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Africa’s Last Warrior Tribe

Africa’s Last Warrior Tribe

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If you are planning a visit to Africa it is useful and practical to have a little knowledge about the local people you will be meeting.  A visit to Kenya and Tanzania means you will have the privilege of meeting the Masai (aka Maasai) people, who are the most famous and easily recognized indigenous tribe in these two countries.  Most people have heard of the Masai – their rich culture and particularly distinctive clothes make them stand out on the Continent, and they are known for their exceptional courage as warriors.

A Little History

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The Masai are one of the many tribes (125 altogether!) found in Southern Kenya and the Northern part of Tanzania.  They are thought to have originated in the Sudan, and their own oral history relates how they migrated through the Nile River into Kenya and then Tanzania, around the 15th century, either forcibly displacing the previous inhabitants and raiding their cattle, or assimilating some of them into their own culture.  The Masai have always been a pastoral people – they practice cattle rearing and are always on the move to newer greener pastures.   The size of their territory was at its largest in the 19th century, however a huge percentage of the tribe was wiped out in the 1890’s by the effects of three cataclysmic events – a Smallpox epidemic ravaged the people, a Rinderpest epidemic killed over 90% of their herds and the final blow came when the rains failed completely for more than two years, resulting in thousands of deaths from starvation.

Unfortunately, this was not the end of their problems!  The recovering tribe were faced with more hardship in the decades to come – two treaties in 1904 and 1911 saw them forced to give up over 60% of their land to the British to make room for settler ranches.  Later, in the 1940’s, even more land was confiscated by the Kenyan government to create the many Wildlife Reserves and National Parks that Kenya and Tanzania are famous for today. Amboseli, Nairobi, the Masai Mara Reserve, Samburu, Lake Nakuru and Tsavo National Parks in Kenya and Manyara, Ngorongoro, Tarangire and Serengeti National Parks in Tanzania all stand on land that was once Masai territory.

The Masai Today

Masai Today Africa’s Last Warrior Tribe

Despite the influences of education and western culture, the Masai people have largely resisted change and most of them remain nomadic pastoralists, albeit in a greatly reduced area.  They principally live along the borders of the aforementioned National Parks in the Kajiado and Narok districts and in several areas their territory overlaps the National Parks and they still graze their cattle inside the protected areas – in some instances this has led to episodes of human/wildlife conflict when cattle are attacked by Lion and other predators.

Many members of the tribe have been absorbed into the Safari industry (“Safari” is a Swahili word meaning journey) where they showcase their extensive knowledge and impress the tourists with their remarkable talents as wilderness guides. The tourism industry creates many employment opportunities and has been directly or indirectly responsible for several co-operative schemes which have benefited the local communities and helped provide schooling for the children.  In addition, there are educational programs aimed at educating the tribes about the importance of conservation of natural resources and all wildlife, including Lions, which were often hunted and killed in retaliation for cattle losses, or to demonstrate a young Warrior’s courage.

The Masai Culture – Who Does What

The Masai are probably the last of the world’s great warrior cultures and the bravery of the Masai warriors is still a source of pride to the tribe.  Young boys are given the responsibility of herding and guarding the cattle from a very young age, while the girls learn to clean and milk the cows.  Rites of Passage are very important and all young boys learn about the responsibilities they will require as men.  Eunoto is an elaborate ceremony when boys and girls come of age and graduate to be warriors and wives.  Young warriors must face painful circumcision without flinching if they wish to emerge as full-blown warriors with the respect of their elders and tribe.

Girls still have very few choices and no voice – no place here for Woman’s Lib!   They will be married off by their elders into traditionally polygamous marriages and are responsible for all household chores including the building of their temporary houses, using mud, grass, wood and cow dung as well as cooking, beading and child care.  The warriors, of course, build fences and bomas to protect the cattle and fearlessly defend them from attack by wild animals.

Dress and Ornamentation

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Most Masai people dress in the well-known red “shuka”- a sheet of red fabric which is wrapped around the body and adorned by elaborate beadwork around the neck, arms and ears.  Both sexes dress alike and both sexes practice ear piercing and stretching of the earlobes – greatly stretched earlobes are regarded as very beautiful.  Masai beadwork is very intricate and beautiful and is a very sought-after souvenir for many tourists.

Cattle in the Masai Culture

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The importance of cattle to the Masai cannot be over-emphasized and borders on a sacred relationship, where they believe that they have a God-given role as the custodians of all cattle.  They measure their wealth by the number of cattle they own and the number of children they have produced – you need to have many of each to be considered wealthy!  Cattle and other livestock (they also raise some sheep and goats) provide almost all their food, in the form of meat, milk and even blood, while the skins and hides are used for bedding and the dung is used as a type of plaster to water-proof their houses.  If you have no cattle you have no food, no shelter and no standing, which is why the warriors are so fiercely protective of their herds.  One of the most common Masai greetings translates as “I hope your cattle are well”!

Song and Dance

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A distinctive feature of Masai music is the lack of instruments and the amazing harmony of their vocals.  Most songs consist of a responsive pattern, where the women sing one part and the men respond with the second part, while the only musical accompaniment to the singing is the jingling sound of all the beads worn by both the singers and the dancers.   Head and neck movements are an important part of singing and form a kind of rhythmical “bobbing”.

Although the Masai jumping dances “adumu” are the most popularly performed, there are also other types of very structured dances for various special occasions.  In the jumping dances the men all stand in a circle and each has a chance to jump as high as he can while the others encourage him in song – as the voices get higher the jumping increases – this is a sight you should not miss!

The Importance of Respectful Greetings

African culture is composed of many myths, legends and taboos that have been passed down from one generation to the next – having at least an inkling of how to interact in a respectful and dignified manner is just good manners, and will go a long way towards establishing a good relationship with your hosts. As the adage goes, when in Rome, do like the Romans!   Many practices that most visitors take for granted back home could be regarded as the height of bad manners in Africa…for instance, you should never just walk up to a local and ask for directions or a service without at least a few sentences in greeting and general “small talk”.  Knowing when and with whom you should shake hands is also important (see below) and memorizing a few phrases of greeting and thanks in the local language will win you a large measure of respect.

Handshaking is a very popular form of greeting, practiced by just about everyone. As a sign of respect, most Masai shake hands with their right hand while holding their right elbow with the left hand. Sometimes the right hand is covered by the left hand in a form of double handshake, but you need not worry about getting it right – a normal one-handed shake will do the job!   You should never try to shake hands with your left hand if your right hand is otherwise occupied – this is considered very rude – rather do not shake at all!  Men should not attempt to shake hands with female Masai, unless the lady makes the first move; usually she will just nod in greeting.  If a young Masai child leans their head towards you while greeting then you should tap them lightly on the head – this is considered the polite greeting for children.

Experiencing Masai Culture at First Hand

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One of the very best ways to experience some of the mystery and legend that is interwoven into the Masai culture is to go on a Walking Safari with one of the excellent Masai guides, who will be only too happy to share his extensive knowledge of his country with you.  You can also arrange to visit real Masai homes on a Cultural Excursion and be entertained with a traditional song and dance show.  Cultural visits are offered by most of the Camps and Lodges in the National Parks.

How to locate a lost travelling companion

How to locate a lost travelling companion

Mount Kenya How to locate a lost travelling companion

If you find yourself alone in a foreign country or a strange place instead of surrounded by the friends and family you set off with, don’t panic – these tips will have you reunited in no time

When you’re on holiday, getting lost is half the fun. Wandering around a strange city and stumbling upon a picturesque little street or charming courtyard is the kind of thing that tempts us out of our cosy homes in the first place.

But if you’re part of a group, and especially if you’re part of a smallish group, getting unexpectedly separated from the rest of your gang can be an unsettling experience.

It’s especially worrying when you’re travelling with children, who may not be carrying mobile phones and can’t therefore call you to explain that they’ve just found an interesting little shop selling salty caramel waffles or something.

Good preparation can cater for most eventualities, but fate always has a way of catching you out. Here are a few tips to reunite you with your travelling companions.

Get on up

If you’re in a crowded place, a busy shopping centre or theme park, you need to get as high up as possible. Not only will you be more visible to your lost pal, but you have more chance of catching sight of them.

No handy fountain, chair or ornamental wall to stand on? Seek out the tallest person you can see and ask them for their help. Describe your lost friend or …

A picture is worth a thousand words.

You’re on holiday. Chances are your phone or digital camera has a recent picture of the person you’re looking for. Show it to your new tall friend.

If your companion has been missing for a while, or if they’re very young, then you’ll want to speak to the local police; taking along a recent picture of the person wearing the clothes they had on when they went missing would be very helpful, especially if there’s a language barrier.

Find the centre

If there’s a major landmark, some sort of Eiffel Tower for example, or a Taj Mahal perhaps, head for it. Is there a sign pointing to the Tourist Information Office?

While it might be tempting to stand still and let the person come back to you, you might be in for a long wait if they’ve had the same idea. Heading for an easily recognisable landmark is not only likely to bring you back to your pal, it will also put you near police and other sources of aid if you’re still having no luck.

Go with the flow

Young children, dogs, and easily distracted adults always follow the path of least resistance. If you’re somewhere without obvious landmarks to seek out, there’s a better-than-average chance that the wanderer went in the direction that the wind’s blowing.

As in any crisis situation, it’s hard to resist the natural temptation to panic. But keep a cool head, think about the psychology of your quarry, and you should be enjoying those salty caramel waffles together in no time.

10 Things We Bet You Didn’t Know About Kenya

10 Things We Bet You Didn’t Know About Kenya

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For those who are not entirely familiar with their Atlas, Kenya is a gorgeous little country in the Eastern side of Africa. she is home to the second highest mountain in the continent (Mt. Kenya), home to the Maasai Mara and her breathtaking annual wildebeest migration, home to a majority of the world athletics champions and home to an insanely gorgeous coastal line that just so happens to include Mombasa and Lamu.

Although Kenya is synonymous with quite a few wonderful things, Ski holidays, winter sports and being snowed in are all things she is NOT known for. We are in the tropics, and on this side of the sun we have breathtakingly beautiful weather.

Kenya is a touristic mammoth. That’s how beautiful this country is. But as world famous as she may be in some circuits, there are still some facts about this country that even Kenyans are not too familiar with. That being said, here are 10 things we bet you didn’t know about Kenya

Kenya has 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

UNESCO World Heritage Sites are places that are recognized as being of great physical or cultural significance. It is a privilege that only some of the most exclusive locations in the world hold; these are places worth preserving, and Kenya has 6 of them!

  • Fort Jesus, Mombasa
  • Lamu Old Town
  • Mount Kenya Forest
  • The Sacred Kaya Forest, South Coast
  • Lake System in the Great Rift Valley
  • Lake Turkana

Kenya has a ‘cheese tasting’ culture

Almost no one would associate Kenya with cheese. But wouldn’t you know it; the country has a rich cheese tasting culture that is the preserve of a few enthusiasts who know where to look. In Limuru, there is a farm called ‘Brown’s Cheese’ that has a cheese factory which offers tasting tours to those interested. You get to see and learn how the cheese is made, eat quite a bit of it and drink some wine. Visit: Brown’s Cheese

You Can Go Snake Hunting

You have probably heard of pythons, mambas, cobras and puff adders. Most of us prefer to keep our distance from these slithery vials of poison. But for the dare-devils, a chance to act out scenes from Anaconda and go hunting for pythons in the wild is simply too tempting to pass up. Kenya has well over 100 documented snake species, most of which are illusive, poisonous and not the kind of creepy-crawlies you want keeping you company by the way side. In Watamu, there is an outfit called ‘Bio-Ken’ which has taken it upon itself to show you all Kenya has to offer in terms of snakes. You can book tours that will take you through some of the most dense forests, rugged rocky cliffs and watery riverbeds (all this in the name of finding these illusive creatures).

Kenya Values Conservation

With all that is going in the world today, from impossibly high levels of environmental pollution and encroachment into lands meant for wildlife, Kenya is one of the countries that are leading the fight against the kind of damage that we can do to our world as humans. We have 65 protected areas specifically meant for wildlife. These are beautiful National Parks such as Meru National Park, amazing Marine Parks, national reserves and sanctuaries. Aside from that, the very first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize was Prof. Wangari Maathai; an environmentalist from Kenya.

Kenyans are highly religious people

About 70% of the people in Kenya can be classified as Christians (Catholic and Protestant); roughly 25% still adhere to indigenous religions and the remaining 5% comprise of Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Baha’is and Parsees. The deeply rooted religious culture within the country can be witnessed by simply reading the words of our National Anthem (it is a heartfelt prayer for the nation that was adapted from the Pokomo tribe).

Elizabeth became Queen while in Kenya

Princess Elizabeth was staying at the ‘The Treetops Hotel’ with her husband, now Prince Philip, when she got the news that her father, King George VI, had passed away. Of course, she had to go back home and get coronated, but technically, she became Queen of England while in Kenya.

Kenya is perfect for big blockbuster film locations

You may not know this, but every now and again, big movie production houses in Hollywood do tour the world to produce all those wonderful silver screen pictures that we simply cannot get enough of. Kenya, being an annoyingly gorgeous country, has been host to some of the most renowned on-location film shoots. Here are some of the most famous movies shot on-location in Kenya.

  • Out Of Africa (Perhaps the one movie that shows Kenya’s beauty in its full splendour)
  • King Solomon’s Mines
  • Nowhere in Africa
  • The Constant Gardener
  • To Walk With Lions
  • Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
  • The Ghost and the Darkness
  • Mississippi Masala

Kenya is the ‘Strong Silent’ type

Although there have been a few skirmishes within the country, Kenya is known as one of the most peaceful Nations in Africa. With no civil war, no internal strife and a reputation for undertaking ‘Peace Keeping’ missions within Africa, Kenya is not only a pretty nation, but a peace loving one as well. But just because Kenya isn’t known for her violence and invasions does not mean the country does not have an army to speak of. KDF (Kenya Defense Forces) is ranked as the 46th strongest standing army in the world and the 6th in Africa.

Kenya is OLD and has the scars to show it

There have been discoveries of Paleolithic remains in Turkana that have led scientists to believe that Kenya might just have been the birth place of humanity. If that does not impress you, then try this, the Great Rift Valley, which runs across the face of the country and can be seen from space, is well over 20 million years old. It is said that it was formed when the Earth’s crust started that tedious splitting business that formed all the continents.

You can swim with Dolphins in Kenya

Okay, this is not an exclusively Kenyan thing, but it is still pretty cool. From having dinner on floating restaurants, to feeding crocodiles and having breakfast with Giraffes, the number of weird, yet thrilling things you can do in Kenya is simply mind boggling. Did you know you could ride and eat an Ostrich? But we digress. Back to the dolphins. Yes, you can swim with dolphins in Wasini. These are dolphins in the wild, so you can’t quite get them to stand still long enough to hold a conversation or pet them, but they do swim up real close.

With well over 40 million people and some of the most fascinating wild life on the face of the planet, Kenya is not only beautiful, eclectic and insanely sunny, but she is also strong and peaceful.

If you haven’t toured this country, you should make a point to do so before you are all out of touring days. For those who have, let us know some of the lesser known facts about this beautiful country from your point of view.

Destinations in All of Kenya

Destinations in All of Kenya

The Giraffe Centre Destinations in All of Kenya

Kenya is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The country has it all, from white sandy beaches, wildlife, desert to a lush greenly vegetations. No matter your taste, you will find your desired destination within the borders of this lovely nation. To get you started, here are the 70 best destinations in all of Kenya:

1. Mt. Kenya

Photo Source: Telegraph UK
It’s only befitting that we should start with the highest point in the country. Mt. Kenya is 5,199m of sheer beauty. If you want to see an array of flora and fauna, merged with freezing weather, and snow capped peaks, then this is the place to go. Scaling it is a bit of a chore, but it is totally worth it!

2. Nairobi

After the highest point, we go to the capital city, Nairobi. Once dubbed as the ‘city in the sun’, Nairobi is one of the most beautiful cities in the continent. It has wonderful skyscrapers, a steaming nightlife and a never ending sea of friendly people. As a urbanized metropolis, you can find a little bit of everything the world has to offer here. Visit: Nairobi

3. Nairobi National Park

Situated just 20 minutes from the city, Nairobi National Park is one of the most eclectic parks Kenya has to offer. The park has such a widely varied wildlife population that simply visiting it will give you a small taste of what the rest of the country has to offer.

4. Nairobi West

This is a busy suburb 10 minutes from the CBD. Nairobi West is Kenya’s version of New York, the city that never sleeps. Nairobi West has a very high concentration of bars, restaurants, lodging facilities and most of the city’s night owls. If you like to stay up all night, visit Nairobi West and party with your own kind.

5. Westlands

This is a ‘richer’ version of Nairobi West! Westlands almost never shuts down. This little suburb, less than 10 minutes from the CBD, is not only very affluent, but it is also the one place to go if you want to see Kenya’s fashionistas. Here you will find all sorts of high end bars, hotels, and restaurants. It is also steaming with the bourgeoisie.

6. David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Conveniently situated within the Nairobi National Park, this elephant orphanage is the perfect place for visitors to see and interact with rescued baby elephants. Not only does it provide a sanctuary for these majestic creatures, it also provides the perfect destination for animal lovers. Visit: David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

7. Karura Forest Reserve

If you have ever heard of the Nobel Peace Laureate – Wangari Maathai, then you should know that the Karura Forest was one of her flagship projects. This reserve provides wonderful trails, rare indigenous flora and fauna as well as tranquil rivers and tiny waterfalls for those of us who love nature. Visit: Karura Forest Reserve

8. Giraffe Center

This is your chance to stand eyeball to eyeball with a Giraffe. At the Giraffe center in Nairobi, you get to feed, play with and even get a kiss from these towering creatures. Visit: Giraffe Center

9. Karen Blixen Coffee Garden and Cottages

If you know anything about the history of Kenya, you have probably heard the name ‘Karen Blixen’ before. She was a white settler who struggled for the rights of the local community against tyrannical colonial forces. In her honor, the country named an entire suburb after her. Karen Blixen Coffee Garden and Cottages is just one of the attractions found within that suburb. Visit: Karen Blixen Coffee Garden and Cottages

10. Karen Blixen Museum

This is particularly interesting to those who are fascinated by Karen Blixen’s story. The author of ‘Out of Africa’, lived in this house that has now been turned into a museum. Here, you will get a chance to sit, touch and see what Karen saw when she lived in Kenya. Visit: Karen Blixen Museum

11. Kenyatta International Conference Center

If Nairobi is the center of Kenya, K.I.C.C is the center of Nairobi. The K.I.C.C is 105m tall, with 28 floors and a helipad that allows you to see all of Nairobi. If you want a bird’s eye view of the city without having to hire a helicopter, then the helipad at the top of K.I.C.C is the place to be. The building also has some cultural shops and sections that allows you to soak in Kenya’s heritage. Visit: KICC

12. The Bomas of Kenya

‘Boma’ is a Swahili word for homestead. The Bomas of Kenya holds the heritage of every community in the country. Here, you will see how every tribe in Kenya lives traditionally and you will also be entertained to some traditional dances and music. Visit: The Bomas of Kenya

13. Ngong Hills

For those of us who love nature, there is nothing better than a scenic nature trail, surrounded by lush green environs. For Kenyans, the Ngong hills are a well known picnic destination. For any visitor, you can come here and enjoy the tranquility that only a country content with itself can offer.

14. Nairobi Arboretum

If you thought the Karura Forest and the Ngong Hills were beautiful, wait until you set foot in the Nairobi Arboretum. This is a small patch of land, only 5 minutes from the CBD, that has been set aside for nature trails, exotic trees and plants. It also acts as a wonderful picnic destination.

15. The National Archives

When you visit a foreign country, it is only polite to learn about its heritage. In Kenya, there is nowhere better to get this sort of information than at the National Archives. Smack in the middle of the city, this beautiful building holds historic paintings, photographs, documents and various indigenous arts and crafts by the people of Kenya. Visit: The National Archives of Kenya

16. Paradise Garden

This is a beautiful place less than an hour from the CBD, walking distance from Paradise Lost.
The garden has well-manicured lawns with stunning dam and coffee estate, it is a beautiful spot for wedding and corporate site. It is the perfect place for a quick getaway not too far from the city. Visit: Paradise Garden

17. Nairobi Mamba Village

Just like Giraffe Center, the Nairobi Mamba Village is where you go see crocodiles. Unlike at the Giraffe Center, you do not want to get a kiss from one of these creatures. You can watch them get fed, and you can have your choice of game meat. The Village also has some great accommodation facilities. Visit: Nairobi Mamba Village

18. Nairobi Safari Walk

In the middle of Nairobi National Park, there is the Nairobi Safari Walk. This is a beautiful trail that is built and modified to make your tour of the park safe. From the Safari Walk, you can see all sorts of animals, including the Big Five.

19. The Windsor Golf Hotel & Country Club

This is for high end travelers. The Windsor Hotel is a world class facility that offers top of the line accommodation at top of the line prices. The price is absolutely worth it because this is where tranquility calls home. It also has a beautiful Golf Course, for those who play. Visit: The Windsor Golf Hotel & Country Club

20. Nairobi National Museum

Only 5 minutes from the CBD, the Nairobi National Museum is the one place where you can get all of Kenya’s elaborate heritage under one roof. Not to mention the fact that it has a snake park that will give you the crawlies. Visit: Nairobi National Museum

21. The Maasai Mara

If you have heard of Kenya, you have heard of the Maasai Mara. This is a wonderful game reserve where you can see the Big Five, the Great Wildebeest Migration and some wonderful scenery. The Maasai Mara also has amazing camping sites and facilities. Visit: The Maasai Mara

22. Amboseli National Park

Amboseli National park is known as the best place to see free-ranging wildlife species such as elephants very closely. At the pack, you get the opportunity to meet the locals – the Maasai people and learn more about the Maasai culture. You can see the stunning views of Mt. Kilimanjaro from the park. Visit: Amboseli National Park

23.Mombasa

This coastal island has more to offer than just white sandy beaches. It has wonderful weather, beautiful scenery and an even more beautiful people. But if you are going to visit the Mombasa, then you want to stay at some of the best hotels the coast has to offer.

24. Sun and Sand Beach Resort

Private beach, amazing rooms, swimming pools, in-house bar and absolutely amazing service, the Sun and Sand Beach Resort is one of Kenya’s pride when it comes to accommodation. Visit: Sun and Sand Beach Resort

25. Mombasa Marine National Park

This is one of the most majestic places on the Kenyan Coast. The Mombasa Marine National Park has a great deal of small sea life, beautiful coral and many other scenic attractions that the Indian Ocean has to offer. Visit: Mombasa Marine National Park

26. Fort Jesus

Perhaps the most popular tourist attraction in Mombasa, Fort Jesus is an ancient work of art. Built by the Portuguese in the 16th Century, the Fort served as a defense post for their slave trade routes in the Indian Ocean and the Kenyan Coast. It now has a museum that displays artifacts from that era, including painting and canons.

27. Nyali International Beach Hotel and Spa

Nyali International Beach Hotel and Spa is an enduring magnificence, which is located in the sandy beaches of Mombasa. The hotel offers exquisite facilities and restaurants a unique escape into luxury and Kenyan culture. Visit: Nyali International Beach Hotel and Spa

28. Mombasa Go-Kart

This is for those who take vacations with their kids. Mombasa Go-Kart offers you the opportunity to experience speed in a safe arena. Whether you want to drive the go-karts or not, you can have a good time here. For adults, you can view your kids have a good time from the terrace of the bar. Visit: Mombasa Go-Kart

29. Voyager Beach Resort, Mombasa

Located 10km north of Mombasa city center, Voyager Beach Resort is a beach resort and retreat for those who wish to experience an undivided comfort and luxury. Guests can bask in the sun, indulge in a relaxing spa treatment, savour special meals and enjoy unforgettable outdoor activities. Visit: Voyager Beach Resort

30. Jumba La Mtwana

The Kenyan Coast is an ancient place full of artifacts from ‘past civilization’, Jumba La Mtwana is one such ruin. This is a ruined village in Kilifi. The name means ‘the house of the slave’. The ruins have mosques, four houses and a tomb. Most of it is preserved from a time that has come and gone. Visit: Jumba La Mtwana

31. Deep Water Sport Fishing

This is the perfect destination for those who enjoy deep sea fishing, or for those who would like to experience it for the first time. Deep Water Sport Fishing is located on the North Coast of Kenya. Visit: Sport Fishing Kenya

32. Tropical Diving Kenya

If you have ever gazed upon the expansive Indian Ocean, you know that you can barely fight the urge to go diving in. With Tropical Diving Kenya, in the North Coast of Mombasa, you get a chance to do so within a safe environment. Visit: Tropical Diving Kenya

33. Tana River Primate Reserve

This is the one destination on the coast for those who are into white water rafting. Here, you can satisfy your thrill seeking nature by speeding down the Tana River as well as get a chance to view the surrounding wildlife. Visit: Tana River Primate Reserve

34. Bamburi Beach Hotel

Bamburi Beach Hotel is located along ehJust like its neighbor, Nyali Beach, Bamburi Beach is one of the best destinations for anyone looking to have a peaceful stroll down one of Kenya’s many white sandy beaches. Here, you can mingle with the locals and have a chance to buy some of the best traditional artefacts for your souvenir collection. Visit: Bamburi Beach Hotel

35. The Island Of Lamu

Lamu, as a whole, is simply stunning. This beautiful island is like a scene from an old movie. Most of the houses are based on traditional Arab and Swahili designs, and so are the streets. It is one of the most peaceful and scenic destinations in the Kenyan Coast. Visit: The Island of Lamu

36. Siyu Fort

Not very many people know of Siyu Fort in Lamu, Pate Island. Siyu, is the one town in the Kenyan Coast that built its own fort. Unlike Mombasa and Lamu, where the forts were built by foreigners. Siyu Fort is now a museum that holds intriguing artefacts from the 19th century.

37. Lamu Museum

If you want to learn all about the Swahili history at the Kenyan Coast, then you should head on to the Lamu Museum. It is rich with the nations Swahili heritage. Visit: Lamu Museum

38. Lamu Old Town

There is something about visiting a part of a town that has stuck to its original form. Lamu Old Town was recently labeled as a ‘world heritage’. Here, you will see how ancient settlers used to live. The kind of housing, utensils and streets that they had.

39. Kaya Kinondo Sacred Forest

They say we need to see the world the way the creator intended it! There is no better place to do so than in a forest that has many nature trails. That is what Kaya Kinondo Forest. Visit: Kaya Kinodo Sacred Forest

40. Diani Beach

This is one of the many beaches on the Kenyan coast. However, Diani beach stands out because it is particularly beautiful and in Diani. Talk of pearly white sand! Visit:Diani Beach

41. Diani Reef Beach Resort and Spa

If you are going to visit Diani, you want to stay at the Diani Reef Beach Resort and Spa. It is absolutely beautiful and the service is world class. Visit: Diani Reef Beach Resort and Spa

42. Malindi

This is another beautiful destination on the Kenyan coast. Malindi has wonderful reefs, beautiful beaches and an equally beautiful indigenous population. It truly can be called ‘Paradise’.

43. Malindi Marine National Park

Beautifully coloured fish, a pure white sandy beach and a host of water sports will make your visit to the Malindi Marine National Park a blast! Visit: Malindi Marine National Park

44. Haller Park

Giraffes, waterbucks, zebras, cape buffalos and hippos, these are just some of the animals you will find at Haller Park in Mombasa. It also has a fish pond that is just lovely. That and 160 bird species. Visit: Haller Park

45. Wasini Island

This is one little island in the Kenyan coast. Travellers reach this island by dhow. One of the most enchanting attractions is that dolphins cruise the waters around this island. You can go snorkelling and dive around the beautiful coral reefs in the clear blue waters. For an exclusive experience of dhow, try Charlie Claw’s in Wasini. Visit:Wasini Island

46. Kisite-Mpunguti Marine National Park

Just south of Wasini, there is a little marine park called, Kisite-Mpunguti. Snorkelling, dolphin spotting and even humpback whales can be spotted here in August and October.Deep sea fishing is absolutely wonderful here. Visit: Kisite-Mpunguti Marine National Park

47. Shimba Hills National Reserve

This place can be found only 33km south of Mombasa. It has a rich diversity in flora and fauna. Among the rare things in this reserve are endangered species of orchids and cycads. You can also see elephants, sable antelope and a host of birds. Visit:Shimba Hills National Reserve

48. Gedi Ruins

The Kenyan coast is full of lost treasures. Thanks goodness the ‘Gedi Ruins’ isn’t one of them. This is an ancient Arabic and Swahili settlement that is nestled in a lush rainforest. The most intriguing thing about this place is not that it absolutely ancient, but that almost no record exists that explains what happened to it.

49. Arabuko-Sokoke National Forest

This place has the distinction of being East Africa’s biggest indigenous coastal forest. It has very many rare animals, including 260 bird species, the bushy-tailed mongoose, the golden-rumped elephant shrew and the Ader’s duiker. This is a wonderful picnic spot.

50. Manda Bay

Manda Bay resort offers guest a new level of style and sophistication with endless facilities and personalized service. Located on Manda Island in Lamu archipelago, Manda Bay is shaded by coconut palm groves and Tamarind trees, overlooking the finest white sandy beaches of the bay. It is one of the best destinations to visit for vacation in Kenya. Visit: Manda Bay

51. Lake Nakuru

One of the most spectacular bird spectacles in the world is the in-flocking of over a million Flamingos, all at once, at Lake Nakuru. This is where you can get a front seat to this wonderful flight show. Visit Lake Nakuru

52. Tsavo National Park, East

Tsavo National Park is one of the biggest parks in the world. That is why it is divided into two. Tsavo East is a large open savannah grazing land for many of the country’s wildlife. Visit: Tsavo National Park

53. Tsavo National Park, West

Like its Eastern sibling, Tsavo National Park, West is a wonderful home for most of the country’s wildlife. But unlike its Eastern sibling, it is not an expansive grassland, rather, it has rolling volcanic landscape that gives it a spectacular scenic outlook. Visit: Tsavo National Park, West

54. Samburu National Reserve

In the Northern part of Kenya, is a wonderful national park called, Samburu National Reserve. Because the Uaso Nyiro river goes right through it, it has great grassland and forests that house three of the big cats (Leopards, Lions and Cheetahs) Visit:Samburu National Reserve

55. Maasai Lodge

For a lodge, Maasai Lodge is one of the most beautiful places you will ever see. Located just a few minutes from Rongai, Maasai Lodge has a view of Nairobi National Park that will bring tears to your eyes. Visit: Maasai Lodge

56. Silole Sanctuary

This is a small sanctuary that can be accessed through Magadi Road at the Maasai Lodge. When you visit this sanctuary, you have a chance to walk amongst the Impala and Warthogs from the Nairobi National Park. Visit: Silole Sanctuary

57. Villa Rosa, Kempinski

Without a doubt, one of the most spectacular places you can stay in while in the city of Nairobi. Located 7km from Nairobi, beautifully built and designed, Kempinski is an absolutely gorgeous place to visit for vacation. Visit: Villa Rosa

58. Nakuru Town

If you travel a little inland, you will find a town called Nakuru. This is about two hours from Nairobi. It is one of the fastest growing metropolis in the country. Nakuru has an amazing atmosphere, a beautiful environment and a jumping nightlife.

59. Lord Egerton Castle

Built by a British settler known as Lord Egerton, this castle is a marvel that can be found just outside of Nakuru. For a small fee, you can have a guided tour of the place so you can see how rich settlers used to live.

60. Menengai Crater

Menengai Crater stands at 2,490m high. It is known as the second largest volcanic crater in the world, still standing. The trek up there is very scenic and is considered a hikers haven.

61. Kisumu City

Kisumu is Kenya’s inland answer to Mombasa. It is a Lake basin town that offers the same kind of weather, some beaches and a host of tourist attraction. Once you are done with Mombasa, you can travel inland towards Kisumu and see what else the country has to offer. Visit: Kisumu

62. Kisumu Impala Sanctuary

Only 0.4 square KM’s, the Kisumu Impala Sanctuary is a haven for capture problem animals. It has a host of Impala, two olive baboons, one spotted hyena, two leopards, and quite a number of vervet monkeys that are held in captivity. Visit: Kisumu Impala Sanctuary

63. Kisumu Museum

You cannot really go wrong with museums, can you? The Kisumu Museum is one of the most informative hubs within the city. Those who are interested in learning a bit of Kenya’s heritage a little something about the Luo heritage should make a point to visit. Visit: Kisumu Museum

64. Ndere Island National Park

This is a small island in ‘Winam gulf’ of Lake Victoria. It is a haven for bird watchers, and a gives visitors a chance to take several boat rides. The one outstanding thing about this national park is that it is generally red in colour. This is because of the grown Themeda grass that is reddish in colour when grown. Visit: Ndere Island National Park

65. Dunga Hill Camp

This is the perfect camping site in Kisumu City. Not only do you have a chance to camp under the clear blue skies above Kisumu, but you can also go out into the lake using Kayaks. So, if you are feeling a little sporty, this is just the right camping site for you. Visit: Dunga Hill Camp

66. Kit Mikayi

Best known as an 80ft weeping rock, Kit Mikayi has a host of myths surrounding it. Not only is it enchanting to look at, but you will have a blast listening to the locals tell stories that surround the rock.

67. Kiboko Bay Resort

This is one of the best locations to visit and stay while in Kisumu. It provides you with a wonderful view of the Lake, some memorable sunsets and the accommodation is absolutely world class. Visit: Kiboko Bay Resort

68. Eldoret Town

Kenya is best known for its wonderful Safaris and it’s world champion athletes. Eldoret town is where most of them come from. It is a relatively small town compared to Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Nakuru. But this small town has a nightlife that will drive you crazy. It is absolutely jumping. Visit: Eldoret Town

69. The Great Rift Valley

Touring Kenya’s inland means that you get to see most of the attractions in the country. The Great Rift Valley is one of the most beautiful sites in the whole country. You can best see the Rift Valley from a smaller town called, Iten. This is only a few kilometres from Eldoret.

70. Mt. Elgon

Kenya has a host of mountains and ranges. Mt. Elgon is in Kitale, in the Western part of the country. Although, Mt. Elgon isn’t nearly as tall as Mt. Kenya, nor does it have snow-capped peaks, the mountain has amazing flora and fauna to call its own. It presents some of the best nature trails and a challenge to anyone looking to test their mountain climbing skills.

As a country, Kenya has a whole lot more to offer the world. These are just 70 of the best attractions in all of Kenya. Should you take the time and pleasure to travel and see them all, you will see that this truly is paradise on earth.

National Reserves and Parks in Kenya

National Reserves and Parks in Kenya

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When you visit a country for safaris, you want to get the best of all it has to offer when it comes to adventure in safaris. Africa is without a doubt one of the best places you can visit for safaris. There are very many countries in Africa that you can visit for safaris. Each country has its own unique features that make it ideal for safaris. Kenya is one of the best places to visit in Africa. There are very many national reserves and national parks in Kenya that make safaris a one of a kind experience

The national parks and reserves in Kenya are found in various places around the country. Some are small in size while others are very big in size. Some are known throughout the world while others are just famous locally but all for really good reasons.

Tourists visit Kenya all year round to have a taste of the safari experience in Kenya. Safaris in Kenya are usually fun packed with tourists having a lot of activities and adventure during the safari. The national reserves and national parks in Kenya have various accommodation facilities that tourists can use whenever they visit want to go on safaris.

Tourists visiting Kenya for safaris can either choose to use safari camps, safari lodges, hotels or tented camps. There are very many of these facilities around the country. Some are in the national reserves or national parks while others are outside the perimeter of the national parks and national reserves.

The prices in these hotels, lodges and safari camps vary from place to place. There is no fixed rate for accommodation. These prices also vary throughout the year. Hotels change their rate depending on what season it is. There are high and low seasons when it comes to tourism in Kenya. The high season always experiences an influx of the number of tourists visiting the country while the low season experiences a low turnout compared to the high season.

During the low seasons, the rates of different accommodation spots usually drop by a considerable margin. It is usually very significant that many tourists choose to visit Kenya during this period to take advantage of the low charges. Other camps usually choose to close down temporarily until normalcy resumes in the parks.

Top National Reserves and National Parks in Kenya

Balloon Safari National Reserves and Parks in Kenya

So what are the most famous national reserves and national parks in Kenya? If you are planning come for safaris in Kenya, it is important that you know what the best places are to visit and what activities to expect when you visit these places.

You have a big decision to make because unless you have all the time to spend on holiday and all the money, you can never visit each national reserve and national park in Kenya. You will have to do a good research on your best destinations to visit and make sure they fit on your holiday timeline. While making these decisions, it is important that you also consider your budget for your holiday.

Below are some of the most popular national reserves and national parks in Kenya that you need to consider when visiting Kenya. These are ideal destinations for safaris and are famous among tourists who visit Africa.

The Masai Mara National Reserve

masai mara National Reserves and Parks in Kenya

The Masai Mara National Reserve is found in Masai Mara. Masai Mara is in Rift Valley province and the closest town to the Masai Mara National Reserve is Narok Town. The native inhabitants of the area the Masai people and therefore the area gets its name from the Masai people and consequently the national reserves’ name is coined from the name of the place.

The Masai Mara National Reserve is the most popular safari destinations in Kenya and it is also quite popular in Africa. This is home to countless wildlife species and therefore a great place for safaris and adventure in Kenya. It is home to the big 5, that is, the lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo.

There are also other very many interesting animals that call Masai Mara home. These include cheetahs, hyenas, zebras, gazelles, giraffes and many others. When you go for game drives in the Masai Mara, these animals can be easily seen and if you have a good guide, you will be taken to various spots famous for various animals you are interested in.

The Nairobi National Park
nairobi ntl park National Reserves and Parks in Kenya

The Nairobi National Park is one of the most interesting national parks in the world. This is because it is the only national park that is found with a city. Nairobi is the capital city of Kenya and the busiest of all the towns in Kenya. Nairobi is a metropolitan with all walks of life residing in the city.

The National Park is about 7km from the city’s CBD and just a few minutes ride will get you to the entrance of this national park. From the Nairobi National Park, you can see the tall buildings of Nairobi town and it is usually a great experience even to the city dwellers. It is convenient in that you do not have to travel long distances to see the big 5 or other animals on safari.

The animals are kept within the park’s perimeter by a fence but many times some of the animals make it out of the perimeter and cause a buzz around the neighboring areas. Just a few months back photos made rounds around the world. Some lions made it out of the national park to cause a snarl up of traffic as motorists got a rare treat of the wild beasts wrestling it out on the usually busy Langata Road.

The Lake Nakuru National Park

Nakuru ntl park National Reserves and Parks in Kenya

Lake Nakuru National Park is also in Rift Valley. The national park gets its name from the Lake Nakuru that is found in the area. The lake is famous for its pink flamingo cover. It is an ideal place for bird lovers and the serenity of the area makes it an ideal destination for holidays.

There are other very many animals you can find in the park including the rhino of course other water animals and fish like Tilapia. There are very many hotels and lodges in Lake Nakuru that tourists can use when they visit the area. Nakuru is close to Nairobi and therefore offering a bit of convenience especially to domestic tourists.

The Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks

Tsavo National Park Kenya National Reserves and Parks in Kenya

These twin national parks are found in the coast province. You can access these national parks from Mombasa, Voi or Malindi. The area is generally semi arid and dusty but is very rich when it comes to wildlife. This is the place to visit if you are particularly interested in seeing elephants.

The Tsavo East National Park and the Tsavo West National Parks are separate National Parks and therefore one cannot simply hop in and out of both. There are very many attractions in these parks including springs and Tsavo is also rich archeologically. There are also countless activities to do in Tsavo including rock climbing among other adventurous activities.

The Mount Kenya National Park

Mount Kenya National Reserves and Parks in Kenya

The Mount Kenya National Park is one of the best places for adventurous safaris in Kenya. There are very many activities that tourists take part in when they visit the Mount Kenya National Park. This national park is found in the central province of Kenya and get its name from the Mount Kenya, the tallest mountain in Kenya and the second tallest in Africa.

Apart from the wildlife in the park, tourists also get the rare treat of climbing Mount Kenya. There are different peaks that you can climb but each has its own fair share of challenges to deal with. It is always a thrilling experience to make it to the top and back and that is why Mount Kenya National Park gets tourists visiting the area all throughout the year.

The Amboseli National Park

Amboseli ntl park National Reserves and Parks in Kenya

Amboseli is also one of the most popular spots for safaris in Kenya. It is just south of Masai Mara and is rich in both flora and fauna. However, it is most famous for its scenic views of the Mount Kilimanjaro. From various safari camps and safari lodges in Amboseli, you have a great view of Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro which has its foot in Kenya.

There are very many animals to see including the big 5. The Amboseli has the Savannah vegetation and the weather in the area is just about right for safaris. The Amboseli National park is also famous for elephants and therefore is an ideal safari destination if you are particularly interested in elephant’s activities.

There are other very many national reserves and national parks in Kenya. These include Kakamega Rain Forest National Reserve, Hell’s Gate National Park, Meru National Park, Sibiloi National Park and Buffalo Springs National Reserve among others. All these national reserves and national parks in Kenya make safaris in Kenya a memorable experience and will surely leave you wanting for more.

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