Incandescent hues of red, orange and yellow fill the sky, silhouetting the giraffes, birds and acacia trees as the sun descends on the Serengeti. This iconic image is what has become emblematic of Kenya, safaris and Africa as a whole. While sunsets here make for incredible photographs, no picture can truly capture the majestic beauty and rewarding experience of watching some of the world’s most revered animals in their natural habitat.
Named after the tallest peak, Mt. Kenya, the eponymous country is brimming with breath-taking landscapes, incredible wildlife, rich history and a vibrant culture. The country, which is often referred to as “all of Africa in one country,” has everything imaginable. From the vast savannah and snow-capped mountain to the concrete jungle of the city and warm beaches on the Indian Ocean, every inch of the country is teeming with hidden secrets, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and thrilling adventures. Kenya, a truly a magical kingdom, has a wealth of beauty and knowledge that is just waiting to be uncovered by its visitors.
With its imposing snow-capped mountains along the equator, rolling plains of the arid desert, palm-fringed coastlines and dense forests, Kenya’s geography is unrivalled – in both beauty and diversity. Kenya is literally split in two from east to west by the Great Rift Valley. The 3,500 mile trough contains some of the world’s most pristine lakes, geysers, mountains and plains. The valley supports a number of the country’s animals such as hippos, flamingos and numerous different birds. Mt. Kenya is the world’s tallest freestanding mountain and the second highest in Africa. Although it lies directly atop the equator, its summit remains covered in snow year-round. Meanwhile, the savannah grasslands, the most notable geographical feature of Kenya, are home to hundreds of different animal species. On the east lie the pristine beaches and rich coral reef.
Home to every imaginable type of animal, Kenya truly is a wildlife haven. It contains one of the largest concentrations of diverse wildlife in the world, with inhabitants such as the Tsavo red and Amboseli elephants, wildebeest, zebras, cheetahs and over 1,000 types of birds. Kenya is one of the continent’s most popular safari destinations. Here eager visitors are treated to sightings of the big five – buffalo, elephants, leopards, lions and rhinos. Yet, an encounter with any animal, even the smaller ones, is an unforgettable experience. The Masai Mara National Reserve is one of the best locations to seek out these majestic animals.
Kenya is home to spectacular national reserves and UNESCO World Heritage sites. The east African country boasts more than 40 national parks and nature reserves that provide visitors with spectacular views, incredible animal encounters and memorable cultural experiences. Meru National Park, while less popular than others, remains relatively unspoilt with plenty of opportunities to catch the big five as well as other rare species. The remote Sibiloi National Park is located in the east and is home to one of the world’s largest concentrations of crocodiles. Closer to the city is the Nairobi National Park. Despite its proximity to humans, the park contains one of the densest populations of black rhinos, as well as lions, hyenas and other animals. The small, ancient town of Lamu is a UNESCO World Heritage site that attracts visitors with its simple ways of life and cultural influences from the East Africans, Yemenis, Indians and Portugese.
Kenya’s wealth isn’t limited to its terrain and wildlife. Kenyans, the lifeline of the country, are what make it such a fascinating place to visit. The Maasai, Samburu, Swahili, and the Turkana are just some of the over 40 different tribal groups that keep the county’s land and traditions alive. Just being able to meet with tribe members is a rewarding experience in itself. Many people begin their Kenyan adventures in the capital city of Nairobi, but do not stay there for long, and consequently miss out on incredible opportunities to experience another facet of the Kenyan culture.
Kenya’s natural beauty is undeniably breathtaking. Its unique land formations, vast plains, deep craters and coral reef are all reason enough to visit this great nation – even if just to capture post card-worthy photographs. However, it’s the close encounters, thrilling adventures, humbling experiences and serene moments that make this place such a magical kingdom.
Whether embarking on a safari, lapping in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean or hiking the steep summit of Mt. Kenya, the endless adventures and activities are what make Kenya such an enticing and rewarding place to visit. Visitors are left with incredible memories and hopes of returning one day soon.
Things to do in Kenya
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The days in Kenya are long, with the sun often remaining out from dusk until dawn. The country’s location on the equator means that sun exposure is greater and stronger, and that sunscreen is necessary at all times. Sunglasses, hats and other protective gear are also highly advised.
While the days may be filled with plenty of sunlight and warmth, the nights and mornings can be cool, especially on safaris and on top of the mountain. Take plenty of layers such as a t-shirt, jumper and fleece, so that you can dress accordingly.
Although it is not required, yellow fever vaccination is highly recommended for travel to Kenya. Anti-malarial medication is also recommended. Be sure to keep all paperwork on-hand in the event that you are required to present it. Mosquito nets and insect repellent are also essential, even when navigating the city street.
However you choose to capture the majestic Kenyan moments, be sure to carry plenty of back up power sources and materials. Kenya has great phone service, so your mobile phones will work. Binoculars are a must for wildlife viewing. Additionally, a small torch is always a good thing to have on-hand.
Since Kenya lies on the equator, it boasts some incredibly diverse and pleasant climates. The days tend to be dry with plenty of sunlight and average temperatures between 20°C and 25°C. The weather along the coast remains consistent all year and can be pretty humid and warm, but the sea breeze adds a refreshing touch to the 23°C to 27°C temperatures. Western Kenya is also pretty hot and humid. However, central Kenya is situated at a higher altitude, which means the temperatures remain relatively mild. The temperatures in the mountains are much cooler, with nights often dropping below freezing and permanent snow.
The rainy season runs from March to May and November to December. Typical rainfall consists of heavy downpours that last about an hour, and are followed by sun and clear skies. The dry season, and best time for wildlife viewing, is from July to October and mid December to March. High travel season along the coast runs from September to January, with the hottest months being December and January.
Check out our Blog to see some of the amazing experiences Kenya has to offer
Incandescent hues of red, orange and yellow fill the sky, silhouetting the giraffes, birds and acacia trees as the sun descends on the Serengeti. This iconic image is what has become emblematic of Kenya, safaris and Africa as a whole. While sunsets here make f...
Kenya is often referred to as the ‘Heart of Africa’ – largely due to its central location on the continent and the fact that Nairobi is the centre of international activity, and air arrivals into East Africa. Kenya is a country of true diver...
This could be titled 'Why I love Kenya' so be ready for some unabashed positive messages about the country. image credit: Great Plains Conservation I keep coming across people who ask me if it's safe in Kenya, and while at first I was surprised, having live...
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