Image: Elewana Loisaba Star Beds – Elewana Collection
When you look at any typical Kenyan bucket list, it is always going to contain a trip to the beach or popular game parks. It also always includes feeding giraffes at Giraffe Centre and adopting an elephant at David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. If not this, it would be about the diverse and delicious food scene.
I’m not saying this is not a great bucket list, of course it is, but as a Kenyan, you have probably done all these 10 times over. You have probably ticked off everything you find on Lonely Planet or Culture Trip about Kenya.
So, here is a list of things to experience and places to visit which are unique and are (hopefully) new ideas for your next holiday around the country.
1. Visited game parks by car more times than you can count? Now it’s time to explore the savannah plains by air. Have a bird’s eye view of Mt Kilimanjaro and the diverse wildlife in Tsavo West National Park and experience a safari at another level (pun intended).
2. Commune with crocodiles around one of Kenya’s most interesting places, Central Island National Park in Lake Turkana. The lake hosts the world’s largest colony of Nile crocodiles, as well as three active volcanoes, three blue-green crater lakes and black-sand beaches. The island flaunts a primordial atmosphere and feels untouched.
3. Train for a marathon at Lornah Kiplagat’s High-Altitude Training Centre in Iten, a town perched in the highlands near Eldoret. Iten is home to many Kenyan Olympic medallists because most runners are from the Kalenjin tribe which forms the ethnic majority in Western Kenya.
4. Camping is part and parcel of the Kenyan lifestyle, but why not make sleeping under the stars more glamorous and do it in a four-poster bed? At Elewana Star Beds in Loisaba Conservancy, beds are rolled out onto a deck each night and guests can sleep comfortably under the night sky and near a watering hole while on a mattress and wrapped in a cosy duvet.
5. Explore the Gedi Ruins, which are one of Kenya’s greatest mysteries. Found deep in a forest in Malindi, these ruins consist of numerous coral-brick houses, a palace and a mosque. However, it is not the quality of the ruins that are amazing, but the advanced nature of the settlement, with streets, running water and flushing toilets. This is yet another thing that squashes assumptions of “Dark” Africa before colonisation. Gedi is a cosmopolitan marvel of its time.
6. Take a tour of the United Nation Headquarters. This may seem like an odd choice for this list, but the UNHQ in Kenya is one of the only four in the world, so if you are interested in diplomacy, this is definitely a place to check out.
7. Discover the Marafa Depression, also known as Nyari, which is an eroded sandstone gorge outside Malindi. The layered colours of stone reveal white, pinks, oranges and deep crimsons, making the landscape striking sight at sunset.
Article by Sanika Shah