Kenya. The land of marathon champions, savannahs rich in wildlife and pristine coastal beaches. However, there’s more that this country has to offer apart from safaris and beach tours.
I’ve had the chance to visit some underrated but cool places in my 5 years of travelling. They caught my attention with their beautiful scenery, solitude and pleasantly different experiences that they offer. I have plenty of stories about this on my blog klassiquephotography.wordpress.com.
In this post, I highlight a few of the less talked about places you can visit if you live in, or next time you’re in Kenya.
Written by Michelle Ajema of klassiquephotography.wordpress.com
1. Kinangop Highlands
If you’re looking for a serene time away from noisy life, Kinangop is the place. Especially the rural side of the highlands. You get to enjoy uninterrupted panoramic views, encounters with herders grazing their livestock, fresh air, and the best part: the stunning night sky.
There’s no night pollution and the stars appear to be closer to earth – a treat for stargazers. You can also visit the Friends of Kinangop Plateau’s land that has been set aside as a reserve for the endemic and globally endangered Sharpe’s Longclaw bird.
2. Olorgesailie & Magadi
The Olorgesailie prehistoric site is renowned as the “factory of stone tools” and the only place in the world with the largest number. In addition, the area hosts the highest number of migratory bird species in Kenya. The latter might come as a surprise as the area is arid and doesn’t seem to support much life at first glance.
Magadi’s main attraction is the flamingos that feed along the shores of Lake Magadi. They love such alkaline lakes which provide them with algae, their main source of food. Other waterfowl you’re likely to see include Yellow-billed Storks, African Spoonbills and Great White Pelicans.
Again, if you’re in search of solitude, consider staying at the Olorgesailie Museum. It’s isolated (thus quiet), has no electricity and no light pollution – perfect for seeing the stars.
3. Gatamaiyu River Trails
Away from harsh, arid landscapes, you can chill as you walk along Gatamaiyu River in Githunguri, Kiambu County. For lovers of waterfalls, this is the ideal location. The river has several of them along its course, both large and small.
Gatamaiyu forest is an IBA (Important Bird Area) that is home to a wide variety of forest highland birds, including the Abbot’s starling whose habitat is swiftly shrinking.
One of the easiest ways to enjoy hiking through Gatamaiyu is to join a group, like I did with Let’s Drift. We stopped at 3 waterfalls and some daring souls swam in all of them. Even though it rained at the start and the end of the hike, we had a great time.
4. Eburu Forest
Located on Mt. Eburu (which you can see from Kinangop Highlands), this forest is a conservation area for the endangered Mountain Bongo. So elusive is it that it’s only seen by setting up camera traps. The only people who’ve seen it with their own eyes are the indigenous forest-dwelling people.
One thing you can see though, is Lake Naivasha against the background of Mt. Longonot.
Hiking here hike is fairly easy since the trail is well maintained and the inclines are gentle. Deep into the forest, the only sound you can hear is of chicada insects and forest birds. An entirely different, enchanting world. If you’re feeling daring, take a dip at the natural sauna (hot springs) formed by geothermal activity. It’s refreshing for tired muscles after a long hike.
These are but a few of the underrated places in Kenya you can visit to have a different experience. The country is vast and has so much to see.
Have you heard of or been to any of these?
Have any questions about travelling in Kenya for Michelle? Drop them in the comments below.
I’m Michelle, a writer and photographer living in Kenya. Curiosity and a love for nature have led me to some pretty awesome places around the country.
For the past 5 years, I have shared my travel experiences on my blog klassiquephotography.wordpress.com, while also talking about the need for respecting the environment and benefits of nature to mental health.