Have you always wanted to do something monumental before you hit 50? A sort of a landmark that you have been there, done that? Why don’t you consider these 10 Kenyan experiences as you put together your bucket list?
1. Watch the Great Migration
Renowned as Africa’s greatest wildlife spectacle, the Great Migration is an extraordinary phenomenon involving the largest animal herd on the planet. More than 2 million wildebeest move in an endless pattern across the open plains of the Serengeti and into the Savannah grasslands of the Maasai Mara in search of pasture. The thundering hooves of the herds and the enormous clouds of fine red dust they leave in their wake have become an icon of East African safari.
2. Climb Mount Kenya
Accepted as the second highest mountain in Africa, they say the climbing experience here is second to none despite Mount Kilimanjaro being taller. An ancient dormant volcano, its flanks have been shaped and moulded to dramatic effect by glaciation.
If you cannot reach Batian, the highest point, you are welcome to settle for the more popular Point Lenana which is the third highest peak. Point John and some of the other subsidiary peaks also offer a good rock climbing challenge.
3. Snorkel in Malindi
The coral reefs along the Kenyan coast offer spectacular snorkeling opportunities. Here, you can gently glide through the warm, crystal clear water of the Indian Ocean as you enjoy a multitude of aquatic life. The best times for snorkeling are usually early in the morning, at around 8:00 AM or later at around 3:00 PM. These times may vary depending on the tides and the season so it is best to ask around before venturing out.
4. Go Mountain Biking at Hell’s Gate National Park
Disregarding the line-up of second-hand bikes for hire that make this otherwise amazing national park in Naivasha look like a scrapyard, picture yourself instead peddling into the uncharted wilderness where the opportunity to spot one of the famous BIG FIVE right from the saddle of your bike is nearly 60%. Would that not be a priceless Kenyan experience?
5. Visit Ancient Stone Enclosures of Thimlich Ohinga
The 500-year-old prehistoric site of Thimlich Ohinga is a rare, early example of defensive Savannah architecture. Similar in construction to the ruins of Great Zimbabwe, the enclosures of Thimlich Ohinga were quite common in the lake region.
Both early (Bantu) and later (Nilotic) settlers in the region constructed about 520 enclosures in 139 localities in the Lake Victoria region. Here, will be a chance to see the last remnants of a highly civilised people that once lived by the lake.
6. Attend the Annual Lake Turkana Cultural Festival
You probably only have been hearing about the El Molo, Rendille, Samburu, Turkana, Daasanach, Ghabra, Borana, Konso, Wata and the Burji. But have you ever seen them in person? Paying a visit to this fast-growing cultural event can give you a glimpse into the ways of life of these fascinating tribes. Every year more than 10 tribes that call the Lake Turkana region home come together to celebrate their cultural diversity. Some of them like the El Molo, are on the verge of extinction.
For 3 days of traditional song and dance in a chilled, international atmosphere, the cultural dance is a must-see before you hit 50.
7. Visit the Desert Lake of Turkana
Also known as the Jade sea, the desert lake of Turkana is the largest desert lake in the world stretching for more than 250 KM – longer than the Kenyan coast. The lake boasts the world’s single largest crocodile population and these are not just ordinary crocodiles. They can grow to gigantic proportions here. If you are the intrepid sort of traveller, this will certainly provide an unforgettable experience.
8. Picnic in Front of the Tallest Waterfalls in Kenya
What a romantic scene yours can be as you unleash those poetic lines time and the busyness of life had stolen from you to your beloved while the crescendo of the tallest waterfall in the country provides a spectacular backdrop to a story few can tell like you will. Does that sound monumental enough for a before 50 experience?
9. Golf Across 2 World Hemispheres
Playing golf at the Mount Kenya Safari Club in Nanyuki is a rare experience. You not only get the usual tee and birdie, but you also have a choice to do this either from the northern or the southern hemisphere at will. This is possible because the 9-hole golf course is the only course bisected by the Equator in Africa.
10. Travel on-board the Jambo Kenya Deluxe
The classic overnight sleeper train called the Jambo Kenya Deluxe is another must-try. A ride on the deluxe feels as if you have been teleported into another time dimension when steam, billowing smoke and beaming sirens characterised the great train rides of colonial Kenya. The Kenyan experiences then were priceless.
As you relive those epic historical moments, darkness soon gives way to morning. You then begin to behold the beauty and splendour of Kenya’s country side as the coastal town of Mombasa begins to beckon.
Just remember that the train departs from Nairobi at 7:00 PM and runs twice a week all year round. Do note, however, that the train has never been known to be on time. So plan for a 30 minutes delay or thereabouts.
So there you have it! The ultimate Kenyan experiences bucket list to crown them all. Would you not agree? Start getting yourself in the mood for your cocktail of Kenyan experiences to last a lifetime. The only mission, if you should accept it, is to do them before you hit 50!