thrilling game drive
  • Picnics on Diani Beach in Mombasa

 

Did you know…?

  • Kenya is named after Africa’s second highest peak, Mount Kenya – meaning God’s Resting Place
  • Tea, coffee and flowers are important agricultural resources. Kenyan’s much prefer to drink (chai) tea rather than coffee – one of their greatest exports
  • Lake Naivasha is a large but mostly shallow fresh water lake
  • Nairobi National Park is the only one to border a  city – here you can witness lions and cheetahs hunting in the morning, then go shopping in the afternoon approximately seven kilometres for the city centre
  • Kenya’s population is approximately 44 million and the official languages are English and Swahili
  • Like the UK, Kenyans drive on the left-hand side of the road

 

Best time to visit Kenya

The Great Annual Migration arrives on the plains of the Masai Mara in July. Mid-June to October is the dry season, when animals gather around watering holes and therefore are easier to spot. However, Kenya is a year-round destination and there is never a bad time to visit.

If you can’t yet decide what you’re looking for, but need a little more advice and inspiration, visit our Kenya pages and start planning an African adventure of a lifetime.