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Introducing Kenya

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Sunset over the plains © Kenya Tourist Office

Kenya Travel Guide

*Kenya has recently been experiencing a spate of terrorist attacks, particularly in Nairobi, Mombasa and coastal regions, and many governments have issued travel warnings for the country. Travellers are advised to inform themselves on the situation and to avoid areas identified as dangerous by official government sources.

Kenya has held a powerful attraction for visitors ever since early explorers and intrepid settlers brought back tales of endless plains filled with antelope, man-eating lions, mountain peaks and perfect beaches. The country is certainly the premier African safari destination, offering unparalleled wild game experiences in its iconic parks: the Masai Mara with its vast rolling grassland, Amboseli's regal elephant herds, and the dramatic vistas of the Great Rift Valley. Peak safari time is the mid-year wildebeest migration - an unforgettable sight as millions of animals make an epic journey across the land seeking fresh pastures.

The physical diversity of the country is reflected in the many distinct cultural groups, although the distinctive Masai people are of most interest to tourists seeking the classic images of Kenya's African identity. Kenya's coastline offers treasures of its own with excellent beaches and resorts, many with pristine coral reefs to explore, all of which is easily accessed by regular flights to Mombasa, the country's oldest and second-largest city. Most northern hemisphere visitors arrive seeking respite from the cold and are primed to enjoy Kenya's near-perfect tropical climate and year-round sunshine. "Africa in one country" is the richly fulfilled promise of a holiday in Kenya.

Best time to visit Kenya

Kenya's weather is best over the winter months of June to September when both rainfall and temperatures are at their lowest. February and March can be very hot and humid, although this is also the best time to visit Kenya for those hoping to experience the wildebeest migration. Read more on Kenya's Climate and Weather.

What to see in Kenya

-Visit the Karen Blixen Museum near Nairobi to learn about the woman immortalised in Out of Africa.

-See the pink flamingos of Lake Nakuru Park, also renowned for its sightings of leopard and lion.

-Get up close and personal with herds of mighty elephants at Amboseli National Park with magnificent Mount Kilimanjaro as a backdrop.

-Spend time in Mombasa and see the 16th century fort guarding the harbour entrance. Read more about Kenya Attractions.

What to do in Kenya

-Experience the wild beauty and rolling savannahs of the Masai Mara Reserve.

-Watch the wildebeest migration from a hot-air balloon over the Serengeti.

-Take a dhow trip from romantic and laid-back Lamu, Kenya's oldest town.

-Enjoy the perfect beaches of Malindi, also a base for excellent fishing and diving. Read more about Kenya Activities.

Getting to Kenya

There are direct flights to Kenya from many international cities via Jomo Kenyatta Airport, a major hub. There are also flights to Kenya from Europe to Mombasa's Moi International Airport. Get more information on Kenya Airports.

Read

Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen, I Dreamed of Africa by Kuki Gallmann, and Petals of Blood by Ngugi wa Thiong'o.

Watch

Out of Africa (1985), The Ghost and the Darkness (1996), The Constant Gardner (2005), and The White Masai (2005)

Eat

Local game like zebra, crocodile and camel.

Drink

Tusker Lager, or Tangawizi ginger ale for the teetotallers

What to buy

Kisii stone (soap stone) carvings, Masai jewellery, Mkonde wood carvings, Lamu chairs and batiks.

What to pack

It gets hot and humid so bring a good hat, sun-screen and mosquito repellent spray; a light rain-jacket will be handy during the wet season.

What's on in Kenya

The Wildebeest Migration is one of the most majestic sights on earth, taking place each year from June to August. More information on Kenya Events.

Did you know?

Kenya has 65 national parks and reserves and 42 ethnic tribes - but only two official languages: English and Swahili.

A final word

Africa in one country, with all the wild animals, natural beauty, ethnic diversity and contradictions that entails: a holiday in Kenya offers the best of the continent for the safari seeker in us all.

Become our Kenya Travel Expert

We are looking for contributors for our Kenya travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Kenya or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.