Kenya is one of those places where you land and instantly feel the magic of Africa. Named after Mount Kenya, Africa’s second-highest peak, Kenya is home to the some of the continent’s finest beaches, greatest wildlife diversity, and most incredible scenery. It is truly a land of untouched, mesmerizing beauty.
One tenth of Kenya’s 224,000-plus square miles is designated as national parks and reserves, which travelers the world over seek out for game-viewing. The premier safari destination is the Masai Mara National Reserve, home to an incredible display of animals — including the “Big Five” (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and cape buffalo).
Beyond safari adventures, honeymooners will be captivated by the overwhelming generosity and positivity of the Kenyan people. Kenyan culture reflects a mix of African, Indian, and British influences. The country’s population of approximately 47.7 million includes some 40 different tribes, all with their own languages and traditions. Expect to meet kind, interesting people everywhere you go—be it in the capital of Nairobi, the beaches of Mombasa, the arid landscapes of Samburu, the high plains of Laikipia, the peaks of The Great Rift Valley, the remote deserts of Tsavo, and beyond.
One of the highlights in Kenya is the Great Migration, the annual journey of two million wildebeest from the plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania to the grasslands of the Masai Mara—a natural phenomenon that occurs in Kenya every year from mid-July to October. January and February are also considered high season, as the game-viewing is prime during hot, dry weather.
Kenya has three international airports, two in the capital of Nairobi and one in Mombasa. All travelers fly into Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO), the major international hub that serves airlines such as Kenya Airways, Swiss Air, KLM, and British Airways. If you’re headed straight to the Masai Mara, you’ll likely have to transfer to Wilson Airport (WIL), a nearby domestic airport. We recommend working with an Africa specialist, like Extraordinary Journeys, to plan a custom itinerary that includes land and air transfers, since getting around Kenya requires preparation and on-the-ground assistance.
Vaccinations: Kenya requires international travelers show proof of yellow fever vaccination upon arrival. If you are not vaccinated for yellow fever, be sure to visit the doctor prior to departure and request proper documentation to carry with you. It’s also advisable to vaccinate yourself against malaria, though not all areas of Kenya are considered malaria zones.
Masai Mara National Reserve - There’s no better place for a safari adventure and than Kenya’s premiere wildlife destination. Come to spot the height of the wildebeest migration in July and August or any other time of year for spectacular wildlife-viewing opportunities.
Lake Nakuru - Bird lovers flock to Lake Nakuru, home to more than 400 species, including bright pink flamingos. Mammals are also a common sight, most notably the white rhino and cape buffalo. To make the most of your visit, drop your bags at Lake Nakuru Lodge and set out on their various animal expeditions.
Mt. Kenya National Park - A trek up Africa’s second-highest mountain can be just as rewarding as climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. Point Oenana can be reached by hikers while the highest peaks of Batian and Nelion can be summited via mountaineers with the proper training and equipment.
Lake Naivasha - Part of the spectacular Rift Valley, this freshwater lake is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including a sizable population of hippos. If you’re staying for a few days, book a room at Lake Naivasha Sopa Resort for a comfortable and memorable getaway.
The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy - This community conservation area contains roughly 12 percent of all Kenya’s rhinoceros, having increased its rhino population to 89 from 15 back in 1984. Beyond game-viewing, you can also get a behind-the-scenes look at the conservancy’s operations, which includes a wild dog tracker dog unit and armed anti-poaching team.
Tsavo - Composed of two separate parks, Tsavo East National Park and Tsavo West National Park, Tsavo sits about halfway between Nairobi and Mombasa. At nearly 8,500 square miles, it’s the largest national park in Kenya (and one of the largest in the world)—though it’s not frequented by first-timers to Africa. If you’re intrepid travelers looking for a unique experience, the natural scenery—which includes volcanic cones, lava flows, mountains, rocky outcrops, river forest, plains, lakes, and wooded grasslands—is unmatched.
Fairmont Mara Safari Club - Surrounded on three sides by the breathtaking Mara River, this luxury resort hotel is a fabulous choice for your honeymoon safari. Property highlights include 50 luxurious tents overlooking the hippo-filled river, fine dining options, a swimming pool, balloon safaris, and game drives inside the Masai Mara, home to an incredible displays of animals — including the “Big Five.”
Giraffe Manor - This iconic boutique hotel has been a Nairobi mainstay since the 1930s, when European travelers first started traveling to East Africa for safari. Today, the elegant interiors and spacious guest rooms are the second-best amenity—the first being the property’s habituated herd of Rothschild giraffes, which will poke their long necks into the dining room in hopes of a snack.
andBeyond Kichwa Tembo - On top of early morning hot-air-balloon rides and bush walks along the Mara River, day and night game drives are also possible at this luxury tented luxury camp on the western border of the Masai Mara.
One Fourty Eight - If your honeymoon includes a stop-over in Nairobi, book a room at the city’s newest boutique hotel. Located in the peaceful suburb of Langata, bordering the Giraffe Sanctuary, this eight-room enclave is a design-savvy couple’s dream. You’ll want to walk off with the shaggy rugs, hand-beaded light fixtures, and locally crafted artworks thoughtfully displayed on the walls.
Sirikoi Lodge - Built by a pair of second generation Kenyans and conservationists, Sirikoi consists of a main lodge, a three-bedroom house, a two-bedroom cottage, and four tents facing a watering hole. Between the lovingly tended gardens, the family heirlooms all around, and the nights when Willie and Sue join their guests for sundowners, Sirikoi feels like a grand family home within Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.
Angama Mara - It doesn’t get more epic than the views at this owner-run lodge, located high above the floor of The Great Rift Valley. The 30 rooms are split into two intimate camps, which overlook the Mara Triangle, a pinnacle of game-viewing within the Masai Mara.
Talisman - If there’s a single restaurant you should visit while in Nairobi, Talisman is the place. The menu blends Thai, European, and African influences for dishes like Thai Kaeng red chicken curry and hot-smoked tilapia with lemon aioli and cucumber pickle.
Tamambo Karen Blixen - This Nairobi favorite serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a cozy environment. We especially love the terrace and garden for alfresco dining.
Tamarind - Located at the Karen Blixen Coffee Garden, this elegant restaurant is arguably one of Nairobi’s top spots for seafood; the menu is filled with dishes highlighting fresh ingredients like lobster, crab, shrimp, and octopus.
Open House Restaurant - For unexpected flavors, try this Indian restaurant serving everything from chilly paneer to ginger chicken masala and Malai kababs.
Mama Rocks - Sure, you didn’t come to Kenya to eat hamburgers, but when they’re served from Nairobi’s first food truck, how can you not? Novelty aside, Mama Rocks puts clever East African spins on the American classic, such as the Mango Masai Mama, a beef patty topped with signature chili mango sauce, cheddar cheese, and sweet roasted bell pepper. If you don’t feel like hunting down the truck, visit one of two standalone locations, at the Yard (a.k.a. the Alchemist Bar), in Westlands, or a new outpost in Kilimani.