Country guides Africa
Kenya Travel Guide
Kenya has held a powerful attraction for visitors ever since early European explorers and intrepid settlers brought back tales of endless plains filled with antelope, man-eating lions and mountain peaks. The country is certainly the premier African safari destination, offering unparalleled wild-game experiences in its iconic parks: the Maasai Mara with its vast rolling grassland; Amboseli's regal elephant herds; and the dramatic vistas of the Great Rift Valley. Peak safari time is the mid-year wildebeest migration, which is an unforgettable sight as millions of animals make an epic journey across the land seeking fresh pastures.
The physical diversity of the country is reflected in the many distinct cultural groups, of which the unmistakable Maasai people are of most interest to tourists seeking the classic images of Kenya's African identity. Kenya's coastline offers treasures of its own through its excellent beaches and resorts, where adventurers will find pristine coral reefs that are easily accessed by regular flights to Mombasa, the country's oldest and second-largest city.
Diani Beach lies a mere 30 kilometres (19 miles) south of Mombasa, and is one of East Africa's best destinations for snorkelling and scuba diving. Its kaleidoscopic coral reefs are home to equally brilliant clown and trigger fish, as well as green and hawksbill turtles, moray eels, stingrays, giant manta rays and whale sharks.
Those who venture further up the coast from Diani Beach will find Kilifi Creek, which is famous for its bioluminescent plankton. These glowing plankton respond to motion as visitors splash about in the dark, lighting up the water in a dazzling display that occurs in very few places around the world.
Away from the coast, adventurers can test themselves against Africa's second tallest peak, Mount Kenya. Though not as popular as Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Mount Kenya is considered the more challenging climb, and its breathtaking scenery features magnificent views of Kenya. Some visitors may even see Mount Kilimanjaro in the distance. A holiday in Kenya offers 'Africa in one country' and, ultimately, the blend of wildlife, beaches and mountains make it the perfect destination for anyone seeking romance or adventure.
Best time to visit Kenya
Kenya's weather is best over the winter months of June to September when both rainfall and temperatures are at their lowest. The wildebeest migration occurs sometime between early August and November, so this is also a popular time to visit. February and March can be very hot and humid.
What to see in Kenya
-Visit the Karen Blixen Museum near Nairobi to learn about the woman immortalised in Out of Africa.
-See the pink flamingos of Lake Nakuru Park, which is also renowned for its sightings of leopard and lion.
-Get up close and personal with herds of mighty elephants at Amboseli National Park, with the magnificent Mount Kilimanjaro as a backdrop.
-Spend time in Mombasa and see the 16th century fort guarding the harbour entrance.
What to do in Kenya
-Experience the wild beauty and rolling savannahs of the Masai Mara Reserve.
-Watch the wildebeest migration from a hot-air balloon over the Masai Mara and Serengeti.
-Take a dhow trip from romantic and laid-back Lamu, Kenya's oldest town.
-Enjoy the perfect beaches of Malindi, also a base for excellent fishing and diving.
Getting to Kenya
There are direct flights to Kenya from many international cities via Jomo Kenyatta Airport, a major hub. There are also flights to Kenya from Europe to Mombasa's Moi International Airport.
Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen, I Dreamed of Africa by Kuki Gallmann and Petals of Blood by Ngugi wa Thiong'o.
Out of Africa (1985), The Ghost and the Darkness (1996), The Constant Gardner (2005) and The White Masai (2005)
Local game such as zebra, crocodile and camel.
Tusker Lager or Tangawizi ginger ale for the teetotalers.
What to buy
Kisii stone (soap stone) carvings, Masai jewellery, Mkonde wood carvings, Lamu chairs and batiks.
What to pack
It gets hot and humid so bring a good hat, sun-screen and mosquito repellent spray; a light rain-jacket will be handy during the wet season.
What's on in Kenya
The Wildebeest Migration is one of the most majestic sights on earth, and takes place each year from June to August.
Did you know?
Kenya has 65 national parks and reserves, and 42 ethnic tribes, but only two official languages: English and Swahili.
A final word
Kenya is 'Africa in one country', with all the wild animals, natural beauty and ethnic diversity that entails.