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Kenya is situated on the eastern side of the African continent having a small stretch of coastline opening into the Indian Ocean. The country is speckled with some of the most impressive natural features that anyone could ask for. There is a huge range of things that one could be doing in Kenya with wildlife activities being on the top of the list. Wildebeest rushing across the savannah for the Great Migration, huge elephants in the Amboseli, or the flamingo-filled marvelous Lake Nakuru are but some of the natural wonders that you could see in Kenya. The region is also inhabited by exotic, ancient tribes such as the Maasai and the Kikuyu and you will get a great insight into the traditional lifestyle and customs of these people. You will also find a treasure trove of coastal activities that you could be doing in Kenya. The Great Rift Valley passes through the middle of the nation dividing it. All in all, the diversity of geographical features alone is more than enough to bring you to explore Kenya. So, let's just find out all the exciting that you could be doing in Kenya.
Maasai Mara National Reserve
Maasai Mara is one of the best places in entire Africa to look out for games. It is situated along the border of Kenya with Tanzania and the Mara forms a kind of a natural wildlife corridor between the nations. Maasai Mara could be regarded as an extension of the Serengeti and is inhabited by the Maasai people, from whom the region gets its name! The best way to enter Mara has to be through the Nairobi Wilson Airport in the capital- it is a short 45 minutes away on a flight!
One of the most spectacular sights to look out for while you are in the park is the Great Migration. This is a seasonal even between July and October when the wildebeests, Thomson's gazelles, and zebras travel through the national park area into Serengeti. The Mara River is also alive with wildlife, namely hippos and crocodiles. Big predators such as lions, leopards, and cheetahs are also abundantly available throughout the park making it easy to spot them if you are lucky. The dry months between December and February are the best time to see such predators.
Amboseli National Reserve
The Amboseli National Reserve is located on the southeastern side of the Kenyan capital Nairobi about 365 km away. You could reach this national park from other national parks too as you embark on a journey through the wilderness of Kenya. If you come from Tsavo National Park by road, it will take you about 8 hours. The roads are probably the best way to travel to Amboseli. The name comes from a Maasai term meaning “salty dust” referring to the dry conditions in the area.
Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak on the continent overlooks the Amboseli National Reserve. It is one of the most-visited safari destinations in Africa. The Amboseli Reserve is one of the best places to look out for magnificent elephant herds. Big predators such as lions and cheetahs are also a common sight in this park. Some other animals that you could easily spot as you explore the Natural Reserve are giraffes, elands, impalas, gazelles, waterbucks, and over 600 different kinds of birds. Visitors will also get to experience different ecological zones including savannahs, wetlands along with sulfur springs, woodlands, and the dry beds of Lake Amboseli.
Tsavo National Park
Tsavo is the largest national park in Kenya and takes up as much as 4% of the total landmass of Kenya. The entire park area is divided into Tsavo East and Tsavo West. You can explore a variety of natural features as you travel through the Park such as waterfalls, volcanos, huge plateaus made from lava rock, and to top it all, a huge variety of game viewing.
The picturesque Tsavo East is situated between the capital Nairobi and Mombasa and is easily accessible by road from either city. There are no regularly scheduled flights that could take you to Tsavo. One of the most memorable sights you will see here are huge herds of elephants rolling around and bathing in red dust- in short, they are simply being at home. Though the plains are arid, the region around the Galana River twisting through the park offers excellent opportunities t game viewing. The Yatta Plateau is another unmissable attraction to look out for in Tsavo east- it is the world’s longest lava flow. The Mundana Rock and the Lugard Falls are also worth a visit as you explore the eastern half of the park
As you move towards Tsavo West, you will see that the climate has gone much wetter. The topography around this region is also much varied and you will find some of the most mesmerizing sceneries towards the northern reaches of Tsavo West. The Mazima Springs in Tsavo West is filled with crocodiles and hippos and is a perfect place to see these species. Chaimu Crater is the best place for bird watchers since this place is flocked by all kinds of birds. You should also head to the Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary while you are in this area. Throughout Tsavo West, wildlife is comparatively more difficult to spot since the vegetation is very dense.
Lake Nakuru National Park
Nakuru Town is situated in the central region of Kenya, about 156 km away from Nairobi towards the northwestern side of the capital. The main entry point into the park, Lanet Gate is situated about 4 km away from the town center. If you are coming to work after exploring Maasai Mara, you should use the Nderit Gate. Lake Nakuru is a Rift Valley Lake covering about three-quarters of the entire park area.
The park area has a huge diversity of fauna, especially birds. Since its establishment in 1961, over 450 different species of birds have been recorded to be found in the national park. Other wildlife species that you will find on the premises are leopards and lions, warthogs, pythons, waterbucks, and white rhinos. The landscape is also varying as you will find grasslands around the lake area and as you move farther away you reach rocky cliffs, and heavily wooded areas. The park also features one of the most exotic things you will ever see- the largest forest covered by Euphorbia candelabrum. This is an endemic species specific to this region and provides a captivating aura to the otherwise arid landscape.
Lamu Island is situated off the coast of Mombasa on the northeastern side and is one of the oldest places in Kenya that has been continuously habituated since the 12th century. The Old Town on this island is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The easiest mode of entry into the island is through the air- you have to fly into the nearby Manda Island and then take a ferry from there onwards.
One of the most attractive things to do while you are on Lamu Island has to be simply strolling through the labyrinthine alleyways on the island. the island has been a rich center for trading and you can see its marks on the exquisite buildings that you will find here. Major Arabic, European, and Indian influences could be easily seen in the style of architecture incorporated to construct the buildings on this island. however, the Swahili techniques are also discernible making way for a unique architectural style. Some of the most common features that you may tread across are hidden courtyards, wooden doors, verandas, coral stone buildings, and rooftop patios.
You will also be amazed to experience how staying on this island is like taking a step back in time. The harbor is lined with dhows that take you to and from the island while motorized vehicles are almost inexistent within the island and the use of donkeys is very prevalent. You have to visit Lamu Museum if you are interested in learning about the history and culture of the Swahili people as well as the island’s many nautical explorations. Lamu Fort and Donkey Sanctuary are also exciting places that you could visit on the island.
Lake Naivasha is situated on the highest reaches of the Great Rift Valley and is a haven for birds. In fact, this is the ultimate place in Kenya that birders should flock to since it boasts of more than 400 species of birds including African fish eagles, white-fronted bee-eaters, jacanas, and different species of kingfishers. Naivasha could be easily reached from Nairobi via flight and it takes only 15 minutes. The road connecting Naivasha and Nairobi will take you about 1.5 hours.
The best way to explore Lake Naivasha has to be on a boat. Among the wildlife, you will get to see hippos splashing in the water while others such as giraffes, zebras, and buffalos abound the fields around the lake. If you look into the canopies, you might also get to see colobus monkeys. While in this region you have to visit the Crater Lake Game Sanctuary which features some of the best wildlife trails for game viewing. Hell's Gate National Park is also nearby- you not only get to explore wilderness here but also get so many climbing opportunities amongst extinct volcanos and the red-hued cliffs belonging to the Hell's Gate Gorge.
Nairobi is the capital of Kenya and the largest city in the nation. In all probability, one of the best ways to enter Kenya is via air through Nairobi. The city offers you excellent opportunities to indulge in the Kenyan spirit without having to go on safaris. While you are in Nairobi you have to visit the National Museum to get a dose of Kenya's history, culture, contemporary arts, and nature. The botanical garden on the museum grounds is also an enjoyable place to be in. the Nairobi National Park is another interesting place to visit if you want to watch games near to the biggest city in the nation. It is now a sanctuary for black rhinos giving you a great opportunity to look at these threatened species up close.
Malindi is a crazy amalgamation of a historic and modern town. It is situated towards the northern side of Mombasa along the coastline of Kenya and thus is very easily accessible. Because of its unique location, Malindi has been an important trading center in Kenya and thus the cuisine available here is also extraordinary.
While you visit Malindi, you have to explore the beaches of Watamu Beach. You could also go diving and it will bring you a different world altogether- one that is filled with exciting marine life and coral reefs. The Watamu Marine National Park is a great place to cool off from the heat while exploring all sorts of marine creatures. As mentioned, the town is old and has a history that dates back to at least the 12th century. Amongst some of the other attractions in this town, you have to visit the Jami Mosque, two pillar tombs dating back to the 14th century, and the Church of St. Francis Xavier. The Vasco De Gama Cross is one of the oldest relics that you could see standing amongst the monuments in all of Africa. The Falconry of Kenya is another interesting place to visit- it is a haven for injured and sick birds where they are taken care of. The Marafa Depression towards the northeastern side is about 30 km and has to be on your list of places to visit in Malindi- this looks just like a miniature version of the Grand Canyon.
Mombasa is the second-largest city in Kenya and has the biggest port in the nation. Being a port city, the mix of culture and traditions is immediately visible as you enter this amazing, multicultural city. You will find people from different ethnicities such as British, Portuguese, Indian, Arabic, and Asian along with the locals living together in harmony. The influence of these people is also very prevalent in the architectural styles and the cuisine of Mombasa.
Mombasa is not within mainland Kenya and is an island connected to the mainland through a causeway. Coral reefs are abundant around Mombasa and stretch for about 480 km allowing you excellent water activities. The Mombasa Marine National Park as well as the Wasini Island in the region are the best places to go to if you want to partake in snorkeling or diving. You could also sit calmly as you watch dolphins or go for deep-sea fishing activities in this region. You should also visit Fort Jesus constructed in the 16th century and the Old Town if you are looking for all the historical tales that this city has to tell. You will also find narrow streets, marketplaces, Swahili residential areas, and the best souvenir shops around these regions.
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