Kenya is a popular backpacking destination in Africa. It's cheap and easy to travel around, the people are friendly and there is an almost limitless range of exciting activities: sandy beaches, safaris, sun and savannahs, and so much more.
Kenya has many faces. Most know the country best either for its fabulous luxury beach hotels or its wildlife safaris. Kenya though is so much more. There is good reason for it to be one of Africa's most popular backpacker destinations. It is incredibly easy and cheap to travel around - just don't expect too much in the way of comfort. This is more than made up for, by the excitement and adventure on offer. There is so much to see and experience on a journey through Kenya: incredible wildlife; amazing sunrises at altitudes of 5000 meters; long, white beaches; amazing views over the Rift Valley; and not least Kenya's pleasant inhabitants.
Kenya's capital - Nairobi
Your journey to Kenya will, in most cases, start in this metropolis, and being situated at an altitude of 2000 m the temperature is a little cooler than you may expect. Many of the organised safaris and tours also start here. Even though the city's modern centre may not be the most attractive part for most tourists, there are loads of attractions just outside the city. The Nairobi National Park starts where the city ends and is home to all the exciting African wildlife (the Big Nine) except the elephant. If you're looking to taste some of the local cuisine then try a dish of roasted meat - usually goat or sheep - called Nyama Choma. If eating meat is your thing then you should also try the Carnivore Restaurants all you can eat meat buffet!
Trekking in Kenya
After being overwhelmed by the spectacular views of the Rift Valley, find yourself a peaceful spot in a village close to one of the large lakes. As the sun sinks and candles become the only light source gaze up into the night and enjoy the star filled sky - just remember to choose a clear night and a new moon to get the best effect!
This is just one of many pleasant surprises on offer when your lace up your walking boots and set out on a trek in some of this countries most beautiful areas.
For the hardcore trekker a sunrise from the top of Mount Kenya is a must. A trek or "matatu" from Nairobi to the foot of the mountain takes only 4-5 hours but from here it is a few days trekking through extremely varying and beautiful landscapes to reach the peak of Mount Kenya. Even though one does not reach the same altitude as Mount Kilimanjaro, the surroundings are just as impressive and even more attractive to hike through.
If you're looking to supplement the trekking with something a little faster and more adrenalin-fuelled then rent a mountain bike and "race" the giraffe and zebra in Hell's Gate National Park! Just watch out for the occasionally over-tame baboons who will almost certainly try and steal your food!
For the truly adventurous a trip to the far-flung and more or less deserted northern region of Kenya should be attempted. In order to cross this sparsely vegetated region of mountains and deserts a 4-wheel drive vehicle is absolutely essential. But for those travellers hardy enough to make the trip the rewards are great! Take for example the incredibly beautiful view of Lake Turkana also known as the Jade Sea. Just remember to take plenty of food and water - you'll be crossing large areas with no contact with civilisation or access to the basic necessities.
Safaris in Kenya
Astonish yourself by visiting the breath-taking and gently sloping savannah of the Masai Mara where you are almost guaranteed to see all the amazing wildlife you could hope to see. With a little luck you could even catch the annual migration of gnu (wildebeest) across the savannah - if you do, you will almost not believe your eyes at the vast number of animals swarming across the open plains.
Safaris in Kenya can be arranged locally or booked from home with KILROY. Tours such as our "Kenya Wildlife Safari" offer 7-day trips that also include wildlife hot spots such as Lake Naivasha and Lake Nakuru where it's impossible to avoid seeing large flocks of pink-flamingos or herds of hippo. If you make it to the Amboseli National Park then you'll also see herds of African elephants. Here, on the large open plains and marshes, you'll have the fascinating sight of huge numbers of animals in picturesque scenery with Africa's highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, as a backdrop.
The different coast
A tour of Kenya should definitely be rounded off with a trip to its beautiful coast; a culinary gem if one likes fish and seafood! Why not wash down a heavenly meal with a fresh fruit shake (try for goodness sake the passion fruit, banana and mango one!), whilst swinging in a hammock, savouring the view of the white sandy beach and deep blue ocean as the sun sets in the west.
It's highly recommended to take trip to the island of Lamu a place where time stands still. Cars are still banned but it's easy to explore the narrow streets of Lamu town by foot, bicycle, or, as many locals favour, donkey. The atmosphere is unsurpassed and after checking in at one of the small and cosy hostels, why not wander down to the harbour and find yourself a "skipper" to take you out fishing aboard his "dhow" - one of the local wooden fishing boats.