Few places on earth can offer the discerning traveller such an unforgettable experience as Kenya does. From the scenic landscapes beaming with rare fauna and flora to a rich cultural diversity, Kenya is an unending bucket list of travel gems waiting to be explored.
But how do you navigate through all this richness? Where do you start? Once you have interacted with Kenya Geographic, these questions will not be hard to answer. We have been working hard to make sense of it all so you do not have to. Our new system arranges our travel assets by region and county. So each of the 47 counties gets visible coverage.
We have opted to base our travel ideas this way to maximise the experience. A region includes at least three major tourist destinations which are not located in the same town, village or city. The destinations are also not separated by a long distance and they have well-defined entry and exit points.
When a tourist visits a region, they should get motivated to visit all the places identified on that circuit. Structuring travel this way increases the total number of visits to all the destinations. It also provides an opportunity for the tourist to experience all the destinations located on the circuit.
This concept makes Kenya Geographic one of the easiest travel resources in Kenya. to plan your travel with. Below, we describe the circuits and their corresponding counties and major towns.
The Kenya Coast conjures up images of sun-drenched beaches with soft sand, warm turquoise waters and refreshing sea breezes. The region is also dotted with attractive creeks, sleepy rivers and shady inlets. This is an ideal place for big game fishing, diving, water sports – or just lying on the beach. No region in Kenya is better served in terms of hotel accommodation than the Kenya Coast.
From Lamu in the north to Chale Island in the far south, visitors will find just about every type of hotel with a range of prices to suit all budgets. Lying just offshore is a series of highly protected marine parks. Mombasa, Malindi, Diani/Chale Island, Kiunga, Kisite Mpunguti and Watamu. They together stretch almost the entire length of the Kenyan coastline, offering a true paradise for divers.
|Counties:||Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River|
|Major Towns:||Mombasa, Malindi, Lamu, Voi, Hola|
Eastern Kenya is not far from Nairobi, yet it presents a totally different world from the largest city in Kenya. The journey begins with the less-known Samburu National Reserve. The Shaba and the Buffalo Springs National Parks which are separated only by the Ewaso Nyiro River follow. The three are home to five animal species found nowhere else in Kenya and in some cases, in the world.
These include the Beisa Oryx, the Gerenuk, the endangered Grevy’s zebra, the reticulated giraffe and the Somali Ostrich. Eastern Kenya is now beginning to gain popularity for its upmarket accommodation usually set in delightful surroundings.
|Counties:||Machakos, Kitui, Makueni|
|Major Towns:||Kitui, Machakos, Wote, Mwingi|
Central Kenya is the high hill country above Nairobi. A land of mountain peaks, spectacular waterfalls and remote alpine moors that provide a unique and breathtaking African landscape. It is also an area of coffee plantations and small farms that make up the region’s thriving agricultural sector.
There is, of course, wildlife to view. But, for the visitor, this is an area in which to enjoy adrenaline-fuelled sports. One can enjoy white-water rafting, mountaineering and bungee jumping. There is a chance to participate in less strenuous activities not usually associated with Kenya. Some examples include hill walking and trout fishing.
|Counties:||Embu, Kirinyaga, Laikipia, Meru, Murang’a, Nakuru, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Tharaka Nithi|
|Major Towns:||Nanyuki, Meru, Nyeri, Muranga, Embu, Nakuru|
Nairobi is this place where many visitors have the notion of arriving and quickly transferring to another destination. Not surprisingly, most international visitors have a limited view of Nairobi. To them, Nairobi is the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and the Wilson Airport. After all, this is where they transfer to for their short flight to the bush, or their lodge or camp.
This is a real pity because Nairobi possesses some real hidden gems. The Nairobi National Museum, the African Heritage House and the Nairobi National Park are a few. There is a host of attractions within easy reach to delight even the most hard-bitten and world-weary traveller.
|Major Towns:||Nairobi, Kiambu, Limuru, Thika|
Rift Valley Region
Most travel guides split the Rift Valley into the North Rift and the South Rift circuits. The North Rift offers a unique travel experience for the intrepid adventure-seeking traveller. It is a source of the ultimate adrenaline rush. The experience is only closely equalled by deep-sea diving at the Kenya Coast or the desert trails of Northern Kenya.
The circuit brings you face to face with Kenya’s most rugged terrains. But also, perhaps, its most beautiful scenes. You will see mighty lakes, hot springs, bird sanctuaries and parks such as Lake Bogoria and Sibiloi. They hold a particular fascination for experienced travellers who like to go off the beaten track. Visitors with time on their hands also love them.
The South Rift circuit, on the other hand, comprises the most varied and best-known attractions in Kenya. It is the home of the famed Maasai Mara National Reserve. Lake Naivasha and the popular and easily accessible Lake Nakuru National Park are found here. The latter is famous for its large flamingo population and rhino sanctuary.
The Maasai Mara is the ideal first-time safari destination for most travellers because it has a little bit of everything. Big cats are in abundance. So are accommodation options – both inside and outside the Reserve. A must-do activity is the sunrise balloon flights and, of course, the world-famous Wildebeest Migration.
|Counties:||Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Trans Nzoia, Baringo, Turkana, West Pokot, Samburu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Narok, Kajiado, Bomet, Kericho, Nakuru|
|Major Towns:||Iten, Eldoret, Kitale, Lodwar, Kapenguria, Maralal, Bomet, Nakuru, Narok, Kericho, Kajiado|
Northern Kenya is sadly stereotyped by poor or non-existent infrastructure and insecurity. Yet this largely untapped circuit bears spectacular attractions the world knows little about. From the rock art of Lesayu Hills to the cradle of man, Northern Kenya is waiting to exhale. Its deserts, camel caravans and seasonal rivers, are worth every penny you spend travelling there to see.
|Counties:||Marsabit, Moyale, Isiolo, Garissa, Mandera, Wajir|
|Major Towns:||Marsabit, Moyale, Isiolo, Garissa, Mandera, Wajir|
Western Kenya is one of the nation’s least-visited regions in terms of tourism numbers. Yet this region is an area with hidden gems for those who enjoy life off the regular tourist trail. The easiest way to reach this region is by air. Flights into Kisumu Airport are regular. Alternatively, you can opt for the generally good road from Nairobi.
This area of rich forests, swamps and strange rock formations is home to some of Kenya’s rarest animal species. The rain forest of Kakamega, covering 59,305 acres, provides a habitat for over 300 species of birds.
|Counties:||Kakamega, Vihiga, Bungoma, Western, Busia, Kisumu, Homabay, Kisii|
|Major Towns:||Homabay, Bondo, Kisii, Bungoma, Kakamega, Kisumu|
What has your experience been like so far using Kenya Geographic to plan your travel? Do let us know and do not hesitate to contact us in case you need any help. Feel free to share any important feedback you may have.