As the most revered wildlife destination in Africa, Kenya is said to be the birthplace of the safari holiday experience and boasts an exclusive list of top things to do while visiting. The country’s location combines the best of everything—from superb game reserves and pristine wildlife areas to a stunning coastline and vibrant cities. The landscape is a kaleidoscope defined by the dramatic Great Rift Valley, the lush Central Highlands, savannas, and waterways—all of which are home to prolific wildlife.
Across the 48 national parks and nine marine parks in Kenya, there are truly unique safari experiences to be had. The country is renowned for the Masai Mara National Park, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lake Takurna, Amboseli National Park, and Samburu National Park. But there’s more to the country than its game reserves and national parks. At Wild Safari Guide, we want to inspire your safari holiday and help you cross those amazing experiences off your safari bucket list. So here are our top things to do in Kenya.
Discover the top things to do in Kenya.
Do the Flamingo Flick at Lake Nakuru National Park
Well-deserving of its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lake Nakuru National Park makes it on our list of top things to do in Kenya. Not only is it famous for its vast soda lake, which takes up approximately a third of the park’s area, but it’s renowned for the thousands of greater and lesser flamingos that flock to the Lake each year. Lake Nakuru National Park is nestled on the floor of the Great Rift Valley and easily accessible for those of you wanting to experience this natural phenomenon.
Over the past years, pollution has caused the flamingoes to migrate elsewhere. However, there have been recent efforts to clean up the area, and this has seen the vivid feathered flocks return to Lake Nakuru as of late. Although the flamingoes are the main attraction, the National Park is also home to prolific wildlife such as lions, leopards, cheetahs, and white rhinos and offers unparalleled game-viewing safaris.
Laugh in the Face of Danger at Pride Rock in Borana
We think it’s safe to say that almost everyone has heard of Pride Rock. Well, Borana Conservancy, in Kenya, is home to the inspiration for Pride Rock from the iconic animated film—The Lion King. In the early 1990s, the animation team from Disney visited Borana Conservancy as part of their Kenya-wide research safari before the release of the award-winning Disney film in 1994.
In the heart of the Borana Conservancy lies Borana Lodge—a family-friendly yet equally romantic retreat set against the impressive Mount Kenya. Borana Lodge offers a unique safari experience away from the crowds and allows you to disconnect from your daily lives and get back in touch with nature. From the Lodge, Pride Rock can be reached on foot or by vehicle, and for those looking for a bit more adventure, horseback and mountain bikes are also great ways to explore. Pride Rock promises unrivalled views that span both Borana and Lewa Conservancy, perfect for nature photographers and outdoor enthusiasts—making our list of top things to do in Kenya.
Stay at Giraffe Manor
If you’re looking for an exclusive safari holiday experience, then Giraffe Manor is it. Known as one of the most Instagrammed establishments in the world, Giraffe Manor makes it onto our list of top things to do in Kenya. What sets this hotel apart from the rest is the resident herd of Rothschild’s giraffes who are often seen poking their heads into the manor during your morning breakfast, or gallivanting across the stunning gardens on site.
This extraordinary historic manor is set on 12 acres within a 140-acre forest in the Langata suburb of Nairobi and belongs to The Safari Collection. With a stately facade, an elegant interior, and lush surroundings that beckon visitors to explore, the Giraffe Manor offers a truly unique experience in Kenya, and close to the capital city—making it an easy stopover on a safari holiday to Kenya.
Go Fossil Hunting in the Turkana Region
One of the top things to do in Kenya is to plan a fossil-hunting safari experience. For those intrigued by all that is old, step back in time when you visit the Turkana region of Kenya. The entire region is a UNESCO World Heritage site and boasts some of the most incredible evidence of man’s long-forgotten past. Fossil beds are well-preserved, while the National Museums of Kenya is home to the world’s largest collection of human pre-history, spanning 27 million years.
A fossil-hunting safari is an adventure right from the beginning, as your journey starts with a helicopter flight over the Great Rift Valley. Hovering over the Laikipia plateau, with unsurpassed views of elephant herds grazing in the savannah, lions in search of prey, and the likes of giraffes and zebras, as well as oryx and impala traversing the Turkana Basin. Safari-goers will not be disappointed with a pilgrimage to the Cradle of Mankind to discover the land of our ancestors, and how they survived and thrived millions of years ago.
Escape to Diani Beach near Mombasa
If you’re looking to include a beach getaway as part of your safari holiday, then Diani Beach should make it to your list of top things to do in Kenya. This major beach sits on the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya and boasts 17 kilometres of sandy shores, hugged by the emerald ocean. With its warm waters, lush greenery, and flawless coastline, Diani Beach is the ideal place to escape the nuances of life for a while.
Awarded the best beach destination in Africa—five years running—Diani Beach beckons every discerning traveller, from families and backpackers to honeymooners and water-sports enthusiasts. Attractions and outdoor recreation in the area include the marine national park, kitesurfing, incredible diving destinations, whale shark-spotting, skydiving, and even a nightlife area. Those looking to stay in Diani Beach can choose from luxury five-star hotels and a wide range of beach resorts to budget staycations at backpacking lodges and B&Bs. Book your accommodation here.
Embark on a Hot Air Balloon Adventure
There are definitely some things that need to be experienced at least once in life, and that’s why hot air ballooning makes it to our list of top things to do in Kenya. Ascending and descending over unrivalled landscapes alive with thousands of prolific wildlife traversing the Maasai Mara National Reserve is an unmatched safari experience. There is a wide range of tour operators that provide this safari experience in Kenya, but be sure to book well in advance to avoid disappointment.
The colourful balloon holds so much promise as you set off before dawn and watch as the world around you stirs with endless possibility. Safari-goers should pack their cameras and dress in layers, as the morning air is crisp just before the sun rises and warms everything up. Expect impressive sights such as the Mara River, dense forestland, savannahs, and open plains stretching towards the horizon. Find out more about this safari experience right here.
Witness the Great Migration
Perhaps the greatest of all wildlife phenomena is the annual Great Migration in Africa, where over two million animals—the wildebeest, zebra, and Thompson’s gazelle—embark on an almost 2000-mile journey. It starts in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, in the southern part of the Serengeti in Tanzania and loops clockwise towards the iconic Maasai Mara in Kenya, before turning back to where it all began.
Dictated in large part by the rain, the Great Migration is regarded as the biggest overland event of its kind anywhere in the world. The legendary migration is known around the world, and safari-lovers from across the globe flock to Kenya in hopes to experience this incredible wildlife phenomenon. Although the time and duration of the Great Migration isn’t an exact science, the herds start moving around April in search of greener pastures and reliable water sources. With millions of hooves pounding the earth, the herds usually split up and spread across the valleys—some attracting the hungry eyes of predators lurking in the dust.
Hike Mount Kenya
Mount Kenya National Park boasts a phenomenal location, with access to some of the world’s most incredible fauna and flora. The pristine wilderness is made up of dramatic landscapes defined by lakes, glaciers, forest, mineral springs, unique alpine vegetation, and an array of rare and endangered species of animals. Perhaps the biggest drawcard to Mount Kenya National Park is the exhilarating hiking on offer. For the adventure-seekers, a hike up Mount Kenya is a challenging yet invigorating experience, with superb views from its highest peak.
Those looking to explore a little deeper can embark on an adventure into one of the park’s caves. Additionally, walking safaris are quite popular, with knowledgeable guides who tell stories, point out tracks, explain ancient traditions, and provide valuable insight from local viewpoints. Safari-goers can find out more with our Wild Safari Guide to Mount Kenya National Park.
Game Viewing at Maasai Mara
Without a doubt, the Maasai Mara National Reserve makes it onto our list of top things to do in Kenya. The Maasai Mara is Kenya’s, if not Africa’s, most famous safari destination, and is home to an unbelievable number of prolific wildlife. The reserve forms part of the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem, with the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania forming the southern border. The millions of wildebeest in the Maasai Mara National Reserve take centre stage in the wildlife phenomenon that is the Great Migration.
This spectacular journey from the plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania includes species such as Grant’s zebra, Thomson’s gazelle, topi common eland and the characteristic Maasai giraffe. Lions and cheetahs are always in hot pursuit of the migrating masses, ensuring the captivating game-viewing experience of the struggle between life and death during this time. The other members of the Big Five—the buffalo, elephant, and rhino—can also be spotted in the reserve that is the only protected area in the country with an indigenous black rhino population. Plan your safari holiday today with our Wild Safari Guide to the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.
Did you enjoy this post?
Comment below or share it with your friends.