Nairobi is a thriving, cosmopolitan hub of government offices, embassies, businesses, banks, churches, mosques, temples, shops, restaurants and markets. Attractions include the National Museum, Railway Museum, National Archives, Karen Blixen Museum and Bomas of Kenya. Nairobi is the world’s only capital city to boast a national park within its boundaries.
Mt Kenya rises spectacularly in the centre of the highlands, its icy peaks glinting white. Mountain ranges, bustling towns, fertile farms and rushing waterfalls garnish its shoulders. Highlights include the Aberdare Range, Meru National Park, Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Thomson’s Falls, Mwea National Reserve and Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park.
The Laikipia plateau’s magnificent escarpments, striking plains, isolated hills and cedar forests are home to ethnically diverse communities. Laikipia’s conservancies combine cattle ranching, wildlife conservation and community development, and offer a plethora of activities such as camel riding, marathon running, mountain biking, trekking and fishing.
This trio of national reserves lies between the lush highlands of southern Kenya and the arid deserts in the north. It is a region of dramatic contrasts in which rare wildlife and diverse birdlife reside. The Ewaso Ngiro River, fringed with giant acacias, figs and doum palms, slices across the scorched land.
Vast tracts of desert stretch across Kenya’s remote northern region. Lake Turkana, known as the Jade Sea, slices through the desert. Jagged, forested mountains rise from this stunning yet savage terrain. The region, known as the Cradle of Mankind, is the site of some of the world’s most important prehistoric discoveries.
Mountainous and fertile Western Kenya is blanketed in lush green plantations of famed Kenyan tea. At its western edge, the region meets Lake Victoria, the source of the Nile. Other highlights include Mt Elgon, Kakamega Forest National Reserve, Ruma National Park, Saiwa Swamp National Park, Cherangani Hills and Kerio Valley.
Famous around the world for its exceptional, abundant wildlife, the Maasai Mara National Reserve has become known as the Seventh Wonder of the World. Not only are all the members of safari’s Big Five found here, but over 100 other mammal species and over 450 bird species live within the reserve.
The Great Rift Valley carves through Kenya, its path strewn with striking escarpments, glassy lakes, dormant volcanoes and bubbling geysers. Startling views unfold from its peaks and crests. Highlights include Lake Baringo, Lake Bogoria, Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivasha, Mt Longonot, Hell’s Gate and Lake Magadi.
The huge herds of elephant that roam through Amboseli National Park have made it a centre for elephant research. The park also hosts a wide variety of other wildlife and over 600 species of birds. Highlights of Amboseli include Observation Hill and spectacular views of Mt Kilimanjaro.
Tsavo West National Park has a diverse array of habitats, including open grasslands, rocky outcrops, isolated hills, riverine vegetation, palm thickets and mountain forests. Highlights include Mzima Springs, Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary, Lake Jipe, Shetani Caves and spectacular views of Mt Kilimanjaro. Over 600 species of birds have been recorded here.
Tsavo East National Park is a vast area of arid bush through which the emerald Galana River meanders. Attractions include dust-red elephants, Aruba Dam, Mudanda Rock, Yatta Plateau and Lugard Falls. The park became known as the site where the infamous Man Eaters of Tsavo presided over their reign of terror.
Made up of a collection of idyllic islands at the northern end of Kenya’s coastline, the Lamu Archipelago is living history. The Old Town’s narrow alleys, Arabic architecture, fort and mosques speak of age old culture, while the surrounding beaches and reefs sparkle in today’s sunshine.
Stretching from Nyali to Malindi, the North Coast is known for its long white beaches, its trading history and its Swahili ruins. Highlights include Tana River Delta, Malindi Marine National Park, Watamu Marine National Park, Arabuko Sokoke Forest, Mida Creek and Gede Ruins.
Mombasa has a colourful history stretching back a thousand years. Invasions, sieges and trade have all made their mark on the culture of this coastal island city. East Africa’s largest port, Mombasa is the gateway to all the landlocked countries of central Africa, and is the second largest city in Kenya.
The South Coast is known for its long attractive beaches, vibrant night life, marine national parks, coastal national parks and remote islands. Highlights include Diani Beach, Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park, Shimoni Caves, Shimba Hills and Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary.