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Kenya Travel Guide

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  /  Kenya Travel Guide

When you think of Africa with its vast wildlife, its broad Savannah, snow-capped mountains and deep forests…you are picturing the land of Kenya.

This is where time began, where we feel a primal need to return and discover our beginnings. Kenya is the heart and soul of Africa – witness its great populations of Maasai and Samburu peoples – still so close to the earth, still living their timeless traditions.

Kenya is where you can delight to great herds of wildebeests and zebras, elephants and giraffes. Here too, you can witness electrifying sightings of lion and leopard hunting their prey.

No one who has witnessed these primal forces of nature has ever forgotten its emotional hold. It’s no wonder so many visitors travel back to Kenya again and again.

Kenya’s protected national parks and community-run conservancies guarantee you will witness a great spectacle of wildlife. Those traveling during the wildebeest migration are in for an extra special treat. Kenya’s brilliant landscapes and varied terrains will never cease to surprise you—maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of Mount Kenya’s jagged peak striking out through a misty morning! Wind up your Kenya holiday with a few days near Mombasa at a beach with white sand and turquoise blue waters, and a spa treatment or two.

With its many inviting lodges and expert guides, friendly people and developed infrastructure, Kenya holds out its arms, welcoming visitors from around the world.

We at Nova Safaris live this creed of respect and love for our sacred land. And we want to share this special world with you.

When is the best time to visit Kenya? Our destination experts share an overview.

The best time to visit Kenya depends on what you want to do. Kenya is divided by the equator and is characterized by a tropical climate.

The weather in Kenya is often ideal, although the coast can be very humid and there are hot, desert-like conditions around Lake Magadi and in the northern areas of the country around Lake Turkana. Most regions in Kenya have temperatures between 71-91°F a day, and they rarely drop below 55°F at night. Even during the short rains, the humidity during the day is mostly low and the sky is clear enough to see the Milky Way at night.

During the coolest months of June, July and August, temperatures in Nairobi are around 60°F, which can drop to about 50°F in the Aberdare region and the Mount Kenya massif.


Best time to visit Kenya by season


Hot months: January to March

Long rains: April to June

Cold months: June to August

Short rains: November to December. It is rarely raining all day. Short, heavy rainfalls are usually replaced by sunny periods, which makes this time in Kenya very pleasant.


What to Pack


Safari wear should be comfortable and casual. Evenings and early mornings can be chilly so warm sweaters are recommended. Low heeled comfortable sports or trekking shoes are the most suitable walking shoes, should you intend joining any walking safaris.

We recommend you bring warm clothes, including a fleece or light wool sweater and socks, apart from the normal safari gear. During the day it can get quite hot so don’t forget sunglasses and a high factor sunscreen, as well as a sun hat with a small brim.

Some specialist trips, i.e. mountain climbing, require extra items of clothing and footwear. Many hotels, lodges and camps have swimming pools so you are advised to bring swimsuits.

Due to limited space in the vehicle and light aircraft, we advise you to keep your luggage to the minimum. We suggest you pack your luggage into a small bag of no more than 15 kgs – the luggage limit for local flights issued by the airlines. Almost all safari lodges and camps provide same day laundry service.

For many travelers, a safari in Kenya is the highlight of their trip – after all, you cannot get a more exhilarating and enriching wildlife experience than witnessing the Great Migration of the Masai Mara. But the beauty of Kenya lies in the fact that it offers much more than wildlife viewing. Experience outdoor adventures, beach relaxation and lively culture and history – there are so many quintessential Kenyan experiences that make a trip to this country in East Africa a must-do!

The capital city of Nairobi is the largest city in East Africa and beckons with its wealth of options – immerse yourself in African life in Nairobi with colorful street markets, authentic African cuisine, and buzzing nightlife. There’s also the Nairobi National Park to visit in Nairobi as well as museums like the Nairobi National Museum and wildlife centers that provide an immersive experience in Kenyan traditions and, of course, African wildlife! If you want a break from a safari, head to Mombasa with its stunning beaches and architectural and cultural treasures.

1. Witness the Great Migration in the Masai Mara
The ultimate adventure on Kenya safaris! Witness the Great Migration in the Masai Mara National Reserve, where millions of antelopes, zebras, and wildebeest cross the savanna landscape from July to October. Witness dramatic crossings over the crocodile-infested Mara River, one of the best things to do in Kenya.

2. See the Big Five in Tsavo East National Park
With a little luck you can see the Big Five in Tsavo East National Park! This park is less developed than its western counterpart. Hippos and crocodiles are also found here and you can also spot giraffe, dik diks and zebras that venture to the watering holes in the dry summer months. The variety of species and the endless bush landscapes are a highlight during your trip to Africa

Tsavo East National Park is home to one of the largest elephant populations in the world and it is largely easy to spot game from afar, here, thanks to the landscape. Also visit the scenic Livingstone Falls on the Galana River, with is scenic surrounds of palm trees and the Yatta escarpment in the background.

3. Enjoy a beach vacation in north Kenya
The northern coast of Kenya, traversed by dream beaches, is the ultimate destination for outdoor adventures and relaxation. Discover a colorful underwater world when you go snorkeling, or soak up the sun on one of the palm-lined beaches.

Tucked away from the tourist crowds, some of these beaches have been described as the most beautiful beaches in the world! They include Diani Beach, Gallu Beach, Tiwi Beach, Msambweni (with its long reefs), and Malindi. Apart from watersports also enjoy sunset dhow trips, bird watching and guided forest walks. The coastal town of Mombasa, with its diverse cultural influences, is also a popular beach destination.

4. Go birdwatching at Amboseli National Park
Bird watching in the Amboseli National Park is particularly varied due to the 400 plus native bird species. The park at the foot of the imposing Mount Kilimanjaro is also one of the best places to see African elephants.

The Amboseli landscape is replete with swamps, plains, woodlands and bush country, all supporting diverse wildlife and bird life. Apart from game drives, immerse yourself in the scenic surrounds as you embark on bush walks.

5. Marvel at the flamingos at Lake Nakuru
Witnessing the flamingos at Lake Nakuru is a very special natural spectacle. Over one million of these graceful birds can be found fishing in the lake for their feast of delicious algae.

Get up close with the wildlife and bird life in this region as you head out on game drives.

6. Visit the charming town of Lamu
The old town of Lamu is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The unique architecture reflects Portuguese, Arabic and Indian influences. This almost car-free town has preserved its charm to this day and is particularly interesting if you are seeking more of a cultural tour of Kenya.

Lamu is the oldest surviving Swahili town in Kenya. Much of its old-world charm, culture and traditions have been carefully preserved, adding to its appeal. The streets are only wide enough for donkeys and pedestrians! A truly unique and relaxing experience!

7. Go hiking on Mount Kenya
If you are yearning the great outdoors then we recommend a hike in the foothills of Mount Kenya, Kenya’s second-highest mountain. In addition to the fantastic views of this snow-capped mountain range, you may also see rare rhinos.

Savor walks around the peak during which you can admire the stunning surrounds in this truly scenic region in East Africa – one of the top things to do in Kenya.

8. See elephants in Samburu
In the rough and rocky landscape of Samburu, you can witness giant elephant herds that follow centuries-long hiking trails.

On the banks of the Uaso Nyiro River, numerous other animal species find shelter from the dazzling heat of northern Kenya, including rare Grevy zebras and Beisa antelopes. There are many things to do here – apart from game drives, embark on walking safaris understand local culture as you discover the villages of the Samburu people.

With its iconic landscapes and an abundance of game in national parks, community-run and private reserves, Kenya is a classic safari destination. Not just that, Nairobi, the capital city is a melting pot of cultural influences thanks to Kenya’s long and diverse history, from indigenous communities like the Maasai and Samburu to colonial heritage and immigration.

To help you navigate this beautiful navigation, we have put together a list of all the essential information you may need in this Kenya travel guide.

Visa and Entry

All visitors to Kenya (except East African citizens) require a visa, irrespective of their nationality. The cost of a tourist visa is currently $50 USD per person (please ensure you have USD notes from 2013 on-wards). You can also obtain a transit visa which costs $ 21 if you are not staying more than 72 hours in Nairobi.


You may obtain your visa upon arrival, or should you wish to obtain a visa prior to your arrival, you can apply for an electronic visa through this link: http://evisa.go.ke/evisa.html.


The Government Of Kenya has waived visa fees for all children aged 16 years and below who are accompanying their parents to Kenya.


Health Information

Visitors to East Africa arriving from any country with a risk of yellow fever are required to carry proof of yellow fever vaccination. The risk of malaria exists throughout the year. Anti-malaria prophylactics are strongly recommended, especially if you are visiting the coast and during the wet season when malaria is more prolific. In order to avoid getting bitten, bring a good insect repellent and wear long-sleeved shirts, trousers and socks in the evening and early mornings.


You can purchase medication in pharmacies that are located in various areas – towns, some petrol stations, shopping malls and hospitals.


Remember to bring sunscreen of at least SPF 30 ́- 50 to prevent sunburn and sunstroke. You should bring this from your home country. Dark sunglasses and a hat or cap that shades the face, are also essential.



The varied cultural influences in Kenya are seen most prevalently in the country’s cuisines. Only on the coast will you discover a distinctive regional culinary style. On your Kenya safari, you’ll find that many of the foods are simple yet often quite heavy and starchy and include potatoes and rice.


Language and Religion

Kenya, like Tanzania, has English as the official language and Swahili as the national language. These two are the primary languages of interaction in schools, commerce and government. There are about 42 ethnic languages spoken in Kenya, especially in rural areas. The majority of people learn and speak these languages at a young age or in preschool. However, this may not be the case for children brought up in urban areas. Kenya’s local languages are rooted in Bantu & Nilo-Saharan languages.


Money and Currency

US dollars are the most accepted currency at most establishments in the big cities and towns although for the small shops, you will need the local currency.


ATMs are available in all major towns and cities such as Nairobi and Mombasa. International credit cards, mainly Visa and Mastercard, are accepted at most upmarket lodges, hotels and restaurants, at most national park headquarters and increasingly, also by retailers – a surcharge of 10% is usually applied.


Getting Around Kenya

For safety and space reasons, the baggage allowances for flights with smaller bush planes are significantly lower than those of international airlines. Air Kenya allows 15 kgs of luggage per passenger, inclusive of hand luggage. Kenya Airways allows 1 piece of checked luggage per person (23 kilos each). Soft bags are recommended as hard shell suitcases may not fit through the luggage hold of light aircraft. Please get in touch with us for exact luggage restrictions imposed by your airline.


Safari lodges and camps in Africa offer daily laundry service, in many cases free of charge. This means you won’t have to pack as much, making it easier to stick to the following luggage limits.


Road conditions in the cities and major towns of East Africa are generally good and are tarmacked. Most roads leading from the cities to national parks and reserves are also paved. However, one can’t expect the same kind of roads while in the bush, where most are murram (gravel) roads. Driving on off-roads can be a little bumpy but in most national parks these are well maintained.

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Discover all the best things to do in Kenya by booking your vacation with our experts at Nova Afrika Safaris. Contact us for your tailor-made and obligation-free tour itinerary.