The short answer is yes, Kenya is worth visiting. Why is Kenya worth visiting? To summarize, it is a leading safari destination with the Great Wildebeest Migration and the Big Five being key attractions. Secondly, Kenya has some of the world’s most beautiful beaches such as the multi-award-winning Diani Beach. It also has world-class beach resorts to match. Kenya has buzzing metropolitan cities such as Nairobi and Mombasa which have a vibrant nightlife and host contemporary eateries and hotels. The cities have all the amenities to make any global citizen feel right at home whether on business or vacation. Taxi-hailing apps such as Uber are in fact popular in the country. Kenya is also a cultural center with the world-renown Maasai Tribe calling the country home as well as other tribes still true to their traditional ways of life. There are a few archeological sites to live up to the region’s reputation of being the ‘cradle of mankind.’ On top of all that, Kenya is a safe country for tourists to travel to.
Kenya is a Safari Destination
In fact, the term ‘safari’ is believed to have been coined in Kenya. A safari is a wildlife or game-watching trip in Africa’s savannah wilderness usually in a vehicle modified for this specific purpose. Hot air balloon safaris are also available which, doubtless, offer a spectacular way to view wild animals in their natural habitat. Kenya’s most famous game park is Masai Mara which is particularly known for the Great Wildebeest Migration. The migration takes place annually between the months of July and August and involves over two million wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles migrating from Tanzania to Kenya. Hot on their heels are predators such as lions, cheetahs, and leopards. The Mara River crossing represents the height of the migration spectacle as the wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles cross the river while avoiding the jaws of the resident crocodiles.
Furthermore, the Masai Mara, as well as other game parks in Kenya, are ideal for spotting the Big Five which are the lion, the elephant, the leopard, the rhino, and the buffalo.
World-Class Safari Lodges
After an adventurous day of game-watching, the Masai Mara and other wildlife parks in Kenya have truly world-class safari lodges for one to cool off in. The safari lodges in Kenya take ‘glamping’ (glamourous camping) to a whole new level. Some lodges such as Sarova Salt Lick Game Lodge in Tsavo National Park have waterholes where animals such as elephants come to quench their thirst. This means that one can vividly spot the animals from the comfort of one’s room or while enjoying a meal at the lodge’s restaurant.
The African hospitality in Kenyan safari lodges will leave one feeling like royalty. Kids are welcome too with some lodges offering kids’ clubs and programs to keep the little ones entertained. Local as well as international cuisines are available and are prepared by professional chefs. If all of this has inspired some wanderlust check out our safari packages.
Kenya is a Beach Destination
The coastal city of Mombasa is Kenya’s most popular tourist destination. Its accessibility and close proximity to some game parks means that one can easily combine a safari and beach vacation. Kenya’s coast is divided into the North Coast and the South Coast. The South Coast is home to Diani Beach which is lined with luxurious beach resorts befitting of the pristine Diani Beach. To get to the South Coast one uses a ferry service from Mombasa City. Alternatively, there are direct flights from Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, to the South Coast. The flights are typically just 45 minutes long. One can also use the Madaraka Express which is a train service that departs twice daily from Nairobi to Mombasa and vice versa. The ends its journey in Mombasa (North Coast) and one then has to use the ferry service to cross to the South Coast.
The North Coast is more ideal for business travelers who want to remain close to Mombasa’s CBD but still stay at a luxurious beach resort. Resorts along Bamburi Beach, Shanzu Beach, and Nyali Beach are ideal for mixing business with pleasure as they are close to the CBD. Still in the North Coast but further away from Mombasa’s CBD are the towns of Malindi, Watamu, Kilifi, and Lamu which offer much more serene and exclusive beach vacations. For a full guide on Kenya’s beaches and more on Mombasa check out our What is Mombasa Famous For article.
World-Class Beach Resorts
Of course, with great beaches comes great beach resorts. Mombasa has beach resorts ranging from 2-star facilities to 5-star facilities in order to suit every budget. Typically, the South Coast is known to have more luxurious beach resorts with most of them either 4-star resorts or 5-star resorts. For example, The Sands at Chale is Kenya’s only individual island resort. That means the resort is perched on an island out in the ocean. Malindi and Watamu also have high-end facilities with Watamu also being ideal for spotting dolphins and exploring the Watamu Marine National Park. A majority of the resorts are able to organize for watersports such as windsurfing as well as deep-diving and snorkeling. There is also skydiving in Diani. In fact, here are 9 Bucket List Items You Can Complete in Africa.
The North Coast, especially close to Mombasa’s CBD, has resorts mainly in the range of 3-star and 4-star ratings. Airbnbs are also popular both on the North Coast and South Coast. One such self-catering facility is Swahili House on Tiwi Beach on the South Coast. Therefore, it is fairly easy to secure accommodation to suit your needs during your visit to Mombasa. For a full list of Kenya’s most popular beach resorts kindly check out our Mombasa Packages page.
Kenya is home to the world-renown nomadic tribe of the Maasai. The tribe has a fascinating culture that is characterized by red ochre applied on the heads of its members. Checked red traditional regalia. Large ornaments around their necks, wrists, heads, and ears. Young Maasai boys can be seen grazing their large herds of cattle. The Maasai are also known for feeding on cattle blood, milk, and meat. Their traditional homes called Manyattas are a must-see. One can also indulge in their traditional dances which include leaping very high into the air. Something the tribesmen are particularly good at.
There are also various other traditional tribes to explore in Kenya. In fact, most safaris combine game-viewing with cultural trips to traditional villages. Even in the capital, Nairobi, one can take a short drive to The Bomas of Kenya which translates to ‘the homes of Kenya’ and peek into the preserved cultural items of Kenya’s 42 tribes.
Well, they don’t call it Mama Africa for no reason. Africa, and more so East Africa, is considered the cradle of mankind. Kenya is right at the heart of humanity’s origin story with various archeological sites scattered across the country. The National Museum of Kenya arguably holds the world’s largest collection of human pre-history. Definitely a must-visit if human pre-history piques your interest.
While pre-history is perhaps not a major tourist attraction in Kenya or anywhere in the world for that matter, it is definitely a niche attraction and there are plenty of other sites to visit such as Kariandusi Pre-historic Site, Olorgasalie Pre-historic Site, Hyrax Hill Pre-historic Site, and Koobi Fora Pre-historic Site.
As previously mentioned, Kenya has modern cities and towns that have all the contemporary amenities expected of any major urban center. Nairobi is particularly popular with expatriates due to the presence of international hotel brands such as Hilton, Marriott, Movenpick, Best Western, Ramada, and Sheraton just to name a few. There are also various global organizations that have offices in the city such as the UN. Being an administrative city, Nairobi is home to Kenya’s parliament, the president’s State House, and other government offices. This also speaks to its security.
Did we almost forget to mention Nairobi National Park? The park is the only one like it in the world that is a wildlife park located within a city. It is quite literally where the urban jungle meets the real jungle. The park is a 25-minute drive from the CBD and is ideal for a quick safari when pressed for time. The nightlife is also quite vibrant thus ensuring that there is never a dull moment in the ‘city under the sun.’
Other cities like Mombasa, Kisumu, Naivasha, and Nakuru are also popular with tourist for their amenities and tourist attractions such as Mombasa’s beaches, Kisumu’s Lake Victoria which is the source of the Nile, and Naivasha and Nakuru both have lakes named after them which are off-the-beaten-path safari destinations.
Kenya is Safe for Tourists
It is unfortunate to think that in this day and age there are people whose perception of Africa is based on misconceptions. Africa for one is not an active warzone and there are no wild animals roaming the streets. Anyway, that aside, the East African region is quite stable and secure and has been for many years. Any cases of insecurity are more or less similar incidences that would occur in any other country in the world. That being said, it is always advisable to check government travel advisories in case of any developing situation. Worth noting is that over 2 million international tourists visited Kenya in 2019.