Top 10 Most Famous Kenya Landmarks Travelers Talk About
Although most people may not know it, Kenya is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination. Famous both for its stunning coastline and abundant wildlife reserves, the African country has a slice of nature to offer just about everyone. While increased travel from tourists has certainly not gone unnoticed in the equator-straddling country, those wishing to travel Kenya are almost guaranteed peaceful, private encounters with some of the most beautiful landscapes and creatures in all of nature. This combined with the wealth of natural Kenya landmarks available to explore and discover all over again leaves many thinking about the African country as a travel destination, as raving past travelers have been.
1. Masai Mara National Reserve: Referred to locally as “The Mara,” this vast game reserve found to Nairobi’s west is in part named for a group of past inhabitants of the region known as the Masai. The reserve is known around the world for its wildlife populations, including the great wildebeest migration that occurs in the park annually. As a result, visitors to the area choose Masai Mara as a favorite location for Kenya safari tours. The wildlife sanctuary is home to a wide range of native animals including giraffe, elephants and cheetah. These iconic creatures in such abundance are what make the park one of the most beloved Kenya landmarks and a favorite destination amongst past guests.
2. Lake Victoria: Stretching into Uganda from a region west of Nairobi, this African Great Lake is the largest on the continent and one of the ten largest in the world. The body of water acts as the source for the famed Nile river and is known for its diverse range of aquatic life. Fishes like perch and cichlid call the lake home, and water hyacinth can be found creeping along the seashore. The lake is also home to waterfront Kenya landmarks including towns like Kisumu, known for its colonial architecture.
3. Hell’s Gate National Park: Northwestern Nairobi is home to some prehistoric places that now serves as a tributary for inhabitants of rift valley in the early days of humanity. The park is encompassed by a cliff break that provides sweeping landscape views, allowing visitors to enjoy their surroundings and the animals in the reserve. The unusual name of the area comes from a fiery past. In the early part of the last century, Mount Longonot, one of many volcanic Kenya landmarks, erupted. The remnants of this event in the form of ash are still present at the park in its current state. Couple this with the hot springs and geysers in the area and it’s easy to see how the park got its unusual name.
4. Nairobi National Park: Just four little miles separate the hustling, bustling city center of Nairobi from this wild and wonderful National Park. It was the first reserve of its kind, established in the 1940s, and has remained one of the most treasured Kenya landmarks ever since. Many visitors are surprised at the amazing abundance of wildlife that lives in the park, given how close it is to the nearby metropolis. However, amongst the swaying grasses can be seen zebra, wildebeest, black rhinos, gazelle, hippos, leopards, lions and more. Kenya’s first national park remains the most popular attraction for Nairobi visitors as it provides a close look at the savannah just a hop, skip and a jump from the city.
5. Tsavo National Park: This region lying to Nairobi’s east was once called simply the “Taru Desert.” Now, it’s named for the river that runs from west to east through it. What draws most visitors to the park is the wildlife found within it, with elephants being one of the primary draws. However, there are numerous prehistoric Kenya landmarks found in the area also, including sites from both the early and middle stone ages. Several natural features are also big crowd pleasers including the Yatta Plateau and Aruba Dam. Lugard Falls and Mudanda Rock are also favorites amongst past travelers.
6. Amboseli National Park: The Rift Valley province is where this over three thousand square mile game reserve is located, that reaches past the country’s border with Tanzania. Like many other Kenya landmarks, what brings most guests into the park are chances to witness wildlife like elephants in their natural habitat. However, Amboseli is known for something else as well. It’s one of the very best places in the world to have the best views of Mount Kilimanjaro, the three volcanic cone monster that dominates the horizon line from nearly any point of view.
7. Lake Turkana: Found in Rift Valley and touching on Ethiopia’s border, this lake holds several distinctions that make it a favorite amongst Kenya landmarks with tourists. It’s the largest desert lake in the entire world and it’s also the most alkaline. Not freshwater, rather fed by the Caspian Sea, Turkana is truly a unique environment. It’s situated in one of the driest and hottest environments on the planet, yet it remains a vital part of the ecosystem here. Framed by volcanic rocks with an active cone nearby, the area surrounding the lake is truly one of a kind, and so are many of its inhabitants.
8. Great Rift Valley: A wild assortment of varying landscapes is what attracts tourists to this massive valley, found in the northern central part of the country. Mud flats, multiple lakes and several volcanoes (not all of which are dormant) await visitors to the ridge system. Although the area is a favorite amongst Kenya landmarks for its mild climate and stunning landscape, the area’s role in prehistory also makes it popular amongst travelers.
9. Mount Kenya National Park: Once a forest reserve but now both a National Park as well as a World Heritage Site, this mountain encircling area was declared both due to the plant and animal life found in the area, as well as its natural beauty and popularity with tourists. Interestingly enough, however, despite its populations of cape buffalo and black and white cobus, perhaps one of the most unusual things about the park is man made. Although elephants dominate many Kenya landmarks like this park and are a huge allure for tourists, this reserve uses electrical fences to keep them from invading nearby farmland, which is incredibly fertile thanks to a heaping helping of volcanic debris.
10. Diani Beach: In an area known for prairie grass and migrating wildebeest, it’s important to remember that one of the most overlooked of all Kenya landmarks might be its pristine coastline. This eastern beach is a favorite for travelers that enjoy lodging facilities like the Baobab Beach Resort, along with world class dining and shopping centers. The sunsets and sunrises here might be a bigger attraction than posh hotels and eateries, and like other parts of the country, the local wildlife often steal the show and colorful coral reef residents, monkeys and more delight guests boating and kite surfing nearby.