Apply for Kenya eTA

Exploring Kenya: Top Tourist Destinations and Must-See Attractions

Kenya is a country in East Africa that boasts of an incredible array of tourist attractions, ranging from scenic landscapes, exotic wildlife, stunning beaches, and vibrant cultural experiences.

Exploring Kenya Top Tourist Destinations

The country's national parks and game reserves offer visitors the chance to witness the "Big Five" animals in their natural habitat, while its pristine coastline provides a perfect escape for those seeking sun, sea, and sand. In this article, we will explore some of the top tourist destinations and must-see attractions in Kenya.

17 Must-Visit Tourist Destinations and Activities

Kenya is a top safari destination famous for its rich wildlife, diverse nature reserves, and beautiful coastlines. Its national parks offer a variety of landscapes and host an abundance of wildlife, with the Maasai Mara being the most famous. 

Trekking Mount Kenya, ballooning over the Masai Mara, and snorkeling in Malindi are some other popular activities.

1. Serene Beauty and Wildlife Encounters: Lake Naivasha

Lake Naivasha is a picturesque destination just a two-hour drive away from Nairobi, perfect for a day trip or weekend retreat. Although often overshadowed by the nearby Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivasha is a treasure trove of avian and animal life, not to be missed.

A Haven for Nature Enthusiasts

Nestled in the Great Rift Valley, Lake Naivasha's name means "rough water" in the Maasai language. Despite the name, this shallow freshwater lake boasts a tranquil and serene environment. With over 400 bird species, including African fish eagles, pelicans, and cormorants, the lake is a bird watcher's paradise. Visitors can also spot giraffes and buffaloes along the shoreline, while the lake is also home to a significant population of hippos.

What to Do at Lake Naivasha

  • Take a scenic boat ride on the lake to spot as many birds and animals as possible.
  • Go for a leisurely hike around the lake, enjoying the scenic views and serene atmosphere.
  • Spend the night at one of the lodges overlooking the lake for a peaceful and comfortable stay.

Comfortable Accommodation Options

Lake Naivasha has several lodges and resorts that offer comfortable and convenient accommodation. These lodges overlook the sparkling lake and provide guests with a relaxing and serene ambiance. After a day of exploring the natural beauty of Lake Naivasha, visitors can relax in their cozy lodgings, enjoying the stunning views and peaceful surroundings.

In conclusion, Lake Naivasha is a hidden gem that offers a tranquil getaway from the hustle and bustle of Nairobi. With its abundance of avian and animal life, scenic views, and comfortable accommodation options, Lake Naivasha is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and anyone looking for a serene escape.

2. Explore the Life of Karen Blixen: Karen Blixen Museum

Located on the outskirts of Nairobi, the Karen Blixen Museum is a must-see for visitors interested in the life and times of the famous Danish writer, Karen Blixen. Here are some highlights of what you can expect:

  • Farmhouse: The museum is located in the bungalow-style farmhouse where Karen Blixen lived from 1917 to 1931. Visitors can explore the different rooms and get a feel for what life was like for the author during her time in Kenya.
  • Out of Africa: The memoir "Out of Africa" is perhaps Karen Blixen's most famous work. It chronicles her life on the coffee plantation and provides insight into Kenya's culture and colonial rule in British East Africa.
  • Artifacts: The museum is filled with period pieces and original artifacts that belonged to Karen Blixen, giving visitors a glimpse into her personal life and the time period in which she lived.
  • Lush Grounds: The museum is surrounded by beautiful, green grounds, offering a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of Nairobi's city center.

If you're in Nairobi, don't miss the opportunity to visit the Karen Blixen Museum and learn more about the fascinating life of this renowned author.

3. Witness Magnificent Wildlife and Landscapes: Tsavo East National Park

Tsavo East National Park is one of Kenya's oldest and largest national parks, located in the southeast on the route from Nairobi to the coast. If you're wondering where to go on safari, Tsavo East is an excellent choice, offering a variety of incredible wildlife to see.

History and Wildlife of Tsavo East National Park

Once the hunting grounds of the Waliangulu and Kamba tribes, Tsavo East's sprawling savanna and semi-arid grasslands have been protected since 1948. The park is home to the Big 5 - lions, elephants, leopards, rhinos, and buffalo, as well as other fascinating wildlife, including hippopotamuses and crocodiles in the Galana River. The park's blue skies are also filled with crowned cranes and sacred ibis.

Safari Experience in Tsavo East National Park

  • Your driver and guide will keep in contact with other guides to help you get up close to every animal imaginable.
  • We had the pleasure of seeing a family of elephants enjoying a red dust bath right beside our jeep, one of our favorite memories from our time in Kenya.
  • You can spot a wide range of wildlife throughout the park, including the Big 5 and other fascinating animals like hippos and crocodiles.

Overall, Tsavo East National Park is an excellent destination for a safari in Kenya, offering a unique blend of history, wildlife, and natural beauty.

4. Discover the Breathtaking Scenery of Tsavo West National Park

Tsavo West, located across a river and the A109 from its namesake Tsavo National Park, is a mountainous and swampy terrain. Its unique landscape is home to a specially protected rhino sanctuary, making it a popular destination for visitors.

Varied Scenery and Exciting Activities:

The park's rugged reaches are characterized by dramatic black lava flows and volcanic cones, making it an ideal location for rock climbing. A must-visit attraction in Tsavo West is the marvelous Mzima Springs, where you can spot hippos, crocs, and turtles.

Rare Sightings:

Tsavo West is a treasure trove of wildlife, and it's possible to see rare and endangered species here. On our safari, we were lucky enough to spot an eastern black rhinoceros, a highly endangered species. It was an unforgettable moment as the rhino stared at us for a while before disappearing into the bush.

5. Relive the History of Mombasa: Fort Jesus

Located on Mombasa Island, Fort Jesus is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting this coastal city. The impressive architecture and vast collection of artifacts make for a fascinating experience.

A Historical Landmark

Built in the late 16th century, between 1593 and 1596, Fort Jesus is an iconic symbol of the Portuguese presence in the Indian Ocean. The square-shaped fort boasts four bulwarks and impressive Portuguese Renaissance architecture. Despite this, the local Swahili people provided most of the labour, materials, and masonry techniques.

Exploring the Old Town

While Fort Jesus is a remarkable sight to behold, the Old Town outside is equally captivating. The traditional Swahili buildings are home to local restaurants and shops selling traditional masks, textiles, and jewellery. The vibrant atmosphere of the Old Town is the perfect place to get lost and soak up the local culture.

What to Expect

  • Impressive Portuguese Renaissance architecture
  • Extensive collection of artifacts
  • Four bulwarks at each corner
  • Local Swahili influence in its construction
  • Vibrant Old Town with local restaurants and shops.

6. Experience the Majestic Landscapes of Aberdare National Park

Aberdare National Park, nestled in the Central Highlands on the way from Nairobi to Nakuru, is a nature lover's dream. Established in 1950, the park is home to part of the Aberdare Mountains, which range from 2,000 to 4,000 metres in height.

Unlike many of the country's parks, Aberdare is renowned for its scenic hikes and waterfalls rather than its wildlife. Its diverse landscapes, including rivers, forests, and waterfalls, cover vast valleys and the lower slopes of prominent peaks. The park also hosts a large population of eastern black rhinos and elephants.

Some of the best hikes in Aberdare National Park include:

  • Mount Satima's summit
  • Elephant Hills trail

Don't miss these stunning waterfalls hidden away amidst the verdant forest:

  • Chania falls
  • Karuru falls

These sites are perfect for capturing epic photos and provide a rewarding viewing experience.

7. Relax and Unwind on the Pristine Diani Beach

If you're looking for a place to unwind and relax after all the safaris and sightseeing, Diani Beach is the perfect destination. Located just south of Mombasa, this idyllic beach offers wide, white sands where you can lounge lazily and enjoy fun watersports.

Diani Beach stretches around 17 kilometers along the Indian Ocean, providing a relaxing resort area. Luxury hotels and resorts are scattered along the palm tree-fringed beach, many of which offer all-inclusive packages and safari trips for guests.

Some of the activities you can enjoy at Diani Beach include:

  • Kite surfing
  • Jet skiing
  • Scuba diving
  • Snorkeling
  • Sightseeing cruises along the coast
  • Quad-biking trips around nearby villages

Aside from being one of the most beautiful beaches out there, Diani Beach has so much to offer. Whether you're looking to relax and soak up the sun or get your adrenaline pumping with exciting water sports, this beach has it all.

8. Hiking and Wildlife at Hell's Gate National Park

Hell’s Gate National Park is a must-visit destination for active travellers seeking adventure. Located south of Lake Naivasha, this park is named after a narrow gap in its colossal cliffs. Here are some reasons why you should consider visiting this park:

Excellent Hiking, Biking, and Rock Climbing

The park offers excellent opportunities for hiking, biking, and rock climbing. Visitors can explore the slender gorge’s ruddy red rocks and the long-extinct volcanoes. The park also features some of the most captivating formations created by cooling molten lava.

Relatively Close Proximity and Affordable Entrance Fees

The park's location is relatively close to Nairobi, and the entrance fees are affordable. This makes it a popular destination for both local and international tourists.

Opportunities for Wildlife Spotting

Hell’s Gate National Park is home to a variety of wildlife, including African buffaloes, elands, hyenas, baboons, and ostriches. As very few predators reside within this part of the Great Rift Valley, visitors can hike or bike around the park while enjoying the scenic views and wildlife.

Hot Springs and Maasai Cultural Centre

Visitors can also enjoy the park's hot springs and Maasai Cultural Centre, where they can learn more about the local Maasai culture and customs.

9. Encounter Wildlife at Nairobi National Park

Nairobi National Park is the only nature reserve of its kind in the world, located right on the doorstep of Kenya's capital city. It was established in the 1940s to protect the region's dwindling wildlife and today it offers visitors a unique experience.

Exploring Nairobi National Park

The park mainly consists of endless open grass plains with pockets of forests along rivers and small rocky gorges scattered about. Visitors can see a variety of wildlife living in the park, from gazelles and cheetahs to crocodiles, jackals, and common eland. The sight of Nairobi's skyline while looking at lions, elephants, and giraffes is a surreal feeling that needs to be experienced.

Why Nairobi National Park is worth a visit

  • It's the only nature reserve of its kind in the world.
  • It's located right on the doorstep of Kenya's capital city.
  • Visitors can see a diverse range of wildlife, including wildebeest and zebra migrations.
  • The park offers unique views of Nairobi's skyline while being surrounded by nature.
  • It was established to protect the region's dwindling wildlife in the 1940s and continues to do so today.

Our Experience at Nairobi National Park

Although we did several safaris in Kenya, visiting Nairobi National Park was still a highlight. The diverse wildlife and delightfully different views made the visit quite special. It's not every day that you can witness wildebeest and zebra migrations almost right through a city. We highly recommend visiting Nairobi National Park to experience this unique destination for yourself.

10. Historical Charm and Beach Bliss: Lamu Island

Located on Kenya’s northeastern coastline, Lamu Island is one of the best places in East Africa to experience traditional Swahili culture. As the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the nation, it offers a relaxing escape that feels like a trip back in time.

Old Town and Its Charm

Part of the Lamu archipelago, the island’s Old Town features labyrinthine streets lined with charming coral stone buildings and quiet inner courtyards. Lamu is known for its intricately carved wooden doors and cute donkeys, making it a more peaceful and better-preserved alternative to Zanzibar’s Stone Town. Be sure to check out the local museum and fort before relaxing on the island’s white sandy beaches or exploring nearby villages.

Dhow Boat Trips

Many visitors also take tranquil dhow boat trips around the archipelago, enjoying the stunning scenery and rich culture of the region. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or simply soaking up the laid-back island vibe, Lamu is a must-visit destination in East Africa.

11. Conquer Africa's Second-Highest Peak: Mount Kenya

Mount Kenya is a towering mountain that stands at 5,199 meters above the plains, valleys, and forests of Kenya. As the second-highest peak in Africa after Kilimanjaro, it is a popular destination for adventurers seeking to conquer its summit.

Formation and Symbolism

Formed around three million years ago, Mount Kenya is an extinct stratovolcano and one of the main symbols of the country. In fact, the country's name is derived from the mountain. Its slopes are heavily eroded while its upper reaches are coated with ice caps.

The Three Peaks

Mount Kenya has three separate peaks for adventurers to summit, with Batian being the loftiest of them all. Nelion is the toughest of the three, while Lenana's unpredictability can pose a problem. Climbing the summit is a challenging but rewarding experience, with spectacular views waiting at the top.

Reaching the Summit

Protected as a national park, it generally takes four or five arduous days to reach the summit of Mount Kenya. Climbing the summit is probably one of the most difficult and rewarding things to do in Kenya. For avid adventurers seeking a challenge, Mount Kenya offers an unforgettable experience.

12. Tropical Paradise and Marine Life: Malindi

Located along the Indian Ocean, Malindi offers plenty of options for those seeking a beach holiday. This beautiful destination boasts fantastic beaches, hotels, and nature parks for visitors to enjoy.

History and Attractions

Malindi's stunning beaches have long been popular with Italian tourists. Vasco da Gama himself landed on the string of pearly white beaches in 1498 and erected a coral pillar that still stands today overlooking the ocean. For those interested in history, the Gede Ruins are a must-visit attraction. The ruins are the remains of a twelfth-century Swahili town.

The Beaches of Malindi

Most visitors to Malindi come for the beaches. Here are some of the best ones to check out:

  • Watamu Beach
  • Malindi Marine National Park
  • Silversands Beach
  • Che Shale Beach
  • Turtle Bay Beach

A Word of Caution

While the beaches of Malindi are beautiful, the ocean can turn murky brown in the Sabaki River mouth. Visitors should be cautious when swimming in this area.

Foster Baby Elephants at Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

If you're looking for an unforgettable animal encounter, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is a must-visit destination. Located on the outskirts of Nairobi, this sanctuary is home to baby elephants that will charm you with their playful antics.

A history of rescue and rehabilitation

The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust was founded in 1977 and has since rescued and rehabilitated hundreds of orphaned and injured elephants. The young elephants are raised by their keepers until the age of two or three, after which they are sent to Tsavo East before being released back into the wild.

A day at the sanctuary

Each day, a limited number of guests can visit the orphanage and see the elephants up close. Watching them feed, play, and roll around in the mud is an incredibly cute and unforgettable experience.

Don't miss your chance to witness these adorable creatures in their natural habitat at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

14. Witness Spectacular Wildlife at Lake Nakuru National Park

Lake Nakuru is a breathtaking destination located within the Great Rift Valley of Africa. It is renowned for its vast population of bright pink flamingos that have made it their home. The lake's reflective waters and beautiful landscapes provide a perfect backdrop for photography enthusiasts.

A National Park with a Rich Diversity of Wildlife

Lake Nakuru is now a national park that offers protection to over 450 bird species and a few of Africa's big cats, including lions, cheetahs, and leopards. It is home to millions of flamingos that flock here regularly to feed on abundant algae. In addition to the flamingos, visitors can also spot white rhinos and Rothschild’s giraffes in close proximity.

A Scenic Lakeshore with Abundant Wildlife

Apart from the flamingos and big cats, Lake Nakuru offers a lot more to visitors. The scenic lakeshore is a great place to spot zebra and waterbucks that often come here to drink water. The dense woodlands around the lake are also home to sizable pythons that can be spotted slowly slithering around. Visitors can also enjoy the breathtaking views of the Great Rift Valley that surrounds the lake.

Overall, Lake Nakuru is a haven for flamingos and wildlife that is sure to leave a lasting impression on any visitor who ventures to its shores.

15. Safari Adventure with a Backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro: Amboseli National Park

Amboseli National Park is a renowned wildlife destination, known for its vast herds of elephants and abundant wildlife. It is consistently ranked among the top places to go on safari. The park is situated on the border of Tanzania and boasts a diverse landscape of savannas, woods, and wetlands, providing a unique and fascinating experience for visitors.

Discover the Natural Wonders of Amboseli National Park

Amboseli National Park, whose name means 'salty, dusty place' in the Maa language, has been recognized as a nature park since 1908. Despite its arid terrain, the park is home to a rich array of wildlife, with 1,600 free-ranging elephants being the main attraction for many visitors. The areas around its swamps offer a refreshing oasis, where life thrives.

Things to do in Amboseli National Park

  • Spot the Big 5 and other wildlife
  • Learn about the local Maasai culture at the traditional Muteleu village nearby
  • Witness the breathtaking silhouette of Mount Kilimanjaro on the horizon

A Memorable Safari Experience

With its unique landscape and diverse wildlife, Amboseli National Park offers an unforgettable safari experience. The park's vast herds of elephants and other wildlife make for an exhilarating adventure, while the local Maasai culture adds a touch of authenticity. Moreover, the park's awe-inspiring view of Mount Kilimanjaro only adds to its charm and appeal.

16. Unravel the Wilderness of Samburu National Reserve

Located to the north of Mount Kenya, the Samburu National Reserve offers a wild and remote experience for nature lovers. With fewer visitors than other parks, it is a haven for a diverse range of animals.

Landscapes and Vegetation

The reserve is mostly dry and dusty, with occasional rivers and forests. However, its varied vegetation and the winding Ewaso Ngi'ro River attract a wide range of wildlife.

Unique Fauna

Apart from the typical lions, cheetahs, and leopards, the reserve is home to dry-country fauna such as the East African oryx, generuk, Grevy’s zebras, and reticulated giraffes.

Worth the Visit

Although it takes some effort to get there, the Samburu National Reserve is a must-visit destination for those who love wildlife and scenic landscapes.

17. Experience the Great Migration: Masai Mara National Reserve

The Masai Mara is a world-renowned safari destination located in Kenya. It is one of the most famous safari parks on the African continent, attracting visitors from all over the world. Here are some of the highlights of this incredible park:

Exceptional wildlife populations

The Masai Mara boasts exceptional populations of some of Africa's most iconic wildlife species, including lions, leopards, cheetahs, and elephants. Visitors can also expect to see a wide range of other animals, from giraffes and zebras to hyenas and jackals.

The Great Migration

Named after the Maasai people, the Masai Mara is home to the Great Migration, one of the world's most awe-inspiring natural phenomena. Every year, millions of wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles migrate across the park's plains, pursued by predators such as lions and crocodiles.

The Big 5 and more

Even outside of the Great Migration, visitors to the Masai Mara can still easily spot all of the Big 5 - lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and buffalos - as they roam about the park. The Mara and Talek rivers are also home to crocodiles and hippos, while long-crested eagles and African pygmy falcons can be seen overhead.

What to expect at the Masai Mara

  • Exceptional populations of lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephants, and more
  • The awe-inspiring Great Migration of millions of wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles
  • The chance to see the Big 5 - lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and buffalos - up close
  • Crocodiles and hippos along the Mara and Talek rivers
  • Long-crested eagles and African pygmy falcons soaring overhead




Get eTA to Kenya

  • Step1: Apply on-line Provide the information from your passport to eTA application.
  • Step2: Make an online payment Payment Methods: Credit Card
  • Step3: Check your e-mail address If your payment is confirmed, your eTA will be sent to your e-mail
Get eTA to Kenya

Recent News

Show More

Other Info