Kenya is a magical land that has so much in store for a traveler! I recently returned back from this East African country after spending a month there, and I’m still drooling over the fact that it has blessed me with such wonderful experiences.
While Kenya has always been extremely popular due to the Maasai Mara National Reserve, also known to be ‘The Safari Mecca of the World’ – the country has a lot more to be explored. I was on a volunteering trip to Kenya serving at a Children’s Home, but I did find time to head out and tick off certain things from my travel bucket list.
If you’re also planning to travel to Kenya, then here are 13 of my favorite places that you shouldn’t miss out on!
1) MAMBA VILLAGE
If you’re a daredevil then go and see one of the world’s most fierce predators at the Mamba Village, East Africa’s largest crocodile farm. Your typical day at Mamba will begin with an informative video introducing crocodiles and all about their life cycle and the importance of the ecological role they play. Over here, you can observe crocodile hatchlings as well as the behemoth adults, including the 100-year-old Big Daddy.
The highlight of your day will occur in the afternoon when it is feeding time and the crocodiles will duke it out for meat. The village also offers camel and horse rides, tours through the botanical gardens, and restaurants serving grilled crocodile meat among other game meats.
2) THE ARK, ABERDARES
The Ark was actually crafted to resemble Noah’s Ark and it is located right in the heart of the Aberdare National Park. It is a magical place and will likely to become your reprieve after you spend your weekdays volunteering in an orphanage in Kenya because it is in and amongst the wildest of the surroundings. If you are fond of the wild and of outdoor adventures then you will definitely feel at home here.
At The Ark you can engage in wildlife gazing, safari driving, bird watching, guided nature or bush walks, fishing and visiting the Moorlands. This place is that corner that speaks of an unexplored Africa. You will be able to pat animals on their backs, listen to their sounds, and inhale the aroma of a silent night.
3) NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK
While everyone talks about Maasai Mara (and you definitely gotta’ go there for a game drive), I would say that one definitely needs to explore Nairobi National Park as well. With a diverse and wide range of animals thriving inside this park – its uniqueness lies in the fact that it’s the only national park in the world that comes within the radius of a capital city! You’ll get to spot the Big 4 here as well!
4) BANANA FARMHOUSE, KIAMBU
The Banana Farmhouse in Kiambu is an excellent getaway to escape Nairobi for a while. With its lush green lawns shaded by the spreading Acacias and Jacaranda and a gigantic garden, it very easily looks like your weekend in an oasis. The wide range of activities you can try in the Banana Farmhouse includes swimming, walking trails, golfing, leisure viewing of the Ngong hills, and finally, pure and blissful relaxing!
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5) RAPIDS CAMP SAGANA
Come to Rapid Camp Sagana for some fun because river rafting, team building, lots of water sports, sunny picnics, and camping are the main activities you can participate in here. This place can be easily accessed via the Thika Super Highway and it is just ideal for outdoor activities. The interior and the campsite will truly surprise and bind your interest. This place has some of the most breathtaking surroundings. Its grounds are very well maintained, its waterfalls are exhilarating, and it’s just perfectly fantastic to have a lot of fun!
6) GIRAFFE MANOR
Giraffe Manor is famous in the Instagram world, and for good reason! The property is modeled over a Scottish hunting lodge in Langata and is a brick-and-ivy-clad manor house. It is in a leafy and extremely convenient suburb of Nairobi which is close to the international airport and the bustling center of the city. This Manor has grand and oversized fireplaces, landscaped gardens, and huge oil paintings. It features twelve bedrooms including 2 superior suites, 8 superior rooms, and 2 standard rooms. It also has four-poster beds amidst a sumptuous décor, which is found either in the annexed Garden Manor or in the Main Manor.
7) ACACIA CAMP
The Acacia Camp is actually a hidden gem that a lot of people do not know of. You will realize that you probably had driven past it without even noticing that it was there. From Nairobi, it is less than an hour’s drive on the Nairobi-Mombasa highway.
There are so many activities you can participate in when you are at the camp. Camping near any of the lakes of dams could easily become your favorite activity. Wild animals casually walking by and around your tent in the morning to drink water will astonish you. You will be able to see wild animals including plenty of zebras, a few giraffes, and maybe an occasional hyena. The game drives over here will be thrilling and you go about racing here with your friends.
8) LEWA SAFARI CAMP, LAIKIPIA
Kenya is full of so many options for viewing its spectacular wildlife and the Lewa Safari Camp is a unique one. There are many safari lodges in Kenya that offer great food and exquisite comfort, but Lewa is one of the few that go the extra mile with its little touches making it so memorable.
It is home to unlimited acres of just wilderness and packed with some of the best wildlife experiences you will ever have. Being home to lions, jackals, leopards, grey zebras, and over 130 black and white rhinos, the big five will be easy to spot here. With large tented camps that have en-suite bathrooms, it offers its visitors authentic comfort. You can always spot famous celebrities, photographers and writers in this conservancy.
9) OL TALET COTTAGES
How much would you like to leave everything behind and go to a place to just simply getaway? Bring your loved ones here with you to enjoy a great holiday. These cottages are just around 40 km from Nairobi and a great spot for your weekend getaway. Soak in the beauty of nature, relax and unwind in the most beautiful manner.
10) MOUNT LONGONOT
Mount Longonot is a monolith extinct mountain that is to the south-east of Lake Naivasha in the great rift valley. It is about an hour away from Nairobi and the mountain is ideal for a one day hike. The crater’s rim of this mountain provides an incredible view of the rift valley, and within the crater lies a thick forest. The hike is not really a piece of cake, because it takes a bare minimum of 4-5 hours and the beginning of the uphill climb is brutal so be sure to take a lot of water with you along with snacks and sunscreen.
11) LAKE NAIVASHA NATIONAL PARK
Covering a huge area in the Great African Rift Valley, Lake Naivasha is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Kenya. A hub for the hippos, this place can turn out to be a perfect weekend retreat away from the chaos of the city life! Close to Lake Naivasha is Lake Oloiden, a comparatively smaller lake but with a high density of birdlife, including pelicans, cormorants, and fish eagles. A soothing boat ride on both the lakes would be absolutely thrilling, and if you get lucky, you might get to spot the hippos chasing your boat!
12) THE BRANDY BUS
This definitely was the ‘Into The Wild’ experience I always craved for! Parked in a quaint part of Nairobi, this is a vintage bus that has now been turned into an AirBnB, and it’s too good to be missed! Aesthetically designed, the bus has 2 floors – the lower part serving as a tiny kitchenette, a living space, and a bathroom while the upper part has a bedroom. There are large windows where you can gaze at the starlit sky and listen to the sound of the crickets at night & chirping of birds in the day.
If wildlife and wilderness are all that comes to your mind thinking of Kenya, then let me tell you that this East African nation is bordered by the Indian Ocean and the beaches of Mombasa are absolutely breathtaking! Taking a quick break from my work-site, I escaped for a couple of days, to soak in the sun and experienced scuba diving at Mombasa Marine Park. It was absolutely magical to see such colorful lives underwater, and the charm of this beach town left me mesmerized!
Trust me when I say, I did leave a piece of my heart back in the country, and I long to go back to Kenya, someday! Kenya is one country that is alone capable of offering you everything you think of when Africa comes to your mind.
We hope that this article has inspired you to visit Kenya. If you have any questions about the destination or have your own travel tips to share please leave these in the comments below.
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