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Best Things to See on Self Drive in Kenya

Kenya is a dream destination with an incredible mix of natural wonders. Aside from Kenya’s natural parks, wildlife safaris, snowy mountains, endless grasslands, and gorgeous sandy beaches, Kenya, also has a reputation for traffic being chaotic and roads being full of potholes.

Kenya is an extraordinary country for a self-drive safari and wildlife viewing boasting over 50 National Parks and Reserves. So you will be forgiven if you imagine Kenya to be vast plains littered with wildlife happily grazing on the savannah, lions shrouding in long grass stalking unbeknown to their prey and large herds of elephant gracefully gliding across the valley. This is all true. But this is not all Kenya has to offer the intrepid traveller.

MUST SEE ATTRACTIONS IN KENYA FOR TOURISTS

  1. Nairobi

The capital, Nairobi has changed immensely over the past decade transforming into a cosmopolitan city with western style shopping malls, supermarkets, restaurants and specialty stores offering everything from hip designer shoes, traditional German sausages to artisan bakeries. Even with this revolution Nairobi still oozes traditional African charm with colorful local markets selling everything from second hand clothes to pots and pans, flamboyant street peddlers offering “genuine” ray bans and the outgoing fast food vendors hawking everything from boiled eggs to samosa to slices of watermelon.

  1. Masai Mara

Kenya’s number 1 game park is clearly the Masai Mara National Reserve, situated in the south it is an extension of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. The Masai Mara National Reserve is the home of the great Wildebeest migration when an incredible 2 million wildebeest and zebra cross the Mara, Talek and San Rivers while crocodiles sit patiently waiting for their chance to feast. While the migration is a spectacular occasion the Masai Mara is an incredible game park all year round with enormous resident herds of antelope, zebra, eland, giraffe, elephant, buffalo, wildebeest and topi as well as established prides of lions, well fed cheetahs, sleek leopards and shy rhinoceros.

  1. Aberdare

If you prefer to get off the beaten track and explore less visited game parks then Kenya has a great range of options from the dramatic Aberdare National Park with game walks and sensational fly fishing, Kakamega Forest Reserve boasting hundreds of plant and bird species as well 400 types of butterflies and 7 varieties of primates, Saiwa Swamp National Park is home to the rare sitatunga antelope and endangered black and white colobus monkey.

  1. Ol Pejeta Conservancy

Ol Pejeta Conservancy is home to 3 out of the 4 last Northern White Rhino on the planet as well housing Southern White Rhino and Black Rhino. It also features a Chimpanzee Sanctuary and the Big 5 as well as all sorts of wildlife, a range of activities on offer from lion tracking, day and night game drives, bush walks and bird watching. Ol Pejeta Conservancy is a perfect destination for families.

  1. Mountain Kenya

Mt Kenya is Africa’s second highest mountain at an impressive 5199m (17,057ft) and quite different terrain to Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. There are 3 snow-capped peaks, the highest peaks, Batian and Nelion can only be climbed by experienced mountaineers while the third peak Point Lenana can be trekked by anyone. Allow around 5 days for the trek.

  1. Lake Turkana

Lake Turkana should only to be tackled by the true adventurer, as beautiful as the desert area is there are limited roads which are in exceptionally bad condition. There are few villages and even fewer towns and we highly recommend taking a local guide who knows the area, speaks the language and will be a godsend if you have any mechanical problems (which is more than likely!). However for those who make the journey will be amazed by the barren desert and the spectacular sight of the jade blue lake that seems to go on forever.

  1. Beaches

The Swahili coast is every beach lover’s utopia with beautiful powder white beaches, calm ocean waters and palm trees dotting the coastline this area should not be missed on a self-drive safari in Kenya. Scattered along the coastline are a number of gorgeous beaches with everything from campsites to 6 star luxury resorts. The coastal region is home to a number of historical sites from the Arab trading years and protected marine parks with Tsavo National Park not too far inland. The most popular beaches frequented by international tourists include Diani, Tiwi, Kilifi, Watamu and Malindi.

  1. Lamu Lamu Isand

If it is beach, history and peace you are after then head to Lamu Island. Lamu Island is Kenya’s oldest living town dating back to the 14th century, and little seems to have changed since. The Arab architecture is breath taking; the views over the ocean unbelievable and the people are the friendliest of anyone in Kenya. The island is accessible only by boat and still to this day motorised vehicles are banned on Lamu so donkeys, bicycles and foot remain the only form of transportation.

  1. Samburu National Reserve

Samburu National Reserve is a very peaceful national park in Northern Kenya. It attracts wildlife because of the Uaso Nyiro River that runs through it and the mixture of forest and grassland vegetation. All three big cats, lion, cheetah and leopard, can be found here, as well as elephants, buffalo and hippos. The Uaso Nyiro River contains large numbers of Nile crocodile.

  1. Tsavo National Park

Tsavo is the largest national park in Kenya and one of the largest in the world. Due to its size the park was divided into Tsavo West and Tsavo East. The Tsavo West has spectacular scenery with a rolling volcanic landscape while Tsavo East has more open savannah than its western sibling. Tsavo National Park is the ideal destination in Kenya for people who seek solitude and privacy as well as the chance to explore the wilderness.

  1. Lake Nakuru

Lake Nakuru is a very shallow lake in central Kenya. The lake’s abundance of algae attracts vast quantities of lesser flamingos, sometimes more than one million at once. Often called the greatest bird spectacle on earth, the flamingos are one of Kenya’s top attractions. Sadly, in recent years the number of flamingos at Lake Nakuru has been decreasing, due to environmental degradation and pollution.

  1. Amboseli National Park

Amboseli National Park is a relatively small park located close to the Tanzania border at the foot of Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro. The park is famous for being the best place in Africa to get close to free-ranging elephants. Other attractions of the Amboseli National Park include opportunities to meet the Maasai people and spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro.

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