Planning Your Trip to Kenya
Many people travel to Kenya to go on safari and experience the country's proud Maasai culture. There are ways to do both on either short tours or longer, more leisurely ones. As most people will fly into Nairobi, the capital, the number of days you have at your disposal will determine how far you can travel beyond the city. It makes sense to stick closer to Nairobi on shorter trips—there are still some excellent wildlife-viewing opportunities within just a couple of hours' drive. On longer itineraries, you can venture deeper and further into the country.
However many days you will be spending in Kenya, it's important to time your visit with the best time of year for the activities and attractions you want to see and do. If you're going to go on safari and witness the Great Migration or climb Mt. Kenya, you'll be restricted to the dry season. This is also the peak season, and costs will be highest. To reduce costs, travel to Kenya outside this peak season but be prepared for less than optimal weather for wildlife viewing. To climb Mount Kenya, you'll need to factor in safety considerations, and coming in the off-season is not a good idea.
Kenya in 5 Days
With less than a week in Kenya, make the most of your time by visiting the vast landscapes within easy reach of Nairobi, maximizing your short time.
This tour provides a great introduction to Kenya by combining wildlife and cultural activities. Begin with a boat tour of Lake Naivasha to see hippos and waterbucks. Step ashore to Crescent Island, where you can take a walking safari to see non-predatory animals like giraffes and zebras. Spend a night at the Maji Moto Maasai Cultural Camp, where you'll get insight into the daily lives of the Maasai people. Then, take part in the classic safari experience by visiting the Maasai Mara National Reserve, where you'll go on game drives.
Active travelers who enjoy a physical challenge may want to mix wildlife spotting with hiking. The Mount Kenya National Park is about a three-hour drive from Nairobi. The mountain that gives the park its name is the highest in Kenya and the second-highest in Africa, at 17,057 feet (5,199 m). On an overnight trip, you can climb part of the way to Old Moses Mountain Camp at 10,837 feet (3,300 m). This five-day itinerary includes this unforgettable climb with wildlife spotting at Nanyuki and Ol Pejeta Conservancy.
Check out this article for more five-day itineraries.
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Kenya in 1 Week
With a whole week in Kenya, you can experience a range of national parks and conservation projects and mix these with cultural encounters, chill-out time on a beach, or hiking.
Travelers who want to combine wildlife activity with relaxation can comfortably fit in time at a beach. This itinerary is ideal for couples seeking a romantic getaway, such as honeymooners. However, anyone can enjoy this combination of sights and activities. Start with time in Nairobi, where you can meet baby elephants and elegant giraffes. Then head to the Tsavo West National Park, on the Tanzanian border, to spot the "Big Five" on safari. Finish with three nights on a beautiful white sand beach at Diani Beach, close to jungles and monkey sanctuaries if you can't get enough of Kenya's wildlife.
Active travelers who'd like to climb to the summit of Mount Kenya can do this with seven days in the country. After a safari in Nairobi National Park and visiting baby elephants and giraffes in two centers, you'll head to Naro Moru to meet your guide. Get your equipment sorted and begin your ascent of Mount Kenya, the country's second-highest mountain. You'll pass through rosewood and bamboo forests to reach your first camp, through the Mackinder Valley to reach the next, and summit the mountain at Point Lenana. On the last day, you'll finish the descent and visit a local market for souvenirs and lunch before catching your flight onward.
Check out this article for more week-long itineraries.
Kenya in 10 Days
With 10 days to spend in Kenya, you can take a more leisurely approach to the itineraries mentioned above and fit in multiple national parks.
While Mount Kilimanjaro is in neighboring Tanzania, it can be seen from parts of southern Kenya. On this 10-day safari, you'll spend time in Amboseli National Park, near the tallest mountain in Africa. Before your first game drive, you'll start from Nairobi and seek out wildlife amid five distinct habitats. Then you'll trek through or cycle Hell's Gate National Park, hike to scenic views of the Rift Valley on Mount Longonot, and look out for endangered Rothschild giraffes and the black and white rhinos of Lake Nakuru. On day six, you'll snap pics of thousands of flamingos at Lake Bogoria and then transfer to Maasai Mara Park for three nights.
For something somewhat different, how about a running tour of Kenya? Kenya produces excellent long-distance runners; on this active 10-day adventure, you can match their stride (or at least try). You'll tour the High Altitude Training Centre in Iten to learn more about the science behind Kenya's great runners. See athletes train and get a chance to go on a high-altitude run. It's not all hard work, though: like on any good Kenya travel itinerary, you'll spend some time spotting wildlife at the Maasai Mara National Reserve, and the tour finishes with a few relaxing days at Diani Beach.
Check out this article for more 10-day itineraries.
Kenya in 2 Weeks
Two weeks is an ideal amount of time to spend in Kenya as you'll be able to experience a range of activities and landscapes in-depth at a more relaxed pace.
Curious travelers may want to learn more about Kenya's culture, arts, and history by visiting several museums and cultural sites that many travelers overlook in their search for the Big Five. This "Cultural Kenya" tour unfurls the story behind the so-called "cradle of humankind." You'll visit many of Kenya's top museums and cultural sites, including the Nairobi National Museum, the Karen Blixen House, and the Baden-Powell Museum. There will also be plenty of time to admire and explore the country's famous landscapes, which have cultural and ecological importance, including the Great Rift Valley, Amboseli National Park, and the Maasai Mara National Reserve.
Some travelers with two weeks or more like to cross the border into Uganda to experience a different kind of wildlife adventure on a gorilla trek in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. On this two-week tour, travelers will visit some of Kenya's highlights—such as the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Lake Naivasha, and Maasai Mara National Reserve—before catching a short flight to Uganda. Then, join a guided trek through the forest to see mountain gorillas, a gracious animal that can't be seen in Kenya.
Check out this article for more two-week itineraries.
More Great Kenya Itineraries
Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Kenya? Check out these other Kenya itineraries, with outdoor adventures, beach vacations, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.