The trouble with Kenya is the sheer abundance of activities to pursue as a visitor. It’s mind-boggling — in a good way. Wildlife is attraction number 1, of course.
Also number 2, number 3, and so on. The Great Migration in Masai Mara is not to be missed, but if you do miss it, not to worry — the place is over-rich with fantastic animals all year round.
Whenever you visit, you will see lions, elephants, wildebeest, rhino, hippo, giraffe, birds of every shape, size, and color. And that’s just on the land. Once in the ocean, you will feast your eyes on coral reefs teeming with multi-color fish, then drag yourself to shore to warm on the clean white sand beaches.
Topographically, Kenya is nothing short of astonishing. Surrounded by calderas and mountain ranges, the Great Rift Valley divides the country. To the east of this sweeping valley are the snow-cloaked equatorial peaks of Mount Kenya, ready for climbing.
During your visit to Kenya, you will also experience the fascination of cultures and cuisines in Mombasa and Malindi, and explore tropical islands rich in Swahili history.
Hell’s Gate National Park features obsidian caves, natural geysers, and hot springs. Other not-to-be-missed natural attractions in Kenya include Amboseli National Reserve, home of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak; Tsavo National Park, Kenya’s largest park; Samburu, Buffalo Springs, and Shaba National Reserves; Lake Nakuru National Park; and Mount Kenya National Park.
Kenya’s breathtaking coastal offerings include the two ancient ports of Lamu Island and Mombassa, on the mainland. A UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Lamu Old Town is Kenya’s oldest continually inhabited settlement with origins dating back to the 12th century. Strolling the labyrinthine streets, visitors will see the island’s rich trading history reflected in the buildings.
Architectural features from the Arab world, Europe, and India are evident, yet with a discernible Swahili technique. Intricately carved wooden doors, coral stone buildings, hidden courtyards, verandas, and rooftop patios are common features. Visiting here is like stepping back in time.
Mombasa, Kenya’s second largest city and biggest port, is a multicultural tourist magnet. British, Portuguese, Arab, Indian, and Asian immigrants add to the rich cultural mix and their influence is evident in the architecture as well as the many different types of cuisine.
Mombasa is actually an island connected to its mushrooming development on the mainland by a causeway, bridges, and ferries. History buffs will enjoy exploring the 16th-century Fort Jesus and Old Town with its narrow streets, ancient Swahili dwellings, markets, and souvenir shops.
The north shore of Mombasa is crammed with attractions including Mombasa Go-Kart, cinemas, sports, and a cornucopia of restaurants.
This being a coastal hub, beach lovers will find some worthy strands nearby. North of the city, Nyali and Bamburi Beaches are favorites, while the white strands of Shelly, Tiwi, and Diani Beaches are popular spots south of Mombasa.
And Malindi is yet another exquisite Kenyan coastal town you will want to visit. A beach resort popular with European visitors, thanks to its rich trading history, it, too, is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines and also sports a split personality.
The part historic old town, apart from modern tourist hub, Malindi is where travelers come to sun on the white sands of Watamu Beach, dive the coral reefs of the Malindi and Watamu Marine National Parks, and soak up a dose of Swahili history in the historic town, dating from the 12th century.
Here tourists can visit the Jami Mosque, two pillar tombs from the 14th century, and the Church of St Francis Xavier, one of East Africa’s oldest churches. On the promontory, the Vasco da Gama Cross is one of the oldest standing monuments in Africa.
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