From the iconic national parks filled with wildlife, to the spectacular landscapes, colourful cultures and friendly locals, Kenya is filled with unforgettable experiences. So what to see in Kenya first? We’ve got the lowdown on all the top things to do in Kenya. From meeting rescued rhinos and chimpanzees to visiting a Maasai village, you can be sure you’ll see the very best of Kenya with Trafalgar.
1. Spot the Big 5 in the Maasai Mara and visit a Maasai village
The Maasai Mara National Reserve is one of the world’s greatest preserved wilderness areas, where animals like elephants, lions, cheetahs and zebras hunt and graze across the stunning savannah. We’ll take you on an unforgettable game drive through the Maasai Mara for some world-class game viewing, with the chance to spot the Big Five and much more.
You’ll also get to spend the night within the reserve. Your amazing lodge is set right next to a watering hole where large pods of hippos often gather around.
The Maasai Mara is also the home of the Maasai people, and we’ll take you to a traditional Maasai village. Here you’ll get to meet some of the tribe members and tour the village to gain an incredible insight into their daily life. You’ll also get to watch the Maasai warriors demonstrate their jumping prowess dressed in their brightly coloured traditional robes, and it’s a truly moving experience.
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2. Spend the night at the Ark Lodge in Aberdare National Park
The Ark Lodge is one of Trafalgar’s most extraordinary ‘Stays With Stories’, and you’ll get to see the very best of Kenya when you spend the night here. Set in the heart of Aberdare National Park, this gorgeous lodge was built to resemble Noah’s Ark, overlooking a floodlit waterhole and salt lick. The area attracts a huge variety of wildlife, with everything from elephants and buffalo to birdlife congregating around the water.
You’ll get to see it all, as the lodge has four special wildlife viewing areas, including balconies and lounges where you can get comfortable and watch the wildlife roll in. There’s also a ground-level bunker, and you can see animals just a few metres away from here. It’s perfect for photographers as you can take pictures through the view holes in comfort and safety.
Don’t want to miss a thing? The lodge even has a night guard who will buzz your room when nocturnal animals come to the waterhole. If there was ever a place to really get up close and intimate with the African wildlife, this is it.
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3. Go in search of the ‘Samburu Special 5’
So you’ve heard of Africa’s Big 5… But what about the Samburu Special 5? We’ll take you into the remote landscapes of the Samburu National Reserve, where you’ll head off on a game drive to spot the unique species only found in northern Kenya. See if you can spot them all: the Reticulated Giraffe, Grevy’s Zebra, Gerenuk, Somali Ostrich and Beisa Oryx.
This incredible reserve is also special for other reasons. It was made famous in the award-winning book and movie, Born Free, as Samburu was the home of Elsa, the famous lioness raised by conservationists George and Joy Adamson. This true story will really come to life as you explore the beautiful acacia forests and grasslands.
You’ll also spend the night here in a luxury tented camp, right on the banks of Ewaso Nyiro River. As you fall asleep to the sounds of the bush, this is sure to be an experience you’ll treasure forever.
4. Meet a local coffee farmer in the highlands of Kenya
We’ll hop on board a 4×4 and make the journey from Nairobi to Aberdare National Park. On the way, we’ll stop in the highlands of central Kenya where you’ll meet Elizabeth, a local coffee farmer. You’ll get to visit her aromatic coffee plantation and stunning farm gardens, before sitting down to a delicious local lunch.
You’ll also be treated to freshly baked scones and coffee, made from the very same beans grown on her plantation. As you fill up on all the tasty food and rich coffee, you’ll get to chat with Elizabeth and learn all about what life is like as a coffee farmer in the highlands of Kenya.
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5. Discover the sanctuaries saving rhinos and chimpanzees
We’ll take you to the very special Ol Pejeta Conservancy, where you’ll learn about their fight to stop rhino poaching. The conservancy is the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa, and you’ll even get to meet some of these magnificent creatures. There’s also the chance to get a photo at the point where the equator runs through the conservancy!
We’ll then take you to Sweetwaters Sanctuary, where you’ll get to meet the gorgeous chimpanzees. The sanctuary rescues and takes care of orphaned chimpanzees and you’ll love watching the cheeky chimps and learning about the sanctuary’s conservation efforts.
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You’ll also get to explore Solio Game Reserve, a privately-owned wildlife conservancy with the most successful rhino breeding reserve in the country. Founded in 1970, it’s a sanctuary for both black and white rhino, and the reserve is now home to the world’s largest population of white rhino.
Although the reserve is something of a hidden gem on the Kenyan safari circuit, we’ll take you on a game drive here to spot rhino and other wildlife like leopards, lions, giraffe, zebra and buffalo. With views of Mount Kenya and stunning savannah scenery, this is sure to be an experience you’ll never forget.
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6. Make a Difference at Shangilia Children’s Home
We’ll enrich your trip to Kenya with a visit to Shangilia Children’s Home, a centre for orphaned and vulnerable children in a small village called Vihiga. You’ll have the chance to watch the older children practice their music, dance and acrobatics, and soak up the wonderful family atmosphere of Shangilia.
The centre aims to give children a home where they are loved and feel like they belong, and you’ll leave knowing your visit helped to support the home and their efforts to change the lives of these children.
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7. Explore the incredible parks of the Great Rift Valley
Spanning 7,000 kilometres in length from Lebanon to Mozambique, the Great Rift Valley is an extraordinary feat of nature. We’ll take you to one beautiful part of it when we journey to Lake Nakuru National Park.
The lake is famed as a birdwatcher’s utopia, with more than 400 bird species recorded here. Your expert guide will help you find some of these birds on a drive through the park. There’s also the chance to spot other wildlife like leopards and lions, and you’ll even stay overnight in the park with spectacular lake views.
Be sure to rise early and keep your camera at the ready, as your guide will take you on a 4×4 game drive to the lake at sunrise to spot the pink flamingos and pelicans. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the zebra, rhino and buffalo wandering nearby. As you take in the early morning sounds and smells of the bush, you’ll get the feeling you’re witnessing something truly special.
But we’re not done yet! We’ll also take you to Lake Naivasha where you’ll board a boat and go cruising in search of hippos. Stopping off at Crescent Island, we’ll then meet a Local Specialist who will take us on a thrilling walk to spot giraffes, zebra and impala.
From the amazing wildlife to the breathtaking scenery, the Great Rift Valley definitely offers up some of the best of Kenya.
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Which experiences are at the top of your Kenya bucket list? Let us know in the comments below!