Trip and Wellness

10 Top Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in the Kenya

A group of Egyptian Gooses (Alopochen aegyptiacus) flying agains sun disk in a spectacular sunset over Amboseli National Park, Kenya.

Kenya is a popular travel destination for those seeking a safari adventure. The country is well-known for its abundant wildlife and numerous nature reserves. The stunning coast of this place is lined with historic Swahili settlements and pearly white beaches, although most visitors come to see the Big 5.

Situated in East Africa and bordered by the Indian Ocean, this destination has always been a top choice for travelers visiting the continent. The national parks offer a wide range of landscapes, including mountains, deserts, wetlands, plains, and lakes, making it a diverse travel destination. The Maasai Mara is a popular travel destination known for its abundant wildlife, particularly the wildebeest migration.

For decades, Kenya’s wildlife safaris have been a popular tourist attraction. You can also go trekking on Mount Kenya, take a hot air balloon ride over the Masai Mara, and go snorkeling in Malindi along the Indian Ocean coast. It’s a refreshing break after spending days searching for elephants, giraffes, and lions on a travel adventure.

1. Masai Mara

Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) herd crossing Mara River, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Source: gettyimages

The Masai Mara is a popular travel destination known for its safaris, both in Kenya and across the globe. During our travels in East Africa, we were thrilled to witness an abundance of wildlife including lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephants, and many more. It was definitely a highlight of the trip.

The destination is named after the Maasai tribe and features vast grasslands and flowing rivers that blend seamlessly with the Serengeti region located to the south. Every year, travelers can witness the Great Migration, a breathtaking natural spectacle, on the plains of the park. Witness the incredible migration of millions of wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles as they travel together while being hunted by predators.

Witnessing their synchronized movement is an incredible travel experience that will undoubtedly make you feel insignificant. During a peaceful time, travelers can effortlessly witness the Big 5 animals wandering around the park. While traveling along the Mara and Talek rivers, you may have the opportunity to spot Crocs and hippos. Keep an eye out for long-crested eagles and African pygmy falcons flying overhead.

2. Mombasa

A drone shot over the Beach of the Coastal part of Mombasa, Kenya
Source: istockphoto

Mombasa attracts tourists from different cultures. It is also a popular travel destination in Kenya and boasts of being the country’s second-largest city and largest port. The diverse cultural influences of British, Portuguese, Arab, Indian, and Asian immigrants are reflected in the architecture and cuisine of the place, making it a fascinating travel destination.

Mombasa is a travel destination that comprises an island and its surrounding mainland, connected by a causeway, bridges, and ferries. You can explore the stunning coral reefs that line the coast for 480 kilometers, offering exceptional diving and snorkeling experiences. The Mombasa Marine National Park and Wasini Island are particularly great spots to check out. Mombasa offers exciting activities such as dolphin watching and deep-sea fishing that are popular among travelers.

There are numerous travel destinations to explore along the coast of Kenya. Travelers will enjoy seeing the 16th-century Fort Jesus and Old Town, which has tiny lanes, historic Swahili houses, marketplaces, and tourist stores.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Mombasa: Best Areas & Hotels

3. Samburu National Reserve

Reticulated giraffe in Samburu National Reserve
Source: istockphoto

The Samburu National Reserve, located to the north of Mount Kenya, offers a wild and remote travel experience. Due to the remote location of Nai, it attracts fewer tourists compared to other parks. The vast and varied landscapes of this place provide a habitat for a multitude of animal species.

Nestled in the heart of the country, this destination offers a predominantly arid and dusty landscape, with occasional sightings of rivers and forests. The diverse flora and fauna, along with the meandering Ewaso Ngi’ro River, are the main draws for wildlife in the area.

Apart from the usual wildlife such as lions, cheetahs, and leopards, the park is famous for its unique dry-country fauna. These are some of the animals you may encounter during your travels: the East African oryx, gerenuk, Grevy’s zebras, and reticulated giraffes. Traveling to Samburu may require some effort, but the unique wildlife and picturesque landscapes make it a worthwhile destination.

4. Diani Beach

Stunning image of people riding camels along the coastline of Diani Beach, Kenya
Source: istockphoto

If you are looking for a place to unwind and relax after all the sightseeing and adventures, then Diani Beach is the perfect destination. Located south of Mombasa, this destination offers a relaxing atmosphere with its wide, white sandy beaches perfect for lounging. You can also indulge in a variety of exciting water activities here.

The serene travel destination spans approximately seventeen kilometers and runs parallel to the shimmering Indian Ocean. Countless luxury hotels and resorts dot the palm tree-fringed beach. Numerous travel agencies provide all-inclusive packages and can organize safari expeditions for their clients.

In addition to being one of the most stunning beaches we have visited, there are numerous activities to experience. Experience the thrill of kite surfing and jet skiing, while exploring the rich marine life through scuba diving and snorkeling. While traveling, you have the option to embark on sightseeing cruises along the coast or participate in quad-biking trips around the neighboring villages.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Diani Beach: Best Areas & Hotels

5. Mount Kenya National Park

Herd of Reticulated giraffes in front of Mount Kenya
Source: gettyimages

Travel to the Central Highlands and explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mount Kenya National Park, located east of the Great Rift Valley. Witness the unique phenomenon of equatorial snow. The destination features the nation’s eponymous peak, which stands at an altitude of 5,199 meters.

Mount Kenya, with its three glacier-covered peaks, was formed by a sequence of volcanic eruptions. The highest peak to climb is Batian, but the next highest peak, Nelion, is a more challenging ascent. Lenana, the lowest peak, is a great destination for travelers looking for an easy climb. However, the unpredictable weather can make the climb more challenging.

Don’t forget to pack your camera for your travels. Travelers can experience a diverse range of landscapes, including glaciers, lakes, mineral springs, alpine forests, and bamboo groves.

Safaris offer rewarding opportunities to explore the diverse flora and fauna. During your travels here, you may have the opportunity to observe various wildlife such as black and white colobus monkeys, buffalo, elephants, tree hyrax, leopards, and hyenas.

6. Nairobi National Park

A Masai Giraffe in Nairobi National Park with the city in the background.
Source: istockphoto

Nairobi National Park is located at the doorstep of the country’s capital. It is the only nature reserve of its kind in the world. Experiencing the skyline while observing lions, elephants, and giraffes is an unforgettable travel experience.

Designated in the 1940s to preserve the area’s diminishing wildlife, the region is primarily characterized by vast expanses of open grasslands. As you travel, you may come across occasional clusters of forests lining the rivers and small rocky gorges spread out in various places. The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including gazelles, cheetahs, crocodiles, jackals, and common eland.

Although we went on multiple safaris in Kenya, we are still content with our decision to travel to this destination. The visit was made quite special by the diverse wildlife and delightfully different views. There are few destinations in the world where you can witness the migration of wildebeest and zebras passing right through the city.

7. Amboseli National Park

Elephants in Tsavo East and Amboseli National Park in Kenya
Source: istockphoto

Amboseli National Park is a great destination for a safari due to its abundant wildlife and large elephant populations. Located near the border of Tanzania, the savannas, forests, and wetlands of this destination are a delightful experience to discover while traveling.

This nature park has been recognized as a travel destination since 1908, with its unique habitats and name meaning ‘salty, dusty place’ in the Maa language. Although some regions may be extremely dry, the surroundings of its marshes almost form a sanctuary. In Amboseli, travelers can witness a flourishing life with approximately 1,600 free-ranging elephants living in the area.

In addition to spotting the Big 5, you can immerse yourself in the local Maasai culture by visiting the traditional Muteleu village located nearby. Additionally, the view of Mount Kilimanjaro dominating the skyline in the distance enhances the allure of the park.

8. Lake Naivasha

Flamingos relaxing in Naivasha Lake
Source: istockphoto

Lake Naivasha is a great travel destination for bird enthusiasts, as it is located at the highest point of the Great Rift Valley. This destination boasts over 400 bird species, such as African fish eagles, jacanas, white-fronted bee-eaters, and various types of kingfishers.

Boating is one of the best ways to observe the wildlife. Giraffes, zebras, buffaloes, and eland graze around the edges of the lake while hippos splash in the water. While traveling, be sure to keep an eye out for colobus monkeys in the canopies.

The Crater Lake Game Sanctuary, located close to Lake Naivasha, offers a nature trail abundant in wildlife.

Located to the south of Lake Naivasha, Hell’s Gate National Park is a great travel destination that provides protection to a diverse range of wildlife species. The park also offers exciting opportunities for climbing, featuring two extinct volcanoes and the striking red cliffs of Hell’s Gate Gorge. Additionally, the park is relatively affordable, making it an ideal choice for budget-conscious travelers.

Traveling to the southern shore of Lake Naivasha, you can visit the Elsamere Conservation Centre, which was once the residence of the late Joy Adamson, the author of Born Free, and her husband George. While there, you can enjoy a cup of tea.

9. Lamu Island

View of palm trees on beach against sky during sunset,Lamu,Kenya
Source: gettyimages

Lamu Island is a wonderful destination in East Africa to immerse oneself in the rich Swahili culture. Nestled on the northeastern coast of Kenya, this destination offers a serene atmosphere that transports you to a bygone era.

Lamu, located in an attractive archipelago of the same name, is a great travel destination as it is the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the nation. Dating back to the 12th century, this destination boasts a captivating Old Town with narrow streets that wind through picturesque coral stone structures and serene inner courtyards.

Less crowded and better preserved than Zanzibar’s Stone Town, the place is famous for its beautifully crafted wooden doors and adorable donkeys. Once you’ve visited the museum and fort, you can unwind on the pristine white beaches or venture out to explore neighboring villages. Many travelers also enjoy peaceful dhow boat excursions around the archipelago.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Lamu Island: Best Areas & Hotels

10. Malindi

Marafa Depression with red cliffs and rocks in afteroon sunset light. Malindi, Kenya
Source: istockphoto

Malindi is a popular travel destination for those seeking sun, sea, and sand. Situated beside the Indian Ocean, there are numerous breathtaking beaches, hotels, and nature parks for you to explore.

A popular destination for travelers, the area’s pristine beaches were the site of Vasca da Gama’s arrival in 1498. After all these years, he is still standing in the same spot, gazing at the ocean and admiring the coral pillar he built. To experience some history, you could visit the Gede Ruins which preserve the deteriorating remnants of a 12th-century Swahili settlement.

Most travelers, however, visit Malindi for its beaches. The sweeping white sands bordered by twinkling turquoise waters make for a stunning travel destination. At the mouth of the Sabaki River, the ocean may occasionally appear murky and brown in color.