Reasons Why You Should Visit Kenya at Least Once

Watching wildebeest in the early morning at Maasai Mara National Reserve is just one amazing reason to visit Kenya
Watching wildebeest in the early morning at Maasai Mara National Reserve is just one amazing reason to visit Kenya
Jean Wandimi

Long after you’ve left Kenya, some things will stay with you forever – witnessing the Great Migration in the Mara, sampling ‘ugali’ dough or relaxing on the pristine beaches of the Kenyan coast. Here are the top reasons to visit Kenya.

For the ultimate experience, join Culture Trip’s expertly curated seven-day adventure in Kenya. Highlights include game drives in Aberdare National Park, admiring flamingos in Lake Nakuru and learning about Maasai culture in the Loita Hills.

1. Visit wildlife conservancies

Natural Feature, Park

Two rhinos touch heads at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya
© Pranav Chadha / Alamy Stock Photo

There are more than 100 operational wildlife conservancies in Kenya, split between public and private land across the country. Each one aims to preserve and promote healthy wildlife ecosystems, complementing Kenya’s national park system. From Ol Pejeta near Mount Kenya to Ol Kinyei near the border with Tanzania, conservancies provide visitors with unforgettable experiences of incredible animals.

2. Visit pristine beaches and sail the Kenyan coast

Natural Feature, Architectural Landmark

A view from the sea towards the boat-filled harbour of Lamu Old Town, a Unesco World Heritage Site in Kenya
© Peter Groenendijk / robertharding / Alamy Stock Photo

A visit to Kenya is incomplete without a visit to the beautiful beaches in Mombasa, Malindi, Diani and Lamu. Lapped by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, the coast offers snorkelling and kitesurfing adventures as well as complete relaxation. Stay in a Swahili beach house and take long strolls along soft sand in the evenings; make sure to try some fresh seafood and delicious Swahili cuisine.

4. Delight your taste buds with Kenyan food

Restaurant, African, Fusion

A plate of fish with tomatoes and ugali, a maize dough that is Kenyas national food
© Antony Trivet / Alamy Stock Photo

From the bizarre to the traditional and everyday, sample an array of great local dishes while you’re here. The capital, Nairobi, is full of restaurants boasting diverse menus from across the globe. There are also some unique dining locations, including Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant and the Moorings Floating Restaurant in Mombasa. Ugali (a stiff, maize flour dough) is Kenya’s national dish – you’ll find it on every menu.

5. Uncover history at Unesco World Heritage sites

Museum, Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

A view from the water towards three men on a boat and Fort Jesus in Mombasa, Kenya. Built by the Portuguese in 1593, it is situated at the entrance to the old Dhow Harbour.
© John Warburton-Lee Photography / Alamy Stock Photo
Kenya has seven unique World Heritage sites. Cultural locations include the Old Town of Lamu; Fort Jesus and the Sacred Mijikenda Kaya Forests in Mombasa; and the stone ruins of Thimlich Ohinga near Lake Victoria, believed to be over 500 years old. Natural sites include the Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley, the three Lake Turkana National Parks and Mount Kenya National Park.

6. Visit the scenic countryside

Natural Feature

A view of a vast tea plantation in Kericho, Kenya
© Thomas Cockrem / Alamy Stock Photo

Whether you plan to hike, drive or cycle, the picturesque Kenyan landscapes will leave you in awe. From fields of green tea leaves in Kericho and the lush Kakamega rainforest, to the barren Nyiri and Chalbi deserts and towering peak of Africa’s second-largest mountain, Kenya’s nature is astounding. Make sure you explore beyond the safaris.

7. Check out the nightlife

Nightclub, Cocktails

A male musician takes the stage at the Africa Nouveau Festival in Nairobi, Kenya (February 2-4, 2018)
© Chris Trinh / Alamy Stock Photo

People in Nairobi party hard, so hit the clubs and lounges and laugh with locals. Visit the Central Business District, Westlands, Ngong Road or Nairobi West for the coolest clubs – the best days to party are Thursday, Friday and Saturday. If you’re not into loud music and dancing, try the laid-back jazz night at K1 Klub House. Brew Bistro & Lounge on Ngong Road is known for its craft beer, rooftop bar and salsa dancing.

8. Have breakfast with a giraffe

Boutique Hotel, Safari Lodge

A man leans as if to kiss a giraffe which is poking its head through a window towards the breakfast table at Giraffe Manor, a hotel in Nairobi, Kenya
© World Travel Collection / Alamy Stock Photo
Giraffe Manor is a stately boutique hotel in Lang’ata, Nairobi, set in 5ha (12 acres) of forest. Its sunny terraces and verdant courtyards are often visited in the mornings and evenings by the local Rothschild’s giraffes, who poke their long necks into the open windows in hope of a treat. With only 12 rooms, the hotel is a tranquil oasis away from the bustle of the nearby capital.

9. Browse exceptional art, jewellery and crafts at Maasai Market


Five women sit by a wall producing beadwork at the Maasai market in central Arusha, Tanzania (not Kenya)
© Terry Allen / Alamy Stock Photo

When it comes to jewellery, you can always find beautiful items at Maasai Market and other Nairobi flea markets. These bustling places are also the best sites for buying clothing fabric, decor items and furniture. Recommended shops to visit in the capital include Kitengela Glass and Kazuri, for handmade beads.

Chloe Thrussell contributed additional reporting to this article.

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