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Ten Essential Things To Do When You Visit Kenya

Feb 10, 2008
Located in the eastern part of Africa, this country is home to both diverse human ethnic communities and fantastic wildlife. The country is named after its 17,000-foot Mount Kenya. Once a European colonial possession, the country is now making its own path despite the numerous hurdles it faces.

1.) Hell's Gate National Park

So named because of its geothermal activity, Hell's Gate is one of the few national parks which visitors can tour on foot. It is also the location of the Olkaria Geothermal Station, which is slated to eventually service up to half of the country's power needs. Aside from the abundant wildlife, visitors can also see singing and dancing exhibitions by Maasai people at the Oloor Karia Masai cultural center.

2.) Lake Nakuru National Park

The park is located in the famous Great Rift Valley. Hie yourself to Baboon Cliff to watch the spectacle of some two million pink flamingos wading, flying, and foraging on the lakeshore. Aside from being Africa's first bird sanctuary, this national park is also a refuge for endangered white and black rhinos.

3.) Western Kenya

The western part of the country is relatively isolated. If you want to see the real Kenya, away from the influx of tourists, this is the place to go to. Be aware that finding accommodation and transportation here is a bit problematic, so you should plan well beforehand and be prepared to rough it.

4.) Lake Naivasha

This freshwater lake is a popular weekend getaway for those tired of the heat and bustle of Nairobi. Lake Naivasha is well-known for its avian fauna and its dramatic vistas as well as its horticultural industry. Take a trip to the south shore and see Elsamere, the real setting of the movie "Born Free."

5.) Mount Kenya National Park

Those who are fond of mountain climbing can go to this park and scale Mount Kenya's permanently snow-bound peaks, Nelion, Batian, and Lenana. It also offers wonderful scenery with lakes, glaciers, and springs. Animals such as elephants, black rhinos, colobus monkeys, duiker, leopards, and hyenas can be found in the forests of this national park.

6.) Karen Blixen Museum

Kenya isn't all safaris and wildlife. In the Nairobi area, you can visit the Karen Blixen Museum, which showcases and preserves examples of colonial architecture and memorabilia. Personal effects of Karen Blixen, the author of the novel "Out of Africa," are also on display.

7.) Paradise Lost Caves

Also located in the Nairobi area, this system of caverns was discovered by workers a decade ago and has yielded not only Stone Age artifacts but human remains as well. Tourists can explore the labyrinth on foot. Camel and horse rides are also available, and there is a nearby artificial lake where one can go on boat tours, fish, or swim.

8.) Shentani Lava Flow

Since Kenya has that big geologic scar running right through it, it's not surprising that the country is seismologically active. Another product of this volcanic activity, the Shentani Lava Flows are located at the foot of the Chyulu Hills and can be hiked. There are also caves nearby which can be explored by the intrepid tourist, but caution is recommended.

9.) Lake Turkana

This region in the north of Kenya is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lake Turkana, also known as the Jade Sea for the way algae in the water causes it to change color, is the biggest desert lake in the whole world. Its waters are full of wildlife such as hippos, tilapa, crocodiles, and the Nile perch. There exists the possibility of violence on the roads to Turkana, so travelers might opt to fly to get there.

10.) Samburu Game Park

Halfway between Lake Turkana and the capital of Nairobi, in an area of desert, lies the Samburu Game Park, named after the Samburu people. Wildlife watchers can come here to see giraffes, oryx, ostriches, and elephants in this harsh, open environment. Or sit down at the bar at the Samburu Lodge and watch the local leopards make short work of the bait put out to attract them for the guests' benefit.
About the Author
Jonathan Williams is the travel writer for Destination Guide TV - the place to share travel videos. Visit http://www.destinationguide.tv/kenya to view or share Kenya travel videos.
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