Rift Valley

Top 5 Places to Visit in Kenya

Boat in Lamu Kenya
Lamu, Kenya

Kenya has no shortage of places to visit. With so much variation in its geography, there are a lot of spectacular areas in the country. Here are what I consider to be the top 5 places to visit in Kenya:

1. Masai Mara – Famous for its safaris, the Masai Mara is one of the most popular places to visit in Kenya. Visitors can stay in a safari lodge and go on game drives to see lions, elephants, giraffes, rhinos, hippos, and other African game. If you are visiting Kenya during the annual wildebeest migration, you can see thousands of the animals make their yearly crossing from Tanzania into Kenya and back.

2. Lamu – Lamu Island is one of the most popular places for beach holidays in Kenya. The beautiful isle in the Indian Ocean is a great place for fishing, diving, dhow cruises, and relaxing in the sun. Visitors to Lamu can stay in Lamu Town, Shela, or on neighboring Manda Island.

3. Mombasa – Like Lamu, Mombasa is a great location for beach holidays in Kenya. Popular with visitors and locals alike, it is one of the top 5 places to visit in Kenya. Mombasa is famous for its beautiful beaches as well as its historic Arab-influenced old town and famous sixteenth century Fort Jesus.

4. Nairobi – Most people that visit Kenya skip the capital. It is worth spending a day or two in Nairobi, though, as the city is home to attractions like the Giraffe Centre, the Elephant Orphanage, the Karen Blixen House, and the Mamba Village. Visitors can also go on safari in Nairobi National Park, take tours of the Mathare slum, and visit local markets and museums. The capital is also home to famous restaurants like Carnivore and Talisman, which serve some of the best food in the country.

5. Rift Valley – Located close to Nairobi, the Rift Valley is one of the top 5 places to visit in Kenya. Home to attractions like Lake Naivasha, Lake Nakuru, and Hell’s Gate National Park, the area is full of beautiful natural monuments and is a great place for adventure travel in Kenya.

Best Day Trips from Nairobi

Turtle walking at Giraffe Centre in Nairobi
Turtle in Kenya

The best day trips from Nairobi are well worth doing while you are visiting Kenya.

Not far from Nairobi is Lake Nakuru. There you can go birding, explore the national park to look for the elusive white rhino, and enjoy the views of the Great Rift Valley. This is one of the most popular day trips with people traveling to Nairobi.

Another good day trip to a lake is Lake Naivasha. During wet years, the lake is a great place for birding, boat trips, and lunch. The drive to the lake is scenic, and there are rest stops and small shops that you can stop at along the way.

Not far from Lake Naivasha is Hell’s Gate National Park. The beautiful area offers great places to go hiking, trekking, rock climbing, and mountain biking.

Another great day trip from Nairobi is a visit to Mount Longonot. If you plan to climb Mount Kenya or Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, you can get acclimatized by hiking Mount Longonot. Trips here can be combined with visits to Lake Naivasha and Hell’s Gate as well.

Another good option is to go white water rafting on the Tana River. The river is located just 1.5 hours from Nairobi, and makes for a great day out for those visiting Africa for adventure sports.

If you are a serious mountain climber, a trip to Mount Kenya is also a good day out. It is a great way to prepare for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, but getting to the top of Mount Kenya is also an accomplishment in itself.

Whatever day trip from Nairobi you choose, you can get there by hiring a car or by taking an organized tour or excursion. Many companies offer day trips, so make sure to shop around and compare what is included in each tour package before making a booking.

Hell’s Gate National Park, Kenya

Located in Kenya’s Rift Valley near Lake Naivasha, Hell’s Gate National Park is named after two large red cliffs that surround a geothermal center.

The center is home to steam vents and hotsprings, many of which have been used by power stations for their energy.

Hell’s Gate National Park is home to many species of bird and other game.

Visitors to Hell’s Gate National Park can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and rock climbing.