kenya attractions

Seeing the Great Migration is unforgettable. (Photo: Getty Images)

Tips + Trends

Put These 7 Kenya Must-Dos on Your Travel Bucket List

If you’re on the hunt for your next adventure, look no further than Kenya. This East African country boasts unbelievable wildlife experiences featuring the rarest animal sightings in the world. Plus, more and more people are also flocking to the Kenyan coast for a deeper understanding of Swahili history and pristine beaches that can’t be overlooked.

It’s safe to say that one visit here will likely not be enough.

Witness the Great Migration

While the majority of African migration buzz is centered around Tanzania, travelers should remember that Kenya is the other place on the continent where wildebeest are trying to migrate to in search of food and water.

Indeed, the great migration is one big loop, and as things die down in the Serengeti, Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve, between July and October, is the next site for the jaw-dropping animal crossing action. Plan ahead and prioritize this major bucket list item.

Visit a Village

kenya attractions
Visit a Masaai village. (Photo: Getty Images)

You can’t leave Kenya without getting to know at least one village of the country’s 42 tribes. The Maasai tribes who live near the game park are known for their warm welcome, and the Turkana people in the northwestern region by Lake Turkana are even happy to facilitate a traditional wedding for couples.

Time Travel in Lamu Island

Lamu Island was first settled in the 14th century and is the oldest Swahili town in Kenya; the island is reached by boat from the mainland. To be sure, walking around the ancient buildings and wood-carved doors will feel like traveling back in time.

For a better understanding of the island’s rich history, stop by the Lamu Fort and Lamu Museum. Then, as the sun goes down, take an unforgettable ride on a traditional dhow (a kind of sailboat). In addition to donkeys, dhows are one of the main methods of transportation in Lamu, which has no roads.

Adopt an Elephant

kenya attractions
Help protect the elephants. (Photo: Getty Images)

Carve out some time to go to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s elephant orphanage in Nairobi National Park, just south of the Kenyan capital city. From 11 a.m. to noon almost every day, the public can watch the orphans get fed and play in the mud. It’s hands down the most adorable thing you’ll ever see.

For those who want to get more involved with the organization, you can become a fosterer right on the spot during your visit or online; there are also options to adopt a rhino or giraffe in the trust’s care.

Don’t Skip Diani Beach

The clear, turquoise waters alone at Diani Beach just south of Mombasa are worth a visit, and from November to February, it’s possible to swim alongside whale sharks. (Contrary to their name, the docile sea animals pose no danger to humans whatsoever.) Lovers of land-based creatures might catch sight of camels strolling along the shore.

You can either fly here for $50, one way, from Nairobi or take the train for a cheaper but longer alternative.

Hike up Mount Kenya

kenya attractions
Get wild on the mountain. (Photo: Getty Images)

Avoid the crowds at Mount Kilimanjaro and head to the center of the country to take on Mount Kenya’s snow-capped peaks instead. At just over 17,000 feet, it’s Africa’s second-highest mountain and has three main peaks, Batian, Nelion and Point Lenana, all of which experienced nature lovers can climb.

Hiking up the trails is easier during the dry season, so plan to go during January or February or between July and September.

Eat Local Meats

Nyama choma is a typical Kenyan dish of roasted meat, and the most popular joint serving it up is Nairobi’s Carnivore restaurant. Since September 1980, hungry tourists and locals alike have been flocking here for the well-known “Beast of a Feast” meal, which features the roasting and carving of unconventional meats such as ostrich, crocodile and camel at your table.

An array of sauces, desserts and Kenyan coffee, along with other traditional side dishes, are also included. It’s a unique dining activity you won’t find anywhere else. Make sure to grab a reservation in advance if you’re interested, as tables fill up fast.