Kenya: Magical Moments Not To Miss
If you’re looking for a magical African experience, Kenya is the place for you. One of the most diverse countries in East Africa, Kenya really does have it all. It’s a country full of diverse landscapes and cultures, along with some unforgettable wildlife experiences. With endless plains that are full of wildlife, rolling hills, lush mountains, and a coastline that will leave you speechless, Kenya was made to explore!
Whether you’re looking for the ultimate safari experience, a hiking adventure or a chance to relax on white-sand beaches, this fantastic country has it all. I had the unique opportunity to experience this diverse land with the Kenya Tourism board in late June in the midst of a pandemic. To say it was a priceless experience would be an understatement. Today on the blog I’m sharing with you my top five magical Kenya moments (in no particular order).
Alright, let’s get started on my favorite magical moments.
First let me start by saying that most of Kenya’s safari adventures begin and end in Nairobi. East Africa’s most cosmopolitan city, Kenya’s capital is an essential stop. There are so many museums The great museums, galleries, and markets of Nairobi. It will provide you with an exciting and fascinating glimpse into Kenyan culture. By the way, it’s also where Kenya’s largest airport, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, is located. It’s usually the starting point of any Kenya trip.
#1: Adopt A Baby Elephant And Take Some "Elphies"
Yes, it's true, all of my selfies were retitled “elphies” during my visit to Kenya. I couldn't get enough photos of them on every safari drive. The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi opened its doors to our small and special group, which was a treat as it was still closed to the general public. We had the chance to get up close and personal with the baby elephants and even adopted an orphaned baby elephant named Mukkoka (pictured here). You have the chance to foster an elephant too. Your fostering fee also includes a monthly summary of how your elephant is doing, a certificate, and photos.
#2: Luxury Tenting in the Mahali Mzuri
Mahali Mzuri means “beautiful place” in Swahili and oh my goodness does it live up to its name. One of the most unique luxury tented camps I’ve ever stayed in, Mahali Mzuri is made up of 12 luxurious "glamping" tents. Your rate is all-inclusive for food, drinks, and even laundry. The breathtaking views, the amazing infinity pool, the peaceful spa and the lounge area are beyond magical. Game drives are available as requested in both morning and evening. If you are seeking more bespoke experiences, the customized tours here are worth checking out! Enjoying at least 2-3 nights is recommended to soak in the immense beauty and wildlife around you. I would be remiss in saying that we stayed in several other AMAZING luxury tents as well, including the Loisaba Conservancy.
Sidebar…Let's talk about the short puddle jumper flights to the conservancies and National Parks. There is nothing like experiencing the small puddle jumpers in Africa. Generally, the best and quickest way (indeed, sometimes the only way) to reach remote safari camps and lodges, is by flying there in a light aircraft – The typical safari itinerary therefore includes a few of these short flights that land in the middle of the bush. Seriously-In the middle of nowhere. There is a limit on the amount of weight the small planes can carry – this, along with the distribution of that weight, is an important safety consideration. If your safari trip includes one or more of these flights it is important to check the restrictions before you pack, as this will determine the maximum weight you can carry (usually 15kg, including hand luggage) and the type of bag you take with you.
#3: Balloon Ride Safari
Kenya’s Masai Mara is one of Africa’s greatest wildlife viewing areas and the jewel of Kenya. The nearly 600 square mile Masai Mara National Reserve is remarkable for its year-round density of big game wildlife and spotting Africa’s Big Five is almost a guarantee. In the early morning hours, a burnt orange glow gradually gives way to hazy, purple skies. And then suddenly, you have what feels like all of Africa laid out before your eyes. A hot air balloon safari over the Masai Mara in Kenya, to watch the sunrise, is definitely one of the most magical things I’ve ever experienced. It's like you are floating on a cloud and the sheer expanse of the Mara is breathtaking; plains so vast you could never comprehend it all on four wheels. A hot air balloon Masai Mara experience simply needs to be on your magical moment list.
#4: Hit The Beach
Did you know that there are over 10 islands in Kenya, spanning the Indian Ocean Coast, and along Lake Victoria?! While Kenya isn’t known for their beaches, it certainly should be. After an adventurous exploration of wildlife in both Northern and Southwest Kenya, a flight to Watamu was in order. Watamu is a small town located approximately 105 km north of Mombasa and about 15 km south of Malindi on the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya. A few days on the beach is the perfect antidote to all that safari. Long stretches of beach beg to be explored along with some snorkeling and playing in the surf. I highly recommend ending one of your evenings with a sunset sail on a dhow boat drinking a dawa or two; a well known delicious Kenyan drink.
#5: Visit The Maasai Community
Lastly, no trip to Kenya would be complete without a visit to the Maasai community. One of the highlights of my experience in Kenya for sure. Its culture is so interesting and open. Not only did I have the opportunity to interact with the native people and hear their remarkable stories, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that opened my eyes up to another world. Watching the "adumu" ("jumping dance") at sundowner was mesmerizing. It is a Maasai warrior rite of passage. Warriors who jump highest can be considered as future chiefs.
Pro Tip: I recommend visiting Kenya between early July to September for the Great Migration. Two million wildebeests, zebras, and antelopes migrate from Serengeti National Park to Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve, and it’s one of the most breathtaking sights you’ll ever see.
Of course, the morning, afternoon and evening safari drives remain a highlight throughout the entire experience. For many people, one of the best things about safari is that you don’t really need to make many decisions. Unlike other trips when you have to decide when to eat, where to eat, where to go and what to do, safari has a built-in rhythm that is very relaxing and, if I may say, totally addictive. The combination of early mornings, great food, fresh air and a good night’s sleep is food for the soul.
If you haven’t been on an African safari before and you are dreaming of planning an amazing adventure, then you are in for a real treat! Planning your safari to Africa is such a wonderful build-up to the actual holiday. However, it can also be baffling and time-consuming. There are so many aspects that you need to take into consideration, such as where to go, how much it will cost, when is the best time to travel, and what wildlife you’ll be able to see. That is where the value of a travel agent comes in. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered and will answer all those questions you may have when the timing is right for you to start planning. Have you been to Kenya before? What is one magical moment you would like to experience on your next safari? Let me know in the comments below!