One of the advantages of this pandemic has been an increase in domestic vacations. The strict borders between countries and across the world are driving citizens to explore their countries and realize hidden gems. Home to over 44 tribes, Kenya is simply breathtaking. Every corner of the country is rich in culture, thus the name Magical Kenya. If you are looking for an amazing travel experience, look no further than Kenya. From swimming with dolphins in a marine park along the Kenyan Coast to taking a hot air balloon flight over the African Savannah, the possibilities are endless. Here are 10 wanderlust travel destinations in Kenya to visit;
Lamu Island: amazing travel destination in Kenya
To begin with, this is an island in the north of the Kenyan Coast right on the border of Kenya and Somalia. The UN inscribed Lamu old Town as a UNESCO World Heritage since it has retained most of its traditional functions. Secondly, the buildings in Lamu are made from coral stone and mangrove timber enriched by carved wooden doors and inner courtyards and verandas. The town which has been around since the 12th Century has narrow streets and only 2 cars. Moreover, the town which served as the main port at one point has retained most of its cultural and social integrity over 700 years. Shela village found 3.2km from Lamu has amazing white sand beaches and a variety of accommodation options.
Mombasa Island: exciting travel destination in Kenya
Mombasa is the second capital city of Kenya, after Nairobi and one of the many travel destinations in Kenya. To begin with, the town is the oldest city in Kenya is connected to the mainland by bridges and ferries. You could sail the ocean via traditional dhows via the harbour overlooking the town. Old town Mombasa located on the south-east part of the island is a breathtaking place rich in culture and history. You can expect to see the first hotel in Kenya, Africa Hotel, which was built in 1901. Additionally, there are other historical structures such as the first post office and the old port. The famous Fort Jesus is also located close to the Old town and it served to protect the port of Mombasa as well as a safe haven for the Portuguese. Here are 6 affordable things to do in Mombasa.
Maasai Mara National Reserve: adventurous travel destination in Kenya
This is considered one of Africa’s greatest wildlife reserve. Maasai Mara National Reserve is home to lions, cheetahs, elephants, rhinos, hippos and crocodiles just to mention a few. You could opt to take a balloon flight over the Savannah, provided by Hot Air Africa Eco Adventures. The company has a fleet of 8 balloons with a capacity ranging from 4 to 16 people. Additionally, if you visit the reserve from July through October, you could witness The Great Wildebeest Migration. In fact, the migration of over two million animals from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the greener pastures of the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. In summary, one of the highlights is seeing the wildebeests trying to cross the Mara River which is infested with crocodiles.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy: breathtaking travel destination in Kenya
Ol Pejeta Conservancy is located in Nanyuki, at the foothills of Mt. Kenya and the Aberdares. To begin, it is the only park where the big five and the chimpanzee can be seen and thus is among the most sought after travel destinations in Kenya. Additionally, the park which covers an area of 364 sq km has 10,000 animals and is considered to have an unmatched game to area ratio. Activities include visiting the Endangered Species Boma where you the last two Northern White Rhinos in the world live. You could also meet and have a chance to feed Baraka, the blind black rhino found on the grounds. Moreover, you could also pass by the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary which is the only place in Kenya where non-indigenous Chimpanzee can be seen. Or participate in tracking the lion population at the Conservancy, which is a great way to support the conservation project.
Rusinga Island: Hidden travel destination in Kenya
Rusinga Island is located in western Kenya and surrounded by the waters of Lake Victoria. Since it is around 450km from Nairobi, it is not a popular tourist attraction but the area is among the hidden travel destinations in Kenya. The island is found in the eastern part of Lake Victoria at the mouth of Winam Gulf and can be accessed by both road and boat via the Mbita causeway. The surrounding area is generally rural and is a great hideaway from the busy city life of Kisumu, Kenya’s third capital. Several island and lodges offer accommodation from around Ksh 5,000 and upon request, boat rides and fishing is available for guests. Visit Ruma National Park, also found on the island to discover new wildlife and enjoy peace. Additionally, you could take part in bird watching or enjoy the white sand beaches dotting the island.
Lake Nakuru is found within Lake Nakuru National Park and is home to flamingos. The lake is located south of Nakuru and approximately 3hr drive from Nairobi. Flamingos are found in the shores of Lake Nakuru during the rainy months, November to May. In peak season, the flamingo population can rise up to 1.5million birds. During the dryer months, the birds migrate to Lake Bogoria, where they can be found all year round.
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
David Sheldrick Wildlfe Trust is located within Nairobi city and its Orphans’ Project is the first successful elephant orphan and rehabilitation in the world. The orphanage protects endangered species- among them black and white rhinos and African elephants. Most importantly, the area is open to the public from 11 am to 12noon for elephant mud bathing and feeding. Additionally, there are animal adoption services available.
If you are adventurous and fit, Mt. Kenya is Kenya’s highest peak and the second tallest in Africa. One of the most amazing travel destinations in Kenya. The mountain is located 200 kilometres northeast of Nairobi in Nyeri Town, 5199m above sea level. The lesser peak, Point Lenana is 4985m takes between 3 to 5 days to reach and enjoy the panoramic views of volcanic peaks, the gorgeous flora and fauna, and the wide valleys and surrounding savannah. The trip up takes you through a mountainous forest jungle with wildlife and unique montane vegetation such as pod carpus and groundsel. Likewise, you can expect to see one of the world’s rarest sights, equatorial snow. Certainly, you will need a guide to help you manoeuvre your way to the top.
This is a stratovolcanic mountain located in Naivasha which is approximately 2 hrs from Nairobi, 2700m above sea level. The dormant mountain last erupted in 1863. The hike to the top can be covered in around 5 hours and thus it is a less strenuous hike compared to a Mt. Kenya hike. The mountain also has lava canyons on its steep slopes and a circular caldera over a kilometer in diameter. There are a number of viewpoints on the way to the top of the mountain which are popular stopovers for hikers due to the immaculate views. Although there is some wildlife within the park, spotting them is not guaranteed.
Located southwest of Nairobi, Ngong Hills are 7 peaks in a ridge along the Great Rift Valley. The hills stand at 2760 metres compared to Nairobi’s 1795 metres above sea level. It takes approximately an hour from Nairobi City Centre and the area is accessible via Ngong Hills Forest entrance and entry fees range from 200 for citizens and residents and 600 for non-residents. You may encounter a herd of buffalos so it is smart to hire a guard. Armed guards are available to escort hikers on the trail from Ksh. 1500 to Ksh. 3,000. Furthermore, there is an organization offering restaurant services alongside Ziplining, Archery and Biking at the beginning of the ascend.
Bonus!: Swim with Dolphins in Wasini Island
The second smartest animal in the world is the dolphins. Kenya has an active and growing dolphin-watching industry which debuted in the 1990s. Indo-pacific bottlenose dolphins and humpback dolphins are both resident year-round. Spinner dolphins are seasonally present in some locations and humpback whales migrate along Kenya’s coast between August and October every year. Kisite-Mpunguti Marine National Park in Wasini Island along the Kenyan south coast is where you can snorkel and swim around with dolphins.