Kenya Adventure

There’s nowhere better for off-the-beaten track adventures than Kenya, which has 59 National Parks for visitors to explore. You’ve heard of the Big Five – but what about the Samburu Five, a quintet of rare animals a short flight from Nairobi? Hop in a Jeep to the Samburu National Reserve for the five headline acts: the gerenuk, the reticulated giraffe, the Somali ostrich, the Grevy’s zebra and the beisa oryx. While you’re there, meet the Samburu tribe, related to the Maasai. The Samburu are semi-nomadic pastoralists who herd cattle, but also keep sheep, goats and camels. Samburu is one of the best places on earth to see elephant and cheetah; visitors can also go rhino-tracking with Saruni Rhino, a luxury camp that’s an hour and a half from Samburu by car.


If you like the idea of having the Big Five (almost) to yourself, swap the Maasai Mara for Laikipia in central Kenya, which is gaining recognition as one of Kenya’s best safari spots. Laikipia offers plenty of room for discerning explorers and is home to a wealth of endangered species, including roughly half of Kenya’s black rhino population. Why not try an alternative safari here? Explore the region with a walking tour, or go horse-riding or mountain-biking. Another Laikipia lure is Ol Pejeta, the largest black rhino sanctuary in east Africa. Ol Pejeta is home to the last two remaining northern white rhino in the world; it’s also the only place in Kenya where you can see chimpanzees.

Mount Kenya

Keen climbers and walkers may already know that the snow-capped peak of Mount Kenya is the continent’s second-highest mountain, measuring in at a lofty 5,199 metres. There are plenty of treks to choose from, with options to suit all abilities: the lush, green lowlands make for pleasurable, scenic strolls; thrill-seekers can pick from the main summit, Batian, and the second summit, Nelion (the third peak, Point Lenana, is more accessible at 4,985 metres). Wildlife-lovers are in luck: elephants, Cape buffalo, colobus monkeys, bushbucks and giant forest hogs can be seen in the park’s 228 square miles of foothills. You could also explore Karura Forest just northwest of Nairobi or go hiking in the Ngong Hills, southwest of the capital.

Lamu Dhow Boat

If you love the idea of experiencing island life, Kenyan style, head to Manda or Lamu: two beautiful, historic islands off the Lamu Archipelago of Kenya, linked by a ferry service. On Manda, discover the ruins of the once-prosperous ports of Takwa and Manda town, which date back to the ninth century. There are no roads on Lamu – instead, locals get around on foot or by boat, and donkeys are used to pull carts and transport goods. These unspoiled coastlines make for incredible diving and snorkelling.

Shimba Hills

Land-lovers might prefer to spend time at Shimba National Reserve, which is just a couple of hours from Mombasa. This ideal day trip stars Kenya’s only population of Sable Antelope; visitors can also admire more than 700 elephants roving in the park. Here, Kenya’s wildlife comes with beautiful views of the Indian Ocean. Hikers should head to the Chyulu Hills, just west of Tsavo, considered to be some of the youngest volcanic mountains in the world. This trekkers’ paradise is bordered by an expanse of black lava flow known as Shetani: the source of many local legends. The region is famous for its elephant herds, leopard and breathtaking views from the Hills. Go horse-riding, camping, mountain climbing and bird watching; look out for buffalo, bushbucks, elands, giant forest hogs, bush pigs, reedbucks and giraffes – plus myriad reptiles and insects.

Lake Victoria

The magnificent expanse of Lake Victoria lies at Kenya’s Western frontier. This massive (nearly 70,000 sq kms) lake forms a natural boundary between Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The lake is at the heart of the African continent – it’s the source of its mightiest river, the Nile, and its mighty body of water is rich in fish life, with shimmering shoals of colourful cichlids and large Nile perch. Many visitors to the lake are lured here by the latter: Nile perch are ranked as a world-class game fish. Join a fishing expedition, or explore Kisumu: a quiet port town on the Lakeshore, which has elegant colonial architecture and wide streets. Get your wildlife fix at the Kisumu Impala Sanctuary, which shelters herds of impalas and zebras; its animal orphanage protects cheetahs and baboons.

Kenya Safari

Welcome to your insider guide to Magical Kenya. Kenya has it all: thrilling wildlife, beautiful beaches, exciting adventures and fascinating culture. Come for the Big Five, the rugged national parks, the unspoiled coastlines, the friendly locals and all the bucket-list memories you’ll make. Here, dream-encounters with rare animals are the stuff of daily life; then there’s that beautiful sunny climate…


There’s a lot more to Kenya than the Maasai Mara – but it’s not a bad place to start. No amount of David Attenborough-narrated documentaries can prepare you for the incredible majesty of the Maasai Mara National Reserve and its wide open plains. If you want to spot the Big Five, you’ve come to the right place: this is the birthplace of safari, after all. The Reserve is most famous for the Great Wildebeest Migration: the annual pilgrimage of 1.5-million wildebeest and zebra from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the Maasai Mara’s emerald pastures. If you’re here between July and October, get a bird’s-eye view of the migration from the comfort of a hot-air balloon. At any time of year, however, you can expect to see lions, cheetahs, elephants, zebras, hippos and so much more.

Photo by Marca DeJong

Second only to the Maasai Mara National Reserve is the spectacular Amboseli National Park, in Kenya’s Kajiado County. Amboseli’s landscapes are full of vivid contrasts, from Lake Amboseli’s dried-up bed to savannahs, woodlands and wetlands with wildlife-rich swamps. The park offers incredible game-viewing (you’re likely to spot herds of elephants here) and its 400-plus bird species include pelicans, kingfishers, water birds, hammerkops, crakes and 47 types of raptors. The park is crowned by majestic Mount Kilimanjaro – so don’t forget your camera!


Fans of The Crown may remember that Aberdare National Park in central Kenya – and its royally luxurious Treetops Lodge – is where Princess Elizabeth learned that she had become the Queen of England. In addition to its historic credentials, Aberdare is famous for its vivid green moorland, its forested ravines and abundant wildlife. Sightings of rare animals are common: keep your eyes peeled for giant forest hogs, bongos, wild cats (golden, serval, civet and co.) and the blue duiker antelope.

Kenya’s cinematic lakes include Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivasha and Lake Elementeita. Lake Nakuru National Park was traditionally famous for its candyfloss-pink flamingos, which gathered in large numbers – effectively making the lake blush. More recently, the flamingoes have moved north to Lake Bogoria and Boringo, making way for other, plentiful bird life. Expect to spot pelicans and cormorants, grebes, white-winged black ferns, stilts, avocets and ducks. The Park doesn’t skimp on four-legged lures, either: set off in search of rhinos, buffalo, impalas, hyenas, lions and co. on a wildlife safari drive. Leopards and the rare Rothschild’s giraffe can also be admired here; don’t miss the hippo pool, where you can pause for a peaceful picnic and admire the hefty bathing locals.

If you’d like to tick off two national parks in one go, visit Tsavo in Kenya’s Coast Province, which spans Tsavo East National Park and Tsavo West National Park. Kenya’s largest national park measures in at 22,000 square kilometres – making it one of the biggest parks in the world. Tsavo East is dry while its Western counterpart is more mountainous and wet, with swamps, Lake Jipe and the Mzima Springs. It’s known for bird life and for its large mammals: black rhino, Cape buffalo, elephant, leopard, hippo and lion, for example.

Fancy admiring giraffes, rhinos, lions, hyenas and more, with cloud-poking skyscrapers and the occasional plane touching down or taking off in the background? You can do exactly that in Nairobi National Park: the only national park in the world whose borders are this close to a capital city. The park is just a short drive from Nairobi’s Central Business District, making it easily accessible to visitors and locals alike. There are one-hundred mammal species to tick off here, plus 400 bird species. Stay in Nairobi for the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Nursery, where rescued baby elephants are reared, rehabilitated and eventually returned to the wild.