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Country Guide: Kenya
Country guide: Kenya
We’re pretty certain that spotting wildlife will be the highlight of your trip to Kenya but there’s some other stuff to top and tail your visit with.
Our recommendations include:
Lake Nakuru National Park
Flamingos line the edge of Lake Nakuru for as far as the eye can see. This national park is also a great place to spot leopards — spot, get it?
Masai Mara National Reserve
Visit this 1510 sq m national reserve to spot Africa's Big Five — lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino. Come at the right time of year (July-August and October) to witness the annual migration of wildebeest from the Serengeti.
Mombasa beach break
Yep, Kenya's on the coast. And what a coast! End your safari holiday with a relaxing beach break at Mombasa.
Visitors to Kenya usually just fly in and out of its capital Nairobi but there are a few reasons to stop here. Hand-feed giraffes at the Langata Giraffe Centre and chow down on crocodile or ostrich at meat-loving restaurant Carnivore.
Get out of the safari truck for a walking safari around Lake Naivasha or take a boat out among the hippos. Vist the Elsamere Conservation Centre — the former home of Born Free author Joy Adamson.
Hell's Gate National Park
Just up the road from Lake Naivasha is the dramatic landscape of Hell's Gate National Park. Walk or ride around the park to get up close to the wildlife.
Depending on how much time you have, here are some itineraries you might like to use as a basis of your Kenyan travel plans.
Organised tours and package holidays are a hassle-free way to see Kenya's attractions but you can still travel independently around the country.
Kenya in 2-3 days
Kenya is not really a weekend destination. But if you're passing through from a neighbouring country you may want to head straight for the Masai Mara National Reserve, the best place to tick off Africa's Big Five.
Kenya in 7-9 days
Fly into Nairobi, head to Lake Nakura National park to see the flamingos. Back track to Lake Naivasha where you can cruise alongside hippos and visit the former home of Born Free author Joy Adamson. Do a walking safari through Hell's Gate National Park. Next make your way to the Masai Mara National Reserve and spend a few days spotting leopards, lions, rhinos, elephants, zebras, giraffes etc. Make time for an early morning balloon flight over the reserve. Return to Nairobi and visit the Langata Giraffe Centre and eat some meat at Carnivore restaurant.
Kenya in two weeks +
Use the above itinerary, then head to the Amboseli National Park at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro. Make your way towards Mombasa via Tsavo West National Park and Tsavo East National Park. After that, park yourself on the beach and relax.
Unless you visit Kenya as part of an overland tour, you will most likely be flying in to the country. The main entry point is the Jono Kenyatta International Airport. If you're heading straight to the beach you might fly into Moi International Airport near Mombasa. There are many airlines that fly into Kenya.
Using Kenya's domestic airlines could save you some time.
Nairobi's bus service is run by Kenya Bus Services, which also offers long-haul services to many of the major towns and cities in Kenya. There are also a variety of private bus companies operating. Reservations aren't usually necessary, except on some of the major routes where you should book a day ahead.
You can hire a car in Kenya but make sure you have insurance and a neck brace — the roads are pretty bumpy. Otherwise it is possible, and not as costly as you'd think, to hire a driver. Even if you just want to do an afternoon of sightseeing in Nairobi, you'll be able to find a driver who will drop you off and wait for you (even while you have dinner!).
Food and drink
Meat features prominently in the Kenyan cuisine. The national dish is called nyama choma, which means barbecued meat.
The Kenyan beer industry is thriving and the three local brews are Tusker, White Cap and Pilsner. Save money by buying beer in the supermarket.
Don't drink it from the tap, buy some bottled water and make sure it is properly sealed.