Maasai Mara, Narok

Wildebeests crossing Mara River, Northern Serengeti, Tanzania

Best time to travel: June-Oct
Ease of travel: Hard
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $$

  • Large national game reserve, named in honor of the Maasai people, the ancestral inhabitants of the area, who migrated to the area from the Nile Basin
  • Their description of the area when looked at from afar: “Mara” means “spotted” in the local Maasai language, due to the many short bushy trees which dot the landscape
  • Maasai Mara is one of the most famous and important wildlife conservation and wilderness areas in Africa, world-renowned for its exceptional populations of lion, African leopard, cheetah and African bush elephant
  • Hosts the Great Migration, which secured it as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa, and as one of the ten Wonders of the World

Mount Kenya


Best time to travel: Jan-March, Dec
Walk difficulty: Hard
Ease of travel: Hard
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $$$

  • Highest mountain in Kenya and the second highest in Africa, after Kilimanjaro
  • Elevation 17,057 ft
  • Mount Kenya is the source of the name of the Republic of Kenya
  • Mount Kenya is a stratovolcano created approximately 3 million years after the opening of the East African rift
  • Before glaciation, it was 23,000 ft high
  • It was covered by an ice cap for thousands of years, which melted and has resulted in very eroded slopes and numerous valleys radiating from the centre
  • There are currently 11 small glaciers, which are shrinking rapidly, and will likely be gone forever by 2050
  • The forested slopes are an important source of water for much of Kenya

Diani Beach, Kwale County


Best time to travel: July-Sept
Ease of travel: Moderate
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • The general area is known for its coral reefs, black-and-white colobus monkeys, and for the closely located Shimba Hills National Reserve, a wildlife reserve which looks out over the Indian Ocean
  • Diani Beach has restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, and several shopping centers
  • Diani Beach is also a popular kitesurfing, jet skiing, and snorkelling location

Amboseli National Park, Kajiado County

Best time to travel: June-Oct
Ease of travel: Hard
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $$

  • National park in Kajiado County that has an ecosystem that spreads across the Kenya-Tanzania border
  • The local people are mainly Maasai, but people from other parts of the country have settled there attracted by the successful tourist-driven economy and intensive agriculture along the system of swamps that makes this low-rainfall area, one of the best wildlife-viewing experiences in the world with 400 species of birds including water birds like pelicans, kingfishers, crakes, hamerkop and 47 raptor species
  • The park protects two of the five main swamps, and includes a dried-up Pleistocene lake and semiarid vegetation

Lake Nakuru, Rift Valley

Best time to travel: Jan-Oct
Ease of travel: Hard
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $$

  • One of the Rift Valley lakes, it is protected by Lake Nakuru National Park
  • The lake’s abundance of algae used to attract a vast quantity of flamingos that famously lined the shore
  • Other birds also flourish in the area, as do warthogs, baboons and other large mammals
  • Eastern black rhinos and southern white rhinos have also been introduced
  • The lake’s level dropped dramatically in the early 1990s but has since largely recovered
  • Between 2010-2020 Lake Nakuru increased in surface area, and 677 households, parts of Nakuru town and National Park areas had been flooded
  • Lake Nakuru National Park was established in 1961, and started off small, only encompassing the famous lake and the surrounding mountainous vicinity, but has since been extended to include a large part of the savannahs

Nairobi National Park

Best time to travel: late June-Oct
Ease of travel: Moderate
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • National park in Kenya that was established in 1946
  • Herbivores gather in the park during the dry season
  • Nairobi National Park is negatively affected by increasing human and livestock populations, changing land use and poaching of wildlife
  • Despite its proximity to the city and its relative small size, it boasts a large and varied wildlife population, and is one of Kenya’s most successful rhinoceros sanctuaries

Tsavo East National Park, Taita-Taveta County

Best time to travel: Jan-Feb, June-Oct
Ease of travel: Moderate
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $$

  • One of the oldest and largest parks in Kenya
  • Situated in a semi-arid area previously known as the Taru Desert it opened in 1948, and is located in the Taita-Taveta County
  • Tsavo East National Park is providing undeveloped wilderness homes to vast numbers of animals
  • Famous are the Tsavo lions, a population whose adult males often lack manes entirely