Kenya really has everything you could wish for. A rich and interesting culture, gorgeous national park reserves for perfect safaris and last but not least, idyllic beaches. Combine this with welcoming and sweet local people and you truly have it all. Keep reading to find out everything about this ideal travel destination!
Always look up beforehand what travel documents and/or vaccinations you will need to enter the country you are going to. For example: I needed to get a few shots and a travel visa. The shots I got done at my local hospital, since I also needed a yellow fever vaccination. I bought the visa upon arrival, but you can also get it done beforehand online. Please understand that it depends on the nationality you have!
The people of Kenya are very warm-hearted and generous in my experience. They love teaching you about their culture and habits. Their stories might differ on who you are speaking to, since there are 42 different “communities” or “tribes” in Kenya. They all have their own customs, history and languages. However, everyone will speak English and Swahili. English is the language they will use in school and Swahili is the universal language Kenyans will use to speak with each other. Most Kenyans are christian nowadays, but you will also find muslims and atheists. Some people will still have their tribes’ original beliefs.
A few sentences in Swahili to help you get started:
- Jambo – Hello
- Asante sana – Thank you very much
- Karibu – Welcome
- Rafiki – Friend
- Hakuna matata – No worries
- Kwaheri – Goodbye
One of the tribes that still proudly carries out most of their age-old customs, are the Maasai people. You will certaintly have spotted their recognizable look on photos before. Traditionally they will dress in bright red or blue colours and engage in various body modifications. They are mostly known by tourists for their jumping dance, which you will find hundreds of pictures from when you google the Maasai. One of their most interesting qualities however is how they can make a living through their cattle and farming skills in difficult desert areas. They have been living alongside the wild animals for a long time. Most of their lands are now outstanding game reserves, which brings me to the next part of this article.
One simply cannot go to Kenya without embarking on an amazing safari adventure. You have multiple beautiful national parks to choose from, for example: Masaai Mara National Park, Nairobi National Park or the Tsavo East and West National Parks. I personally visited the Taita Hills Sanctuary and the Tsavo East National Park in three days with morning and afternoon game drives. I saw so many magnificent animals such as cheetahs, lions, giraffes, elephants, buffalos, zebras and so much more… You will not be dissapointed! Pro tip: if you plan on seeing the Taita Hills Sanctuary, definitely check out the Sarova Saltlick Lodge. This is where I stayed and it is jaw droppingly stunning. We also wrote an entire article dedicated to all you need to know and have to prepare for a magnificent safari. You can read that one here.
In Kenya there are two big cities that come to mind: Nairobi and Mombasa. I personally have not visited Nairobi, which is the current capital city of Kenya. I have however brought a short visit to Mombasa. The old town is lovely. The architecture is definitely interesting. The spice markets are very colorful and fun to walk around in. The prominent Mombasa Tusks are also a must see: these tusks were created to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II, who found out she became the new queen during a visit to Kenya in 1952. It is best to visit Mombasa with a guide, you will soak up much more of its history that way.
After all the exploring, it is fun to focus on some relaxing. Why not spend this time at Diani Beach? This outstanding Kenyan beach is absolutely gorgeous. It consists of 25 km of white sand, palm trees and lots of cute monkeys. You can spend time walking across the beach, discovering marine animals, snorkeling, sunbathing… I took a day trip to Wasini Island and saw lots of dolphins from VERY near! It was a once in a lifetime experience.
One last advice…
Don’t forget to tip your guides and drivers! The equivalent of 5 to 10 dollars/euros a day should be sufficient.
There you have it: an amazing travel guide that encaptures the true essentials of a trip to Kenya. Have you ever been to Kenya? Which highlights did you see? Please let us know in the comments!