Top Attractions in Kenya
Nairobi and Surrounds
Kenya’s capital city has risen in a single century from a brackish uninhabited swampland to a thriving modern capital. When railway construction workers reached this area in 1899, they set up a basic camp and supply depot, simply called ‘Mile 327’.
The local Maasai called this highland swamp Ewaso Nai’beri – the place of cold water.
The camp became a rustic village, and then a shanty town, which by 1907 was the capital of all of British East Africa. It was soon an important centre for the colony and a mecca for adventurers, hunters and travellers from all over the world.
Modern Nairobi is still the safari capital of the Africa, but the modern world has quickly caught up with the city. A frontier town no more, Nairobi has become one of Africa’s largest, and most interesting cities. Nairobi is a city that never seems to sleep.
The entire town has a boundless energy, and is thriving place where all of human life can be found. This is a place of great contrasts where race, tribe and origin all become facets of a unique Nairobi character.
Karen Blixen Museum
For anyone with an interest in Karen Blixen's book Out of Africa or the subsequent film, this museum is a must see. The author lived on a coffee estate in a house known as Bogani from 1914 until 1931. This area has now developed into the modern suburb of Karen on the outskirts of Nairobi.
Giraffe Center - Nairobi
The AFEW (African Fund for Endangered Wildlife) Giraffe Centreis located in Langata, just outside Nairobi. The centre has been ostensibly set up as a breeding centre for the endangered Rothschild giraffe, but now operates conservation/education programs for Kenyan school children.
Mombasa is a place steeped in history, yet at the same time fascinating commercial and cosmopolitan port town. Mombasa is an island connected to the mainland by bridges and ferries. The town overlooks a wide harbour, where commercial shipping mingles with traditional sailing dhows.
The true heart of Mombasa is found in the exotic old town, among the narrow winding streets and Arab architecture. The air here is always heavy with the scent of spices. Women wearing the traditional bui bui fill the narrow streets and busy markets. At the dhow docks fresh fish and goods from all along the coast arrive daily.
The streets are alive with the bright colours of the traditional coastal khanga and kikoy, the all-purpose wrap around cloth worn by both men and women. At the water’s edge is Fort Jesus, an imposing fort that stands watch over the harbour.
The high gun turrets, battlements and underground passages of this 16th Century Fort were the centre of a historic struggle for control of the Kenya coast between the Portuguese army and the
Shirazi Arabs. This war was waged around Mombasa over hundreds of years and countless battles, and the Fort stands as a testament to this tumultuous past.
Modern Mombasa is a city of great diversity and life. This is a town were all are welcomed and quickly absorbed into this great coastal melting pot. Mosques, Hindu Temples and Christian churches surround streets that thrive with a world of cultures. Mombasa is a place where both history and progress are greatly valued, where a busy harbour existence is lived at its own unique, tropical pace.
The South Coast
The coastline south of Mombasa is a tropical paradise of palm fringed white sand beaches, where the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean meet beautiful coral reefs. The protective reefs have created ideal beaches with calm, inviting waters.
Days are filled with sunshine and nights are balmy and warm with gentle sea breezes. The offshore reefs are alive with coral, myriad fish, sea turtles and dolphins.
Both outer and inner reef walls offer world class diving with spectacular coral gardens and drop offs. At Kisite-Mpunguti, a Marine Reserve has been established around beautiful Wasini Island, an ideal day trip for divers and snorkelers.
The beaches are bordered by lush green coastal rainforests with prolific birdlife and variety of wildlife including baboons, rare colobus monkeys and even leopard.
A wide range of World Class resorts, centred on Diani Beach allow visitors to relax and enjoy this natural paradise with the best standards of accommodation, service and cuisine.
The south coast also has many smaller quiet getaways such as Tiwi Beach, ideal for travellers looking for a low key break. Inland, the fertile hinterland of Kwale District consists of small villages inhabited by the Wakamba, Digo and Duruma tribes.
Nakuru provides the visitor with one of Kenya’s best known images. Thousands of flamingo, joined into a massive flock, fringe the shores of this soda lake. A pulsing pink swathe of life that carpets the water, the flamingo are a breath-taking sight. The lake has become world famous for these birds, who visit the lake to feed on algae that forms on the lake bed. They move back and forth, feeding and occasionally and spectacularly taking to flight, filling the sky over the lake with colour. This is a major National Park and an important sanctuary for Rhino. Both Black and White Rhino are found here, and are often seen resting under acacias by the Lake shore.
The park abounds with game. There are huge herds of waterbuck, zebra, buffalo, the endangered Rothschild Giraffe and more. This is one of your best chances of seeing Leopard in Kenya, and there are several large prides of Lion.
Exploring beyond the lake is always rewarding and there are forests, cliffs, waterfalls and more to be found here. Nearby Nakuru town is a busy and thriving local centre with a bustling market.
Lake Naivasha is a beautiful freshwater lake, fringed by thick papyrus. The lake is almost 13kms across, but its waters are shallow with an average depth of five metres. The lake and its surrounds are rich in natural bounty, and the fertile soils and water supply have made this one of Kenya’s prime agricultural regions. Much of the lake is surrounded by forests of the
yellow barked Acacia Xanthophlea, known as the yellow fever tree.
These forests abound with bird life, and Naivasha is known as a world class birding
The waters of the lake draw a great range of game to these shores. Giraffes wander among the acacia, Buffalo wallow in the swamps and Colobus monkeys call from the treetops while the Lakes large hippo population sleep the day out in the shallows.
The Maasai Mara Game Reserve is widely considered to be Africa’s greatest wildlife reserve. The Mara comprises200 sq miles of open plains, woodlands and riverine forest. Contiguous with the plains of the Serengeti, the Mara is home to a breath taking array of life.
The vast grassland plains are scattered with herds of Zebra, Giraffe, Gazelle, and Topi. The Acacia forests abound with Bird life and Monkeys. Elephants and Buffalo wallow in the wide Musiara Swamp. The Mara and Talek rivers are brimming with Hippos and Crocodiles.
The Aberdares Forest
The Aberdares are the third highest range of mountains in Kenya, reaching a summit of just over 4000m. This massive range is well known for its thick salient forests, and their prolific game.
These high altitude forests are broken by moorlands and plains, and through the abundant tree cover there are sensational views of the Rift Valley and the peak of Mt Kenya.
The forest is a hidden world of wildlife. The thick vegetation provides perfect cover for countless species. Very large herds of Elephant and Buffalo move almost silently through the undergrowth, while overhead noisome birds and colobus monkeys dominate the canopy.
At night the forest comes alive, the cries of hyrax and the distinctive rasping growl of leopard echoing among the trees. The Aberdares has two ‘Tree Hotels’, unique safari lodges set
high in the canopy above waterholes and natural salt licks.
Night sees an unending procession of game emerge from the forests to visit these clearings.
This is an ideal opportunity for guests to unobtrusively observe game at length. A night in the Aberdares is unforgettable. Elephant herds surround the waterholes, drink and then fade way into the forest.
Buffalo bulls fight over territory in spectacular battles. Sleek Genet cats descend from the trees and slip through halls of the lodge. the Occasionally a Rhino or the elusive Bongo antelope appear and visit the waterhole.
Amboseli is a land of giants. This is a place of wide dry plains, where the horizons stretch into the furthest distance and become one with the sky. Amboseli is renowned for its elephant populations and large herds, including some impressively tusked bulls are drawn to a series of large, lush swamplands. A wildlife safari into Amboseli lets the visitor enter the majestic realm of the Elephant. This beautiful park consists of wide open plains crowned by the snow-capped peak of Kilimanjaro.
Amboseli is easily accessible from Nairobi, and its relatively small size and open plains make game viewing very easy.
The most obvious resident are the large elephant herds, and they are impossible to miss. Elephants are a continual presence throughout the park, and this provides plenty of opportunities to observe and learn from a wide variety of their social behaviour. With a well-trained guide, it is easy to understand and follow the social hierarchy of each herd, and their constant social interaction.
The Ewaso Nyiro River flows through three great northern reserves, Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba. The waters of this great river draw wildlife in great numbers to its banks, creating an oasis of green. The verdant riverine forest is a stark contrast to the arid thorn studded plains. Samburu is visited by large herds of Elephants, drawn by the promise of water.
In the dry season, the elephants use their tusks to dig deep into the dry river beds, unearthing precious water. These waterholes then become a focal point for other game.