9 Best Places to Visit in Kenya

When you think of Africa, Kenya is most likely the image you have in mind. Kenya is one of those spectacular destinations that most travellers have on their Africa bucket list, and with good reason. There are a ton of magical places to visit in Kenya, each offering their own unique charm and attractions. The Masai Mara is where to go in Kenya for the famed and dramatic wildebeest migration, but there’s also a great deal more to see in this East African country. It helps to divide the country’s major holiday destinations:

  1. Central Kenya – typically, this is where all Kenya safari itineraries start because Nairobi is the country’s logistics hub.
  2. Western Kenya – home to the biggest name in safari, the Masai Mara National Reserve.
  3. Northern Kenya – there are superb safari options here, including Samburu National Park, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and Laikipia.
  4. Southern Kenya – this is where you will see Africa’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro. Way down on the south-eastern coast are some of Kenya’s best beaches.

Kenya map of reserves in East Africa | Go2Africa

Read our Kenya safari guide to find out everything you need to know about planning your ideal Kenya safari.

1. Masai Mara: Wildebeest Migration & Year-Round Game-Viewing

Kenya’s flagship conservation area, the Masai Mara, may not be the country’s largest but it forms part of the Masai Mara-Serengeti ecosystem that is home to the famous Great Wildebeest Migration. It’s here where a Masai Mara safari offers the most dramatic game viewing and widest range of experiences suited to all travellers. It’s where to go in Kenya for hot air balloon flights, action-packed game drives, cultural interactions and guided nature walks in private conservancies. All of this, coupled with spectacular Masai Mara lodges, make it one of the top Kenya destinations.

2. Lamu Archipelago: Classic Barefoot Luxury Beach Experience

Scuba diving and snorkelling on pristine reefs, sunset dhow cruises and swimming with dolphins – the unspoilt Lamu Archipelago combines all the elements of a fantastic beach holiday and is a perfect add-on to a Kenya safari. It is also one of the best holiday destinations in Kenya for a sensational honeymoon getaway. Superb luxury accommodation is available both on Lamu Island and nearby Manda Island.

3. Nairobi: East Africa's Logistics Hub

With the majority of our best Kenya safaris starting or ending in Nairobi, a stopover in this city is almost inevitable. International visitors will fly into Jomo Kenyatta Airport but it’s Wilson Airport, some 90 minutes away, that provides regional and charter flights to Kenya’s top destinations such as the Masai Mara. Nairobi is an extremely lively city – the largest between Johannesburg and Cairo – and is one in which you can experience the authentic ‘everyday Africa’.

Downtown Nairobi is best avoided however, especially as most of the city’s main places of interest – the Karen Blixen Museum, the Giraffe Centre and the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage – are located in the city’s leafy suburbs. Speaking of giraffes, a must-visit Kenya vacation spot is the otherworldly Giraffe Manor, where the gentle creatures poke their heads through your bedroom window for a truly unforgettable experience. The Nairobi National Park, despite a startling backdrop of city skyscrapers, is a haven for lion, rhino, zebra and various species of antelope and serves as a great introduction to ethical animal encounters in Africa.

4. Mombasa & Kenya Beaches: Family Resorts & Luxury Lodges

With all the attention on Kenya’s safari destinations, it’s easy to forget that the country has a dazzling tropical coastline. However, the sandy shores and crystal blue oceans are widely considered some of Kenya’s prime vacation spots. Mainland Mombasa is a one of the family-favourite Kenya destinations for got-it-all Kenya beach resorts, but ask us about Kenya’s more exclusive mainland beach lodges where the accent is on exclusivity, luxury and indulgence.

5. Amboseli National Park: Best Views of Mt Kilimanjaro

A short distance from Nairobi, Amboseli National Park is the ideal Kenya destination to soak up the classic views of Mount Kilimanjaro, ironically situated across the border in Tanzania. There’s great big game viewing as well – especially around the Amboseli’s wetland areas – although it’s a popular and busy park at the best of times, given that year-round here is considered the best time for a safari in Kenya -­ so expect to share your sightings with other visitors. Want to explore more? We’ve got a great guide on how to decide between Kilimanjaro vs Mt Kenya, helping you make your travel experience that much more memorable.

6. Laikipia Plateau: Private Reserves & Outstanding Accommodation

Kenya’s newest safari destination lies just north of Nairobi on the rim of the magical Great Rift Valley. An area of thriving private reserves, luxurious family-friendly accommodation and considered one of the best honeymoon destinations in Africa, Laikipia is a must-visit Kenya vacation spot. If you’re in search of an air of exclusivity and a diverse, intimate Kenya safari experience away from the crowds, this is it.

Mount Kenya & Central Highlands: Game Viewing Away from the Crowds

While there’s no doubting the allure of the Masai Mara, visitors to Kenya who are after less crowded safari destinations should head for the rugged Central Highlands. Africa’s second highest peak, the 5200m Mount Kenya looms over much of the region which includes great wildlife destinations such as family-friendly and multi-activity Meru National Park, the private Lewa Downs Conservancy in the foothills of Mt Kenya, the Mount Kenya National Park and the amazing forests of Aberdares National Park.

It can be tricky deciding between visiting Mount Kenya vs Kilimanjaro, given each have their own unique charm. But, If you’re looking for a relaxed Mount Kenya safari, then any one of these parks fits the bill. Recently UNESCO has announced that the Mount Kenya-Lewa Wildlife Conservancy will be added as an extension to Mount Kenya National Park, enhancing the protection of the land as a World Heritage Site and skyrocketing the region to a top Kenya vacation spot.

8. Lake Nakuru: Spectacular Game Viewing

Lake Nakuru in Kenya is just a three-hour drive from Nairobi in the Great Rift Valley. It boasts an abundance of wildlife and spectacular landscapes. Rhino and hippo are among the heavyweights, though bird watchers will be more interested in the 400 species of birds recorded here. While there, book yourself into the sensational Lake Nakuru Lodge for a quintessential Kenya vacation.

9. Shaba and Samburu: Untamed Wilderness

Shaba and Samburu National Reserves lie to the north of the region where Kenya’s savannah gives way to desert scrub and mountains. The scenery is dramatic, and besides a familiar cast of classic African animals you’ll find species here that don’t occur in Kenya’s more popular parks, making it one of the most appealing places to visit in Kenya. Samburu National Reserve is widely considered one of the prime Kenya vacation spots due to its magnificent topography and wildlife, while Shaba is no different except for its slight change in landscape.