The Wanderlust guide to the best of Kenya

The first of a new series where we gather up the very best advice, tips and photos about our very favourite destinations. This week, captivating Kenya

6 mins

Think safari, and most people think Kenya. Nestled on the coast of East Africa, Kenya is where Roosevelt, Hemingway and Churchill put romance into hunting, and started off the safari industry.

These days Kenyan safaris are all photographic, but the excitement remains. The greatest density of game is in the Masai Mara, the northern part of the Serengeti. This is packed with wildlife during the annual wildebeest migration, but is busy with game and predators year-round: sightings come thick and fast.

But Kenya is more than safari – when you’ve seen the ‘big five’, go trekking with tribesmen, hike mountain peaks and scuba dive reefs in the Indian Ocean.

Mount Kenya (Sarah Baxter)

Looking for inspiration?

Look no further than Richard Trillo’s article on the tribal gathering at Lake Turkana. He journeyed to world’s largest desert lake to witness a truly spectacular gathering of Kenya’s most colourful tribes and explains how you can too.

You should also check out Lizzie Matthews’ tale about sleeping under the stars in central Kenya. Perched high on a stilted wooden platform on a rocky hillside, her bed looked out over Kenya’s wild Laikipia Plateau. There aren't too many other places where you can wake up to giraffes lolloping or lions prowling between the long grasses and wiry acacia trees.

How does a five-day Field Guiding Course in the Masai Mara, sound? Julie Davidson gave it a go and reckons there is no better way to get under the skin of Kenya... 

Or if climbing is more your thing, you’ll want to check out Sarah Baxter’s guide to climbing Mt Kenya. Often overlooked for the more glamorous Kilimanjaro, many claim it is a more challenging – and rewarding climb.

More information:

Tribal Gatherings: Lake Turkana, Kenya – Richard Trillo

Sleeping under the stars – Lizzie Matthews

Five days in the life of a bush safari guide – Julie Davidson

Climbing Mount Kenya – Sarah Baxter

Kenyan Hairdresser (Peter Moore)

Kenya’s secrets revealed

Want the inside scoop on Kenya’s secrets? Peter Moore asked Nairobi locals about the things they love about their city and came up with a treasure trove of inside information about Nairobi’s best street food, most amazing nightlife and a wildlife park only the locals know about. You’ll also find advice on enjoying Nairobi’s cheapest beer.

Mindy Budgor, on the other hand, spent a year living with the Maasai, becoming the first female Maasai warrior and reveals how you can too. Chris Spring, from the British Museum, explains the etiquette of wearing a kanga, the colourful sarongs everyone in East Africa wears. Chances are you’ll buy one too, so his advice on not causing offence is invaluable.

More information

Crowd sourced Nairobi – Peter Moore

More crowd sourced Nairobi – Peter Moore

How to be a Maasai Warrior – Mindy Bugnore

How to wear a manga without causing offence – Chris Spring

The Great Migration (Paul Goldstien)

Capturing it all on film

It won’t surprise you to learn that Kenya is a photographer’s paradise. Indeed, the wildlife section of Wanderlust's annual Travel Photo of the Year competition has been dominated by shots taken in Kenya, including the winners in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012. From epic landscapes to colourful tribes through to  life and death struggles of the wildlife, there is always something to fill your frame.

If you're interested combining your love of photography with a trip to Kenya, there’s no better starting point than this article written by award-winning photographer Chris Haslam about photo safaris in Kenya.  

Our guide to timing your visit to catch the Great Migration is indispensable too, as is our step-by-step guide on how to take amazing photos of this great wildlife event when you’re there


Wanderlust Travel Photo of the Year

On photo safari in Kenya – Chris Haslam

Great Migration calendar: 12 months, 12 ways – Will Gray

Top 15 tips for taking Great Migration photos – Paul Goldstein

Learn from the Maasai (Peter Moore)

Everything you need to know

Ready to plan your trip? Our Kenya travel guide is the perfect place to start. Phillip Briggs’ Beginner’s Guide to East Africa is worth checking out too.

If you have any questions, pop over to the myWanderlust forum where our knowledgeable community is ready to spring into action and share all that they know. Or check out the questions people have already asked about Kenya. The answer to yours might already be there.

More information

Kenya travel guide

Beginner's Guide to East Africa – Philip Briggs

myWanderlust forum

Kenya Q & A

Audley Mara shot

Ready to go?

Here’s a selection of fantastic tours offered by our partners. From safaris and wildlife volunteering to relaxing coastal breaks there’s sure to be something that tickles your fancy. You’ll find the full list of tours available here.

More information

Trip Finder can help you find adventures in Kenya

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