The incredible land of Kenya is all about spotting the Big Five at the country’s numerous national parks and wildlife reserves, meeting local people willing to share their traditions – from tea growing to tribal village ceremonies, and relaxing on idyllic beaches on the coast of the Indian Ocean. We’ve compiled a list of the best things to do on tours in Kenya below, to make sure you don’t miss a thing.
Meet the Maasai Mara
The iconic red-cloaked cattle herders of the Mara River invite visiting guests to their mud-dung hut communities and warrior jumping ceremonies, taking travellers back in time to semi-nomadic traditions that survive to this day.
Spot big cats, wildebeest and zebras at Maasai Mara National Reserve
Wild animals roam free between the Serengeti and Maasai, with day-by-day drama unfolding between wildebeests drinking at the waterhole and dipped head crocodiles, or cheetahs crouching beneath the grassy savannah – both waiting patiently for their moment to attack.
Get to know Mombasa
Feel the Swahili rhythm in Kenya’s leading tourist destination, blessed by white sandy shores straddled beside kaya forests and elephant watering holes. Architectural nuts can explore the heritage from former Portuguese trade rulers in the walls of Fort Jesus.
Flamingos at Lake Nakuru
A moving sea of pink registers the alkaline hangout for millions of flamingos, attracted by the algae and joined by an extended family of darting birdlife lining the shore. At sunset, nearby forests glisten with acacia tree silhouettes.
Be swept up in Nairobi
Upon arrival in the juggernaut hub of East Africa, continuously torn by commercial vitality, you will be plunged into a capital for all the senses. Visit the National Museum for the perfect historical introduction, and if you simply cannot wait for your Kenya tourism safari, check out the black rhinos at the city’s national park, where the highest density of the endangered animals reside, or feed the gentle giants at the Giraffe Hotel Manor.
Laze on Lamu Island
Spend days drifting between coconut tree hammocks and strolling the car-free alleyways to the sound of Muslim prayer calls on Lamu – the sleepy alternative to Mombasa and the ideal traveller respite.
Tea growing in Kisii
Ascend to the highlands of the third largest tea-growing country in the world after India and China. Superlative plantation views form the background behind workhorse leaf pluckers, many of whom are also artisans in soapstone carving – a popular souvenir from the region.
Lions, antelope and buffalo at Amboseli National Park
Low lying plains witness the daily chase of various antelope species and cape buffalos, hounded by lions and squawked at by over 400 species of birds, all in the eye of the mighty Mt. Kilimanjaro in neighbouring Tanzania.
Shop Kenyan fashion
Traditional clothing such as Kikoy wraps and kanga outfit are a must-have in your suitcase when you leave Kenya – nothing else but these colourful clothes will make quite the memorable souvenir.
Courtney Gahan is a serial expat, traveller and freelance writer who has bartered with Moroccan marketeers, seen the sun rise at Angkor Wat and elbowed her way through crowds on NYE in NYC