14 Spellbinding Things to do in Kenya That Will Make You Book a Trip There Today!

By on February 5, 2018 in Africa, KENYA with 11 Comments

14 Spellbinding Things to do in Kenya That Will Make You Book a Trip There Today!

One of the most diverse countries in East Africa, Kenya really does have it all.

Whether you’re looking for the ultimate safari experience, a hiking adventure or a chance to relax on white sand beaches, this fantastic country has it all – at a good price too!

In between all this there’s an incredible array of cultures, stunning scenery and some of the friendliest people in the world.

And that’s why, whenever I get asked the question “I have 2-3 weeks to visit Africa, where should I go?”, my reply is always clear and quick… Kenya!

So to explain exactly why, here’s 14 spellbinding things to do in Kenya that will make you book a trip there today!


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#1 Hit the Beach at Diani

Kenya, Diani Beach, Driftwood

Coming in first is one of Kenya’s biggest drawcards and, if you’re an ocean person, like me, then it’s likely to be one of your favourite spots in the country too.

Diani Beach really is Indian Ocean paradise, with white sand continually lapped by azures tides and palm trees that perfectly frame the picture.

This is where you come to unwind in Kenya, to relax, indulge and enjoy little more than the stellar views, ocean swims and hammock swings.

Yes there’s a lot of resorts that line the beach, but Diani Backpackers is a super accommodation option for shoestring travellers and the sand is still very much public property meaning you can easily enjoy it on any budget!

Check out my full review of Diani Backpackers here.

With coatline to die for, hitting the beach at Diani is definitely one of the best things to do in Kenya.

 

#2 Swim in the Bioluminescence at Kilifi

Kenya, Kilifi, Creek Views

Just further up the coast from Diani, is the gorgeous Creekside town of Kilifi.

This blossoming town is full of a growing creative set that make it a really fun hub of artistic and environmental talent.

As well as super lovely little cafes and yoga studios, the scenery here is also pretty amazing, with the creek providing the perfect place for a sunset dhow ride… or 2.

However, it’s after dark that this place becomes really magical, when the natural bioluminescence in the tidal creek provides a shimmering, sparkly, nighttime swimming experience.

The permaculture, eco resort come backpackers called Distant Relatives is very much in the centre of the cultural action in Kilifi and just a few minutes walk to the creek.

One of the best places to stay in Kenya, check out my full review of Distant Relatives here.

 

LOOKING FOR A BUDGET TOUR IN KENYA?

If you’re interested in an unforgettable, well-priced tour in Kenya with guides you can trust, then email me at steph@bigworldsmallpockets.com and I’ll send you my top recommendations – simple!

Kenya, Masai Mara, Safari

 

#3 Hike Mount Kenya

Mount Kenya carries with it a range of accolades.

Not only is it Africa’s 2nd highest mountain, situated almost right on the equator, but it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

It’s also a national park… obvs!

The 3rd highest peak of Mount Kenya is usually the summit reached for by most hikers and there are many guided trips that run along different routes to get there.

The altitude and challenge of this hike should be taken very seriously but, if you decide you’re up for the challenge, the views and the experience will be unparalleled.

LEARN MORE: 22 Things You Need to Know About Travel in Kenya

 

#4 Soak up the Views at Watamu

Kenya, Watamu, Views

And continuing your way further up the Kenya Coast, just north of Kilifi is the beachside town on Watamu, which is located near the city of Malindi.

Visiting Watamu for a day or 2 is definitely one of the top things to do in Kenya if you enjoy being dazzled by spectacular beaches and / or  visiting ancient ruins, which are tucked away in the jungle nearby.

And don’t forget to indulge in some gelato or a good espresso as you soak up the incredible coastal views in Watamu too – the plethora of Italian tourists here means high quality ice cream and coffee is assured… yes please!

 

5 ESSENTIAL PACKING ITEMS FOR KENYA

#1 Headtorch – Required for those all too often power cuts, Black Diamond are always my go-to brand.

#2 Insect Repellent – Malaria is a big risk in Kenya, so cover up at night and pack at least 30% DEET spray.

#3 Good Camera – An absolute must if you’re looking to capture the incredible landscape of Kenya. I love my mirrorless Sony A6000, which is light, compact and robust – ideal for Africa travel.

#4 Sarong – Whether it’s covering yourself from the dust on safari, using as a pillow on long bus journeys or making into a beach dress, this is a great multi-purpose travel item for Kenya. 1 World Sarongs have a great collection if you’re looking for some inspiration.

#5 Kenya Lonely Planet – Incredibly useful for the maps and top tips, the Kenya Lonely Planet is a must-have.

Kenya, Kilifi, Bofa Beach House

 

#5 Wander the Streets of Lamu

Kenya, Lamu, Fort

Sitting right at the northern tip of Kenya’s coastline is the incredible UNESCO World Heritage City of Lamu.

Thought to be the oldest, living Swahili town, this ancient trading port is the perfect place to absorb the unique culture of the coast here, with a sense that things have changed little for hundreds of years.

With no cars allowed in this walled city, donkeys provide the primary methods of transport ,as mosques sing out their call to prayer and children in traditional dress dash through the streets to the smells of wafting samosas.

While there are some attractions to visit in Lamu, and beautiful beaches to explore too, this is the sort of destination where the essence of it is the real attraction, so take a deep breath, relax and spend your wandering and getting lost in the fascinating streets of this remote community.

 

#6 Spot More Animals than you Can Count in the Masai Mara

Kenya, Masai Mara, Lioness

Honestly no trip to Kenya would be complete without a few days spent in the Masai Mara and though this is likely to be one of the pricier destinations in the country, it’s one of the absolute necessary things to do in Kenya.

And that’s because I really think the Masai Mara (or the Mara as its affectionately known) provides the best safari in Africa, given its stunning setting, amazing concentration of animals and the fascinating culture of those who have traditionally lived here.

It really is the full package and whether you want to spot the Big 5, snap some classic African landscapes, or visit a Masai village, this place provides it all… and more!

 

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#7 Follow in the Footsteps of Bill Gates at Eldoret

Kenya, Eldoret, Naiberi River Campsite & Resort

Set near the border of Uganda, Eldoret is a lovely highland town in the Rift Valley, which serves as a great launch pad into Kenya if you’re crossing the border or looking to experience some of the many attractions around.

Perhaps the town’s personal and biggest claim to fame however, is its connection to Bill Gates, who spends a lot of time here as part of his foundation work.

In fact, you’re able to spend a night where Bill normally stays, for a bargain price!

While I’m sure Mr Gates gets the red carpet and the suite rolled out for him, camping at Naiberi River Campsite & Resort is cheap as chips and the incredible underground lounge, complete with roaring fire, is a real delight is this highland (read. coldland) town.

 

#8 Revel in the Chaos of Mombasa

Kenya, Mombasa, Market

Back on Kenya’s coast, the important port city of Mombasa is one of the best destinations to explore when it comes to things to do in Kenya, even if only for a night.

The UNESCO-listed Old Fort Museum is definitely the highlight attraction in this ancient city, but absorbing the chaos in the streets of this bustling city or checking out the markets is just as, if not more, fun in my opinion.

 

#9 Snap a Rhino in Lake Nakuru National Park

Kenya, Lake Nakuru, Rhino Family x3

In case you weren’t aware, rhinos are critically endangered with so few of them left in the wild that it’s feared within 20 years there could be none left.

This means seeing them, even within National Parks, can be incredibly hard, simply because there aren’t many around.

Imagine our amazement then when we saw we a family of 7, plus a baby, in Lake Nakuru National Park in Kenya.

One of Kenya’s best national parks, Lake Nakuru is a hotspot for rhinos and definitely one the top places to grab a glance of these incredibly rare animals.

Heading here is another of the best things to do in Kenya, especially if you’re keen to tick these horned-beauties off your bucket list.

 

THE BEST TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR KENYA

I would never think of travelling to Kenya without proper coverage and always recommend travel insurance from World Nomads who I’ve used during my time in this country and throughout Africa.

I love their great coverage of safari activities – crucial for travel in a country like Kenya – as well as their excellent customer service and ability to claim online, which is very handy if you’re travelling in remote places for a long time.

 

#10 Marvel at the Elephants in Amboseli National Park

Kenya, Masai Mara, Baby Elephant & Mum

Coming in at number 8 is another of Kenya’s top national parks, but instead of rhino spotting like at Lake Nakuru, in Amboseli it’s all about the elephants.

Few people can forget the first time they see the huge lumbering, grey mass of an elephant in real life, which even given its size, is unequivocally adorable.

Spotting one of these amazing creatures in the wild, complete with the towering backdrop of Mount Kilimanjiro (the highest peak in Africa situated in neighbouring Tanzania) behind it therefore, is definitely an experience hard to pass up when visiting Kenya.

 

#11 Shop for Souvenirs in Nairobi

Kenya, Nairobi, Markets

Nairobi tends to get a bad rap when it comes to African cities and is often better known for its high crime rates than its wealth of cultural and natural attractions.

From National Parks to Gardens, Churches to Museums, there’s a find array of things to do in Nairobi – check out my top 10 list here – and that’s without considering the souvenir buying opportunities, which are some of the greatest in the whole country.

Plenty of markets in the centre of town offer numerous opportunities to snap up a bargain, just be sure to keep your valuables close to you!

 

#12 Escape the Safari Crowds at Tsavo East National Park

Africa, Safari, Wildebeest

If you’re looking to escape the crowds on a safari, the wonderful Tsavo East National Park is a great option in Kenya.

The largest national park in the country, this reserve boasts some incredible wildlife spotting opportunities due to the fairly dry, flat landscape and has a wonderful wild feel to it.

Close enough to explore from Mombasa and Diani, this exceptional park makes the perfect short break from the coast if you’re looking to get your safari fix.

 

#13 Cycle in Hells Gate National Park

Kenya, Hells Gate NP, Me

And if you’re keen to get away from the crowds and have an entirely unique sort of safari, then can I please recommend a cycling safari in Hells Gate National Park as one of the best things to do in Kenya.

Getting up with the sun to cycle past giraffe, zebra and warthog less than a metre away is an unforgettable way to start your day in this country.

With the wind in your hair and the early morning light just peeping through, you’re bound to get some epic close up photos, that you’d never achieve from the distance of a vehicle.

After the 8km cycle, you’ll then enjoy an amazing hike in the geothermal landscape, trekking through gorges and past natural hot springs with some seriously killer lookouts.

READ MORE: Why Hells Gate National Park Provides a Totally Unique Safari Experience

 

#14 Enjoy a Sunset Cruise on Lake Naivasha

Kenya, Lake Naivasha, Trees

And last but not least on my list of the best things to do in Kenya comes a stunning sunset cruise on Lake Naivasha.

Situated in the Rift Valley, not far from Hells Gate National Park, is the beautiful lake of Naivahsa.

Enjoying a sunset cruise here is the best way to snap some of the incredible birdlife and to watch local fisherman as they sail next to hippos to grab their dinner.

Perhaps best of all however are the photos you can grab of the otherworldly-looking trees that seem to eerily grow forth from this huge freshwater oasis.

 

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So that’s my list of the 14 most spellbinding things to do in Kenya.

Have they got you booking your trip there already?

Or perhaps you’ve been to Kenya before?

In which case, let me know your favourite thing to do there in the comments box below…

 

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About the Author

About the Author: Creator of Big World Small Pockets, Stephanie Parker is a budget travel addict! Originally from Jersey in the Channel Islands, Stephanie backpacks the world collecting tips, advice and stories, to share with a smile .

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There Are 11 Brilliant Comments

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  1. GJ says:

    Yes. I am now convinced, I was going to go anyway but thanks so much for that info especially on the coast.

  2. yvie says:

    Wow, this looks amazing. Definitely on our list now :). I was wondering how the internet is in Kenya? As we are running our own internet business we sometimes need some internet. Thanks!

    • Steph says:

      Hi Yvie. Glad to report that the internet in Kenya is amazing! I got some ridiculously cheap data package that worked across the country largely on 4G. They also have fiber technology. As an online business worker myself, I actually found Kenya one of the best places in Africa for me to be!

  3. Joanne says:

    Thank you, Steph. My husband and I found a flight deal to Kenya, and were trying to decide if we should go. I found your blog, loved what you had to say, and we booked our tickets! We are planning to travel to many of your suggested locations. Thanks for the great information on this and your related Kenya pages.

    • Steph says:

      Wow Joanne, this is such a delightful comment to read! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this positive feedback and I really hope you enjoy Kenya as much as I did 🙂

  4. vandana says:

    I am sold! booking flights for july. How many days did you stay there to cover all these fantastic place? hoping to see the magic of migration. Thank you so much.

  5. Enrico says:

    Great blog. Can you recommend an itinerary if I only have one week to visit Kenya (safari included) . Thanks!

    • Steph says:

      Hi Enrico, great that you enjoy the blog. I’ve actually written an itinerary post about Kenya. If you use the search box at the top right of the homepage you can find it and that should be of help to you. Happy travel planning, Steph 🙂

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