Kenya – A Wonder to Wildnerness
Kenya is home to unparalleled experiences and breathtaking adventures. Its specialness lies in its diversity as it hosts everything from national parks to white sand beaches and towering hills. It has the ability to make anybody feel instantly at home and that unique quality is reflected off from some of the friendliest people in the world. I’m not sure whether it is the fact that you’ll be casually addressed as ‘sister’ or ‘brother’ on your morning walk, or that you’ll be pulled into a hug with invitations of home-cooked meals from anybody you speak to, Kenya has a way of crawling into your heart that will make you want to stay forever. That being said, the choices can sometimes get overwhelming and that’s why we have curated a list for you to make planning more fun! These suggestions come from my own experiences and those of my friends from the time Kenya became one of our favorite countries.
You will land in Nairobi to begin your journey to the rest of Kenya. Nairobi being the capital is an interesting spot to explore through a lot of what goes on in the lives of many Kenyans.
Amboseli National Park
One of the first national parks I visited after my move to Kenya was the Amboseli National Park. It is located only a 4 hour drive away from Nairobi city, making it very accessible for day trips as well as overnight stays. I would definitely recommend you stay the night at one of the many safari resorts on the park because waking up to that expansive silence, going on night safaris, and watching a family of African elephants walk by as you eat your breakfast are experiences that need to be had.
The Amboseli National Park is special not only because of the diversity of animals you get to see at safari but because of its extraordinary location. On most days (pray that it isn’t cloudy), you can see the snow peaked Mount Kilimanjaro looking over the savannah while the animals make their way across the lands. Whether you’re up for an adventure and want to join a biking group, or opt for one of the many safari vehicles offered by the different lodges, you are guaranteed to have a good time! Amboseli is a place that reminds you that nature is effortlessly elegant and simple.
The only tropical rainforest of Kenya, Kakamega is an oasis of variety among the otherwise expansive dry lands of the country. It is unique with over 300 species of birds, primates, butterflies and plants. Kakamega is home to orchids and other flowers that are otherwise rare around the country and it is a great place to understand the sheer diversity of Kenya as a whole. If you’ve already been to two or more safaris and are looking for a change in scenery, adventure and experience, Kakamega should definitely be on your list!
It is situated near Kisumu city which is a 6 hour drive from Nairobi. You can also reach there by flight but it is recommended that you drive there to take in the incredible views of the scenery around you and pass by small towns to truly witness local Kenyan life. The rainforest is open all days of the year and has accommodation both in lodges or tents — take your pick! Once you arrive you can indulge in walking tours and witness local culture through evening dance and music. Just make sure you’re taking clothes that can withstand humidity and shoes that can carry you through dry land as well as streams. There is definitely a lot of walking to be done on this one!
The Lake Nakuru game reserve is famous for being the home of pink flamingoes. It is ethereal as the skies are reflected on the still waters of the lake with the streaks of pink spread throughout the waters. The reserve also contains leopards, buffaloes and hippopotamuses so if you’re interested in seeing any of these wild beasts, you should put Nakuru on your list of places to visit! Again, there are many great lodges in Nakuru that offer comfortable stays with amazing views of the lake. They also usually offer safari tours for their guests which is highly recommended because the guides always know where to find what you’re looking for!
My high school did small trips to Mount Kenya every year and everybody I spoke to always had great things to say about the week-long adventure.They hiked for hours during the day, stayed in tents at night and got closer and closer to summiting the peak each day. From what most of them tell me, it was a hard but incredible experience! Mount Kenya is the second tallest mountain on the African continent and has everything from wildlife, lakes, forests and glaciers. Depending on your level of fitness and the experience you want, you can either do day hikes, explore caves, go for game drives or sign up for a longer mountain climbing and camping adventure.
Kenya is hugged by the Indian Ocean, and the coastal cities are nothing short of picturesque, colorful and lively. One such city is the island of Lamu that is just off the northeastern coast of Kenya. It is the country’s oldest living town and is a perfect blend between history and modern comforts. The island hosts a small museum and a fort that are the main two attractions of the city but people usually go there to relax and explore the pristine white sand beaches.
Lamu has beautiful local markets, a variety of food options, beaches, and watersports including scuba diving to explore the coral reefs. You can also find boats to take you to Kiwayu Island which is a part of the Kiunga Marine National Park and home to different types of fish, turtles, dolphins and even dugongs. If you’re anything like me (a self-declared water baby), you are going to love everything that Lamu offers!
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