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Top Destinations in Kenya
The African wilderness hosts some of the most thrilling natural adventures in the world, and the place where you can experience the pinnacle of this is in Kenya! The country is an absolute amalgam of the breathtaking landscape, diverse wildlife, the night sky, and rich ancient cultures. A three (3) - day trip to Kenya would most likely not be enough because of the hundreds of things to do and see. Below are some of the famous destinations that you can check out.
Spreading to an area of about 7,560km2, Lake Turkana is the world’s largest alkaline lake and the world’s largest permanent desert lake. It straddles the border between Kenya and Ethiopia, with the majority of its water coming in from River Omo (Ethiopia). Lake Turkana is shared by three (3) national parks, each serving unique ecosystems for various wildlife, including the Nile Crocodile, the migratory Waterfowl, and the Hippopotamus, to name a few.
Things To Do
Lake Turkana is a remote but unrestricted area. You can find plenty of camping grounds around the lake, but it is advised that you prepare thoroughly. This means that you need to use an all-terrain-vehicle, bring a spare tire, a car jack, a shovel, and at least one (1) plank in case rain pours and softens the track from Nairobi. It would take around two (2) days to drive to the lake from Nairobi. Likewise, the lake is also located in the country’s hottest region, so make sure to bring in lots of water, a cap, and/or an umbrella.
The best time to visit Lake Turkana would be from June to September, and these are what you can do in the area:
- Ride a boat and go fishing on the lake
- Observe the world’s largest population of crocodiles in the wild at crocodile lake
- Visit the discovery site of the first hominids on the eastern shore
- Spot the different species of birds
- Trek to hilltops and get sweeping views of the lake
- Spend the night under the stars or at lodging cabins
What To Bring
Do not forget to bring your International Driving License/Permit in the Kenyan zip code. If you don’t have one yet, the International Driving Permit - Kenya requirements only include your valid native driving license, a recent passport-size photo, and a credit card / PayPal account. To apply for an International Driving License - Kenya, website application portals are already available, like what is implemented by the International Driver’s Association. This is a very convenient option that saves you time and effort. For International Driving License - Kenya updates, you can do research online or get in touch with the International Driver’s Association.
Tsavo National Park
Established in 1948, Tsavo National Park is the largest protected area in Kenya. It is a watershed that is drained by the Tive River, Tsavo River, and Galana River. The park is mostly characterized by semi-arid plains (Tsavo East) and volcanic areas (Tsavo West), where you can see plenty of large baobab and acacia trees, as well as swamps, waterholes, and natural springs.
Things To Do
Tsavo National Park is not just endowed with one type of landscape. You can trek to multiple viewpoints, waterholes where you can see the bathing wildlife, caves you can go into, and many more. A trip to the Tsavo National Park will not only require you to ride your vehicle and go sightseeing while on the track, but you will really be able to experience the beauty of it on foot. Here’s what you can do:
- Visit Mzima Springs
- Spot the famous Red Elephants
- See the endangered Black Rhinos at the Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary.
- Climb the Roaring Rocks at the Chaimu Crater
- Go inside the Shetani Caves
You can visit Tsavo National Park any time of the year, but the most recommended would be between June - October. Due to the dry conditions at this time of year, animals gather around water sources, so there is a higher chance for you to see every free-range animal in the park.
What To Bring
Before heading out to Tsavo National Plain on a motor vehicle, make sure that you have your International Driver's Permit for Kenya. International Driver’s Permit Kenya exemptions are only extended to foreigners who have secured a residency permit or work permit. So if your travel to Kenya is only for leisure purposes, then an IDP is necessary. The International Driver’s Permit - Kenya qualifications only require you to be at least 18 years old and possess a valid driving license from your home country.
You can secure an International Driver’s Permit - Kenya online through the International Driver’s Association. The IDA issues international driving permits in less than 2 hours. After completely filling out the online application form, the International Driver’s Permit - Kenya verification process will only take about 20 minutes to one (1) day. You can also receive your International Driver’s Permit at a Kenyan address if you specify it on your shipping details.
Lake Nakuru is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was once the home of thousands of pink flamingos before water levels rose. At present, you can still see some pink flamingos but not as much as before anymore. Nevertheless, the lake is also an important ecological waterhole that supports other keystone species like giraffes, rhinoceroses, games, etc. You will be able to see these animals and more when you visit Lake Nakuru.
Things To Do
Bushy and woody grasslands mostly surround Lake Nakuru. This makes the area a suitable home for many of Africa’s wildlife — there is food, shelter, and water. When you visit Lake Nakuru and its surroundings, you will be amazed at the diversity of animals you’ll see in every corner. Specifically, here’s what you can do when you visit the area:
- Drive to the Out of Africa Lookout
- Get sweeping views of the lake at Baboon Cliff (yes, together with the friendly baboons)
- Visit Makalia Falls during the rainy season
- Go on a game drive
- Spot flamingos and other species of birds
- Go on a picnic
To see the most number of animals, it would be best to visit Lake Nakuru between June to February. The weather is dry, but the heat rarely goes up to uncomfortable levels. If you want to go birdwatching, the best months would be between March and May. This is when the park’s vegetation is in its full bloom.
What To Bring
Kenya has plenty of random checkpoints. Should you be hailed over, you can present your International Driving License and Kenya visa. An IDP, apart from being a valid driving document, is also a valid identification document that you can use for other purposes. The International Driver’s Association offers free replacement service for the issued international driving permits. You don't need to fill out your application form again to get a replacement. Just make sure to memorize your International Driving License - Kenya number (kind of like a reference number given upon approval of your application). tion).
If you need an IDP replacement, you just need to pay for the shipping fees. Once your IDP is given to the courier, you are advised to record your International Driving License - Kenya tracking number or your package tracking number in case you need to follow it up. If you don’t receive any communication from the International Driver’s Association (IDA) regarding your application, you can ask for your International Driving License - Kenya update by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Nursery
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Nursery is one of the most successful wildlife rehabilitation programs in the World. It started to operate with the Orphan’s Project, which aimed to rescue and rehabilitate elephant orphans. After the nursery, the elephants are transported to the Tsavo National Park, where they will spend about eight (8) to ten (10) years before they are released to the wild. Eventually, the initiatives of the program branched out to the protection of other keystone wildlife species in East Africa.
Things To Do
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has treated up to 800 injured animals in one (1) year. One of the many initiatives that helped the program scale up its efforts is the “Sky Vet.” This enabled the Kenya Wildlife Service to monitor the animals from the air and quicker response time for animal emergencies. You can inquire at the trust if you can take part in this initiative.
You can also visit the elephant and rhinoceros nursery/orphanage daily between 11:00 am - 12:00 pm. Additionally, foster parents are given private visiting hours between 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm.
The orphanage does not welcome volunteers because long-term (8-10 years) caretakers are the only ones allowed to care for the animals. Establishing trust with the animals takes a lot of time and patience, so short-term volunteers are discouraged. On a lighter note, you can volunteer in fundraising activities, information-education drives, and administrative duties. You will still be able to play a huge role in protecting these animals through these efforts.
What To Bring
If you visit the orphanage, you might be asked to register and present valid identification documents. Apart from your passport, you can, again, present your International Driver’s Permit. If you have yet to apply for an IDP, make sure that the agency you are getting it from is legitimate. An International Driver’s License - Kenya sample is available at the International Driver’s Association homepage should you wish to know what a valid IDP looks like.
If you want assurance, you can just secure your IDP with the IDA. Once you’ve prepared your International Driving License - Kenya requirements, It would only take you less than 20 minutes to finish your application. You will be asked to submit the required International Driving Permit - Kenya documents online, so make sure that you have a camera or scanned copies of your documents. Make sure that you correctly write your preferred International Driving License - Kenya contact number on the application form in case the IDA needs to reach you immediately (and for shipping purposes).
Town of Malindi
Founded during the 1st century A.D., Malindi is the second-largest coastal city of Kenya. The meaning of the town’s name is believed to be “wealthy” or “holes.” “Holes” because Malindi is characterized by numerous coastal caves. Due to its proximity to the coast, Malindi (apart from Nairobi and Mombasa) was one of the first towns in Kenya that experienced rapid development.
Things To Do
Despite the developments in Malindi, the town has well-preserved cultural and nature spots. Most of them are easily accessible from the town center, so you don’t have to switch accommodations when visiting Malindi. Plus, if you need a day off at the beach, Malindi has Kenya’s most amazing white sand beaches.
Here’s what you can do:
- Sail on a Sawa Sawa (Mozambique-made dhows)
- See the breathtaking sandstone canyons of the Marafa Depression, also known as “Hell’s Kitchen.”
- Visit the mysterious Gedi Ruins.
- See the rich marine wildlife at the Watamu National Marine Park
- Ride a canoe and kayak along Mida Creek
- See more than 250 sculptures at the Ndoro Sculpture Garden
- Bask under the sun at Watami Beach
- Experience kite-surfing at Che Shale Beach
What To Bring
Malindi is a busy city. For the government to manage the busy flow of vehicles and other road users, traffic police are deployed around the area. With this, you shouldn’t forget to bring your valid native driving license and your International Driving Permit for Kenya if you want to drive a motor vehicle. To secure your International Driving License - Kenya, website applications are the way to go because of their unparalleled convenience. You not only save time from making physical applications but also save money.
If you think there isn’t much time to wait for your IDP at home, you can have it delivered to Kenya. Just make sure you provide the correct zip code in your International Driving License - Kenya application. You can learn more about the IDA’s International Driver’s Permit - Kenya site application process by clicking on the shopping cart button at the homepage.
Hell’s Gate National Park
Hell’s Gate National Park is a 68.25km2 park within the Great Rift Valley. This is a popular tourist destination because of its landscape and its close proximity to the capital city. The most prominent areas in the park are the Hell’s Gate Gorge (canyon), the Central Tower, and Fischer’s Tower.
Things To Do
This exciting adventure destination is one of the best day trips that you can take from Nairobi. You’ll need to hire a guide to go around the park, especially when you want to go rock climbing or visit the canyons and gorges. Some of the rocks are slippery, and your guide will know where the safest routes are. The park will also collect fixed fees depending on your activity, so you’ll really have to enter the park through its official gates.
Here’s what you can do inside:
- Climb the 25m-high Fischer’s Rock Tower
- Cycle around the park
- See and walk through the gorges and canyons
- Take a refreshing dip at one of the hot springs
- Camp inside the park
- Go bird watching
The best time to visit the park would be during the dry season. Flash floods can occur in the area during the rainy months, so it is closed-off from visitors.
What To Bring
To go on a safari adventure, you’ll need to rent a 4x4 or an all-terrain-vehicle. Because this is a specialized, more expensive type of vehicle, car rental companies are more stringent with the requirements. Nevertheless, the minimum requirement is to have an International Driver’s Permit for the Kenyan zip code. You can proceed with an International Driver’s Permit - Kenya website application because it is the fastest, most convenient way.
In addition, in case you get yourself in a road mishap, an IDP will help you explain your identity to the concerned law officers. Applying for an IDP is fairly simple. The International Driver’s Permit - Kenya requirements only include your native driving license, your credit card for payment, and recent passport-size photos of you as the required documents. If you want to make sure, you can inquire for International Driver’s Permit - Kenya updates by calling the customer care hotline of the IDA.
The City of Nairobi started as a supply depot camp for the Uganda Railway in 1899. Due to its favorable location between Mombasa and Kampala (Uganda), its topography, and its abundant water resources, residential tents were soon put up both for the Indian railway laborers and British settlers. Eventually, the town became the headquarters for the Uganda railway. It was introduced with more permanent establishments like the 1906 government buildings, general stores, and the 1912 Stanley Hotel, currently known as the Savoy Stanley Hotel.
Things To Do
As the capital of Kenya, Nairobi hosts a lot of exciting modern-day urban activities. What’s even more exciting about it is that it also hosts Kenya’s first national park within its boundaries. You can have the best of both city and nature when in Nairobi.
Here’s what you can do:
- Go on a Nairobi Safari Walk around the hippo pools
- Feed the giraffes at the Giraffe Centre
- Visit the Karen Blixen Museum, a colonial farmhouse near the Ngong Hills.
- Learn about the different ethnic groups of Kenya and see live cultural performances at the Bomas of Kenya
- Buy souvenirs at the Kazuri Beads Factory.
- See a 360o view of the Nairobi skyline at the Kenya International Conference Centre rooftop.
- Visit the Railway Museum and learn about Kenya’s colonial roots
- Try the coffee at Thorn Tree Cafe
- Shop at Wasp & Sprout
What To Bring
This is an area where you definitely don’t want to forget your International Driving Permit. If you unintentionally disregarded the traffic laws and an officer caught you, you will have to present your valid driving documents. Failure to do so will incur more penalties.
But you don’t have to worry as obtaining an IDP from the IDA is faster than Kenyan traffic. Once you finish filling out the online application form, the International Driver’s Permit Kenya verification process will not take more than a day. Moreover, if you choose the express shipping option of the IDA, you will receive your digital IDP within 20 minutes!
The International Driver’s Permit - Kenya qualifications only require applicants like you to have a valid driving permit from your country of residence and be at least 18 years old. If you qualify, prepare your International Driving License - Kenya requirements and navigate to the IDA website’s homepage. You can also have your physical IDP shipped to a Kenyan address. Again, just make sure to record your International Driver’s Permit - Kenya number for tracking purposes.
Maasai Mara is considered one (1) of Africa’s greatest wildlife reserves. It is located in the southwestern part of Kenya, and it hosts numerous keystone species that migrate around the greater African continent. This is where you’ll witness the world-renowned Great Wildebeest Migration, an annual migratory phenomenon involving thousands of wildebeests, gazelles, zebras, impalas, elands, and many more!
Things To Do
If you want to see the infamous Great Wildebeest Migration, you’ll have to visit Maasai Mara between December - March or May - November. The movement is weather-driven, specifically by rains. The animals also don’t follow a specific route, so it would be best to hire a tour guide to know where to go.
Beyond the Wildebeest Migration, here are some activities that you can do in Maasai Mara:
- Experience a night game drive inside the Mara Naboisho Conservancy
- Go on a walking safari tour
- Learn about the Maasai tribe
- Camp under the stars
- Marvel in the golden sunset under gigantic acacia trees
- Ride a hot air balloon over the Mara plains
What To Bring
To explore Maasai Mara, you’ll need to hire a tour guide to go along with you for safety purposes. You don’t need to hire a driver if you know how to drive vehicles through rough road surfaces. However, you have to make sure that you have a valid IDP. Apart from allowing you to drive legally, an IDP will qualify you for car insurance in case something happens. You can get an International Driver’s Permit - Kenya online through the IDA (avoid non-accredited agencies).
To apply, the required documents for an International Driver’s Permit - Kenya only include your valid native driving license and a recent passport-size photo. If you choose to get a physical IDP (apart from the digital), make sure to record your International Driver’s Permit - Kenya tracking number or reference number. This is in case your IDP is lost along the way, and you need to request a replacement.
Mombasa is the largest coastal city of Kenya and the most important port of trade in the region since the 12th century. The 2.36-hectare, Portuguese-built, renaissance Fort Jesus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Locals call the city “Kisiwa Cha Mvita,” which means “The Island of War,” perhaps due to its history of occupation and civil unrest.
Things To Do
With its numerous ancient and colonial structures, Mombasa is a haven for history buffs. However, this isn’t the only group of travelers that Mombasa can cater to. Here are some other activities that you can do in the city:
- Explore Old Town
- Meet the 130-year-old tortoise and hippo couple at Haller Park
- Visit Fort Jesus
- Go on a wreck dive and explore the MV Dania
- Try the coffee at Jahazi Coffee House
- See the rich marine wildlife on a glass-bottom boat
- Bask in the sun at one of the south coast beaches
- Take a picture with the Mombasa Tusks
- Eat locally-made chicken biryani
What To Bring
Wherever you go in Kenya, be it in the cities or remote regions, always bring your International Driving Permit. Unlike a local driver, tourists need an International driving license to avoid misunderstanding. The International Driver’s Permit - Kenya exemptions only include those who have work permits or residency permits. If you haven’t got one yet, you can do an International Driver’s Permit - Kenya site application with the IDA. All you need to do is navigate to the IDA homepage and click on the shopping cart button. Fill out the application form and submit the required documents.
With the IDA, you have the option to obtain a physical IDP or a digital IDP only. Both forms are equally valid and have the same benefits (note that you cannot just print a digital IDP by yourself). If you want to have a physical IDP and have it shipped to Kenya just in time for your arrival, make sure that you indicate the correct Kenya address in the International Driver’s Permit application. Likewise, double-check that you provided your correct International Driver’s Permit - Kenya contact number.
Most Important Rules of Driving in Kenya
The best way to explore Kenya is with your own motor vehicle. But before you go out on the road, you must remember and observe all the country’s traffic rules. This is not just to maintain safety on the road but to avoid you incurring more expenses (to pay penalties) and having a bad record in the country.
Do Not Drink and Drive
Kenya has plenty of police checkpoints to monitor drunk drivers. Drunk driving is not fully tolerated in Kenya, as it is in other foreign countries. If you happen to pass by any of these checkpoints, you’ll have to undergo a breathalyzer test. In addition, your results should not exceed the following limits:
- 0.35g of alcohol per liter of breath
- 0.8g of alcohol per liter of blood
Carry Your Driving License With You At All Times
If you are a tourist visa holder, you are only required to have a valid driving license from your home country and an International Driving Permit. You don’t have to secure a visitor’s driving license nor take a driving exam to legally drive a motor vehicle in Kenya. Your International Driving Permit will also serve as a valid form of identification, which you can present to authorities and establishments for other purposes. This is why you must carry it with you wherever you go.
Do Not Exceed the Speed Limit
The roads in Kenya, particularly within the big cities, feature numerous superhighways, interchanges, and roundabouts. In some areas, roundabouts can occur with less than a kilometer distance. In addition, some highways traverse through national parks where wildlife roam freely and can even be seen crossing the roads.
With the growing number of vehicles in Kenya and animals’ frequency on the road, you must drive at safe speeds. This is to give you more time and space to respond to any untoward situation.
The speed limits in Kenya are:
- Superhighway (motor cars) - 130km/hr
- Superhighway (public service vehicles) - 100km/hr
- Urban roads (trading centers, townships, cities, etc.) - 50km/hr
- Special zones (i.e., schools) - 50km/hr
- Rural roads - 110km/hr
Park Only In Designated Areas
Kenya has strict rules in penalizing vehicles that park illegally. You may find some vehicle parking on the side of the road or street, but you should not emulate this. The consequences for parking outside designated parking areas are:
- Fine of up to 50,000Ksh
- Imprisonment of up to three (3) months
If you want to know more about the different tourist destinations mentioned in this article and how to drive to them, visit the “Driving Guide for Kenya.” The driving guide also contains more travel information in the country, including obtaining a driving license, road etiquettes, renting a car, other activities to do, and many more.
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