Welcome to Magical Kenya

Vast savannas peppered with immense herds of wildlife. Snow-capped equatorial mountains. Traditional people who bring soul and color to the earth. Welcome to Magical Kenya!

Capital City:
Nairobi

Population:
53 Millions (2019)

Official language:
Kiswahili, English

Currency:
KES = Kenyan Shilling

National Day:
December 12

Flag of Kenya
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Table of Contents

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Best Time to Visit Kenya

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Kenya for City Lovers

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The Most Beautiful Places for Nature Lovers in Kenya

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Kenya for Beach Lovers

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Travelers meet Kenyans

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Lovers of Kenyan Food

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Kenya for Festival Lovers

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What is Kenya famous for?

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Practical Advice

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More Information about Kenya

Best Time to Visit Kenya

One of the best times to visit Kenya is from July to September, during the dry season, which is also the period for the Great Migration of zebras and wildebeest (gnus). The rainy season is also a good time to travel, as there are fewer visitors and you can admire the incredible green vegetation so typical of Kenya. December is usually a great time to travel to Kenya, since the rains never last long and you have more chances to observe newborn animals.

Kenya for City Lovers

Cosmopolitan. This is the best way to describe Kenyan cities. Starting with the ‘World’s only wildlife capital’ of Nairobi city to the Coastal city of Mombasa island, Kenyan cities are modern and the whole world is here. These cities are a buzz with amazing skyscrapers, fun nightlife and an urban culture to admire and adopt. On a city tour, you could experience the rich history dotting different sections of the city, take lovely pictures of the cities at night or even experience the real city life of city dwellers on the streets.

Nairobi

Nairobi is Kenya’s capital and beating heart, an exciting, frenetic concrete jungle that counterpoints the untrammeled natural beauty to be found elsewhere in the country.

Read more about Nairobi in our Mini Guide!

Nairobi, Kenya

Mombasa

Mombasa, a melting pot of languages and cultures from all sides of the Indian Ocean, waits like a decadent dessert for travelers who make it to Kenya’s coastline. Having Moreni common with Dakar or Dar es Salaam than Nairobi. Mobasa’s blend of India, Arabia and Africa is uniquely enchanting, and many visitors find themselves falling for East Africa’s biggest and most cosmopolitan port.

Kisumu

Set on the sloping shore of Lake Victoria’s Winam Gulf, Kisumu might be the third-largest city in Kenya, but its relaxed atmosphere is a world away from that of Nairobi and Mombasa. Until 1977 the port was one of the busiest in Kenya, but decline set in with the collapse of the East African Community (EAC) and the port sat virtually idle for 2 decades. Since the revival of the EAC in 2000, Kisumu has begun to thrive again, and though it was declared a city during its centenary celebrations in 2001, it still doesn’t feel like one and remains a pleasant and laid-back place with a number of interesting sights and activities nearby.

Eldoret

The Maasai originally referred to this area as eldore (stony river) after the nearby Sosiani River. Today, Eldoret is a thriving service town straddling the Kenya – Uganda highway. It’s the principal economic hub of western Kenya, but for the traveler there is a little to see and less to do. The highlight is a visit to the Doinyo Lessos Creameries Cheese Factory to stock up on any one of 20 different varieties of chesse. It’s also a gateway to Iten, the home of long-distance Kenyan running.

Nakuru

Nakuru is changing fast and, in the process, transforming into one of Kenya’s more agreeable towns, gentrifying around the edges and adopting some of the better aspects of Nairobi – minus the stress and the crime. Most travelers speed through the town on their way to the lakes and if that’s all you do, you might wonder why anyone would choose to stay here – at first glance, Kenya’s fourth-largest city can appear grim and provincial, without much to offer besides a convenient refuel. But stick around longer and we bet you will start to like it.

The Most Beautiful Places for Nature Lovers in Kenya

The wild roars and nature comes alive in Kenya! Kenya’s protected areas are home to different variety of flora and fauna species. Each wilderness area is specially branded because it has something unique to offer.

Nairobi National Park

Nairobi National Park lies within sight of Nairobi city, and animals can be seen against a backdrop of high-rise buildings. The park’s proximity to a large urban center is unique in Africa and wildlife viewing is surprisingly good. Most big safari animals are present (except elephants). There is a small walk at the entrance leading through indigenous forest, and several wildlife enclosures.

Nairobi National Park, Kenya

Amboseli National Park

It’s one of the most iconic images of Africa: snow-capped Mt Kilimanjaro rising from the African savannah. This view from Kenya’s Amboseli National Park, often dotted with elephants in the foreground, is how many people imagine an African safari to be. And for good reason – Amboseli is one of the best places on the continent to see wildlife. Its bounty of animals, however, isn’t owed to just Mother Nature, but also to the fact that the park is an epicentre for some of the most important conservation work being carried out in East Africa.

Amboseli National Park, Kenya

The Maasai Mara

Dream of Africa and chances are that you dream of the Maasai Mara. This huge expanse of gently rolling grassland – specked with flat-topped acacia trees and trampled by massive herds of zebras and wildebeest – is the ultimate African cliché. But for once the reality lives up to the image and the Maasai Mara, which comprises not just the famous reserve but also around a dozen community conservancies, serveral group ranches and numerous Maasai villages, is for many people not just the highlight of their Kenyan adventure but the very reason they came in the first place.

The Maasai Mara, Kenya

Lake Nakuru National Park 

Lake Nakuru is among Kenya’s finest national parks. Flanked by rocky escarpments, pockets of acacia forest and at least one waterfall, the park is gorgeous year-round and is home to both black and white rhinos, lions, leopards, hippos and endangered Rothschild’s giraffes. Rising water levels in 2014 forced the park’s famous flamingos to flee (although a small number had returned at the time of research), and the lake is now hauntingly surrounded by drowned trees.

Lake Nakuru, Kenya

And don’t miss:

  • Mount Kenya
  • Ol Pejata Conservancy
  • Tsavo National Park
  • Lake Naivasha
  • Meru National Park

Kenya for Beach Lovers

Kenya might not be the first beach destination that you think of in the world, but it has some extraordinary beaches with the finest white sand and turquoise water. Here are the most popular beaches along the 536 km coastline.

Diani Beach

With a flawless, long stretch of white-sand beach hugged by lush forest and kissed by surfable waves, it’s no wonder Diani Beach is so popular, This resort town scores points with a diverse crowd: party people, families, honeymooners, backpackers and water-sport enthusiasts.

Watamu Beach

Kenya’s Indian Ocean Coast is one of Africa’s prettiest shores and Watamu is one of its prettiest beaches. Sitting roughly halfway between Mombasa and Lamu, it’s a fine base for exploring the Kenyan Coast with its long stretches of white sand, translucent waters and coves sheltered by palm trees. Plenty of water sports (from fishing to windsurfing), traces of the coast’s African heritage and a healthy dose of hakuna matata add up to one of those places you will never want to leave.

Watamu Beach, Kenya

Lamu Island

With its centuries-old Swahili settlements, a couple of gorgeous beaches, and culture and architecture distinctive from what you encounter elsewhere along the Kenyan coast, Lamu is beguiling. Whether you’re looking to lose yourself in the fragrant labyrinth of tiny streets in Lamu Town and spend hours admiring carved Omani and Swahili doorways, or whether you’re looking for a peaceful beachfront stay replete with yoga, art and fusion food in Shela village, Lamu has something to satisfy most travelers.
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Shanzu Beach

The coastline here is beautiful, but it’s dominated by all-inclusive resorts. Outside of these areas, Shanzu is not much more than a highway fuel stop and string of seedy bars. It’s located just north of Bamburi.

  • Tiwi Beach
  • Nyali
  • Vipingo
  • Gazi Beach
  • Kikambala Beach

Travelers meet Kenyans

The great excitement of our travels is meeting people. That’s what makes our trips memorable and unique. Meeting people from different cultures and ways of eating, behaving and thinking makes us richer and more open minded. We are so happy to present you here some Kenyans who have become our friends. We have already learnt so much with them and hopefully them from us.

Our lovely friends from Kenya

Our Kenyan friends are your local experts and some of them became travel-related partners.

Meet them here: Meet Kenyans.

Lovers of Kenyan Food

Here is a list of 8 Kenyan food favorites to help you get excited about eating Kenyan food!

Irio (Mashed Peas and Potato Mix)

Irio is one of the most famous dishes in Kenya, a food that originated as a Kikuyu staple and spread throughout the country.

Green peas and potatoes are boiled and then mashed up before whole kernels of maize (corn) are added to give the mash some extra starch and texture. This hearty and heavy Kenyan food is famous to eat with roasted nyama choma meat (nyama na irio) or just some Kenyan style stew.

Kenyan stew

Kenyan stew can include a number of different meats: beef stew, goat stew, chicken stew or any other animal stew. Kenyan stew dishes might also include a few other base vegetable ingredients such as carrots, peppers, peas, or potatoes. The sauce is usually formed from a light tomato base and accented with onion, salt and pepper, and that essential mchuzi mix!

Mandazi (Kenyan Doughnut)

They can be smelled from a kilometer down the street, that lovely familiar scent of a blob of deep frying dough.

The smell is enough to entice anyone to make a mandatory mandazi stop.

Mandazi’s make a great snack or a light breakfast with a cup of sweet chai.

Matoke (Plantain Banana Stew)

Matoke is originally a dish from Uganda, though it is widely available and popular in Kenya as well.

Plantain bananas are cooked up in a pot with some oil, tomatoes, onions, garlic, chilies, meat (optional), and lemon juice. The bananas are cooked until they become soft and begin to form a thick sauce with the other ingredients.

The result is a delicious dish that is reminiscent of boiled potatoes in sauce and excellent to eat with rice, ugali, or a chapati.

Nyama Choma (Roasted Meat) – Pride of Kenyan Food

Any Kenyan food list is not complete without a mention of nyama choma. Goat and beef are the 2 most common forms of nyama choma, but chicken (kuku choma) and fish (samaki choma) are also valid choices.

Fat and the grizzle from the meat is the choice part of the animal, and is often consumed with a quick dip into a pile of salt for extra flavoring! It’s also possible at many places to get the “fry,” – the fried meat variation.

 

Samosas

Another Indian snack turned Kenyan food are samosas – small triangular pockets of spiced meat or vegetables put in a pastry wrapper and deep fried to a golden brown.

Squeeze a sprinkle of lime juice on a samosa for ultimate enjoyment.

These golden snacks are available everywhere from sit down restaurants to Nairobi street food pushcarts.

Ugali (Cornmeal Staple)

The undeniable most common Kenyan food staple is ugali – usually made from cornmeal that is added to boiling water and heated until it turns into a dense block of cornmeal paste. Ugali has the consistency of a grainy dough and the heaviness of a brick.

For many Kenyans, ugali along with a small amount of cooked vegetables or saucy stew is a normal meal.

Wali wa Nazi (Coconut Rice)

Coconut rice is a popular Kenyan food mostly along the Indian Ocean coast. White rice is cooked with grated coconut meat to create a fragrant twist on plain boiled rice. Wali wa nazi is best enjoyed with a serving of fish or chicken curry, some vegetables, or even bean stew.

Eating

  • Kenyans only use their right hand for eating. Knives and forks are available in restaurants on request.
  • Almost everywhere you will find very fresh and tasty fruits (baby bananas, mangoes, pineapples etc.).
  • Water should only be drunk in sealed bottles.
  • Fruit juices are usually very tasty, but you should always avoid ice cubes.
  • Imported beers are usually expensive, a well-known local and cheaper brand is Tusker.
  • Curry buffets are very popular. Beware, they are often very spicy.
  • In coastal regions: seafood is a must.
  • Kenya’s beef (steaks) is of first-class quality.

Kenya for Festival Lovers

Kenyans are joyful people and they love to celebrate and have fun. There are plenty wonderful festivals featuring Kenyans vibrant culture and heritage here are some of them.

Lamu Cultural Festival

The Lamu Cultural Festival is a festival held to showcase the beauty and culture of Lamu. Lamu is a Swahili Coastal town with a rich history and incredible architecture, and being a World Heritage site, the Festival aims at bringing more visitors to Lamu, and to get locals to take pride in what they have. Lamu Cultural Festival takes place around November for about 3 days, and those who attend get to participate in cultural celebrations and activities such as show sailing and donkey races. If not for anything else, go for the food; Swahili delicacies are all that and more.

Maralal International Camel Derby

Inaugurated in 1990, the annual Maralal International Camel Derby is one of the biggest events in Kenya, attracting riders and spectators from around the world in mid- to late August. The derby is now run by Nairobi-based Adventure 360 Africa (www.adventure360africa.com). The parties surrounding the event are justifiably well known, and worth the trip for many visitors.
However, if you’d rather just get involved in some fast-moving camel action, the derby’s first race has your name written all over it – it’s for amateur camel riders! It’s a butt-jarring 11km journey. Don’t even start feeling sorry for your backside – the professional riders cover 42km.

Rhino Charge

Rhino Charge is an exciting off road car rally that is held to raise money for conservation of the Aberdares Forest. There’s a choice of risky direct route or a safer less direct route, and spectators can even camp to ensure they catch the action from as possible. Anyone who loves to race off road would definitely enjoy the Rhino Charge

Safaricom Jazz Festival

The Safaricom Jazz Festival is one of Kenya’s biggest Jazz events, and a must attend for anyone who loves good music. Different events have been held, and some of the world’s most renowned acts in Jazz have performed, including Jonathan Butler, Jimmy Dludlu, Kunle Ayo, Salif Keita and Chris Bitok. Notable names from Kenya include Kavutha, Aaron Rimbui and Eddie Grey. Tickets to the last event sold out days before the actual Festival, and it only goes to show how amazing it is.

What is Kenya famous for?

The Big Five

Kenya is home to the big game. The Big Five are the Lion, the Elephant, the Leopard, the Buffalo, and the Rhino. Most game parks and game reserves in the country have either two or three of the five, but the Tsavo, Maasai Mara, and Amboseli national parks have four. Nairobi National Park has all five of them.

The Rift Valley

The rift valley is the deepest geographical fault in the world and a generous portion of it cuts across Kenya from top to bottom. The rift valley is 6300 Km long and is a very famous tourist attraction.

It harbours many lakes some of which are alkaline due to volcanic activity like Lake Nakuru and Lake Magadi. The rift valley is the most visible geographical fault on the face of the planet from space and Kenya can be proudly associated with it.

Kenyan Athletes

This is a no-brainer. For any athletics and sports lover, Kenya is a common name, especially on the tracks. Our runners have definitely done a great deal of lifting the Kenyan flag on a global platform. Every time there is a marathon, the Kenyan flag keeps soaring higher and higher and the Kenyan name keeps shinning.

The Kenyan Rugby team is also one of the best teams in the world which have also brought attention to our country not mentioning some of the best footballers like Victor Wanyama.

The world’s best coffee and tea

Kenya is one of the few countries that benefit from equatorial and tropical climates making it a versatile agricultural productive haven. Kenya has been home to the world’s best coffee and tea for ages now. According to experts who taste coffee, no coffee matches the richness of Kenyan highland Arabica coffee.

Still Kenyan produced tea is the most expensive tea sold in England. It is this sense of quality that keeps reminding buyers about Kenyan goodness since coffee is the second most traded commodity after oil and gas.

Leaping Maasai warriors

Maasai Warriors, Kenya

Hakuna Matata

Brought to prominence by the movie Lion King in 1994, this phrase aptly describes the Kenyan people. Loosely translated, the phrase means “No trouble”, a philosophy held very dearly by most Kenyans. Kenyans do not stress too much about things they cannot change and will be found on social media platforms making fun of their plight.

Kenya Beads

Kenya Beads are beads originating in the East African nation of Kenya. Kenya has a diverse culture consisting of as many as 42 different ethnic groups including the Nilotic Maasai people who are one of the better-known tribes. The major Kenyan populations can be classified as the Bantus, Nilotes, and Cushites. Beads play an important role in Kenya’s culture and are a widespread form of artistic expression. For example, among the Maasai, beads are often used as fashion accessories and may be found as earrings or other traditional ornaments for both women and men.

Practical Advice

Electricity

The main supply provides 240 V (50-60 Hz) alternating current with British standard plugs (don’t forget your adaptors).

Health

  • A yellow fever vaccination is necessary for entry, malaria prophylaxis is recommended as well as standard vaccinations.
  • Drink only bottled water (and use it also for brushing your teeth).

Money

Kenya shilling (KES) is the official currency. Bring US dollars along as well because many hotels and larger restaurants tend to quote prices in US dollars.

Tipping

Tips are common in Kenya, especially in big cities and touristy places. Many workers depend on this extra money (People don’t usually tip taxis).

VISA

Visitors are required to pay 50 USD for a single entry visa that lasts up to three months. If Kenya isn’t your only destination in Africa, you can opt to apply for an East Africa Tourist visa for 100 USD, which will allow you to travel between Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda for up to 90 days.

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More Information about Kenya

The Kenya Tourism Board welcomes you to Magical Kenya: www.magicalkenya.com

Comments

2 Comments

  1. Wow.. Well detailed.. That’s my mother land

    Reply
  2. Wow, this is a lovely and true report of my motherland Country Kenya. I would recommend everyone to visit this Country.🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪🇰🇪 am proud to be a Kenyan.

    Reply

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