If you want an adventure-packed experience, then you have every reason to visit Kenya. With an unmatched wealth of game and over forty different cultures, Kenya will spoil you with an array of choices. Talk of enjoying sunny weather throughout the year while exploring the country’s natural beauty, having a chance to run along some of the world’s greatest athletes and interacting with the friendly locals, among many other things. Coupled with the fact that it is one of the most affordable tourist destinations and you have the perfect destination.
1. Maasai Mara Safari (Narok)
With its scenic beauty, aura and variety of game, the Maasai Mara will give you an authentic African safari. No words or pictures can fully convey the atmosphere in this reserve. Having housed over 90 species of animals and over 400 bird species, Maasai Mara is one of the greatest wildlife destinations in the world.
2. Hike At Hell’s Gate National Park (Naivasha)
The name might sound scary but the experience is quite the opposite. Hell’s Gate is one of the few parks in which you can walk alongside zebras, gazelles and elands among other animals. A hike in the park takes 4-6 hours. The scenery is decorated with rugged landscape, gorges, and hot water streams. The scenery is so spectacular that it inspired several Hollywood movies. Camping areas are available where you can pitch a tent or park your RV.
3. Watch The Wildebeest Migration (Narok)
You have probably seen lions, elephants and cheetahs. You have probably seen a wildebeest too. But have you seen over a million of them in a rush to close a river while numerous crocodiles prey on them? Occurring between July and October, this event between the Maasai Mara in Kenya and Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is so spectacular that it was named the seventh wonder of the world as well as the “world cup of wildlife.”
4. Go To The Big Five Snake Safari (Watamu)
The Bio-Ken Snake Farm organises snake safaris for the strong-willed reptile lovers to interact with the snakes on riverbanks, trees and rocky cliffs. A group of experts leads the safari which can take up to five nights. You get a chance to catch pythons, cobras, puff adders and other members of the big five.
5. Watch Flamingos (Nakuru)
There is nothing better than watching a lake being turned into a mass of moving pink. Hundreds of thousands of spectacular birds flock the salt water lakes in the Kenyan Rift Valley every year creating an unmatchable spectacle. Lake Nakuru is turned into candy-land as flamingos and hundreds of other bird species blanket its surface. The best time to catch this immense beauty is between April and June.
6. Relax On The Kenyan Coast (Mombasa)
While going on safari is exciting and adventurous, the Kenyan coast has been known to put a smile on a visitor’s face. With its sun-bleached sandy beaches and its warm inviting waters, the Kenyan stretch of the Indian Ocean will take your breath away. Lie in the shade of the coconut palms sipping a drink as you squint through the rays of the afternoon sun to watch local fishermen in their traditionally made dhows.
7. Go Diving (Mombasa)
If you thought the Kenyan game parks were rich, you are yet to see the ones hidden in the depths of the Indian Ocean. Experience the adrenaline rush of coming face-to-face with a shark and other big water creatures, and the excitement of being in the warm waters surrounded by colourful fish and the beauty of the coral reef.
8. Go Deep Sea Fishing (Mombasa)
There is immense excitement and feeling of accomplishment that comes from reeling a giant fish, both for beginners and seasoned pros. Marlin and the acrobatic sailfish are the most common in the deep waters of Mombasa, and you can be sure that the experience is nothing short of spectacular. A fishing trip takes 4-8 hours. Some of the world’s fishing records have been set and broken in these same waters!
9. Bungee Jump (Sagana)
This is not for the faint hearted or for nervous souls; it is for the real adrenaline junkies. Throw yourself from a 60 metre tower into the brown Sagana River and experience a thrill you have never felt before. One thing for sure, your screams of fear and excitement will be heard from a mile away!
10. Rock Climb (Voi)
There are a lot of rock climbing venues in Kenya but none can beat the alluring rocks in Tsavo National Park. Climb a 300 metre rock as elephants roam below, and falcons and eagles circle above. It is said to be among the most challenging rock climbing events, but the view from the top is very much worth the effort.
11. Paraglide (Eldoret)
Paragliding in Kerio Valley is an opportunity to defy gravity and turn into an eagle for an hour or two. Fly in the simplest and most beautiful way as you look at the landscape from a bird’s view. To get the most bang for your back, time your trip between January and April, when the winds are strongest.
12. Skydive (Diani)
Is there anything more thrilling than being dropped from 10000 feet above the beach? Diani is the only place where the weather is perfect for skydiving almost throughout the year, and every fall is a beach fall. As you fall towards the fantastic view below you, you will feel your heart beating faster and the adrenaline rush through your body. Don’t let this distract you from smiling for the camera!
13. Watch And Eat Crocodiles (Mombasa)
Whether you have seen crocodiles on safari or not, the Mamba village is a must-see. East Africa’s largest crocodile farm gives you an opportunity to see the predators from close range, especially their aggressiveness during feeding time. Find out what grilled crocodile meat tastes like, too.
14. Try Go-Karting (Mombasa)
If you have children, they will definitely love the famous Mombasa go-karts. If you don’t, then this would be your chance to discover whether you are a child at heart. Take an hour to drive a small four-wheeled car around a track in a wonderful tropical garden.
15. Take A Dhow Trip to Wasini Island (Mombasa)
Lying on a five square kilometre area south of Mombasa is the popular and pristine Wasini Island. The trip is lined with dolphins, with the Shimoni caves full of history and ancient Swahili villages. Enjoy a tasty meal by the ocean after a session of snorkelling. The dhows usually leave at 9 am and return at 6 pm.
16. Visit Mombasa Marine National Park (Malindi)
Interact with sea horses, sea urchins, crabs and lots of other fascinating sea creatures at the marine park. Divers and snorkelers get a chance to see them up-close and personal while those who can’t get into the water can see these sea friends through a glass-bottomed boat.
17. Take A Picture Beside The Elephant Tusks (Mombasa)
You can’t prove that you have been to the Kenyan coast if you don’t have a picture beside the trademark tusks in Mombasa. The tusks were made in 1952 to commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s visit and form the letter M, representing Mombasa.
18. Participate In The Rhino Charge
The Rhino Charge is an exciting competition where participants drive a 4×4 on the most unforgiving and roughest terrains that Kenya has to offer. The funds collected go towards conservation of the endangered black rhino. Competitors are required to complete the circuit within 10 hours. The location is never disclosed until two days before the event. Support a great cause all while having a great time!
19. Ice-Skate (Nairobi)
Kenya and winter sports aren’t usually mentioned in the same sentence, but the Panari Sky Centre in Nairobi has turned that around. Escape the heat and buzz of Nairobi town and cool off on East Africa’s only ice rink. Taste the experience of skating in the tropics!
20. Foster An Elephant (Nairobi)
The David Shedrick Wildlife Trust was created for baby elephants who are orphaned mainly because of the brutal ivory trade. Get an opportunity to watch the elephants being bottle-fed and learn how they got there. The best time to visit is around 11.00 am. You can also foster a baby elephant at the cost of $50 and above. Show your love at the haven for orphaned elephants.
21. Go Hot Air Ballooning (Narok)
A hot air balloon ride comes with excitement regardless of the setting, but taking one over the beautiful landscape of Maasai Mara is simply breathtaking. Fly early in the morning to see the spectacular sunrise and the animals. The flight coves 15 to 25 kilometres and normally takes one hour. If there is something you have to do once in a lifetime, this should be it.
22. Hunt With The Pack (Nanyuki)
When you share a small wilderness camp with a pack of wild dogs, you are bound to become friends. Trail the wild dogs at Laikipia Wilderness Camp and get to watch them hunt. If you are looking for the real bush experience, this is the place to be!
23. Sleep Beneath The Stars (Nanyuki)
Sleep in the open under the most beautiful canopy while watching the bright African sky and listening to the roars of animals beneath you. Trail the Milky Way through the sky and watch the sun rising at Loisaba Star Beds while a Samburu warrior guards you.
24. Tour Nairobi
The green city under the sun may not always get the best reputation, but it is well worth a tour. Given that it is the only capital city with a national park, there are endless activities for everyone in Nairobi. A weekend is enough to see what it has to offer, and the night life is out of this world.
25. Complete A High Rope Challenge (Rongai)
This is for the thrill seekers and those who like overcoming challenges. Walk on ropes, cables and logs set high above the ground at the Diguna high rope course. Test your courage, strength and balance!
26. Camp In Shimba Hills (Kwale)
If you are looking for an elephant and antelope-oriented camp, Shimba Hills will not disappoint. Sleep in a tent or RV while listening to the sounds of the night. If you are an early bird, you will catch a trail of elephants in search of food and water.
27. Train With Maasai Warriors (Narok)
Most of your guides on safari may be dressed in trousers and shirts but don’t let that fool you. Back in the village, they wear their robes and carry a sword and spear to protect their families and livestock. The training of a moran is long and challenging. Get a 4 day sample at Bush Adventures Camp in Laikipia – your journey to becoming a warrior starts here!
28. Enjoy A Festival
Kenya is a land of many tribes, and so are the festivals. Immerse yourself in a wealth of culture while watching the cultural diversities. The Lamu Festival, Turkana Festival and Rift Valley Festival are worth considering while planning your safari.
29. Experience A Camel Safari (Nanyuki)
Join a camel train and tour the vast wilderness of Sabuk Lodge while being guided by a Samburu warrior. Experience excitement and anticipation as you come across lions, buffaloes and elephants along the way. The sound of Ewaso Nyiro River completes the feeling of oneness with the surroundings. You can choose to go on a half day excursion or the full day.
30. Walk With Baboons (Il Polei)
Scientists have proven that primates are capable of creating relationships with baboons. Il Polei Ranch puts this concept into practice by giving you a chance to accompany a troop of baboons on an excursion in the wilderness.
31. Track Black Rhinos (Wamba)
It is a pity that the black rhino species is almost extinct. Get a chance to track some of the only remaining black rhinos on foot with the assistance of a GPS tracker at Saruni Rhino Camp. You have to participate to understand just how exciting this activity is.
32. Ride For Lions (Emali)
Participate in a 6-day mountain biking event across the treacherous plains of South Eastern Kenya in the Amboseli and Tsavo National Parks. Funds collected go towards protection of the declining number of lions in the area.
33. Cruise On Lake Naivasha (Naivasha)
With over 400 bird species and a local oncologist to help you identify them, Lake Naivasha is exciting in a unique way. Cruise on a boat and see hippos and other animals in the lake. The main spectacle is watching an eagle swoop low to catch fish out of the ocean.
34. Picnic On Crescent Island (Naivasha)
Hidden from the world in Lake Naivasha, Crescent Island is a unique National Park with hundreds of bird species, gazelles, giraffes, impalas, wildebeests and hippos. The serene atmosphere on the Island makes it one of the best picnic spots in Kenya.
35. Tour A Flower Farm (Naivasha)
Naivasha has the biggest flower farms in Kenya. The flowers are later exported to Europe. Take a tour and learn how the flowers that millions of people have used to express love are grown. An hour on the farms will teach you a lot about roses.
36. Drive To Turkana
While you can fly to Turkana from Nairobi, the journey by road is just as exciting as the destination. Experience the feeling of remoteness by taking a 3 day trip to Kenya’s hot and parched desert. Park your RV to explore the numerous villages along the way.
37. Visit The Cradle of Mankind (Turkana)
The area around Lake Turkana cannot be compared to any other place on the planet. With the rocky landscape, crocodile-filled lake, volcanoes and remoteness, the Cradle of Mankind is worth the tiring excursion. Get to see the largest human fossil in the world at Koobi Fora.
38. Watch 7D Cinema (Nairobi)
Kenya is synonymous with safaris and the wild, but that does not mean you should forget modern luxury when you are here. Enjoy 7D cinema, complete with weather effects and movements, at Thika Road Mall. You can even feel the “whoosh” as the bats fly!
39. Do The Nairobi Safari Walk (Nairobi)
For those who do not have a lot of time to do a full safari, the Nairobi Safari Walk has got you covered. Walk through the wetlands, grasslands and woodlands as you see the animals in open enclosures. This is definitely the best activity if you have kids who can’t tackle a safari. It takes an hour and is only a few minutes from the city centre.
40. Take A Family Vacation (Lamu)
Located on the south coast, Lamu has the capability to offer you and your family a slice of paradise. Book a hotel by the beach or rent a beach house and enjoy an escape from your normal life.
41. Take A Nature Walk In Kakamega Forest (Kakamega)
If you are a lover of nature, take a walk in Kenya’s only equatorial rainforest and see some of Africa’s best hardwoods and softwoods. A typical walk in the forest takes 3 hours. With a wealth of flora, enormous amphibians and orchids sitting on branches, the forest is definitely worth a trip.
42. Learn About Samburu Culture At El Karama Eco Lodge (Nanyuki)
If you are taking a trip with your family, then this is one of the places you must visit. Get familiarised with Samburu culture, learn how to mold termite clay and even how to track wild animals. Camping by the river is a topping.
43. Try Beading In Kazuri (Nairobi)
If you appreciate local art and craft, then the Kazuri Bead Factory in Nairobi will blow your mind. Learn how the stunning jewels in the market are made. You never know, your veins may be full of creative juice!
44. Participate In A Conservation Project
Take a week or even a month to volunteer in a wildlife conservation project in Kenya. This is packed with loads of fun especially if you volunteer as a group. Enjoy yourself while fulfilling a noble cause.
45. Head To The Viewpoint At Iten (Eldoret)
Apart from the fact that most of the world’s greatest long distance runners hail from this place, Iten is arguably an ordinary Kenyan shopping centre. But a drive a few kilometres from the center will give you something you can’t get anywhere else. You will find a view of the Rift Valley that will literally take your breath away.
46. Experience Serenity On Mt Marsabit (Marsabit)
Sometimes you don’t want to go to the crowded areas buzzing with tourists. Located in the semi-arid northern Kenya, Mt Marsabit is a whole package. With three crater lakes, a national park and dozens of “singing” wells, the mist-swathed mountain is an ultimate destination.
47. Lake Victoria (Kisumu)
This is another less crowded gem hidden in western Kenya. It serves as a border between Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda as well as the source of Africa’s largest river. There is enough fish in the lake to serve the three countries and the daybreak here is unforgettable.
48. Challenge Yourself At Thomson Falls (Nyahururu)
Thomson Falls in Nyahururu provides a wonderful view from the top into the falls and the rugged landscape surrounding it. If you have what it takes, walk to the bottom of the fall and hike back up (this usually takes 30 minutes). Beware of the playful monkeys on the track!
49. Spend A Night At Treetops (Nyeri)
Visit the place where a princess became Queen Elizabeth II in 1952. Treetops Lodge is right along a migratory path used by elephants as they move from Mt Kenya to the Aberdares. Sit at the balcony and watch animals drinking from the waterhole below you.
50. Quad Bike In Kipsing (Isiolo)
If you want to treat yourself to truly a unique experience, then a thrilling quad bike trip on the elephant-trodden routes of Kipsing should be on your bucket list. The terrain is smooth enough for beginners, and the surroundings are stunning.
51. Go To Fourteen Falls (Thika)
As the name suggests, this is a series of fourteen waterfalls along River Athi in Thika. But the real excitement comes from watching daring souls diving from the top and plunging into the water below.
52. Flyboard (Diani)
For a heart-pounding moment, this extreme watersport comes highly recommended. Experience an adrenaline pumping moment at Pinewood Resort in Diani as you literally fly above the ocean.
53. Try Ziplining (Nairobi)
Word has it that this is the best activity to help you de-stress. Travel at speeds of up to 60kph on a cable that is over 400 metres long in Kereita Forest. One thing is for sure, you will forget your troubles for a moment!
54. Experience Harsh Life At Lake Magadi (Magadi)
For a dose of adventure and harsh wild life, Lake Magadi is second to none. Live in a hut or a tent while listening to animals roaming throughout the night. Reward yourself with a swim in the hot springs early before sunrise.
55. Spa In The Wilderness (Narok)
Who said wild life has to be tough? Get a good mixture of bush life and luxury complete with spa and massage. After a busy day hiking and watching game, relax by the pool and let gifted hands do their magic.
I could go on talking about all the awesome things you can do in Kenya. From the Savannah grasslands to the sandy beaches and jagged snow-capped peaks, this small East African country is the gift that never stops giving. See you there!
Jane’s article first appeared on Your RV Lifestyle.