Need help?
Ask on WhatsApp

Kenya Travel Guide

Close encounters of the wild kind
There’s no telling what you might encounter in Kenya: golden-maned lions lounging in the sun, a huge family of hippos wallowing contentedly in a lake, a mother elephant giving its baby a mud bath, zebras drinking by the waterside, or submerged crocodiles waiting and strategizing their next kill; that’s what makes even a day out in the bush so special.

 Kenya tour packages offer much delight for the wide-eyed traveller, the adventure seeker, the animal lover.  Dramatic landscapes of volcanoes, forests and waterfalls; grassy plains crowded with wildlife ambling to their own rhythm; ethnic communities with a spirit of passion and pride like none other, and resonating through the savannahs and cities, stories of survival, tradition, heritage, and immense respect for the natural world.

Read more
There’s no telling what you might encounter in Kenya: golden-maned lions lounging in the sun, a huge family of hippos wallowing contentedly in a lake, a mother elephant giving its baby a mud bath, zebras drinking by the waterside, or submerged crocodiles waiting and strategizing their next kill; that’s what makes even a day out in the bush so special.

 Kenya tour packages offer much delight for the wide-eyed traveller, the adventure seeker, the animal lover.  Dramatic landscapes of volcanoes, forests and waterfalls; grassy plains crowded with wildlife ambling to their own rhythm; ethnic communities with a spirit of passion and pride like none other, and resonating through the savannahs and cities, stories of survival, tradition, heritage, and immense respect for the natural world.

Location

Kenya sits snugly nestled against the coastline in the East of Africa. It shares borders with Somalia, Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania. The vast terrain of the country comprises of four main regions: the northern deserts, southern savannah lands, the western highlands and the fertile plains along the coast. Flights from India to Kenya take only 6 hours on average.

When to go

While wildlife viewing is good all through the year,  the best time to visit Kenya, as a solo traveller or via a Kenya group travel package, is between late June and October. This is when the wildebeest migration reaches the Masai Mara, and remains until early October when they move back to the Serengeti in Tanzania. The end of the year is also a great time to go; the rains refresh the lands, thousands of baby animals are born, and migratory bird species are present.

Where to go

From feeding a baby rhino from a bottle to spending an afternoon lazing by the poolside, the experiences you can have in Kenya are varied and wonderful.  Get to the heart of the country’s wildlife conservation efforts - of which Kenyans are fiercely proud and rightly so - at Masai Mara, Buffalo Springs, or Amboseli National Park. If you’re a foodie, do save an evening and an empty belly for Nairobi, where the streets are teeming with hole-in-the-wall eateries serving ridiculously tasty local food.  Your best bet on choosing where to go is to have a list of the best places to visit in Kenya, but to also listen to and let locals to steer you towards lesser explored places that make your experience a delight.
Read less

At a glance

Weather

Kenya’s weather remains hot all year round due to its proximity to the Equator. However, dry monsoon winds hit the country between November and April, followed by moist winds from May to October.

Currency

Kenyan Shilling
Kenya uses the Kenyan Shilling as its currency. The Kenyan shilling to INR conversion, at the time of posting, is 1 KES = 0.67 INR.

Language

Swahili
The most widely-spoken Kenyan language is Swahili. However, thanks to the numbers of travellers who visit the country, many locals speak English and a handful of other languages too.

Expert travel advice

Travel tips and insider advice that have made the most difference to us, sourced from our
community of like-minded travellers and global experts.

Watch the Great Migration in the Masai Mara   

Recommended by Not Without My Passport

 “A mass of grazing wildebeest, zebras and gazelles—the lucky survivors of the climactic river crossing—spread out far into the horizon until they were mere specks against the distant, rolling plains of green. We had driven right into a scene of the BBC’s Planet Earth, an open terrain ruled by a kingdom of African lions, cheetahs and leopards.”

Helen Suk is a travel writer and photographer who documents her journeys on her blog, Not Without My Passport, and encourages readers to seek new experiences and see the world in a different way. Not Without My Passport has been published in various publications and sites including AFAR, and by other bloggers such as Adventurous Kate, and Nomadic Matt.

Follow elephants around at Amboseli National Park   

Recommended by The Sane Traveller

 “There are over 1000 elephants in the Park, including 58 families and close to 300 independent adult males. Each individual has been named, numbered, or coded and can be recognized individually. This degree of recognition makes the Amboseli elephants the best-known free-ranging population in the world. It's a fantastic feeling to watch them moving calmly and majestically around the place.”

: Anita Sane aims to give readers confidence in their ability to travel solo and independently. Every post is filled with practical information and photos for ideas for readers’ future travels.

Hit the Beach at Diani   

Recommended by Big World Small Pockets

 “Diani Beach really is Indian Ocean paradise, with white sand continually lapped by azures tides and palm trees that perfectly frame the picture. This is where you come to unwind in Kenya, to relax, indulge and enjoy little more than the stellar views, ocean swims and hammock swings...With coastline to die for, hitting the beach at Diani is definitely one of the best things to do in Kenya.”

Big World Small Pockets, created by Stephanie Parker, is one of the leading resources online for budget travellers. The popular site has been featured on The Lonely Planet, National Geographic, The Huffington Post, Thought Catalog, and is a nominee for the British Travel Awards 2019.

Camp in the African bush   

Recommended by NOMADasaurus

“...camping in a national park in Kenya is certainly full of surprises and a true adventure...While me and my friend were laying in the tent, we heard lions and hyenas roar outside in the night, just a few meters away from us. One time in the afternoon, when we had a rest from our game drive, we even got surprised by a confused hippo – Africa’s most dangerous animal – in our camp!”

Australia’s biggest adventure travel blog run award-winning travel writers and photographers Alesha Bradford and Jarryd Salem. They specialise in adventure travel, sustainable tourism, detailed travel guides, off the beaten path destinations, photography and creating a lifestyle around travel. They’ve been featured on Buzzfeed, BBC Travel, the Daily Mail, and other publications.

Stay in Giraffe Manor   

Recommended by The Blonde Abroad

"There are around twenty Rothschild giraffes that wander around the space between the Giraffe Manor and the Nairobi Giraffe Centre. These guys are incredibly friendly and are very, very used to interacting with people. The giraffes will eat right from your hand, and they definitely expect you to feed them! They have so much personality that the staff actually knows each and every giraffe by sight and name and can even tell you about their personalities and ancestors.”

Kiersten Rich created The Blonde Abroad to help women find the confidence to travel the world. She shares resources on everything from solo travel to packing guides to photography tips on her site. The Blonde Abroad is a Forbes Ranked "Top 10 Travel Influencer", and has been featured in The New York Times, Travel & Leisure, Marie Claire, Business Insider, AFAR, Times Now & more.

Incredible places to visit in Kenya

Masai Mara

The Masai Mara is a massive game reserve in Narok County, and is one of Kenya’s biggest attractions. It is perhaps one of the few regions left in Africa where you’ll find wildlife in exceptional abundance, with hundreds of thousands of zebras, plenty of lions, leopards, cheetahs and of course, hordes of wildebeests grazing and galloping in herds. Amongst the rolling hills, you’ll see little villages  populated by the Masai people. 

Masai Mara by Hot Air Balloon

If there’s anything better than driving through the grassland, it’s soaring over it.  Climb into the basket and drift upwards over the Mara just as the sun rises. From this unique vantage, you'll be able to spot gazelles galloping across the grasslands, herds of elephants and zebras going about their morning routine. It's truly spectacular. Kenyan honeymoon packages are incomplete without this experience, which is usually topped off with a champagne picnic.

Visit the Masai village

The Masai Mara derives its name from the Masai people who’ve called Kenya and parts of Tanzania their home since time immemorial. They’re known worldwide for their distinctive customs, way of dressing and their association with the sustainable efforts in the country. Pay a visit to a Masai village to see all this in action and revel with the residents in song and dance against the brown walls of their Bomas (homesteads).

Camp in the African bush

To view Africa’s finest game from the front line, choose to stay a night at an eco-friendly bush camp. A stay in the African bush is thrilling, exhilarating and an experience like no other, not least because you’re looking over your shoulder every so often to avoid any (too) close encounters of the wild kind. When camping, you have an unrivalled opportunity for unscripted safari moments; a curious elephant wandering into the camping area; bumping into a hippo on the way to the loo during the night; the sounds of hyenas laughing as they steal your sneakers; and a night sky so clear and vast that you spot shooting stars every few seconds.

Go on a game drive

What is a trip to Kenya without going on safari? Sitting in an open 4X4 land rover,  you’ll be able to easily spot wildlife as you drive out through the plains. If you’re lucky, you might also spot some action- with glimpses of lions, cheetahs and other predators prowling in their hunting grounds. Every game drive is a unique experience, taking you into the thick of the action.

See the great wildebeest migration

No wildlife event on the planet rivals the Great Migration for sheer drama. Seeing a million wildebeest thundering across the savannah, kicking up storms of dust, is a sight that will stay with you forever. Follow them on their journey of drama and danger, encountering and falling victim to Serengeti lions, monster crocs who drag wildebeest underwater as they cross rivers, and other predators of the wild, on the way.

Lake Nakuru National Park

Lake Nakuru National Park sits at the base of the Great Rift Valley, and is one of Kenya’s finest game reserves.  The park is home to numerous lions, leopards, white rhinos, even the last of the endangered Rothschild’s giraffes. Until a few years ago,  thousands of bright pink flamingos would crowd the lake, startling travellers with their colour and chaos. Rising water levels have brought down their numbers, but the rest of the park more than makes up for it.

The Out of Africa lookout point

A great place to kick off this leg of your Kenya tour is the ‘Out of Africa’ lookout point. Poised on one of the highest vantage points, the lookout showcases knock-out panoramas of the park, complete with its acacia trees and wild animals. The incline to the top is much steeper than the nearby Baboon Cliff - which also means its less frequented. It’s well worth the climb if you’re looking to take in all the sights at once or if you’re a keen photographer.

Menengai Crater

On the northern expanse of the national park is the imposing Menengai Crater, a 485m-high volcanic caldera that’s one of the biggest of its kind in the world. It was formed more than a million years ago and its last eruption was as far back as 350 years ago. Drive away from Nakuru to stand on the very rim of the crater, looking into the lush bed of vegetation inside, or to the massive expanse of barren land around it.  A number of strange things are said to happen in the crater - people disappearing, others losing their way only to be found as though in a trance, a ‘flying umbrella’ that appears when it rains - so keep a keen eye out.

See black, and white rhinos

The black rhinoceros is a native of eastern and southern states in Africa, including Kenya. The majestic animal is on the WWF Critically Endangered Species list, leading conservationists to show some tough love in protecting the species from extinction. Lake Nakuru is one such effort- it’s home to the first-ever black rhino sanctuary. White rhinos are also on the ‘near threatened’ list but thrive in heavily- protected sanctuaries in the country. Head to the boundaries of these sanctuaries to watch the horned beasts from afar.

Baboon Cliff

The literal lower-level counterpart of the Out of Africa lookout, Baboon Cliff is also a popular viewpoint with impressive views of Lake Nakuru and beyond; mind the baboons, though, because they’re adept at raiding people and cars for food. It is best to pay a visit to the cliff in the early morning to take in the sky’s colour palette without the crowds jostling you around.

Nairobi

As East Africa’s most cosmopolitan city, Nairobi dazzles with pretty boutique hotels, Maasai markets lining the streets, exciting nightlife and excellent food (go straight for the nyama choma (roast mutton or beef) served with local salsa aka kachumbari. There’s plenty to discover within the city limits yourself; you could visit Karura Forest or the Nairobi National Park for instance, take part in a bead workshop guided by local craftswomen, take in the vibrance of the city streets with the local brew, Tusker in hand, and mingle with a lively local crowd in the evening.

Nairobi National Park

Set up in 1946, the Nairobi National Park was Kenya’s first-ever national park. It sits on the border of the capital city, separated from the metropolis by a massive electric fencing system but little else. A safari in this park promises to be an unusual experience because you can watch wild animals in all their glory against the familiar background of skyscrapers. Lions, hyenas, giraffes, ostriches and black rhinos are residents in this park along with around 400 bird species’ that flock to the park’s wetland areas.

Hand-feed giraffes at the Giraffe Centre

There’s something adorable about tall, lanky giraffes. If you agree, then definitely head to the Nairobi Giraffe Centre in Nairobi. Here, travellers from all around the world have a once-in-a- lifetime chance to come eye-to-eye, pet and feed highly endangered Rothschild Giraffes (beware! We have it on good authority that giraffes slobber). The Centre uses proceeds to help breed and resettle giraffes, of which there are less than 750 estimated left, and to educate Kenyan youth about the importance of conservation.

Carnivore restaurant

Carnivore is a restaurant in Nairobi that’s not for the faint-hearted or the weak of stomach. Referred to as a ‘Beast of a Feast’, the all-you-can-eat buffet that draws visitors from all over the globe serves a variety of meat and meat dishes, side dishes and a plethora of sauces with Kenyan coffee on the side.

Ngong Nature Reserve

Ngong Hills, a set of peaks on a Great Rift Valley ridge, earned the title of ‘the world’s most romantic film location’ in 2014, after featuring in the Oscar-winning film ‘Out of Africa.’ It’s an ideal place for hiking (takes about 4-5 hours), family  picnics, or camping.

Masai Market

At this open-air market, you’ll find stalls selling curios, paintings and other quintessentially Kenyan artefacts to take home as a present. The market rotates between locations within the city, so do ask a local to point out in the right direction to catch the market on the right day.

Amboseli National Park

With the continent’s highest peak Mount Kilimanjaro looming on the horizon, Amboseli National Park is a must-visit addition to any Kenya holiday itinerary. It’s one of the best places in Africa to see herds of elephants go about their day right before your eyes. For geography and nature enthusiasts, Amboseli is a gem because it has five distinct habitats, from Lake Amboseli’s waterbed (where you can see herds of impala and waterbuck drinking) to wetlands fed by sulphur springs (where you can see large pythons hanging from the trees that can swallow animals whole).

The Elephant Research Camp

Popularised among conservationists and animal activists by the works of Dr Cynthia Moss, the Amboseli Elephant Research Project aims to observe and document Africa’s elephants, their social behavior, age structure and population dynamics. The research camp is not open to casual visitors. However, it is possible to make a prior appointment for a one-hour lecture at the Camp. This arrangement may be expensive but that will never detract from the rarity of the insights you’ll hear about these dignified animals.

Head to the top of Observation Hill

Also called the Normatior, the Observation Hill is well sought-out by travellers because it’s the only spot in the entire park where people can walk around freely. If you’re still getting the hang of how vast the area is, then make a trip to the summit to orient yourself to the Longinye Swamp and grasslands surrounding you.

Go bird watching

Amboseli is home to more than 420 species of birds. Water birds, in particular, flock to the Longinye Swamp for food and foraging. It’s not unusual for bird-spotters to see more than 100 species in a day, so strap on your binoculars and keep your telephoto lens ready to get some stunning views of birds in flight.

Game-viewing around Enkongo Narok

The Enkongo Narok Swamp in Amboseli is the final destination of herds of animals on their daily march. The swamp is actually clear potable water from the rainy slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro that bubble through the earth as springs. The watering hole is a must-visit stop  while travelling in Kenya, not least because of the hundreds of elephants that flock to it every day.

Ol Donyo Orok mountain

Sculpted by centuries of water erosion and winds, Ol Donyo Orok towers over the surrounding semi-arid land at 2,548m above sea level. The gazetted forest is also largely unspoiled, making it a lush natural wonderland. The moderately difficult hiking trails make this one for the adventurers, while guaranteed wildlife and bird sightings are a definitive draw for animal-lovers.

Diani Beach

This resort town, 30 kilometers away from Mombasa, is flanked by lush forest on one side and a coastline buzzing with energy on the other.  Attracting surfers and newly-weds alike, it is as popular for adventure tours as it is for honeymoon package tours in Kenya. If the coastline doesn’t hold much charm for you, then head inland- the hallowed forests and rose-tinted mosques are guaranteed to delight you.

Shimba Hills National Game Park

Right in the middle of a lush equatorial forest sits the Shimba Hills National Game Park. Home to wonderous vistas and often shrouded in mist and clouds, the game park is an ethereal natural space with over 1,100 plant species and a diversity of wildlife.  Game drives and nature walks may allow you to catch a glimpse of the elusive sable and roan antelope. The surrounding hills are a natural ecosystem built over millennia and fostered by local villages.

Colobus Conservation

Dedicated to the protection and preservation of Angolan colobus and other primates, the Colobus Conservation in Diani was formed in 1997 after a public outcry. A visit to the organisation is in order if learning more about Kenya’s eco-friendly and conservation efforts are a part of your Kenya travel plans. Book an hour-long guided eco-tour to be introduced to several wild monkeys, or sign up as a volunteer if you decide to stay on for longer.

Wasini Island

Wasini Island, located a few kilometres off the Indian Ocean coast, is a jewel in the necklace of islands. It’s only 5 kilometres long, but boasts a stunning snorkelling reefs and soft white sand beaches.  If a quiet island getaway by the beach and in the water has been on the travel cards, then you’ve found your destination.

Kaya Kinondo Sacred Forest

The Kaya Kinondo is a sacred forest which was once inhabited by the Digo people.  Thanks to successful conservation efforts, they moved out to surrounding areas, while the forest was preserved as a place of worship.  You can visit the forest via exclusive ecotours led by locals who act as guides and forest guards. Wearing a ‘kaniki’ (a black wrap) to pay your respects to the spirits of the ancestors that reside inside, you will be led through the forest, your gaze drawn to colourful butterflies, while your guide regales you with stories about the Digo, their spiritual world, and medicinal properties of trees and leaves. There’s also a chance for you to hug a 300 hundred year old tree, which will absolve all your transgressions.

Top things to do & experience in Kenya

Nobody wants to be a tourist. Here are curated experiences in art, music, food, culture and communities
to help you have an authentic and memorable trip.

Byond Postpaid

Travel now.
Pay us later.

Starting at 16,000 per month

Recommended tours

See all our departures to Kenya. Choose from a wide variety of travel styles, hundreds of departure dates and budget choices.

Word to the wise

More country guides

Become a Byond Insider

Be the very first to hear about new trips and special discounts (get up to 15% off on regular prices!). Get exclusive tools and expert advice to keep you inspired and help you travel better.It's completely free!

  
  

Our website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience, showing content and offers that are most relevant to you. To learn more about this or to change your settings, see our cookies policy