Kenya remains the premier safari and beach destination in East Africa. Over 1.6m foreign tourists visited the country in 2010, testifying to the country’s enduring popularity. In no particular order, here are 10 good reasons to visit:
1. The Great Rift Valley is one of the worlds great natural phenomena. Basically a huge trench which runs the whole length of the country, interspersed by a series of mountains, lakes and active volcanoes and bordered by huge escarpments. Simply stunning.
2. The Great Migration happening in the Masai Mara. One of the worlds largest animal migrations where in July of each year around 1,300,000 wildebeest, 500,000 Thomson’s gazelles, 97,000 Topi, 18,000 elands, and 200,000 zebras migrate north from the Serengeti plains in search of fresh pasture, and return to the south around October.
3. The Big Five wildlife found in Kenya: Elephant, Lion, Buffalo, Leopard and Rhino. Kenya pioneered the modern safari industry and is still one of the great destinations to view these impressive creatures.
4. It is known to be the Cradle of Mankind. It holds the world’s richest record of human pre-history, spanning over 27 million years and a rich fossil heritage stretching back over 100 million years into the dinosaur age. This is the largest and most-well documented collection of human related fossils that exists and is unmatched anywhere in the world. Lake Turkana area is the epicentre of these archaeological finds.
5. The country is internationally known for its beautiful beaches. From Chale in the south to Lamu in the north; you will enjoy a lotus eating multitude of pristine Indian ocean beaches (see previous blog).
6. It is also known for its cultural diversity. From the larger ethnic groups of Kikuyu and Kalenjin to the smaller tribes of Masai and Turkana interspersed with Indian, European and Arab influences. A melting pot which produces an overwhelmingly friendly people.
7. Kenya is known for its easily accessible national parks and game reserves. Nairobi National Park for example is located only 20 minutes away from the city centre and there are good and regular connections by either 4×4 or plane to most of the well known reserves in the country.
8. Mt Kenya. Whilst you will be able to enjoy breathtaking views of Mt Kilimanjaro (in Tanzania) from the Amboseli National Park, it is Mt Kenya which is the more difficult, adventurous and less frequented mountain to climb.
9. Kenya is located on and straddles the Equator which explains the very pleasant weather. There are no summers or winters here, and the country remains warm throughout the year. The rains usually fall from April to May.
10. UNESCO Heritage sites. Kenya is home to no less than 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Lake Turkana National Parks, Mount Kenya National Park/Natural Forest, Lamu Old Town, Sacred Mijikenda Kaya Forests, Fort Jesus Mombasa and the Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley.
10 reasons to visit Kenya by Nicolas Edwards