By Prudence Minayo
Kenya is a beautiful country known for its breathtaking scenery, wildlife, beaches, food, national parks and amazing people. These cocktail of attractions have become a magnet for both local and international tourists looking to enjoy what nature has to offer. Tourism was at one point Kenya number one foreign earner. This writer takes a look at the top places tourists like to visit in the country.
Diani Beach has been voted Africa’s leading beach destination for five years (2015 to 2020) and rightly so. Located in Kwale county, Diani has everything to relax the body and mind. The beaches are lined with 5 star hotels. Some of the activities famed you will find interesting at Diani include skydiving, scuba diving, snorkeling and a host of other adventures.
Located in the Coastal region of Kenya, Fort Jesus is a wonderful tourist site built by the Portuguese in the 16th century. Built in the shape of a man, the fort was designed by Cairato who was inspired by Italian architect Pietro Cataneo with the Swahili people providing labor.
In 1958, the fort was declared a park and in 2011 was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO and highlighted one of the most outstanding and well preserved examples of 16th century Portuguese military fortifications.
Nairobi National Park
Established in 1946 and governed by Kenya Wildlife Services, this park is one of the most visited destinations in Kenya by both locals and non-locals. It is located about 7 kilometers from the city and one can see the beautiful skyscrapers in Nairobi from the Park. It boasts of animals like, lions, cheetahs and different species of birds. One can drive through the park viewing different animals and taking some epic photos.
Located in Lang’ata, the center started as a shelter for the endangered Rothschild giraffe. Tourists get to have an up and close encounter with the giraffes and are even given pellets to feed them. The giraffes seem very friendly and enjoy the attention lavished on them. Other activities in the center include botanical walks, nature walks, bird walks and nature interactive learning.
Amboseli National Park
Located in Kajiado county, the park was formerly known as Maasai Amboseli Game Reserve. The park is home to elephants, spotted hyenas, Maasai giraffes, impalas, lions and cheetahs. In order to protect animals, the park has enacted a number of rules among them: always give the animals the right of way, only leave the vehicles in designated places, always keep to the tracks and never harass animals in any way. This park was the home to Echo, one of the most researched elephants in the world who was the subject of many documentaries and died in 2009 when he was about 60-years-old.
Hell’s Gate National Park
It lies south of lake Naivasha and is named for the intense geothermal activity within its boundaries. It provides spectacular scenery including the towering riffs, scrub class volcanos, belching plumes of geothermal steam and stark rock towers. Visitors are allowed to engage in a number of activities like cycling.
This is the highest mountain in Kenya and the second one in Africa after Mt. Kilimanjaro. The slopes of the mountain are covered with forests while the top is covered with snow. Tourists pay to get the opportunity to climb the mountain and even camp in the area. There is also the Mount Kenya National park nearby that provides an amazing view of wildlife.
The lake was formerly known as Hannington after Bishop James Hannington who visited it in the 19th century. Before even getting to L. Bogoria, there is an amazing scenery as the roads to the area are surrounded by mountains, rivers, waterfalls and vegetation making it an extraordinary site. The lake has geysers and hot springs along the bank, basically the water is very hot and salty, wild animals and birds can not survive in it. The geysers around the lake erupt up to 5m high providing an amazing site.
Named after Queen Victoria, this is the largest tropical freshwater lake in the world shared by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. It feeds the Nile River and is home to hundreds of species of fish. It provides an amazing relaxing view for tourists and is surrounded by different islands where tourists can visit and have the time of their life as well as enjoy boat rides in the lake.
Popularly referred to as the Mara, this is one of the most visited places in Kenya. It has a wide array of wildlife and people never get tired of visiting the area. At the park you will get to see rhinos, hyenas, giraffes walking around, hippopotamus and crocodiles in swampy areas, different bird species, elephants walking around and the lions sitting under a tree.
The place is magical and has different camping sites. Not to mention, the area is surrounded by some wonderful places and hotels for tourists to stay and eat. No matter how many times one visits the area, it never gets old.
There are so many other places that one can visit in Kenya and the ones mentioned in this article are not the only ones. There is Lake Nakuru filled with the most amazing site of flamingos, L. Naivasha, Tsavo East National Park, Mamba village, Lake Nakuru National Park, Samburu trails, Tsavo West National Park, Mombasa Marine National Park, Gedi Ruins, Karen Blixen Museum, Ngong Hills, Haller Park, Nyali Beach and Mombasa Island.