Kenya is a land of natural beauty, with a diverse range of landscapes, cultures, and wildlife. From the iconic Maasai Mara to the white sandy beaches of the coast, there’s no shortage of popular tourist destinations. But beyond the well-known attractions, Kenya is also home to many hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Here are five tips for uncovering off-the-beaten-path destinations in Kenya.
1. Go beyond the safari parks
While Kenya’s safari parks, such as the Maasai Mara and Amboseli National Park, are world-famous and rightfully so, they’re not the only natural attractions the country has to offer. Consider visiting lesser-known parks, such as the Chyulu Hills National Park, which boasts stunning views of Mount Kilimanjaro and unique lava tube caves. Additionally, there are other off-the-beaten-path destinations in Kenya that are worth exploring beyond the safari parks. For example, Lake Turkana in northern Kenya is the largest permanent desert lake in the world and is surrounded by volcanic formations and ancient fossils. The Kakamega Forest Reserve, located in western Kenya, is a tropical rainforest with over 380 species of birds and several species of primates, including the endangered DeBrazza’s monkey.
2. Talk to the locals
One of the best ways to discover off-the-beaten-path destinations is by talking to the locals. They often have the inside scoop on hidden gems in their area, from secret beaches to scenic hiking trails. Strike up a conversation with your safari guide, hotel staff, or even the person sitting next to you on the bus. Not only can locals provide valuable tips on places to visit, but they can also offer insight into the culture and history of the region. Ask them about their daily lives, traditions, and customs, and you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the place you’re visiting. Additionally, engaging with locals can help support the local economy and promote sustainable tourism.
3. Visit during the low season
Visiting Kenya during the low season can be an excellent way to discover off-the-beaten-path destinations while avoiding the crowds. The low season typically runs from March to May and October to November, and prices for safaris in Kenya are often lower during this time. The low season offers the opportunity to witness the annual wildebeest migration in the southern part of Kenya’s Maasai Mara, which typically takes place from November to December.
During the low season, you may also have the chance to see some of Kenya’s more elusive wildlife, such as wild dogs and leopards, as they are more active during the cooler months. By visiting Kenya during the low season, you can have a more unique and affordable safari experience while discovering some of the country’s hidden gems.
4. Explore the cultural attractions
Kenya is a country rich in culture, and exploring the local customs and traditions can be a fascinating experience. Consider visiting the remote villages of the Samburu or Maasai people, or attending a traditional dance performance.
5. Try new activities
Finally, trying new activities can lead to discovering hidden gems in Kenya. For instance, rather than just game drives, consider taking a hot air balloon ride over the Maasai Mara or hiking in the Aberdare Range.
In conclusion, Kenya is a destination with much more to offer beyond its popular safari parks and tourist attractions. By going beyond the well-trodden path and following these tips, you can discover off-the-beaten-path destinations and create a unique and unforgettable travel experience. Safaris in Kenya remain a popular attraction, and exploring the best safari parks in Africa should not be missed. However, adding cultural attractions and new activities to your itinerary can add depth and variety to your trip, ensuring an experience that will last a lifetime.