I was invited by the Kenya Marketing Board, together with several travel writers from over twenty-five countries to experience the finest tourism offers Kenya has. We were privileged to visit Nairobi and the south coast of Kenya. Though I have been to these two cities several times, it was wonderful to do different activities. Here below are the highlights of my travel experience.
1. Nairobi National Park
I have never been to a national park located right in the middle of a vibrant city like Nairobi. What a wonderful experience it was seeing the big five (except the elephant) with a background of skyscrapers of modern Nairobi city.
The Nairobi National Park, 113 sq kms of plains, cliffs and forest is home to large herds of Zebra, Wildebeest, Buffalo, Giraffe, Rhino, Cheetah. A large number of Lions are all found here, living wild within 20 minutes of the centre of town.
2. Giraffe Centre, Nairobi
This was my first experience visiting orphaned giraffes, feeding and kissing Stacy, one of them.
The AFEW (African Fund for Endangered Wildlife) Giraffe Centre is located just outside Nairobi and has been ostensibly set up as a breeding centre for the endangered Rothschild giraffe. It now operates conservation/education programs for Kenyan school children.
It was awesome to hand feed the giraffes and get close to seeing how they use their long, prehensile tongues to remove leaves from prickly acacia branches.
3. Running with Kenya’s Marathon Champions
What an honour to run, walk and jog at the Arboretum, only 3km from the city centre, with some of Kenya’s award winning athletes in Nairobi’s few remaining green spaces with shaded walkways, picnic lawns and jogging trails. The Arboretum is a forest conservation area that holds over 350 tree species and is home to over 100 resident and migrant birds.
4. Elephants’ Sanctuary
The Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage is located near Nairobi National Park. This orphanage for Elephant Calves was founded and is still managed by Daphne Sheldrick, the widow of one of Kenya’s best known Game Wardens David Sheldrick.
The centre is opened to the public each morning (11am-12pm) and offers exclusive interaction with the elephants while they are being bottle-fed with milk.
The orphaned elephants are brought here from all over the country, they receive specialized treatment from highly dedicated staff before being reintroduced to wild herds.
5. Water Sports Activities in Diani
If you love an adrenaline rush, then jet skying, kayaking, wind surfing, scuba diving will be excellent choices for you too. Swaying palms and soft, white sand caressed by glittering, turquoise water, Diani Beach had all ingredients for a perfect adrenaline-packed-fun holiday.
6. Diving in the Kisite Mpunguti Marine Reserve
South of Mombasa, there are dive sites along the coast from Tiwi south to Shimoni; the best sites are centred around Kisiite Mpunguti Marine Reserve.
This was a good deep dive with strong tidal currents which allow drifts through spectacular coral, snapper, barracuda, rare zebra sharks and massive Napoleon wrasse. There were plenty of large, tame shoals to be found here, with average dive depth of around 12 metres.
7. Bathing with Dolphins
From unexplored sites to easily accessible undersea gardens of coral, schools of friendly dolphins to breaching whales, to endangered turtles, incredible caves to mysterious wrecks, bathing with these dolphins was exhilarating.
Plunging below the surface we discovered a new kind of safari- the world’s finest scuba safari.
8. Shimba Hills Lodge
The Shimba Hills Lodge is the only ‘tree lodge’ within Kenya’s Coastal rain forest. It is an award winning design built in 1986 and an excellent alternative for game and bird watching. The luxurious construction and the emphasis on natural materials give it a warm and relaxing interior for a perfect honeymoon destination.
Kenya’s rich diversity of tourism offers ensure that no two experiences are ever the same. In a single trip to Kenya, one can visit tropical forests, beautiful beaches, and deserts, climb mountains and explore the wild. In Kenya, it is possible to plan a safari that blends adventure and relaxation, luxury and natural simplicity, social experiences and solitude.
Make Kenya your next vacation destination!
By Sandra Idoussou