Kenya is one of the most well known countries on the Africa continent, and if you ever step foot into it you’ll see why. It hosts a bounty of incredible natural sights and some of the most majestic animals on the face of the earth. All of Africa’s Big 5 animals — the African lion, elephant, and leopard, rhinoceros, and Cape buffalo — are in Kenya, plus the vast savannas and national parks there are amazing. There are few better places to visit for a safari than Kenya, and it has plenty of cultural and historical sights to see as well.
For those who want to experience the best that the country has to offer and explore it in style, here’s a luxury traveler’s guide to Kenya.
Kenya’s Best Hotels
One of the most luxurious and high end resorts in Kenya is Kempinski’s Villa Rosa, which is less than two miles from downtown Nairobi and just over seven miles from Nairobi National park. The decor is sophisticated and elegant, and there’s an on-site spa, gym, yoga studio, and outdoor heated pool. Four on-site restaurants, four bars, and a cigar lounge provide even more entertainment within the property. The rooms at Villa Rosa have a variety of great amenities including private terraces, minibars, complimentary Wifi, and large flat screen televisions. Butler service is available, as well as suites with kitchens, dining areas, and lounges. The nightly rate at this five star hotel starts at $326.
Another fantastic hotel in Kenya is Hemingways Nairobi. It boasts beautiful plantation style architecture and is situated close to Kenya’s Giraffe Centre and Nairobi National Park. An on-site restaurant serves well-prepared European cuisine, and afternoon tea is held daily in the dining area. Other amenities include a fully quipped gym, spa, bar, and sparkling pool. The rooms feature attractive traditional decor and have spacious bathrooms clad with marble tile and free standing tubs. Guests at Hemingways Nairobi also get to enjoy en-suite minibars, flat screen televisions, and free Wifi. Upgraded rooms have separate sitting areas and balconies, and butler service is offered. Nightly rates at Hemingways Nairobi start at $310.
If you want accommodation that’s close to Kenya’s national museum, Fairmont Norfolk Hotel is a great option. It’s also close to the Nairobi Arboretum and has a number of excellent amenities, a ballroom, and event space. The building that houses the hotel is well over a century old and is beautifully appointed. Inside is a terrace cafe, upscale wine bar, elegant lounge, and fine dining restaurant. Fairmont Norfolk Hotel also has a sauna and steam room, workout center, and heated outdoor pool. Many of the suites have spacious verandas and private terraces in addition to separate living rooms. The rate per night at Fairmont Norfolk Hotel starts at $195.
Top Things to See
No doubt you’ll want to experience the natural landscape of Kenya on your trip, and one of the best places to do so is Maasai Mara National Reserve, which shares a border with Serengeti National Park. Because it’s so close to Tanzania, Tanzanian cheetahs are often spotted there along with African leopards and Masai lions. If you visit the country during the annual Great Migration, which occurs from July to October, you’ll get a prime view within Maasai Mara National Reserve. Seeing large numbers of gazelle, wildebeest, and zebras walking across the savanna is an incredible experience.
Another destination within Kenya that’s ideal for outdoor lovers is Diani Beach, which is adjacent to a lavish resort and the town of Ukunda. The six mile long beach has gorgeous coral reefs that are home to hundreds of different species, making it a good place to go snorkeling. Kitesurfing is another popular activity among those who visit Diani Beach, and you’ll probably spot some wildlife while you’re there as well. In particular, the striking colobus monkey lives in the area and likes to make an appearance in front of visitors.
If you want to delve into the historical sights within Kenya, few are more poignant that the Ruins of Gedi Museum. Located near Malindi, Kenya, these ruins date back to the 13th century and were inhabited by a Swahili village. The community thrived culturally and economically, and records have been found of its residents trading with people from all over the world — some of the artifacts found there include Chinese vases, Venetian beads, and Indian lamps. The Ruins of Gedi became a national monument in 1927 and it’s now a popular tourist attraction. While you’re visiting, you may also encounter guenon monkeys, which are native to the area and are often curious about human visitors.
Where to Dine
Kenya has a wide range of restaurants that feature international cuisine, and one of the best in the area is Thorn Tree Cafe. It’s become an iconic meeting place for visitors and locals alike, and the delicious food served there is perfectly enhanced by the ambiance and decor. In addition to fresh deli classics, Thorn Tree Cafe serves freshly made juices, beer, rich coffee, and wood fired pizza.
Talisman restaurant is another classy eatery in Kenya that’s quite fashionable and popular. The courtyard is a lovely place to dine, and inside the restaurant has a lounge style look and feel. Talisman’s menu features international fare and some exotic specialties, including pan seared ostrich, tempura with squid ink mayonnaise, and Zanzibari soup.
For upscale dining and impeccably prepared seafood, head to Seven Seafood & Grill. As Kenya sits near the Indian Ocean, the freshness of the dishes at Seven Seafood & Grill is second to none. Raw oysters, smoked lobster, and chili prawns are just some of the offerings. The restaurant also has excellent cuts of meat. You won’t want to miss Seven Seafood & Grill’s champagne bar or desserts, which include tantalizing choices such as chocolate orange fondant and kiwi and raspberry pavlova.
Villa Rosa – http://www.kempinski.com/Nairobi/Villa-Rosa
Hemingways Nairobi – http://www.hemingways-nairobi.com/
Fairmont Norfolk Hotel – http://www.fairmont.com/norfolk-hotel-nairobi/
Maasai Mara National Reserve – http://www.maasaimara.com/
Diani Beach – https://www.lonelyplanet.com/kenya/diani-beach
Talisman Restaurant – http://www.thetalismanrestaurant.com/
Seven Seafood & Grill – http://www.experienceseven.com/