Best Places to Visit in Kenya

Best Places to Visit in Kenya

Discover Kenya's Top Tourist Spots

WRITTEN BYBryan Jacinto
PUBLISHED ONJanuary 1, 2024

Kenya is the perfect destination for those seeking the thrill of an African safari or the relaxation of a sunny beach. Wherever your interests lie, embrace Kenya's untamed beauty.

Here's your comprehensive guide to make your expedition in Kenya captivating and memorable, enlisting the mesmerizing places you must visit.

Maasai Mara National Reserve

The Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya is a dream location for wildlife lovers and adventurers. Known for its variety of species, unique ecosystems, and Maasai culture, this top safari destination offers unforgettable experiences in the midst of Kenya's natural beauty.

The Great Migration

Imagine witnessing a natural spectacle as more than a million wildebeests, zebras, and antelopes traverse the vast plains of Maasai Mara during what is known as "The Great Migration." From July to October, these animals embark on an epic journey from Tanzania's Serengeti to Kenya's Maasai Mara in search of greener pastures.

It's an incredible display of nature, amplified by the dramatic river crossings filled with peril from hungry crocodiles at every turn. Be sure not to miss this once-in-a-lifetime spectacle that serves as a testament to the beauty and power of wildlife.

Big Cat sightings

As a traveler exploring the vast landscape of the Maasai Mara National Reserve, prepare for the exhilarating experience of big cat sightings. Lions, cheetahs, and leopards call this stunning wilderness home. Watch in awe as pride of lions roam freely or catch a rare glimpse of a leopard stealthily prowling in the underbrush.

Cheetahs, known for their record-breaking speed, can often be spotted sprinting across the plains in an enthralling display of predatory prowess. Travel with a trusted guide to maximize your sightings, but remember to maintain a respectful distance. This is a raw and vivid wildlife experience that enriches your Kenyan adventure.

Mara River

No trip to Maasai Mara National Reserve would be complete without a visit to the Mara River. This pivotal waterway serves as the stage for the remarkable Great Migration, where thousands of wildebeest, zebra, and other wildlife cross its currents, creating a spectacle of life and survival that's unlike anything else on earth.

Beyond the Migration, the Mara River is awash with life, its banks frequently visited by elephants, giraffes, and an array of birdlife. Packed with Nile crocodiles and hippos, every moment spent here promises a truly wild encounter. Remember to take your binoculars with you, as they allow an up-close view from a safe distance.

Full of natural elegance and untamed charisma, the Mara River adds a dose of intense wildlife experiences that solidify the Maasai Mara National Reserve as an unmissable part of any Kenyan adventure.

For more on this and other must-see spots in Kenya, check out our guide: Best things to do in Kenya. It's filled with the country's hidden gems, from gleaming mountaintops to enigmatic wildlife corners.


Known as the "Green City in the Sun," Nairobi is not only the capital city of Kenya but also the pulsating heart of the country. Its vibrant mix of cultures, endless energy, and bustling commerce, all set amidst extensive green spaces, make it unique. Nairobi perfectly encapsulates the urban African experience with its fusion of modern skyscrapers, bustling markets, world-class restaurants, and rich wildlife right on the city's doorstep, offering the perfect base to begin your Kenyan adventure.

The Nairobi National Park

With over 400 species of birds, you're promised a rich bird-watching experience.

Home to a plethora of native wildlife like the endangered black rhino, lions, leopards, zebras, and giraffes, it earns its fame as a true animal lover's paradise. Nestled about 7km away from Kenya's capital, it's the ideal quick getaway.

An exciting addition is the park's walking trails located at the Hippo Pools. Get up close to nature, feel the thrill of the African bush, and create vivid memories that will last a lifetime. The Nairobi National Park is a slice of wilderness in the heart of a bustling city. It's a contrast you'll have to experience to believe.

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

For a heartwarming and insightful experience, visit The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi. This haven for orphaned elephants serves as a sanctuary for these magnificent animals, providing an opportunity for visitors to learn about conservation efforts. You may even get a chance to support by "adopting" one.

This wildlife trust also works towards the conservation of black rhinos. Established in 1977, it's known globally for the successful hand-raising and rehabilitation of infant elephants orphaned due to poaching or human-wildlife conflicts. Prepare to get up close and watch them feed or play in romp mud, a sight sure to leave you filled with awe and appreciation for these majestic creatures and the efforts made to protect them.

Kazuri Beads Women's Cooperative

If shopping is more your speed, plan a visit to the Kazuri Beads Women's Cooperative. This special collective in Nairobi prides itself on producing unique, handcrafted ceramic jewelry since 1975. It's not just about the stunning pieces, though, as this cooperative empowers vulnerable and unemployed women, providing them with fair wages and good working conditions.

A tour will offer you a firsthand look at how the exquisite beads are created and, of course, an opportunity to purchase some of their beautiful work - a thoughtful souvenir that contributes directly to the livelihood of the artisans.

Additionally, your time in Kenya can be made even more unforgettable by choosing the right season for your visit. To help you make the most of your journey, check out our guide on the best time to visit Kenya. It should equip you with everything you need to know for planning an impeccably timed exploration of this stunningly diverse land.

Lamu Island

Immerse yourself in the enchanting allure of Lamu Island, one of the oldest Swahili settlements in East Africa. It's a tranquil haven, home to unspoiled sandy beaches, a fascinating Old Town, and a rich tapestry of cultural history. As you explore the island, you'll discover a pace of life that welcomes you to leave modern stress behind, giving way to tradition, friendly locals, and memorable experiences.

Lamu Old Town

If you desire a step back in time, a visit to Lamu Old Town is in order. As one of the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlements in East Africa, this Unesco World Heritage site lures you with its rich history and timeless charm. Imagine strolling through the narrow winding lanes flanked by enchanting stone houses made of coral and mud. These houses, featuring intricately carved wooden doors, are veritable portals to a bygone era.

As you explore further, you encounter historic landmarks like Lamu Fort and Riyadha Mosque, each offering a unique narrative of Lamu's vibrant history. Venturing into the bustling market affords opportunities to mingle with friendly locals and sample authentic Swahili cuisine. Visiting Lamu Old Town is more than just sightseeing; it's an immersion into a deeply preserved culture, offering a truly enriching travel experience.

Shela Beach

When you're on Lamu Island, a visit to Shela Beach is something you simply can't miss. This paradisiacal stretch of pristine white sand, located on the northeastern shoreline, offers a heavenly retreat. Imagine walking along the tranquil coastline with the soft textures of sun-warmed sand between your toes while the rhythmic song of the waves serenades you. Palms and sand dunes backdrop the 12-kilometer beach, offering exquisite natural beauty that'll leave you breathless.

Adjoining the beach, you'll find the sleepy village of Shela, replete with traditional Swahili houses and charming little shops. The area is also known for its high-end, boutique accommodation offerings, truly making it an enchanting spot for relaxation and leisure.

Takwa Ruins

As you journey through Lamu Island, be sure to carve out time for a visit to the Takwa Ruins. Nestled amidst mangrove trees on the southwestern side of Manda Island, these enigmatic ruins carry tales of an ancient Swahili town. Historical enthusiasts dating back to the 15th century will revel in exploring the remnants of mosques, tombs, and homes that once thrived in this community.

The Great Mosque of Takwa, notable for its sizable coral-built pillar, is a must-see. As you tread these sacred echoes of history, you'll find an enriching sense of connection to the island's rich history.

However, before setting off on your adventure, it's crucial to get acquainted with the local driving conditions. Therefore, we invite you to use our detailed driving guide for Kenya. It equips you with valuable insights into the specifics of road travel in Kenya, preparing you for a smooth and enjoyable journey.

Amboseli National Park

Famous for its large herds of elephants and stunning views of Mount Kilimanjaro, Amboseli National Park is a must-visit for anyone touring Kenya. This park is situated in the Loitoktok District, close to the Tanzanian border. The wetlands within the park, with sulfur springs emanating from the mountain, attract a wide variety of animal and bird life.

In addition to elephants, you can spot giraffes, zebras, hyenas, and lions. It's the ultimate location for those interested in wildlife and spectacular landscapes. And don't forget your binoculars – Amboseli is also a paradise for birdwatchers with over 400 species of birds.

Observing Elephants

Taking a trip to Amboseli National Park, you'll find yourself in the perfect place to observe elephants. This vast, beautiful wilderness is known around the world for its vibrant elephant population. Here, you'll be able to witness these majestic creatures in their natural habitat, whether they're munching on acacia trees, bathing in watering holes, or simply ambling across the plains.

Make sure to bring your binoculars and camera, as you'll have the opportunity to capture close-up pictures of these gentle giants. Seeing these majestic creatures up close is an awe-inspiring experience that truly puts into perspective the grandeur and diversity of Kenya's wildlife.

Mount Kilimanjaro Views

As you explore Amboseli National Park, don't miss out on the incredible opportunity to view Mount Kilimanjaro in its full majesty. Renowned for having the best view in Kenya of this tallest peak in Africa, the park offers breathtaking sunrise and sunset vistas, with the fiery African sky offering a dramatic backdrop to the soaring, snow-capped summit.

Be it from the comfort of your lodge or during a riveting wildlife drive, these views of Mount Kilimanjaro aren't just a feast for the eyes but food for the soul, encapsulating the stirring, unspoiled beauty of the African wilderness.

Bird Species

As a bird enthusiast, Amboseli National Park is a paradise you wouldn't want to miss. The park is a host to over 400 bird species, making it a fascinating destination for both avid bird watchers and casual observers alike. Birds you would likely spot include the African Fish Eagle, Southern Ground Hornbill, and Hamerkop.

Don't forget your binoculars and camera, as the park is a bustling bird hub where you'll be taking plenty of snapshots. Remember, patience is key when bird-watching, so there is no need to rush. Take your time to appreciate the vibrant, feathered spectacle that unfolds before your eyes.

Lake Nakuru National Park

Enrich your travel experience with a visit to the awe-inspiring Lake Nakuru National Park. Nestled in Central Kenya, this gem is renowned for its staggering array of wildlife. The park, dominated by the enchanting Lake Nakuru, forms a spectacular backdrop with its alkaline water attracting flocks of flamingos painting it pink. It's a must-see spectacle for bird lovers.

Flamingo Paradise

If you're a lover of nature and especially birds, Lake Nakuru National Park, known as Flamingo Paradise, should be high on your list. It is home to one of the world's highest concentrations of flamingos. Imagine the sight of millions of these elegant birds standing in the shallow waters of the lake, with their characteristic pink plumage glowing against the African sun.

Here, you can witness them in their natural habitat, feeding on the abundant algae, chatting away in their unique squawks, and performing synchronized aerial displays that are a joy to behold. Remember, though, Lake Nakuru is not just about flamingos. Look out for over 450 other bird species, making it truly a birdwatcher's paradise.

White Rhino Sanctuary

Lake Nakuru National Park is synonymous with the efforts towards rhino conservation that it embodies. Here, you'll find the White Rhino Sanctuary, an exceptional establishment focusing on the conservation of this endangered species. Visitors stand the chance to observe these majestic creatures in their natural habitat, a truly enlightening experience.

Besides the pure enchantment that comes with observing the white rhinos, visiting the sanctuary also provides an educational opportunity. You get to learn about the challenges rhinos face and the measures in place to increase their survival rates. This up-close encounter with one of Africa's most treasured animals is certain to leave a lasting impression.

Baboon Cliff Lookout

For a breathtaking view of Lake Nakuru and its vibrant wildlife, head to the Baboon Cliff Lookout. This popular vantage point grants you an impressive panoramic view of the lake, fringed by acacia forests and grasslands. It's not uncommon to spot baboons casually lounging here, hence the name.

Enjoy a quiet picnic while you take in the spectacular views. Watch out for the baboons, though. They've been known to join in uninvited!

Importance of an International Driving Permit (IDP) in Kenya

As you venture forth to explore the beauty of Kenya, consider that you might desire more freedom to explore at your own pace. Driving makes an enticing option, doesn't it? However, having an International Driving Permit (IDP) makes this an actuality. Here's why an IDP is vital:

  • Instant Approval: No need for long queues or wait times. You fill in the requisite information, complete the standard procedures, and voila, your IDP is on the way!
  • Fast & Easy Process: The steps are clear, straightforward, and time-efficient, and you can complete them from the comfort of your home.
  • Validity: The IDP offers an extended validity period ranging from 1 to 3 years. This assures you that you can tour Kenya without restrictions.
  • Legal Overseas Driving: Your IDP allows you to drive legally in Kenya and relieves you from potential legal troubles with traffic enforcement.
  • Multilingual Translation: Translated into 12 languages, your IDP breaks language barriers, fostering better communication with local authorities.
  • Wide Recognition: With it being recognized in over 150 countries, you can make spontaneous trips across Kenya's borders.
  • Worldwide Express Shipping: After obtaining your IDP, it can arrive at your doorstep promptly, no matter where in the world you are.

Getting an IDP not only equips you to drive legally in Kenya, but it also grants you the freedom to explore Kenya's wonders on your terms, at your pace.

Closing Thoughts

Kenya, in all its natural glory, offers an unforgettable journey for any traveler and an education in wildlife like no other. From the sweeping plains of the Maasai Mara to the bustling city life of Nairobi down to the tranquil beauty of Lamu Island, and back to the jaw-dropping landscapes of Amboseli and Lake Nakuru National Parks. Kenya is a traveler's haven rich in culture, adventure, and biodiversity.

Whether you are planning a trip soon or just exploring ideas for your bucket list, we hope this guide has been helpful. If you loved experiencing Kenya's treasures through this article, we have a small favor to ask: share this article with friends and fellow travelers. Who knows, you might just inspire the trip of a lifetime for someone else! And remember, the world is an open book; all we need to do is turn the pages, one destination at a time.

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