Things To Do in Kenya, Activities, Attractions (Updated 2024)
Things To Do in Kenya, Activities, Attractions (Updated 2024). Check out our list of 20 of the Best Things To Do in Kenya: Maasai Mara, Amboseli, Tsavo, Samburu, Lake Nakuru, Lamu Island, Lake Naivasha, David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Nursery, Nairobi National Park, Malindi, Mombasa, Mount Kenya National Park, Hell’s Gate National Park, Ol Pejeta Conservancy.
Kenya is often thought of as a one-trick pony by those who have never visited, as a fantastic safari location with little else to offer. However, East Africa’s most popular travel destination (almost 1.5 million international visitors in 2017) is a multidimensional area with a diverse range of rural and urban adventures.
Best Things To Do in Kenya
Kenya has great Indian Ocean beaches, world-class mountain hiking, surprisingly good nightlife, an eclectic cultural legacy, and unusual methods to get around, but wildlife remains the major attraction (from ancient sailing craft to a spanking brand new railway line).
Kenya — the phrase “safari” is nearly synonymous with the country. Few places on the earth inspire such a sense of adventure and romance like this one. The abundance of things to do in Kenya astonishes visitors, and seeing the country’s plentiful wildlife is at the top of the list. During the Great Migration, see herds of wildebeest crash over the grassland in the Maasai Mara; get up and personal with elephants in Amboseli; or marvel at Lake Nakuru, which is flecked with thousands of flamingos. Ancient tribes such as the Maasai, Kikuyu, and Samburu retain their traditional ways in these sun-drenched areas, living in relative harmony with the natural world.
A treasure trove of coastal gems lies beyond the world-famous safari parks. Explore tropical islands steeped in Swahili history, snorkel and dive fish-rich coral reefs, sunbathe on pearly beaches, enjoy the melting pot of cultures and cuisines in Mombasa and Malindi, and experience the melting pot of cultures and cuisines in Mombasa and Malindi. Kenya is beautiful from a geographical standpoint. The Great Rift Valley divides the country, surrounded by calderas and mountain ranges. To the east of this broad valley, the snow-capped equatorial peaks of Mount Kenya can be climbed, and crystal-clear streams can be fished for trout.
Obsidian caves and hisses, as well as natural geysers and hot springs, may be found in Hell’s Gate National Park. Travel to Nairobi to experience the romance of Kenya’s colorful colonial history, as shown in the film Out of Africa. This busy capital serves as the entry point to one of the most evocative and thrilling tourist locations on the planet. With this list of the top tourist attractions in Kenya, you may learn about even more locations to visit in this interesting country.
15 Things To Do in Kenya: Attraction & Activities
Maasai Mara National Reserve
ABSOLUTE CHAOS | The Great Migration Masai Mara Kenya
One of Africa’s most beautiful game reserves is the Maasai Mara National Reserve (commonly known as “Masai Mara”). The Mara is the northern continuation of the Serengeti, and it forms a wildlife corridor between Tanzania and Kenya. It’s named after the statuesque, red-cloaked Maasai tribe who reside in the park and have been grazing their cattle here for decades. Mara means “mottled” in their language, maybe referring to the play of light and shadow cast by the acacia trees and cloud-strewn skies over the huge plains.
From July through October, the park is known for the Great Migration, which sees thousands of wildebeest, zebra, and Thomson’s gazelle migrate to and from the Serengeti. Hippos and crocodiles swarm the banks of the Mara River.
Thanks to its relatively substantial populations of lion, cheetah, and leopard, the park is particularly noted for delivering exceptional predator sightings, especially during the dry months of December through February. Because of the park’s elevation, the weather is temperate and pleasant all year.
Accommodation: In the Maasai Mara National Reserve, where should you stay?
Amboseli National Reserve
Finding Elephants in the Shadow of Kilimanjaro | Amboseli, Kenya
Amboseli National Reserve, which is crowned by Africa’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, is one of Kenya’s most popular tourist destinations. The term “Amboseli” is derived from a Maasai phrase that means “salty dust,” a fitting description of the park’s dry environment.
The reserve is one of the best sites in Africa to get up close and personal with enormous herds of elephants. Big cats like as lion and cheetah, as well as giraffe, impala, eland, waterbuck, gazelle, and more than 600 kinds of birds, can all be found in the park.
The dried-up bed of Lake Amboseli, wetlands with sulfur springs, savannah, and woods are among the five habitats available to visitors. Look for the Maasai people who reside in the park’s immediate vicinity.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Amboseli National Reserve
Tsavo National Park
Kenya Safari | Tsavo East + Tsavo West
Tsavo, Kenya’s largest park, is divided into two sections: Tsavo West and Tsavo East. These parks cover 4% of the country’s total land area and include rivers, waterfalls, savannah, volcanic hills, a vast lava-rock plateau, and a diverse range of species.
Tsavo East, located halfway between Nairobi and Mombasa, is known for its photogenic sightings of vast elephant herds rolling and bathing in red dust. The park’s palm-fringed Galana River winds its way through it, giving superb wildlife viewing and a pleasant contrast to the parched plains.
The Yatta Plateau, the world’s longest lava flow; Mudanda Rock; and the Lugard Falls, which cascade into rapids and crocodile-infested pools, are among the other attractions.
Tsavo West is wetter and more topographically diversified than the rest of the park, with some of the most stunning landscapes in the park’s northern reaches. Mzima Springs, a succession of natural springs with significant populations of hippos and crocodiles, Chaimu Crater, a superb place for observing birds of prey, and Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary are among the highlights here.
Because of the deep undergrowth, wildlife is harder to spot in Tsavo West, but the stunning scenery more than makes up for it.
Tsavo National Park Accommodation: Where to Stay?
Samburu, Buffalo Springs, and Shaba National Reserves
Amazing Wildlife Safari in Samburu and Buffalo Springs National Reserve | Kenya
Samburu, Buffalo Springs, and Shaba Reserves are located in an arid region in Kenya’s distant north, on the banks of the palm-lined Ewaso Nyiro River.
Elsa the lioness, made famous in the film Born Free, was nurtured in Shaba National Reserve, one of two areas where George and Joy Adamson raised her.
The fauna in all three reserves is reliant on the river’s waters to exist, and many species have evolved to thrive in the dry conditions. Grevy’s zebras, Somali ostriches, and gerenuks, long-necked antelopes that stand on two back legs to reach the young sprouts on upper tree limbs, are among them.
The Sarara Singing Wells, local watering holes where Samburu warriors sing traditional songs while transporting water for their animals to drink, are a prominent attraction in Samburu National Reserve. There’s a chance you’ll see huge cats and wild canines as well.
Accommodation in Samburu: Where to Stay?
Lake Nakuru National Park
Kenya Safari – First time in Lake Nakuru National Park
The enormous flocks of pink flamingos at Lake Nakuru National Park in Central Kenya are well-known. Lake Nakuru, one of the Rift Valley soda lakes that comprises nearly a third of the park’s territory, is teeming with birds.
Since its inception in 1961, the park has been home to over 450 species of birds, as well as a diverse range of other wildlife. The species you might encounter include lions, leopards, warthogs, waterbucks, pythons, and white rhinos, and the environments range from broad grasslands around the lake to steep cliffs and woods.
The park also contains Africa’s largest euphorbia candelabrum forest. These native to the area towering, branching succulents add a dramatic textural aspect to the parched surroundings.
Where to Stay in the Lake Nakuru National Park Area
ARRIVING IN LAMU, KENYA | First Days Exploring
Lamu, a little island northeast of Mombasa, exudes an old-world charm. Lamu Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is Kenya’s oldest continuously inhabited settlement, going back to the 12th century.
One of the best things to do here is to take a stroll around the winding lanes. The buildings represent the island’s illustrious trading past. Architectural elements from the Arab world, Europe, and India are visible, but done in a Swahili style. Wooden doors with intricate carvings, coral stone houses, hidden courtyards, verandas, and rooftop patios are all popular sights.
It’s like stepping back in time when you go sightseeing here. Dhows plow the harbor, there are few if any motorized cars, and donkeys continue to rule the streets as they have for decades. The majority of Lamu’s residents are Muslims, and both men and women wear traditional clothing.
Lamu Museum, with exhibits on Swahili culture and the region’s naval history, Lamu Fort, and the Donkey Sanctuary are among the island’s top attractions.
If all of the history becomes too much for you, relax on one of the island’s white-sand beaches or sip Arabic coffee in a local café.
Lamu Accommodation: Where to Stay
LAKE NAIVASHA KENYA | Close encounter with hippos
Lake Naivasha, at the highest point of the Great Rift Valley, is a birder’s paradise. There are around 400 kinds of birds here, including African fish eagles, jacanas, white-fronted bee-eaters, and various kingfisher species.
Boating is one of the best methods to see the animals. Hippos splash around in the water, as giraffes, zebras, buffaloes, and eland graze on the lake’s shores. Also keep an eye out for colobus monkeys in the trees.
The Crater Lake Game Sanctuary, located near Lake Naivasha, has a wildlife-rich nature walk.
Hell’s Gate National Park, located just south of Lake Naivasha, protects a diverse range of animals and provides good climbing possibilities, including two extinct volcanoes and the red cliffs of Hell’s Gate Gorge.
On the southern coast of Lake Naivasha, the Elsamere Conservation Centre, the former house of Joy Adamson, author of Born Free, and her husband George, is open for a cup of tea.
Note that at times of acute drought, Lake Naivasha has been known to decrease significantly, and the area’s thriving floriculture business is also having an impact on water levels and quality. The lake, on the other hand, is normally green and alive.
WALKING NAIROBI STREETS
If you’re looking for things to do in Kenya other than going on a safari, Nairobi, the country’s capital and largest city, has lots of options. Nairobi is known for its vibrant colonial past. It was originally the capital of British East Africa, attracting people looking to make a living in the coffee and tea industries. Today, you can visit the city’s well-known historic buildings as well as its superb animal attractions.
Do you want to visit some of Kenya’s cultural attractions? Nairobi has a number of interesting locations to visit. The Nairobi National Museum is a superb one-stop-shop for exhibitions on Kenya’s history, natural history, culture, and modern art. The botanic gardens on the property will also appeal to green thumbs.
The Karen Blixen Museum, the reconstructed home of the famous Danish author of the book Out of Africa, also known by her pen name Isak Dinesen, is another major tourist site.
Visit Nairobi National Park, which is now a black rhino sanctuary and also home to a variety of other African animals, to see wildlife without having to go far from the city center.
Where to Stay in Nairobi is a guide to the best places to stay in Nairobi.
Nairobi National Park
Why Nairobi National Park is like no other! | Our opinion
Who says you have to travel far from Nairobi to have a good time on a safari? Nairobi National Park is only a 15-minute drive from Kenya’s capital, where you can see a snoozing pride of lions or a gorgeous giraffe strolling across the golden grass.
If you’re staying in Nairobi, one of the top things to do is visit this wildlife-rich park, which makes for a delightful day trip – especially if you can’t make it to one of the larger game reserves.
Buffalo, leopard, zebras, wildebeest, hippos, elephants, and cheetah are among the classic safari stars, and the park’s rhino sanctuary houses some of the world’s most endangered species.
The Nairobi Safari Walk is a rewarding way to see wildlife on foot, and birders will be pleased to learn that the park is home to over 400 kinds of birds, including the stunning grey-crowned crane.
A trip to the park wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Nursery, which is located near the park’s main entrance. Save time to visit Giraffe Centre, which is located near the famous Giraffe Manor and where these long-necked beauties eat right from your hands.
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Nursery
A Must Visit In Nairobi Kenya: Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
Who can say no to a cute baby elephant? At the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, you may mix with impossibly gorgeous baby pachyderms while also knowing that you’re helping a vital conservation group.
This well-known animal refuge rescues and rehabilitates orphaned elephants, and you can get up and personal with these adorable creatures. The baby elephants are hand-reared here until they are about two or three years old, and you can see the keepers bottle-feed them.
Who can say no to a cute baby elephant? At the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, you may mix with impossibly gorgeous baby pachyderms while also knowing that you’re helping a vital conservation group.
This well-known animal refuge rescues and rehabilitates orphaned elephants, and you can get up up and personal with these adorable creatures. The baby elephants are hand-reared here until they are about two or three years old, and you can see the keepers bottle-feed them.
Malindi, on the Kenyan coast north of Mombasa, has two personalities. Part ancient old town, part modern tourist destination, this renowned seaside town has it all. It is also a melting pot of cultures and cuisines due to its long commercial history.
Many visitors travel from Europe to relax on Watamu Beach’s pristine sands and dive the coral reefs of the Malindi and Watamu Marine National Parks. If you’re looking for free things to do in Kenya, you can’t go wrong with a relaxing day on the beach in Malindi.
The historic town, which dates from the 12th century, also offers a taste of Swahili history. The Jami Mosque, two 14th-century pillar tombs, and the Church of St. Francis Xavier, one of East Africa’s oldest churches, may all be found here.
The Vasco De Gama Cross, which stands atop the promontory, is one of Africa’s oldest standing monuments.
The Falconry of Kenya, a rehabilitation center for sick and injured birds, is another popular tourist destination.
The Marafa Depression, some 30 kilometers northeast of Malindi, is also worth seeing. This collection of sandstone gorges sculpted by the wind and rain, also known as Hell’s Kitchen or Nyari, is like a little Grand Canyon.
Malindi Accommodation: Where to Stay
OMG! Best best place to visit in Mombasa ever!
Mombasa is a popular tourist destination for people from all over the world. It’s also the country’s second-largest city and harbor. Immigrants from the United Kingdom, Portugal, the Arab world, India, and Asia enrich the cultural mix, and their impact can be seen in the architecture and food.
Mombasa is an island with a causeway, bridges, and ferries connecting it to the mainland’s burgeoning development. Coral reefs stretch approximately 480 kilometers down the coast, providing excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities, particularly at Mombasa Marine National Park and around Wasini Island. In Mombasa, dolphin watching and deep-sea fishing are also popular activities.
Along the Kenyan coast, there are numerous tourist attractions. The 16th-century Fort Jesus and Old Town, with its tiny alleyways, historic Swahili houses, markets, and souvenir shops, will appeal to history aficionados.
Other Mombasa tourist attractions, such as Mombasa Go-Kart, movies, sports, and a plethora of eateries, are crammed into the city’s north coast. Beach enthusiasts will find some decent strands nearby, as this is a coastal hub. The white sands of Shelly, Tiwi, and Diani Beaches are popular south of Mombasa, while Nyali and Bamburi Beaches are popular north of the city.
Accommodation in Mombasa: Where to Stay
Mount Kenya National Park
Mount Kenya National Park, Kenya
Mount Kenya National Park, located in the Central Highlands east of the Great Rift Valley, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that offers the unusual sight of equatorial snow. At 5,199 meters, it includes the country’s namesake highest peak.
Mount Kenya is made up of three glacier-covered peaks that were formed by a series of volcanic eruptions. The highest peak is Batian, while the next highest peak, Nelion, is more difficult to reach. The lowest mountain, Lenana, is thought to be the easiest to climb, albeit the weather can be unpredictable.
Bring your camera with you. The breathtaking scenery includes glaciers, lakes, and mineral springs, as well as alpine woodland and dense bamboo pockets.
Safaris are made more enjoyable by the diversity of flora and fauna. You might see black and white colobus monkeys, buffalo, elephant, tree hyrax, leopard, and hyena among the fauna here.
Are you planning on staying here for a few days? The famous Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, nestled in the foothills, is a luxury hideaway featuring trout fishing, golf, and tennis.
Where to Stay When Visiting Mount Kenya National Park?
Hell’s Gate National Park
Hell’s Gate National Park Extravaganza!
Hell’s Gate National Park, a popular climbing destination, is one of Kenya’s few parks that allows camping and exploration by foot or bicycle.
With two extinct volcanoes, the red cliffs of Hell’s Gate Gorge, Obsidian Caves, and Fischer’s Tower, a former volcanic plug, Hell’s Gate provides excellent climbing and trekking options.
Hot springs and natural geysers hiss steam through vents in the earth’s crust are examples of geothermal features. Leopards, baboons, hartebeest, eland, ostriches, gazelles, and more than 100 kinds of birds are among the animals protected by the park. The park also contains breeding areas for eagles and vultures.
The park’s Oloor Karia Maasai Cultural Centre, which features Maasai singing, dance, and jewelry-making performances, is definitely worth a visit.
Olkaria Geothermal Station is located within Hell’s Gate National Park, which is interesting. It is Africa’s first of its type, generating electricity from heated, pressured water underground.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy
Kenya Safari | Arriving to Ol Pejeta Conservancy
Ol Pejeta Conservancy is located 200 kilometers north of Nairobi, near Mount Kenya National Park, and is a great spot to see wildlife up close.
This 90,000-acre private game reserve emphasizes conservation and sustainability, with the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and buffalo) as well as additional creatures like a cheetah, hyenas, zebra, and hartebeest – all set against the stunning background of snowcapped Mount Kenya.
The reserve is most known for its northern and southern white rhinos, as well as Baraka, a blind black rhino who may be fed by lucky visitors.
Self-drive or guided tours are available to see the animals, and admission includes a visit to the chimp sanctuary. Day visitors are welcome, and if you wish to extend your wilderness trip, there are accommodations ranging from bush camps and safari cottages to a magnificent colonial ranch house where you can stay overnight.