We saw the African Big Five, fell asleep to the sounds of hyenas laughing, watched the sunrise over the Masai Mara, perfect white sand beach, and were spoiled at a luxury beach resort. The whole trip was incredible and set a benchmark that would be hard to match in the future. This was our itinerary organized by our friends from Travelship.
- Visas are available for purchase on the entry for almost all nationalities at international Kenyan airports and land borders. The price is only $50 USD/€40 EUR/£30 GBP. We had printed and filled out our visa applications at home before we’d left. The application form can be found from the ‘downloads’ section of www.immigration.go.ke website. You will need Form 22 – Application for Kenya Visa.
- Vaccinations – As a guide Polio, Diphtheria, Hepatitis A and B, and Tetanus is strongly recommended. Rabies and Meningitis are also recommended. A Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate is required for travel to Kenya and if traveling from an infected area it must be presented upon arrival in order to be granted entry.
- Anti-malaria tablets – For more information on the malaria risk in Kenya visit the NHS Fit to Travel page or the CDC Traveler’s Health page. Check before going to Kenya what tablets are best for you. We took once from Romania and I was sick all the time from the tablets.
- Plastic bag ban – Plastic bags were banned in Kenya as of 28th August 2017. Travelers arriving at any airport in Kenya can face heavy fines for bringing plastic bags into the country.
- Drink tap water in Kenya – A good idea for tourists to stick to bottled water anyway in order to avoid contact with any foreign bacteria that could make them ill. It is also a good idea to avoid ice in your drink and eating salad as these might have come into contact with unhygienic water.
- Standard to tip – Be aware that most people in the service industry earn very little and depend on gratuities to make up their income. If you eat in a restaurant then 10% on top of the bill is a suitable amount to leave. When it comes to taxis, rounding up the fare is a nice way to show your appreciation, especially if they have successfully navigated the chaotic streets of Nairobi or Mombasa for you.
- Currency – The official currency in Kenya is the Kenya Shilling. Additionally, exchange facilities are available at various bureau de changes and banks in major towns have ATMs.
- Plugs – Standard voltage is 230 – 240 volts. Primary sockets generally require the 3 square-pin variety, similar to the United Kingdom sockets.
- WiFi – It is easier to find WiFi in the big cities but be aware that the connection might be less reliable and slower than you are used to. In Safari Camps I didn’t have a connection or it was so poor, that I chose not to try anymore.
Nairobi is the most cosmopolitan city in East Africa, a true urban jungle and a respectable financial center. Full of charm and personality, with vibrant cultural life and true heaven of gourmets, Nairobi prides itself on having an extraordinary nightlife! On the other hand, there are minorities that the Kenyan capital struggles to solve.
We started the day with a pedestrian tour of the city center, in which we had been accompanied by a local guide who introduced us to the city’s attractions, the history of the places but of course less known and curious things about Kenya and its capital, Nairobi.
The tour begins in the financial district, at the National Archives Building and the Kenyatta International Convention Center. The tour continued at the Parliament Building and we saw different headquarters of the government institutions, and we closed the day with a visit to the National Museum and the town hall.
After this tour, another very interesting experience follows, a gastronomic tour through Nairobi where we had tasted all the Kenyan flavors and preparations. During this tour, we visited a number of restaurants where we had the opportunity to taste more traditional dishes, such as ugali, nyama choma, samosa, pilau, chapati, and mutura, among others!
On the other day, we visited David Sheldrick elephant orphanage. It is open to the public on a daily basis for an hour between 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM, when the calves come in for their daily mudbath and midday feed. The entrance fee is 500 KES. After lunchtime we went to the Giraffe Centre – it’s the place where over time, over 500 orphan giraffes of the Rothschild species were rescued from the wild and cared here. You have the opportunity to feed with your own hands the gentle animals that are on the way to extinction and besides, you can find information on their behavior and history.
In the evening, try the best restaurant in the country: Carnivore. You have to pay 28 $ and then, you can eat all you can. The interesting part is that they offer crocodiles and exotic animals to taste. 🙂
Tip: On the way to Masai Mara, please stop at the great rift valley for a view. All the way from Nairobi to Masai is amazing, you have the change to see all the rural areas of Kenya and stop for a local street food experience – only if you are brave enough.
The day when we make contact with the wildlife of Africa and start the safari series among the animals we have seen so far only on National Geographic. First stop, Masai Mara National Park <3.
For a lot of reasons, Masai Mara is the most beautiful national park and the best place for safaris in Kenya and perhaps all over Africa. Located at an altitude of almost 2000 meters above sea level, it is in the extension of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Annually, the park is the scene of a massive migration of animals, when not less than half a million “animals” travel here from Tanzania. The great migration takes place between June and October and is an almost unrivaled spectacle for any traveler.
Named after the indigenous Masai populations, this park comprises a large variety of animals including elephants, giraffes, lions, zebras, hippos, hyenas or rhinos.
We got in touch with the local Masai community, visiting a Masai village. We had the unique chance to enter the African culture, where we discovered the mysteries of pure life, devoid of technology and worries, unchanged for hundreds of years. It was amazing.
The locals will present to you how they do the community dancing, fire and we had the chance to visit their small and nice homes while talking at the small fire. After that, we also wanted to visit the local school and talk with the only teacher we found in the area.
Amboseli National Park
- Accommodation: Cazare Kibo Safari Camp, in zona Parcului Amboseli. I don’t recommend this one but if you are on a budget, it can be a nice option.
- I advise you to book: Ol Tukai Lodge Amboseli. it’s really nice and not that expensive.
After 3 days spent in the Masai Mara Natural Park, it is time to try a new safari experience, this time in the Amboseli National Park. In the morning, around 7:00 we were picked up directly from the hotel and transferred to Amboseli. We arrived in time for the first contact with the park and safari, after which we head to Kibo Safari Camp for lunch. After a rest and a little relaxation, we are preparing for a new safari tour, around 4:00 pm, just at sunset, when we can admire flocks of zebras, lions, hyenas, antelopes and of course the symbol of the Amboseli park: the African elephant!
And the cherry on the cake of this experience is that the Amboseli Park offers stunning views of wild animals and Mount Kilimanjaro in the background. The park is also called “the royal court of Mount Kilimanjaro” and is the place where we can find perhaps the most famous images of Africa!
- Accommodation: African Dream Cottages. Really nice hotel.
There are two options from Nairobi to Diani, the first one is by fast train that was built by Chinese and, the second one is by plane. We chose the second one for a faster transfer to Mombasa. From there, you can arrange a pick up to Diani by bus.
Offering a wide range of activities and marine sports, as well as breathtaking landscapes, Diani is a true delight even for those who do not like the beach.
After several days full of adventure, whether we are talking about the Masai Mara or Amboseli savannahs, or the urban jungle in Nairobi, the time has come for the beach and some relaxation.
Diani beach is stunning with its pure white sand and turquoise water. We loved it! The only downside was that beach boys were a bit annoying, and we had company for the entire time we spent at the beach.
For the third day, we chose to go on an arranged tour: we will sail for about an hour and a half to the Kisite-Mpunguti Marine Park where we did some snorkel and swim among the dolphins. Afterward, we sail to Wasini Island where we took a break to serve a hearty lunch with traditional Swahili dishes and enjoyed a village tour, then we went to the coral reefs and then sail to the Slave Cave.
- Accommodation: Bahari Beach Hotel. Amazing, amazing, amazing 🙂
Mombassa is a city that seems to have more in common with Dakar, the capital of Senegal than with Nairobi, being a unique cultural mix between Indian, Arab and African cultures. You can discover the city with a local guide but try not to out in the night.
Today we had the opportunity to visit another famous beach of Kenya, Gazi, a place as spectacular or maybe more beautiful than Diani.
If you had the impression that you saw too many “the most beautiful beaches in the world” than you must necessarily reach Gazi, which has something in addition to the rest of the beaches.
The easiest way to go to Kenya is with Qatar Airlines and most probably, you will have a break in Doha as we did. Here you can find a small itinerary for a few hours in Doha.