Kenya Holidays & Safari Travel Guide, Travel Planning Tips and Travel Information
What do you think about the breath-taking Kenya safari and beach holidays with the irresistible wildlife looks? Traditional folks welcome you to Kenya. Whether you are going with your friends, family, or the significant ones, Kenya particular continent offers you tons of attractions and things to do. Kenya has abundant things to be proud of. It has a proud people, abundant wildlife, white sand beaches, fantastic conversation sites, the capital Nairobi – one of fastest-growing cities in the world and many other things.
Kenya Facts and Figures
Area: 580,367 km2 (224,081 sq mi)
Population: 52,173,259 (2019 est.)
Languages: English, Swahili
Religion: (2010 estimate) Christianity 84.8%, Islam 11.1 9.7 to 11.1 %, Others / None 6%
Population density: 78/km2 (202.0/sq mi)
Administrative Capital: Nairobi.
Nairobi has about 4,556,381 (2019 est.)
Currency: Kenyan shilling (KES)
Vehicle registration: KE
International dialing code for Kenya: +254
Form of government: Unitary presidential constitutional republic
Largest city: Nairobi
Public Holidays: New Year’s Day 1st January
Good Friday As per the Gregorian calendar
Easter Monday As per the Gregorian calendar
Labour Day 1st May
Madaraka Day* 1st June
Mashujaa Day* 20th October
Jamhuri (Independence) Day* 12th December
Christmas Day 25th December
Boxing Day 26th December
Idd – ul – Fitr
Emergency numbers: Kenya Police Hotlines 999, 112, 911 Fire and Ambulance Services: 999, 020-2222181/ 020-2222182/ 020-2344599
Time zone: UTC+3 (EAT)
Entry requirements: Visa and valid passport
Power: 240 V and the frequency is 50 Hz
Driving side: left
History and Culture of Kenya
Majority of Kenyan’s citizens are East African descendants. Their heritages are African, Indian, Arabic, and European. Moorish and British colonization has made the face of Kenyan. Modern Kenya boasts food, music, dress, customs, and the aspects which come from Arabic, American and European influences.
The first men were the tribal hunter groups. Then the area was populated by the farming civilization from the Horn of Africa and agriculturalists from Sudan. There had been the layers of society, but the first ones to settle are Arab and Persians. Long story short, Kenya African National Union granted power through the election back in 1957. Daniel Arap Moi was the three-times president under the single party until in 2002 the opposition chairman Mwai Kibaki of National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) happened to be the president in 2003.
Speaking of culture, Kenya is a diverse nation that consists of tribal groups. Each group has distinct costumes, traditions, food, music, and languages. However, the known tribes are Swahili people and Maasai tribes.
Influenced by African traditions, Kenyans have been upholding the family culture. Most of the families are prevalent to Catholicism.
Kenya Highlights / Tourist Attractions
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kenya
Kenya government has signed its sites to the World Heritage Convention. For years Kenyan have managed to protect their natural and cultural heritage. Here are the World Heritage Sites in Kenya:
Cultural Heritage Sites
- Fort Jesus, Mombasa (2011)
- Lamu Old Town (2001)
- Sacred Mijikenda Kaya Forests (2008)
- Thimlich Ohinga Archaeological Site (2018)
Natural Heritage Sites
- Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley (2011)
- Lake Turkana National Parks (1997,2001)
- Mount Kenya National Park/Natural Forest (1997,2013)
Kenya Safari Tours
Tsavo National Park Safari
This national park hosts the rivers, Savannah, volcanic hills, waterfalls, and plateau. Because of its biodiversity, it hosts dense Kenya safari too. Mzima Springs is the highlight where you can see hippos and crocodiles.
Masai Mara National Reserve Safari
It is one of the world’s most fantastic game reserves. Its main point is the Great Migration. It is easy to spot thousands of wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle travel to and from the Serengeti. It usually happens from July to October. So, make sure to come at the right time.
Lamu Island is located at the northeast of Mombasa. It is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its amazing buildings which have the influences from Arab, Europe, and India. It is found of spotting the Swahili feature in the site.
Aberdare National Park Safari
It hosts a fantastic variety of Kenya safari that includes cats, birds, as well as monkey species.
Amboseli National Park Safari
If you have ever seen the classic postcard scene of Kenya, it features the snow-capped peak of Kilimanjaro. Not far away from that, the herds of elephants strolling across. It is easy to spot its breath-taking view.
Kenya Beach Holidays – Coast and Islands
Coast and islands have been the secluded place in the Indian Ocean. The reefs are fantastic here. You could also check its white sands. It also offers archaeological sites and the sway beaches.
The Great Rift Valley
The high rift valley hosts magnificent lakes, oases, and islands. It hosts over 400 species of birds, making it perfect as the bird watching spot. Not to mention that you can also enjoy the sights of the hippos, pelicans, and so on.
Mount Kenya (5199 m)
It is one of the icons of the country. It has abundant flora and wildlife. Listed in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, it is a prevalent destination for those who want to get closer to nature.
Lake Naivasha is the best place for birdwatchers. Take the chance to enjoy the lake on the boat. It hosts over 400 species of birds which you can observe. Some magical creatures could also intervene. They are zebra, buffalo, giraffes, and eland.
Nairobi represents the color of Colonial heritage. You can explore the city’s historic sites. Of course, it also has Kenya safari wildlife sightseeing and attractions. In fact, Nairobi National park is the only national park that sites inside the capital city. Operated since 1946, it is literally the oldest park in the country. We also recommend you to visit Nairobi National Museum to learn more about Kenyan’s history, culture, nature, as well as a distinct art.
Malindi is the name of a fabulous tourist city located in the northern Kenya. It is popular because of its fantastic beaches, welcoming clubs and bars, marine parks, as well as high-rated accomodations. Back then, the town was trading center for Chinese, Arab, and Indian traders. Regarding that fact, it is not surprising that you could witness the fantastic acculturations of costumes and cuisines. Beachgoers also flock the place to get to the Watamu Beach. Other popular tourist attraction is the Falconry of Kenya. It is an important place, which is the rehab center for injured and ill birds. It’s such a different Kenya safari tour that you’d like to add to your list.
Hell’s Gate National Park
It is one of the most amazing pars in Kenya, which allows visitors to camp and explore the site on foot or bicycle. The extinct volcanoes of the Hell’s Gate offer excellent opportunities for climbers and hikers to channel their passion. The park gives protection to various Kenya safari wildlife such as leopards, hartebeest, eland, gazelles, as well as hundreds of bird species.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy
If you and your companions want to get closer to the majestic creatures, it is a great place to start. Ol Pejeta Conservancy is the place which provides the Kenya safari encounter experience. Here you can easily view the big five.
Kenya Safari Holidays – National Parks and Reserves
Kenya is a world popular destination to many travelers coming to Africa. For anyone intending to visit Kenya, a visit to Kenya’s national parks and reserves is a must. The country boasts of having national game parks and marine national parks all of whom are managed by the Kenya wildlife service. The Kenya wildlife service is a government funded and owned organization that is mandated with management of the various parks. Further, Kenya boasts of having several national reserves that are similarly managed by the Kenya wildlife service.
Highlight of various Kenya’s national parks
The country is divided into eight major provinces that include:
3) Rift Valley
8) North Eastern
Each region boasts of a unique national park or reserve attraction each with a unique identity.
Nairobi is host to the world`s only national park that`s within a City. The park is approximately 15 minutes drive from the Jomokenyatta International airport. The Nairobi National park is a major attraction to many travelers that many not be in a position to transverse the beautiful landscapes of Kenya.
Close to the entrance, is the Nairobi orphanage that is home to the orphaned wildlife, the park is also used as an educational facility for most schools across the country over and above attracting tourists visiting Kenya. The park`s main attractions include wildlife that comprise of Lions, Buffalos, Rhinos, Leopards, hyenas, cheaters, and giraffes as well as zebras plus huge array of bird species that migrate from across the world.
Central Kenya Circuit
The region is renowned as the Mount Kenya region as is host to the famous mountain. Central region is close to the capital city with areas like Kiambu, Thika, Muranga, Nyeri, Nanyuki and Kirinyaga districts.
The region is host to the Aberadare National Park and Mount Kenya National park. Both parks are re-known for elephants among other wildlife. Mount Kenya is one of Kenya world heritage sites and in addition it is a water tower for Kenya. The region attracts a large number of tourists yearly a majority of whom are climber conquering Mount Kenya.
Rift Valley Circuit
Anyone traveling or even researching about Kenya will not miss out on Rift Valley`s diverse National parks. The region is rich in tourism attractions that include the most famous Kenyan attraction The Maasai Mara Game reserve. From the time one departs the capital city, travelers are spoilt for choices within this region.
The main attractions include:
Hells Gate National Park
Located in Naivasha, the park is famous for hiking, camping as well rock climbing adventure. The park attracts lots of locals tourist mainly for picnics, biking and walking safaris.
Host to Mount Longonot, the park is another attraction where light hikers and climbers can take up a hiking challenge. The park also has little wildlife and offers camping facility for those that would want to enjoy a night in the wild. Hikers can enjoy a view of Naivasha town at the top of the mountain. For more challenge, climbers can adventure by walking round the entire mountain rim.
Lake Nakuru National Park
One of the most visited parks within the region, Lake Nakuru National park is host to Lake Nakuru re-known for the pink flamingoes. The park is a buzz with great wildlife that include, white and black rhinos, hippos, various bird species, the Columbus monkey, zebras, impalas, warthogs, buffaloes and not forgetting the Rothschild Giraffes. Right at the entrance of the park, travelers are ushered by grazing impalas and zebras. The park is a great attraction not only to foreign tourist but also the locals. Picnics can be held within the park at the baboon cliff that offers a lovely viewing point of Lake Nakuru as well as the lash grassland and lovely canopy of acacia trees.
Maasai Mara Game Reserve
Although this world famous destination is not managed by the Kenya wildlife service, one would not disentangle the reserve from the rift valley region. The reserve is well known for the wildebeest migration that takes place annually around August to October. Every year the reserve experiences an influx of visitors flocking the famous facility to experience the great migration.
The reserve spans through to Tanzania at the Serengeti. The facility is an all year round visit area. At the Maasai Mara travelers have extensive range of activities that include game drives, camping, walking safaris and in some occasions, culture interactions where visitors can get to learn about the Maasai culture.
Amboseli National Park
Located near the border of Tanzania, The Amboseli National Park christened the “Kilimajaro Royal Court” by the Kenya Wildlife Service who is the parks managers. The main attraction include the large elephants herds, a scenic view of Mount Kilimajaro, interaction with the local maasai community, and off-course all the other big five wildlife of Kenya can be found at this park. The park is a great transit location to most tourists intending to visit both regions i.e. Kenya and Tanzania as it extends to the Tanzania side. Accommodation at the park includes various lodges, campsite that are private, public, self catering as well as Banda`s that are managed by the Kenya wildlife service.
The Coastal region is another highly visited location due to the white sandy beaches and the Indian Ocean`s coast line. The coastal region also boast of marine parks where travelers can enjoy watching dolphins, snorkeling, diving, sun bathing or just enjoying a sundowner around the various parks.
The diverse marine parks within the coastal region include: – The Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park located at the south coast, The Mombasa Marine National Park and Reserve both of whom are located in Mombasa, Watamu Marine National Park and Malindi Marine Park.
Away from the beaches and Marine Parks are national parks that include the Tsavo East and West National parks in addition to Shimba Hill National Reserve.
Tsavo East & West National Parks
Believed to be home to the man eaters of Kenya, the Tsavo East and West national reserves have a large number of the cat family that include lions, leopards and cheaters. It is not a new thing, to frequent visitors here, and tour operators to experience a pride of lions lying right in the middle of the road. The parks also boast of large number of elephants.
Shimba Hills National Reserve
Identified for the sable antelope, Shimba hills have the biggest elephant population. It is an ideal getaway for Kenya safari and beach holidays.
Kora National Park
Located in the Tana River district, Kora National Parks main activities include fishing at the Tana River, game drives, hiking among others. Visitors can also enjoy bird watching as the park has a diverse bird species.
Western and Nyanza Circuits
The Nyanza region is synonymous with Kisumu city home to Lake Victoria while the Western region hosts Kakamega forest. At the foot of Mount Elgon is Mt. Elgon National Park. The mountain is the second highest after Mt. Kenya. The park has vast forest, elephants plus other wildlife and caves that are a major attraction. While in the Western region a visit to the Kakamega Forest Reserve is a must for any traveler. The forest is distinctive in its beauty; it is the home to various birds species, butterflies along with snakes hence making it a great destination for bird and butterflies watching safaris.
Other parks within this region include
Saiwa Swamp National park: Here visitors can enjoy walking around the park, a lovely viewing area as well as get to see the rare Sitatunga.
Rimoi National Park
Located within Kerio Valley, Rimoi National Park offers traveler an opportunity to learn about the culture of the communities living around this area. This includes Turkana, Luo, Kalenjin. Kerio is host to most Kenya athletics hence visitors can organize a visit to the different training camps within the region.
Ruma National Park
Located in Nyanza, the park is well known as the only park where the Roan antelope can be found. The parks other attractions include, Giraffes, baboons, monkeys, rhinos, leopards among other wildlife. Visitors can engage in camping, picnics and game drives. The park also has self catering accommodation.
Ndere Island National Park
The park is an ideal place to enjoy camping, walking safaris and learn the culture of the Luo community who live within the region. Book your Kenya’s national parks safaris on Tiketi and save time and money.
Eastern and Northern Circuits
This circuit hosts Kenya remotest regions yet very exciting safaris that travelers may ever experience. The Eastern region comprises of Embu town, Meru region, Ukambani region that include Kitui, Machakos and their environs while the Northern Eastern regions comprises of Isiolo Marsabit plus the far northern regions of Wajir, Lodwar, Mandera and Garissa. These regions border Kenya with Ethiopia and Somalia from the North. Security in this region especially in the border towns is highly threatened by an influx of refugees coming to Kenya due to instability in their home countries.
Nonetheless, the region is a tourist destination with several National parks that include:
Meru National Park
This park is located in Meru, Eastern province. Meru National park is a treat to tourist within the eastern circuit. The park has the biggest population of buffalos and has several rivers that transverse through the park to pour into the Tana River.
Marsabit National Park and Reserve
As the name dictates, the park is located in Marsabit District. The park is a major attraction as its home to the African Elephant along immeasurable bird life and wildlife.
Malka Mari National Park
Located along the border of Kenya and Ethiopia, at the far end of Kenya in Mandera town.
Sibiloi National Park
Located in the north region at Lake Turkana. Sibilio National Park has been branded “The Cradle of Mankind” by the Kenya wildlife service. The park is highly visited by researchers and archeologist apart from tourist. The climate within this region is very hot hence travelers are advised to ensure that they have plenty of water.
Finally a majority of Kenya’s National Parks – Elephant can be visited all year round.
Biggest Cities In Kenya
Nairobi has such complex characters. For those who are fond of this city, they can see the vibrant cultural life, the mouth-watering local delicacies, as well as fantastic nightlife.
The wildlife-centric attractions,
and national museum are also must to visit in your holidays to Kenya.
The Tallest Building in Africa
If you are fond of skyline, then you will be wowed with some of the tallest buildings in Africa. UAP Old Mutual Tower is one of them. It is slated as the tallest building in Kenya. But in 2020, it is no longer holding the title since the Pinnacle Towers will replace its status as the first Africa’s supertall building.
Nairobi Safari Walk
Just like many other adventurers, you have your own pace in enjoying the safari offered by Nairobi. Not far away from Nairobi city, there is Nairobi Safari Walk. It is relatively a new nature conservation which focuses on the kenya safari walk recreation.
The recreation park boasts the landscape, environment, and concentrate wildlife species for both recreational and educational purposes.
It is a prevalent destination for both local and international visitors. Local visitors will be able to enjoy the park while learning about their domestic plants and animals. It is the place for you and your family to take part in the wildlife conservation movement.
The international visitors are also having a fun time in Kenya’s Parks and Reserves. The visitors from around the world will have the chance to learn unique Kenya’s parks and reserves. From this park, you will be able to watch the creatures that you may not find in your country such as albino zebra, rare bongo, as well as a white rhino. There are collections of cats, primates, as well as antelopes. The developer of this park is very great. Besides the fauna, you can also aspire the beauty of its flora. There around 150 species of local trees. Consider bringing your pocket camera or action cam to capture all of the beautiful moments in the Nairobi Safari Walk.
Mombasa has been rapidly growing. The government has succeeded to make this city more visible than before. It offers the top sights including Fort Jesus, Spice Market, Mandhry Mosque, Old Law Courts, Jain Temple, Tusks, Lord Shiva Temple, and Indian Ocean beaches
Kisumi is the third largest city in Kenya. It is a laid-back place which is perfect for soothing experience seekers.
Nakuru has one of the best lake views in the country. You will want to spend some time here. Nakuru has been transforming into a better one. Its way to the lakes is something unique. At first glance, it does soothing. But you will find a lot of offers from the city beside a good refuel.
It derives from Indore which means stoney river. Visit Doinyo Lessons Creameries Cheese Factory to taste 20 different varieties of cheese. A fulfilling experience for the cheese lover.
It is the center of production of miraa — the leafy stimulant which many know as khat.
Kikuyu is the hub for the Kenya safari experience to Masai Mara, Tsao, Mount Kenya Region, and many more.
Malindi offers few historical sights, Kenya safari marine national parks, as well as fabulous beaches. It is also a melting pot of local cultures.
The small town is the gateway to Lake Naivasha. Most travelers pass by the city to trade, use an ATM, or fill the fuel tank. Some might stay in the simple lodges.
Thika is popular because of The Flame Trees of Thika. You could see the tree. For some folks, it is a lonely place.
Major towns based on size and popularity as a tourist destination include
Nature Reserves in Kenya
Kenya is one of the hottest safari destinations in the world since it hosts tons of Kenya safari wildlife varieties with ample concentrations. You and your companions are easier to see the big five. For those who haven’t known, the big five are an elephant, buffalo, rhinoceros, lion, and leopard. “Big Five” was initially the coined phrase to describe the most challenging and powerful animals to hunt. But the connotation has become the denotation.
UNESCO slated three Natural World Heritage Sites in Kenya. The honorable parks are Lake Turkana National Park, Mijikenda Kaya Forests, and Mount Kenya National Park. With dozens of parks and natural reserves, the KWS – Kenya Wildlife Services also maintain hundreds of outposts and stations nearby the protected areas.
If you come at the right time, you will also have the chance to witness the Great Migration. Millions of animals have been traveling to Masai Mara Reserve to the Serengeti to look for the greeneries. It is a beautiful experience to witness the tons of wildebeest, zebras, and antelope migrate every year.
Things To Do In Kenya / Leisure Activities
The leisure activities in Kenya are abundant from sporting events, museums, national parks, beach holidays, dining, as well as nightlife. If you are a wildlife lover, don’t miss the experience of Kenya safari tours in Nairobi National Park.
It is only natural for some travelers to be curious about the history and culture of the country they visit. Consider visiting the living museum to get closer to the essential aspects. It is also great to learn about the tribes, history, music, traditions, as well as the languages.
Kenyan cuisine is abundant. You will want to enjoy it from morning to midnight. You won’t ever get enough of them.
Sporting activities are favorite in Kenya. There are some sports to do, like basketball, rugby, soccer, cricket, swimming, kitesurfing, stand up paddling, jet ski, white water rafting, sailing, bungee jumping, snorkeling, diving, balloon rides, etc.. If you are lucky, you will find the right community as your teammates.
Nature & Wildlife Areas in Kenya
Obviously, your Kenya holidays won’t be complete without enjoying its national parks and reserves.
Dining and Drinking
The best way to sample the Kenyan cuisine is to visit Nairobi. It hosts both national cuisines and international cuisines. If it is your first time in the country, it is essential to sample Kenyan cuisine like roasted meats (Nyama Choma), grilled meats, plantain banana stew, Kenyan stew. Most meals come to serve with chapati and ugali or cornmeal.
If you want to feel like at home, Kenya’s big cities also host the vast array of International cuisine and fast food restaurants you can easily find.
But why not try the traditional Kenyan cuisines as you have the opportunity to do it?
Besides ugali or cornmeal, you will notice the other staples like rice, chapati, potatoes, and matoke. Goat is the favorite meat in Kenya. But you could also enjoy beef, chicken. Some exotic meats are also available, such as crocodile.
If the night is not so short, you could proceed to visit the nightclubs that serve the delicious foods and mouth-watering drinks.
Eating fast foods have been a lot easier these days. You can find tons of shops that offer chips, burgers, sausages, pizzas, fried chicken, and so on. And most of them come at much affordable price.
Street foods are also favorite in Kenya. From the western foods to traditional ones, you can get everything to satisfy your curiosity. We recommend you to try the deep fried yams which come to serve with lemon juice and sprinkling chili powder
You can also try Kenya’s cassava chips that you could find at the coast street food stalls.
Best Time to Visit Kenya
Kenya has a tropical climate. Kenya daytime temperatures can be between 20°C/68°F and 28°C/82°F. On the coast, the atmosphere is much warmer.
Kenya lies on the equator and has a pleasant, tropical climate, but there are significant regional climatic variations influenced by several factors, including altitude. Temperatures drop by about 6°C for every 1,000m you climb (or 3.5°F per 1,000ft). Kenya’s daytime temperatures average between 20°C/68°F and 28°C/82°F, but it is warmer on the coast. The coast is hot and humid all year round, but the monsoon winds temper the heat. Kenya is too close to the equator to experience real winter and summer. There is, however, both a Dry and Wet season.
Dry season happens from June to October. These months are the coldest ones. It is usually around 23°C in the higher altitudes. Meanwhile, it can be as high as 28°C in the lower elevations.Although each person has a different strength, it is recommended to pack the warm clothing. The dry season gives benefits to the beachgoers since it is the least humid season.
From November to May, there will be a wet season. Then in November and December, there will be short rains. The rains can be heavy or light. The country gets long rains from March to May.
Travelling to Kenya
- Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) Arrivals
- Mombasa Moi International Airport
Travelling in Kenya: Bus, train, flights, ferry (Mombasa, Lake
You can use the train to travel from Nairobi to Syokimau. The train station is available daily. For long distance, the uses of the train are due to specific routes. Make sure to get informed in prior. Recently, Kenya has also opened Nairobi-Mombasa Madaraka Express railway. The railway links the port city Mombasa and Nairobi.
Traveling by air can be a more time-effective and convenient way to explore Kenya. As we know, the Kenya safari and beach holidays can be too short. And you don’t want to waste your time because of traffic jams and other problems. If you have more budget, it should be a great option. Finding cheap flights to Kenya / domestic flights from one city to another is easy.
The bus is the best public transportation service in Kenya. You can use it to travel from city to city in the safest way.
You can easily find public ferry services in Kenya. Likoni ferry is an active boat that connects between the mainland and Mombasa Island, as well as Mbita and Mfangano.
Holidays to Kenya Entry Requirements
Some visitors can attain the visa on arrival. However, some will need to apply for a visa. You could see the list of the countries that fall in the first category or the second category. It is essential to use visa months before arrival to avoid any mishaps.