KENYA Part III: Sightseeing outside Nairobi

My previous posts were about Nairobi itself, what to do and see in the city and where to eat and dance there. This post is about what to do and see in Nairobi´s surroundings. In the next post, I´ll tell you about places to visit on the east coast of the country.

Surroundings: What to do outside Nairobi:

Well…you have many options of places to visit outside Nairobi depending on your priorities and on your remaining time. I’m giving you 4 different options here. I’m sure there are many more.

Option A: Minimum 3-4 full days:

Masai Mara Safari

The first thing that I would recommend to do is definitely a Safari in the famous Masai Mara National Park. This is a large game reserve starting in Kenya and continuing into neighbor country Tanzania as the Serengeti National Park. I was standing inside the park exactly at the border with both countries. (This means I crossed the border without visa, haha, don’t tell anyone)

Masai Mara national park border between Kenya and Tanzania
Masai Mara national park border between Kenya and Tanzania

A trip to Africa will never be completed without a safari and this park is one of the best places in the African continent where you can see the Big 5 (lion, leopard, giraffe, elephant and buffalo). Prices for basic Safaris go from $100-$170 per person per day. Luxury Safaris will be of course more expensive. Entrance fees to the national parks are quite expensive nowadays and have to be paid for every day you are inside the park, even if it’s not a full day. That’s why safaris are so expensive. Do you need recommendations about companies for Safari? Maybe I can help you… contact me!.

Highlight of this day: lions
Highlight of this day: lions
Hightlight of this day: lions
Hightlight of this day: lions

You can do a safari as long as you want but in my opinion 3-4 days should be enough. You will leave Nairobi around 8-9am on day 1 and come back to the city around 5-6pm on the last day. Don’t miss the view of the Great Rift Valley that goes all the way from Israel to Mozambique. It’s about 9600 kms. You can stop on your way to Masai Mara or when you come back from the national park. Also don’t miss the opportunity to visit a Masai village near the Masai Mara park and learn more about their lives and culture. The best time for a Safari at Masai Mara is from the middle of July till beginning of August and also end of November cause the migration of the animals is taking place in those months. You don´t want to miss it.

With the Maasai people at their village
With the Maasai people at their village
At the Maasai village: they are making fire
At the Maasai village: they are making fire
Maasai woman at the village
Maasai woman at the village
2 Maasai women selling their hand made souvenirs at the entrance of the national park
2 Maasai women selling their hand made souvenirs at the entrance of the national park

Option B: You need 1-2 days.

Ngare Ndare Forest Trust + Kenyan Equator

Go to the Ngare Ndare Forest Trust. It’s an indigenous forest at the foothills of Mt. Kenya in the Laikipia/Nanyuki region. You can do the Canopywalk, the longest suspension bridge in East Africa. It’s 450 meters long and has a lot of trees in the middle of the bridge. They opened it in 2007 and since then they have been receiving visitors from everywhere.

Canopywalk at the Ngare Ndare Forest
Canopywalk at the Ngare Ndare Forest

Then you can walk to the Ngare Ndare waterfalls. Wowww! So beautiful and such clear water. You will love it. You can swim there too. The water is coming from the melted snow of Mount Kenya. You will also see a few small pools all around the forest. The price to enter the forest is $30 for non-residents. As I look sometimes like a resident, I paid 20$ 😉 (resident price). There is no official desk where you pay but the rangers come to you to charge you the entrance fees and then accompany you during the Canopywalk and to show you the way to the waterfalls, all the while, explaining to you a few interesting things about the forest. You don’t have to pay extra money for the guide. It’s included in the entrance price, unless you wanna give him a tip which is always welcome in Africa.

Ngare Ndare waterfalls
Ngare Ndare waterfalls
Ngare Ndare waterfalls
Ngare Ndare waterfalls
Ngare Ndare waterfalls
Ngare Ndare waterfalls

 

On the way between Nairobi and Ngare Ndare you will cross the Kenyan equator: Kenya is one of the few countries in the world where the imaginary line that divides the earth into two half passes. You can stop for a picture. You won’t find this in many countries (I also took one in Uganda when I was there).

The Kenyan equator
The Kenyan equator

It was a long day, definitely a long drive to reach this place, but it was worth it. Kenyans will tell you it takes 3 hours to reach this place from Nairobi but you better calculate at least 5 hours. It could also be 6 hours depending on the traffic. The last part of the road is quite difficult to drive. You will definitely need a 4×4 vehicle because the road is rough when you get to Nanyuki. Renting a car that you can share with friends, with a driver, could cost you around 135€ (bargaining the price, of course). The price includes car, driver and fuel.

You can either drive back to Nairobi or stay overnight there. There is a camping place at the forest where you can stay but in this case you will have to pay 2 days for the car/driver. I spent 1 day for this excursion. I left Nairobi at 6:30 am and came back at 9:30pm.

Option C: You need 1 day.

Naivasha lake + Hell’s Gate National Park

 Go and explore the Naivasha lake!

Naivasha lake
Naivasha lake

On the way to the lake you will definitely want to stop at the Hell’s Gate National Park. Entrance fee is $30 per person and you have to pay 700 Ksh for the car, if you have one, or you can find bicycles to rent around 1km before arriving to the entrance oft he park for around 500 Ksh and bike through the whole park. You can see many animals there (zebras, giraffes, rock hyraxs, antelopes). There is no risk while biking there as long as you don’t go off-road.

Zebra during the game drive
Zebra during the game drive

Once you are inside the park and doing your game drive, you can have your first stop for an outdoor rock climbing (the prices is less than 5$) and take a selfie with one of the rock hyraxs there around, lol.

Rock climbing at the Hell´s Gate national park
Rock climbing at the Hell´s Gate national park
The rock hyrax and me
The rock hyrax and me

Then you continue to the Hell’s Gate Gorge, the main attraction at the park, such an amazing place. It’s a nice one and half hour hike. You don’t need a guide to go inside. Only if you really want to hire one. You can also see some hot springs along.

Hell´s Gate Gorge
Hell´s Gate Gorge
Hell´s Gate Gorge
Hell´s Gate Gorge

When you finish, you could go to the spa if you want to relax or visit the lake and have a boat ride. They will start the price for the boat ride at about $10 per person. Don’t forget to bargain.

Hiring a car with a driver from Nairobi there will cost you about $110. The price includes car, driver and fuel. Driving there takes 1 and half hours one way. If you can´t find this price or cheaper, you can contact me and I´ll contact you with my driver in Nairobi.

Option D: Minimum 3 1/2 days:

Beach (best way to finish your Kenyan trip)

 Go to the beach! Kenya has some of the most beautiful beaches in Africa in the Mombasa area. I think it’s a good way to end your trip relaxing on the beach. I have never been to Mombasa city itself but it’s on my plan. I have also heard a lot about Diani beach but I have visited only Lamu beach. My next post will be about some recommendations if you decide to go to Lamu. Check it.

This is just to give you a taste from Lamu island :-)
This is just to give you a taste from Lamu island 🙂
This is just to give you a taste from Lamu island :-)
This is just to give you a taste from Lamu island 🙂

There are, of course, many other places to visit in Kenya. I’ll definitely come back to discover more of this country. Check my bucketlist at the end of my article Kenia Part I and you can see my list of possible places to visit in my next trip to Kenya.

I hope these recommendations can help you with your traveling plans in Kenya J

More about Kenya:

KENYA Part I: Destination for 2017: Nairobi

KENYA: Part II: Eat and Dance in Nairobi

KENYA Part IV: Lamu island (coming soon)

Enjoy it and stay tuned!!! 🙂

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