While many tours of Kenya focus on the country's spectacular national parks and wildlife, relatively few combine such activities with a deep dive into East African culture. This tour does both. Learn about the prehistory, history, and culture of what has been called the "cradle of humankind".  Visit some of Kenya's top museums and cultural sites—including the Nairobi National Museum, the Karen Blixen House, and the Baden-Powell Museum—as well as its finest parks and landscapes, including the Great Rift Valley, Amboseli National Park, and more.

Highlights

  • Learn about African history, culture, and traditions at some of Kenya's finest museums
  • Visit the homelands of the Kikuyu people, Kenya's largest ethnic group
  • Get up close to East African wildlife at several national parks
  • Chill out in the cosmopolitan coastal city of Mombasa

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Nairobi! Nairobi
Day 2 Sightseeing in Nairobi Nairobi
Day 3 Explore the Museums of Nairobi Nairobi
Day 4 Visit the Homeland of the Kikuyu People Nyeri
Day 5 Baden-Powell Museum in Nyeri Nyeri
Day 6 Tour the Kariandusi Prehistoric Site in the Rift Valley Naivasha
Days 7-8 Visit Amboseli National Park Amboseli National Park
Day 9 Tour Tsavo Park Tsavo National Park
Day 10 Explore the Lumo Conservancy Taita Taveta
Day 11 Birdwatching at the Taita Wildlife Conservancy Taita Taveta
Day 12 Train to Mombasa Mombasa
Day 13 Sightseeing in Mombasa Mombasa
Day 14 Depart Kenya  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Nairobi!

Nairobi city

Just before your plane touches down at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi you will have a good view of Nairobi National Park. You'll be met at the airport and taken to your hotel.

Depending on your time of arrival you may wish to rest at your hotel or do some preliminary sightseeing in Nairobi. Options for your first day include: 

  • The Giraffe Center, where endangered Rothschild giraffes are taken care of.
  • The David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage Trust, which takes care of orphaned baby elephants.
  • The Karen Blixen Museum, to learn more about the Danish author of Out of Africa.

Day 2: Sightseeing in Nairobi

Amazing Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park

One of the best ways to spend your first day in Kenya is to see wild animals in their natural habitat. The Nairobi National Park is just 5.5 miles (9 km) from the city center, so it's easy to get their early in the day, when the animals are most active. Go on an early-morning game drive to see rhinos, lions, giraffes, buffalos, gazelles, zebras, and more.

Later in the morning, visit the African Heritage House, which houses an invaluable collection of African art and cultural artifacts. Have lunch here while learning more about African culture.

Day 3: Explore the Museums of Nairobi

Karen Blixen Museum

Today you can learn so much more about Kenyan and East African culture and history, beginning at the Nairobi National Museum. The museum’s permanent collection is entered via the Hall of Kenya, with some ethnological exhibits, such as the extraordinary Kalenjin cloak made from the skins of Sykes monkeys, and a mosaic map of Kenya made from the country's butterflies. Beyond this hall is the spectacular Birds of East Africa exhibit, the Great Hall of Mammals, the Cradle of Humankind exhibition, and the Hominid Skull Room. Upstairs, the History of Kenya display is an engaging journey through Kenyan and East African history. Well presented and well documented, it offers a refreshingly Kenyan counterpoint to colonial historiographies.

From the museum, it's a short walk to the Snake Park, where you'll take a tour with one of the local volunteer guides. 

If you didn't visit it on your day of arrival, after lunch you'll head out to the Karen Blixen Museum. The house was built in 1912 by Swedish Engineer Ake Sjogren, and was bought by Karen and her husband in 1917. Their marriage failed, but Karen lived in this house until 1931, when she returned to Denmark. Learn more about her life and work at this museum.

Day 4: Visit the Homeland of the Kikuyu People

A Kikuyu village

Today you'll visit the ancestral home of the Kikuyu people, Kenya's largest ethnic group, to learn about their traditional way of life. Departing early from Nairobi, you'll be driven to Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga. Here, you'll learn about Kikuyu history, interact with elders, try their food, and even drink their local beer.

The Kikuyu comprise about 22% of the total population of Kenya, and speak the Bantu Kikuyu language. Because they resented the occupation of their highlands by European farmers and other settlers, the Kikuyu were the first native ethnic group in Kenya to undertake anti-colonial agitation, in the 1920s and ’30s. They staged the Mau Mau Uprising against British rule in 1952, and spearheaded the drive toward Kenyan independence later in the decade. They became the economic and political elite of independent Kenya, so visiting the heartland of the Kikuyu people presents an opportunity to learn more about Kenyan history and culture.

Day 5: Baden-Powell Museum in Nyeri

Baden Powell changed the world
The Baden-Powell Museum is a pilgrimage site

Today you'll visit an important pilgrimage site for many Boy Scouts and Girl Guides. If you were a Scout or a Guide in your own youth, you won't want to miss this place! Lieutenant-General Robert Stephenson Smyth (Baden-Powell) was the founder and Chief Scout of the Global Boy Scouts Association and Girl Guides. The Baden-Powell Museum is located along the Nyeri-Kamakwa Road. Not far away is the Baden-Powell Information Center and Graveyard, where he was buried, together with his wife. The graveyard is a national monument, and a very important site for the Boy Scout Association and Girl Guides. 

Plan your trip to Kenya
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 6: Tour the Kariandusi Prehistoric Site in the Rift Valley

Great Rift Valley
Great Rift Valley

Today you'll shift gears and drive down to a prehistoric site at Rift Valley, where you'll learn why Africa is nicknamed the "cradle of humankind". The Early Stone Age in Africa extended from about 2.6 million years ago to 280,000 years ago. This was when the most well-known human ancestors were evolving: Australopithecus Afarensis, Paranthropus Boisei, Homo Habilis (the "Handy Man"), and Homo Erectus. Learn more about this period of history and this region of Kenya's significance to the world at the Kariandusi Prehistoric Site, then continue to Naivasha for your overnight stay.

Days 7-8: Visit Amboseli National Park

Elephants in the Amboseli National Park

Mt. Kilimanjaro belonged to Kenya until 1886, when Queen Victoria gave it to her grandson, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, as a birthday gift. Although now it is in Tanzania, many beautiful photos of the mountain are taken from the Kenyan side, as the view from Kenya's Amboseli National Park is amazing, as you'll discover during two days at the park.

The name "Amboseli" comes from a Maasai word meaning "salty dust", and it is one of the best places in Africa to view large herds of elephants up close. Nature lovers can explore five different habitats here, ranging from the dried-up bed of Lake Amboseli, wetlands with sulfur springs, the savannah, and woodlands.

Day 9: Tour Tsavo Park

Beautiful tsavo park
Tsavo National Park

Travel to the Tsavo National Park today. Tsavo is made up of two separate parks: Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Park. It was split in two to make way for the railway from Mombasa to Kenya's interior. Combined, Tsavo is the largest national park in Kenya, and one of the largest in the world. It's even bigger than Israel!

From Mzima Springs to the Shetani lava flows, Tsavo West is a beautiful, rugged wilderness. The savannah ecosystem comprises of open grasslands, scrublands, and acacia woodlands. It's also famous for the "Tsavo Man-Eaters", a pair of maneless male lions that were responsible for the deaths of around 140 railway construction workers in 1898! 

Day 10: Explore the Lumo Conservancy

Tsavo National Park
Tsavo National Park

From Tsavo West you'll travel to the Lumo Community Wildlife Sanctuary, bordering Tsavo West. The sanctuary preserves a unique ecosystem rich with wildlife, encompassing one of Africa’s most ancient elephant migratory corridors and an important breeding site for lions. This area was also a World War I battlefield, where the so-called Ice Cream War took place (and thus named because the troops practically melted in the sun!)

Day 11: Birdwatching at the Taita Wildlife Conservancy

Superb Staring
Taita Wildlife Conservancy

Bird lovers are in luck today, as you travel to the Taita Wildlife Conservancy, home to over 300 species. Some birds that you'll see are the marsh warbler, river warbler, red-backed shrike, thrush nightingale, common whitethroat, and African eagles. In the evening you'll get particularly good views of eagles. In the company of sharp-eyed guides, you're guaranteed to see a variety of birds here.

Day 12: Train to Mombasa

Beautiful beaches of Mombasa

Make an early start this morning to catch your train to Mombasa city. After your arrival, spend the afternoon relaxing or take a seaside walk in this exotic city. This cosmopolitan tourist hub has several beautiful beaches that are popular for sunbathing, swimming, walking or just relaxing. 

Day 13: Sightseeing in Mombasa

Historical Mombasa Fort Jesus.
Historical Fort Jesus

Spend today getting to know the coastal city. You can enjoy a variety of sights and activities, including:

  • Fort Jesus. Constructed by the Portuguese in 1593-1596 and designed by Italian architect Cairati, Fort Jesus is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Although it is partly damaged, Fort Jesus was built in the shape of a man and is a fine display of 16th-century Portuguese military architecture. There are exhibits inside.
  • Mamba Village Center. This place houses East Africa’s largest crocodile farm. You'll also have the chance to ride on horseback, and tour the beautiful botanical garden and its aquarium.
  • Swahili meal for lunch.

Day 14: Depart Kenya

Farewell Kenya
Farewell Kenya

It's time to say farewell to Kenya today. Take an early morning flight from Mombasa to Nairobi, where you'll connect to your international flight onwards or back home.

Map

Map of Cultural Kenya: Wildlife, History, & Art - 14 Days
Map of Cultural Kenya: Wildlife, History, & Art - 14 Days