Places to visit in Kenya: Beach, City, and Wildlife

Kenya is a fascinating country with the best of everything. And with affordable flights from different parts of the world, more and more people are choosing to travel to this magnificent country. Do you want to know the places to visit in Kenya — from beach, city and wildlife? Here you go…

BEACH

Surprise, surprise. While Kenya’s name reverberates when we talk about wildlife, it doesn’t fall short on tropical holidays as well. As a matter of fact, Kenya’s beaches are some of the most beautiful in the world, offering a lot of different things for everyone — unspoiled beach resorts, exotic beauty, wide-range of activities and fascinating marine life. Also, Kenya beach resorts offer many ocean safaris, water sports, restaurants, shops and even nightclubs!

Here are Kenya’s top 3 beaches:

Diani Beach

diani beach

Blessed with a gorgeous palm vegetation, a good stretch of white sandy shores, a stunning lagoon and a world-class coral reef that keeps seaweed off the beach, Diani Beach is perhaps everyone’s favorite. It is highly developed with shopping stores, various restaurants, upscale hotels and disco places. It is also widely known as an excellent surfing spot and superb family holiday destination.

Location: 30 kilometres (19 mi) south of Mombasa, in the nearby Kwale County

How to get there: Diani can be accessed via air or road. If you take the latter, you can either drive or take a taxi from Mombasa city center or Moi Airport. This roughly takes 45-60 minutes depending on how long you will have to wait on queue to get on the Likoni ferry. The actual ferry ride is just 5-7 minutes from Mombasa to the South Coast. If you want to fly into Diani, the easiest and quickest way is to fly into Ukunda airport which is roughly a five minute drive on a murram road to the main Diani beach road. Alternatively, there are also direct flights from Nairobi via Air Kenya or SafariLink.

Distinctive feature: Urban beach, Nightlife, Ideal for deep-sea fishing and kite surfing

Watamu Beach – Turtle Bay

watamu turtle bay beach

Located 15 kilometers south of Malindi, Turtle Bay or Watamu Beach is best known for its local reefs, clear water and soft white sands. It is also a breeding ground for several types of marine wildlife, including a variety of turtles.

The beach offers great opportunities for swimming, surfing, sunbathing and long walks along the shores. Because of its splendid coral wilderness and calm seas, glass bottom boat rides are highly recommended – totally a fun way to enjoy the ocean life! So if you’re after a more quiet, more secluded, more unspoiled beach vacation, Turtle Bay is perfect for you!

Location: Mida Creek Road, Ватаму

How to get there: Watamu is a 45-minute flight away from Nairobi through Malindi airport on coast. There are daily flights available with Kenya Airways, Jambojet, AirKenya and Fly 540. From Mombasa International Airport, you can drive around 90 minutes to Watamu, which is a scenic drive along the coast passing through sisal plantations and crossing beautiful Kilifi creek. Once you’re already in Watamu, getting to Turtle Beach is easy. You can either hire a bike, book a taxi or even go on foot to explore the town.

Distinctive feature: Watamu Marine National Park and Reserve (with unique coral garden, various green turtles, etc.), Undeveloped natural scenery

Malindi Beach

 

Are you looking for an advebture by the sea? Malindi Beach’s north shore is a famous surfing spot. Water skiing, deep sea fishing, snorkelling, scuba diving, Dhow excursions and boating are also widely available. Being a developed tourist spot, Malindi Beach offers a myriad of great restaurants as well as retail shops. 

Malindi’s laid-back town is also a place longing to be explored. It is steeped in rich heritage with many cultural and historical places to discover such as the beautiful Gede Ruins and Mida Creek. So if you think a trip around this charming town sounds alluring enough, check out this Malindi and Gene Ruins itinerary!

Location:  Malindi Bay at the mouth of the Galana River, 120 kilometres northeast of Mombasa.

How to get there: Going to Malindi can start from either Mombasa or Nairobi and you can get there via air or road. Mombasa Air travels almost everyday to Malindi. If you take the road, you can either get on a bus or matatu or you can also hire a taxi.

Distinctive feature: proximity to Malindi town, vibrant nightlife and exciting activities especially surfing and scuba diving

CITY

You’d think Kenya is all about the wildlife and tropical paradise but did you know that it also has one of the busiest cities in Africa? With an urban scenery that’s somehow easily overlooked by the amazing safari parks in the country, here are Kenya’s must-visit cities:

Nairobi

Nairobi city at night

Nairobi is Kenya’s capital city and main business center. It is the busiest, most fast-paced city in the country, giving home to all kinds of people from different tribes and races.

You can find many great architectural structures in Nairobi, too. It is known to have a very lively cultural scene, a series of exhilarating festivals, a string of topnotch restaurants and great hotels, and an exciting nightlife that gives its reputation as “the city in Africa that never sleeps.” You can easily find upscale bars, nightclubs and drinking holes around town and the party’s pretty much like how it is in Western clubs but more casual and laidback. And mind you, people in Nairobi really knows how to party!

What’s unique in Nairobi is that it is the only city that has a safari park in the midst of it — Nairobi National Park. In addition to the “safari in the city”, there are also other wildlife sanctuaries like the Giraffe Center and the Rhino Sanctuary. Truly, there is never a dull moment in Nairobi.

Only in Nairobi for a day? Worry not! This 1 Day Nairobi Tour will show you the most amazing sights in the city and maybe even convince you to come back for more!

Places not to miss in Nairobi:

  • Nairobi National Park: The only safari park in a metropolitan. Aside from the lions, leopards, giraffes and many others, the park is also a rhino sanctuary which protects over 50 of these critically endangered creatures.
  • Giraffe Center: A nature park and a sanctuary for rescued giraffes. You can feed them, take photos with them and even enjoy a meal while these lovely creatures stretch their necks through the French windows of your dining area.
  • Karen Blixen Museum: A popular tourist attraction nestled at the foot of the Ngong Hills. It is the former home of the famous Out of Africa author, Karen Blixen.

Get a glimpse of Nairobi by reading this actual experience.

Mombasa

mombasa

With the second busiest international hub in Kenya, Mombasa remains a favorite especially among people who come for business and families who are looking into visiting the coastal region of Kenya first. 

Mombasa is an enchanting city that is home to pristine white sand beaches, gorgeous mosques, exciting activities and lovely weather all year-round. The city is also more affordable than Nairobi and because a lot of tuktuks are available, getting around town is extremely convenient. Here’s a highly recommended Mombasa City Tour.

Places not to miss in Mombasa:

  • Fort Jesus: A UNESCO World Heritage site that’s built in the shape of a man. It houses a museum built over the former barracks for the garrison.
  • Old Town: Come check out the narrow streets bordered by old buildings with ornately carved doors and balconies. Old Town is reminiscent of the days when the Portuguese ruled this important port.
  • Haller Park: A paradise for animal and bird lovers who don’t want to go far from the city. The park is also home to a famous interspecies couple that became an Internet sensation after the 130-year-old tortoise, Mzee, adopted Owen, an orphaned hippo.

WILDLIFE

Thanks to its sheer concentration and diversity of wild animals, Kenya’s wildlife is the focal point of its tourism. It is considered one of Africa’s finest and is constantly voted as one of the top safari countries in the world. And why wouldn’t it be? Kenya’s wildlife is unlike anything in the world. The country is home to the world-famous Big Five, a number of unique animals and most amazingly, the millions of wildebeests, zebras and gazelles that stampeded across its “real Africa” savannas during the iconic Great Migration. Indeed, Kenya’s wildlife is something everyone should see at least once in their lifetime.

Masai Mara National Reserve

masai mara lions

Famous for:

  • The Great Wildebeest Migration, Seventh Natural Wonder of Africa, the world’s largest animal migration and the world’s greatest wildlife spectacle which displays over two million wildebeests, gazelles and zebras alongside predators such as lions, hyenas, leopards, cheetahs and Nile crocodiles.
  • The quintessential “real Africa” scenery — sprawling golden plains with lone baobab trees and some kopjes
  • Vibrant Maasai tribes

Best time to visit: June to October

Suggested safari: 3 Days Maasai Mara Kenya Safari

Amboseli National Park

elephants in amboseli park

Famous for:

  • The jaw-dropping postcard-perfect scenery featuring Mount Kilimanjaro, the Roof of Africa, as its backdrop.
  • Large herds of over 900 free-ranging elephants

Best time to visit: June to October; January to February

Suggested safari: 2 Days 1 Night Amboseli Camping Safari

Lake Nakuru National Park

flocks of flamingoes in Lake Nakuru

Famous for:

  • Huge flocks of pink flamingoes and other waterbirds on its vast, shallow soda lake
  • Spotting wildlife and birdlife in one setting and usually at the same time

Best time to visit: June to September; January to March

Suggested safari: 3 Days Lake Nakuru and Naivasha Kenya Safari

Tsavo Parks

red elephants in tsavo east

Famous for:

  • “Red elephants”
  • Maneless lions
  • Sanctuary for highly-endangered black rhinos
  • Uncrowded and unspoiled landscapes

Best time to visit: June to October; January to February

Suggested safari: 4 Days Tsavo East West and Amboseli Kenya Safari

 

Hit 3 birds with one stone!

You can explore the city, the beach and the wildlife of Kenya with just one itinerary! So whether you’re a city person, a beach bum or an adventurer looking to explore the wild, Kenya will surely be a holiday paradise who’ll leave you wanting more.

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