Last updated on June 29th, 2021; Published on June 5th, 2021
From bucket list safari experiences to relaxing sunny days on stunning beaches, Kenya has something to offer every traveller. If you’re planning to visit, here are some of the best things to do in Kenya.
PS: This is not an exhaustive list. There are just so many things to do and places to see. What you eventually settle with will depend on how much time you have to spend in the country.
If you’re looking for more inspiration about places to visit, check out the ‘Kenya‘ tag. For now, let’s explore 10 of the best things to do in Kenya.
1. See the Great Migration at Masai Mara
Perhaps the most bucket-list safari experience in Africa is witnessing the great migration of wildebeest through the Maasai Mara – Serengeti ecosystem. Every year, millions of wildebeests, thousands of zebras, gazelles and a few other animals head to the Masai River in an attempt to literally cross into greener pastures.
The crossing is anything but easy. Crocodiles lurk in the waters waiting to catch their next meals and predators await on the other side. The whole event is a wonder to behold and has been nicknamed the ‘World Cup of wildlife’.
The best time to visit Kenya to witness this event is between late June and October. There is no guarantee that you would actually see the river crossings but during these months, wildlife viewing is also excellent, so visiting then is a win-win scenario!
PS: Other bucket list-worthy places to see Kenya’s wildlife include; Amboseli, Tsavo, Samburu, Lake Nakuru and the Nairobi National Parks.
2. Explore Kenya’s Challenging Hiking Trails
Game drives are not the only activities to do in Kenya. Hiking is also very popular and Kenya has so many hiking trails for every type of hiker, from beginners to experts.
3. Visit the Coast
The Kenyan coastal cities boast of world class beaches with turquoise waters and white sands. When in Kenya, you should certainly allocate some days for beach time.
You can choose any destination from Mombasa up to Malindi. I have only been to Mombasa, Diani and Watamu and I thoroughly enjoyed my time in these cities. But if I had to pick a favourite, it would be Watamu. You can read all about my experience here.
4. See the Last Northern White Rhinos
Kenya is currently home to the last two surviving Northern White Rhinos on earth. At Ol Pejeta Conservancy, you can interact closely with these animals and learn all about the great work the Conservancy is doing to save this species from extinction.
Ol Pejeta also has the big 5 and it is the largest black rhino sanctuary in Kenya, making it an excellent destination for a game drive.
5. Go Camping or Glamping
Another unique activity you can opt for when visiting Kenya (especially if you’re visiting from Nigeria) is camping. Kenya has several excellent camping sites where you can pitch your tent and enjoy nature in all its glory. However, if you would rather enjoy a little more luxury, you can opt for the more glamourous camping option (aka glamping), like what Mark and I had at the Masai Mara.
6. Take a Boat Ride on Lake Naivasha
Only two hours away from Nairobi, Naivasha provides a chance to escape the busy city life for a more relaxing nature-filled outing. When in Naivasha, taking a sunrise or sunset boat ride along Lake Naivasha is something to look forward to and one of the best things to do in Kenya.
Lake Naivasha also offers spectacular birding opportunities and the chance to spot hippos in the lake.
Disclaimer: Hippos are extremely dangerous and territorial animals. It is very important to travel with a boat operator who is well versed with the waters. Most accommodations in Naivasha can arrange this on your behalf.
7. Kiss a Giraffe at the Giraffe Centre
One of the most popular activities and best things to do in Kenya is interacting with giraffes at the Giraffe Centre in Nairobi.
As I mentioned in this article from my visit, a stop here can be diminished by the sheer amount of tourists who visit. To avoid this, try to visit at off-peak times to get the best value for your time and money.
8. Cycle at Hell’s Gate National Park
Hell’s Gate National Park is one of the very few parks in Kenya where you can go cycling. This is a very unique way to explore some of Kenya’s fascinating wildlife. Most other parks require you to be inside a vehicle at all times, except at a few designated picnic areas or vista points.
But because Hell’s Gate National Park is practically devoid of predators, visitors can cycle within the park, taking in the views of the panoramic gorges and cliffs and be close to resident wildlife, such as zebras, gazelles, warthogs and giraffes.
Bicycles are available for rent at the Elsa Gate. You can also explore the park in a vehicle but cycling is more enjoyable and the best time to do it is early morning or late evening. This way, you’ll avoid the heat and dust raised by cars as they speed past you.
9. Visit Lamu Island
Being Kenya’s oldest continually inhabited town and one of the best-preserved Swahili settlements in East Africa, Lamu Island is a destination worth visiting. Compared to other coastal cities, it is quite remote and not as accessible, resulting in lower tourist activities. However, many people who visit Kenya and go to Lamu often say it was the highlight of their trip.
Visiting Lamu Old Town and Shela does feel a bit like travelling through a different time. The town is characterized by donkeys and dhows, although these days, you’ll also find several motorcycles shuttling passengers from Shela to the old town and back.
10. Travel on the SGR
The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) makes travelling from Nairobi to Mombasa very convenient. The journey, which takes about 5 hours takes you through the Kenyan countryside. On a good day, you may spot Mount Kilimanjaro from neighbouring Tanzania and several herds of elephants and other animals as you pass through Tsavo.
The SGR is a great way to travel across the country. Apart from the Express Train, there is also an inter-county train that makes stops at several stations before getting to Mombasa.
There you have it, 10 epic adventures to add to your Kenyan travel wishlist. Tell me, which ones have you ticked off or which do you look forward to experiencing?