Jambo! Welcome to Kenya, Africa’s melting-pot of diverse landscapes and cultural identities, and holiday central for those looking for a taste of something different. Whether you’re a beach bum or an adrenaline-junkie, want to get close to nature or soar above it, or maybe if you’re after a deeper experience, then there is something here for you.
Kenya’s main cities, Nairobi and Mombasa, are both well-served by several airlines, and with so many different types of accommodation available, from beach huts to 5* hotels to camping in game reserves, you can easily create your perfect vacation. Here are just a few examples of the experiences on offer in this most iconic of destinations.
Safari – Ever dreamed of taking a Kenyan safari holiday? You’re spoilt for choice with over thirty National Parks and Reserves both land and marine-based to choose from. Amboseli is perhaps the best-known, where you can often spot elephants, lions, impala, giraffes and zebras, as well as enjoying incredible views of Mt Kilimanjaro. Further fabulous locations, include: Kora, home to the legendary conservationist George Adamson, and Lake Nakuru, famed for the millions of pink flamingos that nest along its shores as well as its rhino and leopard populations.
Masai Mara – The nomadic Masai herdsmen live in harmony with nature, moving their encampments from place to place within their reserve on the Serengeti Plains. Visitors to their communities can learn about this traditional way of life and their customs, and a lot of people take part in some volunteer work on a range of projects, while also keeping an eye out for the many wild animals which share the park with the Masai.
Deep-Sea Fishing – A favourite haunt of Ernest Hemingway, the south coast of Kenya on the Indian Ocean has ample shoals of barracuda, swordfish, marlin and tuna to satisfy the keenest of fishermen. The best time to fish here is between July and April, but nearby Mombasa has plenty of attractions to sample all year round.
Dhow Cruise – If you enjoy the open water but the thought of wrestling with a gigantic marlin terrifies you, perhaps you may prefer a relaxing (and romantic) moonlight cruise through Mombasa harbour in a traditional Arab sailing boat. Top it off with a freshly-caught seafood dinner on board and it’s an unforgettable experience.
Hot-Air Ballooning – This unique mode of travel affords some of the most spectacular views of Kenya and its wilder inhabitants. Normally done over the Masai Mara reserve, it’s a magical experience to watch herds of game running through the grasslands, as you coast gently above before returning for a champagne breakfast.
Mount Kenya – After Kilimanjaro, Africa’s second-highest peak, this extinct volcano stands in Mount Kenya National Park, also home to antelope, elephants, black rhino, monkeys and many more. Your guides will get you off to an early start so you can be among the first to the summit and enjoy the incredible views over the park.
City Breaks – Most tourists rush for the open spaces but there’s plenty to see and enjoy in Kenya’s cities. Nairobi is the cultural hub, with many museums and theatres. Not far from the centre is the Bomas cultural centre where guests can watch displays of traditional dancing. If you have the appetite, try a meal at the famous Carnivore restaurant, where waiters carve meats such as ostrich, camel and crocodile at your table – a one-of-a-kind experience for most! Mombasa, with its vibrant Arabic heritage and winding narrow streets, is well-known for the hustle-and-bustle of its many markets, particularly those selling well-made handicrafts and jewellery.
Bio: Rob’s heart belongs in Kenya but, for the moment, he still lives in Manchester.