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Kenya see + do

Modern Kenya is a mass of contradictions. It's stylish singles dipping into Nairobi nightlife, and it's Swahili fishermen dipping their dhows into the blue-green waves of the sea. It's the Masai warrior who creeps through the bush with a spear at the ready—then pauses to take a call on his mobile phone. And, oh, it's plenty of wildlife: lions and leopards, buffalos and baboons, and more critters than you can fit into a wide-angle lens.

Most people come to Kenya for the game drives, but there's so much more on offer. If it's your first time in the country, you'd do well to spend three days on the teeming plains of the Masai Mara, then hit the coast (bring your wet suit), where the coral gardens of Watamu Marine National Park await. Or climb to the top of Mount Kenya for a five-day endurance test, then retreat to beach towns like Malindi or Diani for sultry days of sunbathing and steamy nights dancing barefoot in the sand. Want to avoid bumping along in an SUV all day? Take a five-day camel trek to Lake Turkana, in the desolate north, or join local dhow crews for a three-day sailing safari around the Lamu archipelago.

The perfect Kenyan trip is a "safari," or journey, in the true Swahili sense of the word. Best of all is the warm reception you'll get from the locals, who are always happy to greet guests with a hearty welcome: "Karibu sana."

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Amboseli National Park

For all the attractions scattered around Kenya, Amboseli National Park might offer the definitive photo op, with its famous elephants stomping through the bush...more

Editors' Pick
The Gedi Ruins, Arabuko Sokoke National Park

The coastal forest of Arabuko Sokoke, north of Mombasa, conceals butterflies, birds, and monkeys in its depths, as well as the ruins of Gedi. This 13th-century...more

Editors' Pick
Kakamega Forest National Reserve

Most people give the place a pass—or a pass-by en route to gorilla tracking in Uganda—but Kakamega Forest is one of Kenya's must-see spots. Buried...more

Editors' Pick
Laikipia

While the southern safari circuit embraces Kenya's biggest attractions (and most of its famous postcard panoramas), in-the-know travelers have been staking out...more

Editors' Pick
Lake Nakuru National Park, Lake Nakuru National Park

"Pretty in pink" might not be the perfect advertisement for an adrenaline-charged safari, but Lake Nakuru's famous flocks of flamingos are one of Kenya's most...more

Editors' Pick
Lamu Island, Lamu

Far from the tourist overdrive of Kenya's southern coast, low-key Lamu is an idyllic island of swaying palm trees, gliding dhows, and donkeys plodding through a...more

Editors' Pick
Masai Mara National Reserve, Masai Mara

Spread across a savanna so vast it reaches into neighboring Tanzania (where it becomes Serengeti National Park), Masai Mara is Kenya's consummate game park....more

Editors' Pick
Mombasa, Mombasa

Largely overlooked by travelers, Kenya's second-largest city anchors the action on the country's southern coast. True, most visitors buzz by en route to the...more

Editors' Pick
Mount Kenya

With all the fanfare surrounding Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya might be the planet's least-appreciated 17,000-foot peak. But Africa's second-highest summit rises...more

Editors' Pick
Nairobi

After years of heading the short list of Africa's most dangerous cities, Nairobi—one of the continent's busiest capitals—has taken a fresh turn....more

Editors' Pick
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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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