Kenya remains, as it always has been, a favourite African destination – and this for the simple reason that Kenya is about as African as it is possible to get. It is the birthplace of the Safari, of White Mischief, and the crusty old colonial who divides his time between a coffee estate in the Ngong Hills and a stately home in Berkshire. It is where Stewart Granger led Deborah Kerr in search of King Solomon’s Mines, where Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly fought over Clark Gable in Mogambo, and where Meryl Streep and Robert Redford fell in love in Out of Africa.
Even though Kenya may be a little less of a Garden of Eden now than it was then, it still has a selection of the best big game wildlife parks on the continent, some of the most sublime tropical highland habitat, and arguably one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. All this is stitched together by an equally extraordinary ethnic diversity, ranging from the Arabised Swahili at the coast to the insular and militant cattle herding Turkana of the interior. Be it the cities, the coastline, the mountains or the plains, no country on the continent captures the essence of Africa quite like Kenya.
Travel To & Within Kenya
Why Travel to Kenya
With all these natural attributes, and over a century of experience in wildlife and cultural tourism, Kenya enjoys one of the most internationally subscribed and sophisticated tourism industries on the continent.
Kenya’s national parks and conservancies are her principal attraction, with some 33 in all, covering the various regions of mountains, plains and marine. Almost within the city limits of the capital itself lies the Nairobi National Park, which, although small, is still a very credible wildlife and game viewing destination. Others include Ambroseli, set against the dramatic backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tsavo East and West, Kakamega Forest National Reserve, and the Mombasa Marine National Park and Reserve. All are well organised, well preserved and well funded.
When to Visit Kenya
The highlands of Kenya enjoy the utopian coincidence of altitude and immediate proximity to the equator, which makes for year round mild weather. Likewise the coast is perennially hot and humid with the monotony broken only between March and May by the long rains, and to a lesser degree between October and December by the short rains. The hottest and driest period, and consequently the time most commonly advised for a visit to Kenya, is between February and March, and the coolest between July and August. The busy period tends to coincide with European summer holidays, although advance bookings are advisable at all times.
Occurring between June and September is the annual wildlife migration which is an internationally celebrated phenomenon, attracting visitors and filmmakers from around the world. Between January and February is the period when birdlife, in particular flamingos, flock to the Rift Valley Lakes.
Kenya Travel Warning
In the aftermath of the recent general election Kenya was plunged into a period of political violence that was unusually aggressive. This was an isolated period of unrest, however, and is not indicative of a general state of lawlessness.
Kenya’s shared border with Somalia has been closed since Jan 2007 due to conflict. Do not attempt to enter or depart Kenya through this border.
Muggings and street crime are a fact of life in Kenya, and particularly in the main city and principal tourist areas. Nairobi is known in the regional travel industry as Nai-robbery, and while this should not be a discouragement, simple rules of common sense must at all time apply. For more information.
Malaria and other tropical diseases are common in Kenya. Treat all water and thoroughly wash all fresh fruit and vegetables.